This Week in Games
No Foolin'

by Heidi Kemps,

Ah, it's that time of year again when we engage with copious yuks and tomfoolery upon the internet from our favorite Brands™!

Increasingly, it seems like April Fools Day is when companies toss out an absurd idea online, see how many people react with “holy crap I really want that thing,” and then decide whether or not to greenlight it. Maybe if we all tell Sega to make this Yakuza turn-based RPG, they'll actually do it.

Sometimes companies go ahead and put out a little mini-game for April Fools Day, which is my favorite kind of high-effort prank. Japanese Fate/Grand Order players were treated to a Dragon Quest-style RPG based on RiyO's goofy Learning With Manga characters (which, sadly, is already non-functional), while CAPCOM released a simple but fun browser shooter starring G from Street Fighter V. (It, too, appears to be gone. Note to companies: stop removing these things, they are fun and cool and we like them!)  Arika, however, might have put the most effort into their game: a mobile version of Fighting EX Layer (itself a game revealed on April Fools) called Fighting EX Layer minus alpha that plays surprisingly well using touch-based gestures.

But not everyone is fooling on the First of April, as we shall soon see…

R-TYPE RETURNS

On April 1st, developer Granzella – who, it should be noted, consist mainly of ex-Irem folks – launched a website for a brand new installment in the globally beloved R-Type shooter series, entitled R-Type Final 2. Many folks considered this announcement to be to good to be true, given the date. As the clock ticked over from the first to the second of April in Japan, however, the website was still up. Indeed, R-Type Final 2 is real, and it's coming to PS4… sometime. There's still a lot of details that need ironing out, as Granzella prepares to launch a crowdfunding campaign for the game.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of the R-Type school of shooters – heavy-memorization-and-checkpoint-driven games where dying once means you're probably screwed. But a lot of folks do, and well, I'm glad R-Type is coming back for their sake. Anything that keeps the spirit of Irem alive is fine by me. Now where's that Undercover Cops revival?

SURPRISING NEXT TO NOBODY, THERE IS PROBABLY A SWITCH PERSONA 5 COMING

Hey, there's yet another Persona site teaser! It's for something called P5S! GEE, WHAT COULD THAT POSSIBLY BE

Well, if a Best Buy system info leak is anything to go by, it's a Switch version of Persona 5. But come on, we basically knew this the moment Joker was announced for Smash and we saw Sakurai palling around with Atlus folks. The question is, will it be different from Persona 5 Royal? We'll just have to wait until later this month to find out.

Also, that same Best Buy system leak had a few other interesting bits, like Metroid Prime Trilogy and A Link to the Past for Switch. When's that next Nintendo Direct again…?

SAKURA WARS TAKES THE STAGE AGAIN

Sega held a big event in Akihabara this weekend called Sega Fes, and there were some big announcements there. Let's start off with what's obviously the biggest: after almost fifteen years, there's a new Sakura Wars game!

The Japanese title is Shin Sakura Taisen, but the Western title – and yes, Sega was sure to tell us all right away that a Western release was coming, yay! – is Project Sakura Wars. It's been ten years since the events of Sakura Wars V, and now the whole world knows about the global Combat Revues. In fact, the various Combat Revues are now waging all-out competition with each other! Clearly, that's not going to end badly or anything. And as we can see in the trailer above, enemy Kouma still seem to be a threat, so now we've got even more problems!

But if previous games have taught us anything, there's no situation that can't be overcome when you've got strong bonds with the various female fighters of the Combat Revue. Once again, there's a whole new batch of young ladies for our hero to interact with… but this time, the character designer is none other than Tite Kubo of Bleach fame. Not who I would have expected for a new series character designer, but one that makes sense when you're aiming for a global audience – “characters designed by the author of Bleach” probably has more global sway than “characters designed by the author of Ah My Goddess.”

One difference you can see immediately is that… well, let's be honest here: Kubo Tite likes to draw boobs. One look at Rangiku and Orihime should tell you that. And the girls (aside from heroine Sakura Amamiya) definitely seem to fit more with his preferred female fashion and bodytype than Kosuke Fujishima's more reserved designs. Apparently Kubo also designed the weapons for each of the women, too – given some of the crazy stuff we've seen from Bleach in that regard, those should be fun to behold.

Anyhow, we'll probably be hearing more on the Western release come E3 time. Man, Sega releasing a Sakura Wars game in English… times sure have changed, huh?

I ALREADY PREORDERED MY MEGADRIVE MINI, JUST FYI

The MegaDrive Mini's been a long time coming, but unlike the rushed-to-meet-Christmas disaster that was the PlayStation Classic, Sega's been taking their time to make sure they get this thing right. And boy, does it ever look like it's going to deliver!

The good news comes in droves: Emulation is being done by the experts at M2, system music is being handled by Yuzo Koshiro (who works that ym2612 like nobody else can), and simulated knobs, buttons, and cartridge slots to make it feel like the real deal, just smaller. Game-wise, it's already looking pretty good: forty games will be on the system, and some of the titles revealed so far include Shining Force, Castlevania Bloodlines, Puyo Puyo Tsuu, Rent a Hero, and Gunstar Heroes. It comes in two variants: One with a six button controller, and another with two six button controllers! Hot damn!

Also, American and European variants are already up for preorder. The lineup is… well, there's some overlap, but it's not as interesting. Can we stop pretending Altered Beast was good? Hilarious and extremely gay, yes, but not good. Also, the non-Japanese versions get the 3-button pad for some reason. Why? Who knows. Me, I'm just gonna get the Japanese edition. I already preordered off AmiAmi, so it should arrive at right about the same time as Ozymandias.

We also got news on more games in the Sega Ages lineup coming to Switch. Fantasy Zone, Wonder Boy in Monster Land, the arcade Shinobi, Herzog Zwei, G-LOC, and Puzzle and Action Ichidant-R. those last two are a bit odd: part of what made G-LOC such a big deal was the absolutely nutty R360 arcade cabinet, while Ichidant-R is part of a long-running series of arcade minigame collections with Bonanza Bros-style visuals that are virtually unknown in the West.

SNK GIVES MORE INFO TO YOU CRAZY FUNSTERS ABOUT SAMURAI SHODOWN

At PAX East this weekend, SNK had both a large demo station and special panel arranged to talk all things Samurai Shodown with eager fans. Impressions of the game so far appear to be very positive, which makes me happy to hear. Also, the graphics aren't getting meme'd to hell and back like KoFXIV’s early visuals did, so it's not coming out of the gate with that negative stigma.

The PAX East panel also delivered some welcome news to longtime series fans in the form of a Samurai Shodown NeoGeo Collection. This set contains all of the Neo-Geo Samurai games, from the 1993 original to Samurai Shodown V Special. Porting duties are being done by Digital Eclipse, the same folks who did Street Fighter 30th Anniversary and the recent SNK Anniversary Collection, so you can expect some solid portwork alongside big, elaborate museum modes filled with Samurai stuff. Online functionality will be in the game, too, though I don't know if it'll be limited to certain games like in the Street Fighter set. (I doubt most people are clamoring for online rounds of Samurai Shodown III.)

Meanwhile, the first of the new Samurai Shodown’s fresh roster additions was revealed: Darli Dagger, a fierce lady pirate with a big ol’ serrated sword. I think I've already found my main! The latest Famitsu issue revealed a few other silhouettes of newcomers, as well, and we'll likely be seeing who those folks are sometime soon.

NEW RELEASES

It's a pretty dry week, unless you like Dragon Ball and card games. And if you do, well – boy, are you in luck, because Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission is here to meet your needs! Otherwise, well, keep playing Sekiro I guess. Or…if you haven't played Dragon Quest V, how about playing that? That game's super good and a very nice introduction to Dragon Quest as a whole. It's also got some serious emotional gut punches. I'm reminded of DQV's quality thanks to the recently released CG trailer from Dragon Quest: Your Story, which is based on the game and releases late this summer in Japan.

So ends another Week in Games. What were your favorite gaming-related gags from this year's April Fools shenanigans? Feel free to share in the forums!


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