October is gone and the big wave of Japanese games seems to be over for now, but although the quantitiy of titles is decreasing November will see 2 new installments from the 2 biggest JRPG-Franchises of all time. It is also worth noting that Trails of Cold Steel 2, which I already mentioned in my September Preview will be released in Europe this month as well (November 11th).
It’s probably no secret anymore that I adore the titles developed by Nihon Falcom and thanks to XSEED we will be able to experience another Falcom game which hasn’t seen Western shores until now. Xanadu Next is an Action-RPG that was first developed for the Nokia N-Gage (for those who even remember what that is) in 2005 and was ported to PC shortly thereafter. The Xanadu Series is kind of an odd series, since there is usually a lot of time in between each installment and since it’s hard to really grasp what the series core is. Falcom fans usually describe it as a combination of elements of other Falcom games of a certain era. I have heard good things about this game when people were discussing the newest game of the franchise (Tokyo Xanadu, coming to the West next year) and I am looking forward to seeing what all the fuss is about when it releases on Steam and GoG this month. I am also expecting a kick-ass soundtrack as always from a Falcom game.
Platform: PC (Steam/GoG)
Developer/Publisher: Nihon Falcom/XSEED
Release Date: November 3rd 2016
Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization
I am by no means a fan of the SAO franchise, but it can’t be denied that the anime series has been enjoying a high popularity over the years, not just in Japan but also in the West. The first game adaptation Hollow Fragment turned out to be a major success for Bandai Namco in the West even though the game was initially a Vita-exclusive and featured a notoriously bad localization (anyone up for some “penetration” fun?). I haven’t played the game myself, but I heard that it features tons of content and a quite complex and fun combat system which kept players interested for 100+ hours. The sequel “Lost Song” was developed by another developer and the consensus is that that game is worse in every regard. Fans are therefore happy that the 3rd title “Hollow Realization” is developed by Aquria again and will feature gameplay similar to the first title. This game arrives on Western shores only a few weeks after its Japanese release which shows how successful these games have been for Bandai Namco. It should be noted though that judging by import impressions, the game is suffering from major performance issues especially on the Vita, so it might be worth waiting until these issues will hopefully be patched.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Developer/Publisher: Aquria/Bandai Namco
Release Date: November 11th
Pokemon Sun & Moon
I doubt that this series needs any introduction and although I haven’t really played any Pokemon games since the original Blue/Red, this juggernaut of a JRPG cannot miss in this preview. Sun and Moon could be the last Pokemon installment on the 3DS depending on how Nintendo decides to move forward with the franchise on the Nintendo Switch. The game takes place on Aloha which was heavily inspired by Hawaii and as always offers tons of new Pokemon to catch. Some of those have already become fan favorites although the game isn’t even out yet and with the craze around Pokemon Go, I expect this game to be even more successful for Nintendo than ever. The fact that pre-orders are already higher than for any other Nintendo game before speaks for itself.
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: November 18th (NA); November 23rd (EU)
I had this game in my September preview already, but since it got delayed I am including this here again.
Steins;Gate is probably one of my favorite Visual Novels and while I was sceptic at first whether another game in the universe would work, the positive import impressions have hyped me up for this and I can’t wait to play it. Please note that despite its name Steins;Gate 0 is NOT a prequel but more like a semi-sequel. Explaining what it actually is would be spoiler territory, so I will just say that you should definitely play the first S;G before playing this one. Just note that this game is a very traditional Visual Novel and therefore only features minor interactive elements which differs from other known series like the Ace Attorney games. If you can overlook this you are in for a treat though, especially if you are a fan of time travel stories.
Opening Movie (contains mild spoilers from the first game):
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Developer/Publisher: 5pb Mages/PQube
Release Date: November 25th (EU), November 29th (NA)
Final Fantasy XV
Like with Pokemon S&M this title probably needs no introduction. 10 years after its initial reveal as Final Fantasy versus XIII, Final Fantasy XV will finally release this month. I still remember being excited about the reveal of versus XIII back in the days and I would have never imagined that I would be working already, when this game finally comes out. As a long-time Final Fantasy fan I am of course very excited about this game, but the inconsistent marketing and the combat system have not alleviated my worries. The most recent previews have been mostly positive at least and the dev team seems to have used the 2 month delay for polishing the game’s overall performance. I am especially curious about whether the combat feels less clunky in the full game compared to the Platinum demo and whether they can successfully create the roadtrip atmosphere they are going for with the 4 main characters. The only thing I am not worried about is the music since Shimomura seems to have brought her A-game for this and I can’t wait to listen to the full soundtrack once it’s out in December.
In general, I have the feeling that this game will once again be a very divisive title among the fanbase and it’s really hard to predict how well this game will fare. Regardless of its quality though, I am just happy that this game’s odyssey will finally come to an end this month and that Square Enix can finally leave this project behind and focus on new things. There is much more that I would like to say about this game prior to its release, but I think I will save it for a dedicated FFXV entry.
Platforms: PlayStation4, Xbox One
Developer/Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: November 29th