This Week in Games
The Last Remaining Secrets of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
by Heidi Kemps,
Hey again, folks! It's another This Week In Games, comin’ atcha straight from Japan!
...Wait, I'm in Japan again?
Yes I am, though it's a rather short trip with only one major event for me. But it's still something I've been wanting to do for a very long time: venture into the world of doujin publishing.
I'm attending an event called Game Legend, a one-day doujinshi gathering focused on all games retro and obscure. As it caters to pretty niche interests, it's a far sight smaller than the likes of Comiket: that event has tens of thousands of circles encompassing every interest under the sun, while Game Legend has just under 200 circles that create and exhibit things solely about old-ass video games. There are many, many of these hyper-focused doujin gatherings across Japan based on a huge variety of subjects, and this happens to be the biggest retro game doujin event.
The stuff I'm publishing fits into “retro” and “obscure” quite nicely: I'll be debuting an art collection focusing on Taito's 1988 arcade game Raimais. I'm the first and only non-Japanese circle to exhibit there, so I'm feeling more than a little bit of pressure to really make a splash. Here's a sampling of the book's cover, done by the supremely talented Nina Matsumoto:
I've learned a lot about doujinshi publishing in the process of working on everything for the event. Even when you're mostly wrangling other folks’ contributions, there's still a lot of work involved — and I had some serious setback in the form of a malaise that afflicted me from about mid-September through most of October. We eventually found the cause: a 6mm kidney stone. Yikes. For the time being, the symptoms are under control (I have surgical removal scheduled for next month), but man, did it ever cause some serious delays on the book. Sometimes life just throws you curveballs, and all you can do is deal.
Anyhow, Game Legend is happening on November 4th, just a couple days from now. I'm really looking forward to seeing what doujin events are like from the other end of the selling tables. Now onto this week's gaming news, which involves so, so many characters...
SOUL CALIBUR VI BRINGS GLORY TO MANKIND
If you can count on Bandai-Namco for one thing, it's always knocking it out of the park with their guest character reveals. I mean, I thought The Witcher’s Geralt was a spectacular cast edition who fit well with the existing Soul Calibur crew, but Bandai-Namco managed to open an untold amount of wallets this weekend with the reveal of SCVI's second DLC character at Paris Games Week.
Yup, that's NieR Automata’s 2B, alright, and she looks amazing, bringing a host of attack techniques (and her lovable Pod pal) from her game into Soul Calibur’s world. I'm pretty amazed by this, honestly — it's hard to think of a better pick for that second guest character slot.
And thus, many a Season Pass was sold last weekend. That's the power of of YorHa at work.
SUPER SMASH BROS ULTIMATE REVEALS ITS FINAL SECRETS
It's past midnight here in Japan as I write this -- I made sure to stay up late to catch every bit of the Smash Direct, because I would be remiss in my duties if I didn't. We're gonna be talking about this stuff for days.
First off the bat is Ken -- yeah, we all saw that coming a mile away. He's got a few key differences, including his famous firey shoryuken. He's got two Final Smashes. He sure is Ken. Next!
Now the big one: Incineroar! Another heavily rumored favorite, and the obligatory new Pokémon addition to the cast. I like the focus on wrestling moves: Smash is one of the few fighters that didn't have a dedicated wrestler character, so he fills a nice little niche.
The biggest addition to Smash’s game system has also been revealed. Collectible Trophies are a thing of the past,replaced by “Spirits” you collect in a special “Spirit Battle” mode. Much like the stickers in Brawl (Jeez, remember stickers? That seems like ages ago), you can apply Spirits to a character for various power boosts. Will they be tournament legal? Probably not, but I dig the idea of collecting them through themed fights rather than praying for random drops. I don't like the use of flat key art rather than full character renders, though -- I don't want to call any effort put into this colossus of a game lazy, but it certainly *looks* low-effort in a way that's unusual for Smash. I hope there are at least detailed descriptions of each.
I'm also not totally sure about the way the game's handling online multiplayer: basically, it eliminates the two separate “for fun” and “for glory” modes and instead tries to match up players who want to play under similar rulesets. Problem is, it prioritizes proximity over rulesets, meaning that you're probably going to get matched with a bunch of trolling randos in your area who will play Fox only Final Destination no items… except for like a billion Bob-Ombs dropping at all times. Yeah, private rooms are gonna be a big thing. At least the interface for those looks cool.
Also, man. That Fatal Frame and Golden Sun trolling with assist trophies. Sakurai, you're such a lovable jerk sometimes.
Wait, what, VIRTUA FIGHTER? GODAMMIT SAKURAI NOW YOU'RE BREAKING MY HEART HERE :(
While only two character reveals is something of a downer, DLC has been confirmed for five other characters, stages, and music tracks, so the rumors are still going to keep on coming. If you haven't learned already, don't trust anything from 4chan for god's sake.
One DLC character has been confirmed, though: Piranha Plant. Yes, really. Talk about one nobody saw coming, huh? You'll get it for free if you register a My Nintendo account, so do that if you haven't already.
And finally, there's a new adventure mode with a story! A voiced story, at that! And a theme song with vocals to boot! Man, this game is sure gonna be a thing, huh? I'm totally down with wasting my December on Smash at this point. If anything, it'll make recovering from my surgery less odious.
OTHER CHARACTER REVEALS THAT AREN'T SMASH OR 2B BOOTY
I feel bad for every other game in the past week that's done character reveals. Seriously, how the hell do you compete with what Bamco and Nintendo gave us?
Well, anyway, Dead or Alive 6 is bringing back another fan favorite character: the mysterious, vicious Christie. She comes with her own debut trailer, which you can watch here:
Jump Force, meanwhile, is adding a few more realistic faces to its cast. Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star is joining the fray, though we're probably not going to be seeing a whole lot of exploding heads -- that T rating is very important, you see. Also entering the lineup is Ryo Saeba from City Hunter, who is one of those characters that's absolutely beloved in Japan and Asia and kind of like “wait, who?” everywhere else. Personally, I'm glad Jump Force isn't sticking with solely the big global faces.
We've also got a glimpse at the game's all-new villain, Kane. Mysterious!
Also, in Not A Character Reveal News, Dragon Quest Builders 2 is confirmed for a Western release. I feel like the first game got passed over by a lot of folks here for looking like a Minecraft clone -- and let's be real, that visual choice was totally intentional -- but it's a really nice little game, and I'm glad the second one's going to be making the journey over.
Most games are still trying to stay out of the long shadow of John Martone, but there are some notable exceptions — particularly if you dig music games. For starters, there's Beloved creator Tak Fujii's Gal Metal, where a gaggle of cute girls save the planet from alien invaders with the power of hard rock. You can grab that one this week if you own a Switch. PS4 and Switch owners can both get a bit of Taiko action through Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum Session and Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum n’ Fun!, which debut digitally on Friday. The two games have some key differences, especially in terms of their track lists, so you may want to research a bit before you pick one of them up. Finally, fan favorite visual novel Nekopara Vol. 1 rolls onto the PS4 this week.
And that's all for this week! Now I'm going to bed. But seriously, Piranha Plant. What?
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