Dragon Quest and Sonic Anniversaries

This year really does seem to be the year of iconic anniversaries. Case in point, Dragon Quest is celebrating it’s 35 anniversary and Sonic is celebrating it’s 30th anniversary. To help celebrate these milestones, both series held their own anniversary announcements yesterday and today.

First up, Dragon Quest, which hosted their 35th Anniversary video yesterday. In case you missed it, here it is.

While I can’t say all of it excited me, they did catch me with two major announcements, Dragon Quest III HD-2D Remake and Dragon Quest XII: Flames of Fate.

I’ll be honest, my jaw dropped while watching the Dragon Quest III HD-2D Remake gameplay. Dragon Quest III remade using the Octopath engine, where can I pre-order? No platforms or release date, but I expect it won’t be long based on what they showed, at least that is what I’m hoping. In case you want to just see this announcement, here it is.

As for Dragon Quest XII: The Flames of Fate, that is pretty much all that was released. Just the title. Granted, after showing the announcement, they did tease that this was going to be a darker game geared more towards an adult audience. It was also teased that they are going to be making some changes to the command based combat. What exactly, they are still trialing out some ideas, so more to come.

Next up, Sonic, which was hosted today as Sonic Central for Sonic’s 30th anniversary. In case you missed this one as well, here it is.

I’d say I am a Sonic fan, not hardcore, but I’ve always enjoyed playing a Sonic game since the the very first game. Those water levels always gave me major anxiety. Have to say that I am excited for the free online Sonic concert that Sega will be hosting on June 23rd. No big surprise, they announced Sonic Origins, which is a collection of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog CD, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and Sonic & Knuckles. No release date, but a nice collection of classics.

The bigger announcements however, were Sonic Colors Ultimate slated for a September 7th release and a new untitled Sonic game slated for sometime 2022. I’ll be honest, I missed out on Sonic Colors, but don’t think I will with this one. Haven’t played a Sonic game in a while and this one looks nice.

As for the untitled Sonic game, will just have to wait for more details and continue to wonder what this means.

All in all, I’m happy with the announcements. I’ll definitely be snagging the Dragon Quest III HD-2D remake and strongly considering Sonic Colors Ultimate. If either release on Xbox Game Pass, that’s a no brainer. Then I just have to attempt to be patient for more details on Dragon Quest XII: Flames of Fate and the untitled Sonic game. Strong anniversary announcements.

Gameboy Advanced Memory Lane

March 21st marked the 20th anniversary of the Gameboy Advanced. It was nice to see everyone else reminisce about what games they remembered the most that day. All the fond memories of all those amazing games that helped redefine handheld gaming and what would be the legacy of the GBA. The jump between the original Gameboy and the Gameboy Advanced was amazing. The fact that it could handle SNES games on a system that small, and that was just scratching the surface practically on what it could handle. It really was an amazing handheld system during it’s time.

From Golden Sun, Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap, Advanced Wars, Fire Emblem, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, and Mega Man Battle Network, there was always something great to play. Heck, I find myself brushing off my GBA SP and hoping into some of these classics from time to time. However, being reminding of all these great games got me thinking about what happened to some of these beloved games? Sure some games continued on like the Fire Emblem series which got a decent boost of fame in the US to help get the series going here; but what about games like Golden Sun, Advanced Wars, and Mega Man Battle Network? Heck, even some newer 2D Castlevania platformers along the lines of Aria of Sorrow. I know I’m not the only one who would love to see these series brought back on newer platforms.

Golden Sun was an amazing RPG and was one of the greatest looking games on the GBA in my opinion. I felt the gameplay style, while not exactly revolutionary, helped set itself apart from other RPG’s at the time and each one had stories that kept me engaged. The way they incorporated the summons that not only provided powerful attacks in combat, you could use their unique elemental abilities outside combat to get to hidden areas and open paths to new areas. I just really loved the story, characters, art style, and gameplay. True, it did have two sequels with The Lost Age releasing on GBA and Dark Dawn releasing on the DS, with the later releasing late 2010. It’s been almost a full 11 years since we have seen anything new from this series..

Advanced Wars was one of the first games that really got me into turn-based tactical RPG’s. I remember when the game was being promoted in Nintendo Power. I was a huge fan of Command & Conquer around that same time, so with this being military strategy, it was right up my alley. Just wasn’t sure about the turned-based part. Figured what the heck and gave it a chance as I liked the look. I was not let down. I loved Advanced Wars and quickly found out I also love turned-based tactical RPG’s. That game was perfect to me with a story that kept me engaged and strategy I was able to get behind to get through each map with least amount of units lost. It was a puzzle each time. Advanced Wars did get three sequels, one on GBA and two on DS. That last one being Advanced Wars: Days of Ruin in early 2008, so 13 years without a new entry.

Mega Man Battle Network was an interesting shift form the classic Mega Man platforming and is a real-time tactical RPG. To be honest, it was a little bit of a welcoming shift for me as I sucked at classic Mega Man platforming. In Battle Network, the game is split between a kid named Lan Hikari and Mega Man, who is a NetNavis (Network Navigators) named MegaMan.EXE, who only exists in the Net. Majority of the story content is played out by Lan, who then uses his MegaMan.EXE NetNavis to enter the Net where the real-time tactical RPG element comes into play. What is unique is that the combat takes place on a grid where you play a sort of chess match against the enemies. Depending on what grid space you put Mega Man on and what grid spaces the enemies are on will dictate which of your attacks can hit an enemy and if you can get hit by an enemy. Still being true to Mega Man, you can equip Mega Man with what are called battle chips to give him a unique set of attacks for an advantage in certain maps. It was an new and interesting take on Mega Man that I really enjoyed. So much so, I felt it needed a longer explanation. Unlike the previous two games I mentioned, this series got several sequels on the GBA with the last one being Mega Man Battle Network 6 in mid-2006 in the US, so almost 15 years without a new entry.

I know there are plenty of other games and game series out there that fall into this same boat for others, and not just GBA games. It just happened to be one of those days that got me thinking about all the fun I had with all the games I played on the GBA. Will we see new games or remakes of any of these series, I hope so, but I also know there is more than enough for me to play already. Have me go back down memory lane with some of the other consoles/handhelds and I can guarantee you there are other series I haven’t thought about in a while that I’d love to be brought back and made new. It’s fun to think about what studios might do with some of these IP’s on newer hardware, but I had my fun with them already. It’s always fun to hop back down memory lane though.

Nintendo Direct 2.17.2021 Impressions

I’m running a bit behind, but still want to post something about Nintendo’s first Direct of the year. Not to mention their first big one for some time now (COVID-19 sucks). I was originally going to setup a link for the video and break down the announcements. Fortunate for me, Nintendo did a much better job then what I was likely going to try putting together.

If you happened to have missed Nintendo’s Direct they hosted on February 17th, here is a link to their site that has the video and a very nice break down of all the announcements below it: Nintendo Direct 2.17.2021.

Now, what are my thoughts. Having been a bit devoid of major announcement for a while, I think it was a decent Direct. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m slightly bummed that they had nothing new to announce for The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild 2 and they didn’t even hint at anything Metroid. However, I think they did what they needed to do and had a little of something for everyone. So here are my big highlights:

  • Pyra/Mythra from Xenoblade Chronicls 2 will be the newest fight/s added to the Super Smash Bros Ultimate roster. To be clear, they are technically the same fighter in the roster. Similar to the Dragon Quest Warrior, you can switch between the two characters during a fight fairly seamlessly, and form the looks of it, intentionally to string together some interesting combos. Seems really interesting.
  • Mario Golf Super Rush has been announced for the Switch. I love me some Mario Golf and so excited I’ll be able to play it on the TV again.
  • Splatoon 3 has been officially announced and is giving me a Wastelands/Borderlands vibe. Should be interesting. Might be time I finally pick up one of a Splatoon game.
  • Project Triangle Strategy (working title) is a new tactical RPG being worked by Square Enix. While still very much a work in progress, Square Enix released a playable demo for the game already. I already downloaded it to give it a go. First off, don’t expect the game to go easy on you and don’t expect to understand what is going on. Damn near messed up my first encounter getting used to the mechanics; but even with me fumbling around, I definitely see potential here. Also loving the art style reminding me of very much of Octopath.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD is going to release on the Switch soon. While not one of the best Legend of Zelda games in my honest opinion, it does have it’s moments and I think it is very much worth playing for LoZ fans who haven’t yet played it. If you were a huge fan of it and plan on getting again, more power to you. Now, they did mention they did work on improving the motion controls to fit the regular Switch side controllers (hopefully this improves the sword combat response which never worked well for me); but they also mentioned adding full button control support for Switch Lite players, so motion controls aren’t required! Woot!
  • Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity DLC releasing this year. Included in the Expansion Pass DLC will be a purchase bonus that will add new weapons and outfits for Link, there are two bigger releases that will spaced out throughout this year. Across each wave they will be adding some new playable characters (no details yet who), skills for existing characters, stages, weapon types, and challenges. While I’m still working through Age of Calamity, I’m looking forward to seeing what they add as I’m getting close to full completion at this point.
  • Animal Crossing New Horizon Super Mario Themed decorations and outfits are coming soon in an upcoming free update. I’m not one to really decorate my island yet, but I thinking it is time to make an exception. And yes, there are enough items to basically make your own Mario course on your island complete with warp pipes, coins, blocks, and flag pole, all while looking like a Mario character.
  • Plenty of new third party title announcements. To many for me to really dig deep as I don’t have much on them yet. However, I do want to call out the Ninja Gaiden Master Collection. Includes Ninja Gaiden 1-3, need I say more. I’ve already beaten the hell out of all three, but if you missed these and are looking for challenge, highly recommend checking it out.

So yeah, no BotW 2 or Metroid Prime 4 news, but I think an overall solid Direct. Definitely giving me some good vibes about 2021 for Nintendo. Just remember, it is still February, so there is plenty of time for Nintendo to drop some more big news. Heck, for all we know, BotW 2 and Metroid Prime 4 could be launch titles for Nintendo’s new system I keep hearing about. Either way, this is already shaping up to be a nice year for Nintendo.

Nintendo’s New Timed Releases, Why?

After Nintendo announced the Super Mario 3D All-Stars and that it will only be sold up to March 31, 2021, including digitally, I figured this was a one off to hype up the 35th anniversary of Mario. I mean, I’d understand them not selling physical copies past that date, but digital copies also? I’m honestly not thrilled about this and can’t figure out what their game is with doing this. Maybe they just wanted to maximize their sales by encouraging those on the fence to buy it sooner rather than later. Another idea I had is that they have something in mind after March 31st next year to enhance the game. Possible that Nintendo is planning to add additional 3D Mario games to the collection that weren’t included. Those that bought the game “early” will just get the extra games for free. Those that didn’t already buy it could then buy a Super Mario 3D All-Stars “Deluxe” edition, much like Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World for the SNES. That last idea is very much wishful thinking on my part. Either way, I ended up buying it. I planned to get it regardless because I never played Super Mario Galaxy and I never finished Super Mario Sunshine. Super Mario Galaxy is so much fun!

However, Nintendo threw a monkey wrench into my last idea after announcing Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light as another timed release until March 31, 2021. Now I’m just thinking they are trying to maximize the number of people who are buying these games by giving an artificial limited window. I just can’t think of a good reason as to why they can’t just continue selling the digital copies. Not like they have to manufacture digital copies. It honestly makes me feel like Nintendo is pulling a Disney on us. Nintendo is creating its own Vault and I don’t like it. There is still plenty of time between now and March 31st, so maybe they do have something planned around that time that could explain the timed release. I just really hope this isn’t a new trend for Nintendo going forward, especially if they are just trying to create artificial demand. As for Fire Emblem, I do think I’ll pick it up though. I’m a Fire Emblem fan and have never played this one; and for $5.99, why not.

Time to Hunt Monsters

I know I’m a little behind; but my wife and I finally got around to playing Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on Wii U and 3DS. To be honest, I did play a little bit of Monster Hunter Freedom Unite when it came out; but it just wasn’t the type of game play I was interested at the time. This go around, we are both really getting into it and have been playing for a few weeks now.

Yes, I know we could be playing Monster Hunter World; however, we already owned Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate when it first came out. Just took us this long to finally playing it. Considering World is also supposed to be easier then previously releases, we figure once we get our fill with 3 Ultimate, we will be more then prepared for World. Case in point, I so hope the controls, namely with respect to swimming and camera are much more fluid. Good lord is swimming and managing the freaking camera annoying. I purposely try my best to avoid underwater battles if I can.

Now, excluding the camera controls (and yes I’m using the monster cam on feature to lock onto the larger monsters, still sucks) and swimming, there is just something about this game that keeps us playing. The fun of going out on the hunts, fighting larger and more dangerous monsters, and crafting insanely cool gear (switch axes are the best), the core of the game is just a blast. There is a story to help guide you into how the game plays, but it isn’t the deepest and that is perfectly fine with me. The variety of monsters, how much they differ with their behavior, attacks, and movements, keeps me wanting to fight that next large monster and figuring out how best to handle them. It is that right amount of fight/reward that makes me keep playing. Really looking forward to fighting the much larger and far more intimidating monsters.

If you haven’t played a Monster Hunter and don’t mind extended boss like fights. Kind of like Dark Souls but much more forgiving, less stressful, and more exciting (I loved Dark Souls, but that game took no prisoners with me). Likely going to look out for a good deal on World once the expansion releases and get both in one go.