2016’s lineup for the 3DS is looking good, at least in the world of RPGs. Recently, I had the chance to attend a Nintendo 3DS RPG showcase and get my hands on a number of games set to release in the first half of this year. Some were just demos, some were full games, and some are already available in stores?but all of them promise an exciting year for Nintendo’s handheld.
The first thing I noticed about this game? It looks absolutely gorgeous. This is one of the few 3DS games where I’ve actually been happy to play in 3D. Cities and dungeons alike are designed to pop from the screen, with bridges, staircases, and layered pathways everywhere. And, of course, the same distinctive art style from the first game makes a return.
Bravely Second boasts thirty job types for its characters: 18 returning from the last game, and 12 brand new. The first I tried was the Fencer, a fun, versatile job capable of changing stats by assuming different stances. For example, a Fencer could spend some Brave to shift into Wolf Stance for an attack, hit hard, then shift again into Auroch Stance to raise defense before the enemy hits back. Catmancers, meanwhile, have the tricky job of training cats to do their fighting for them. The cats can only learn moves from copying enemies, so your Catmancer will have to do a little research by spending time fighting the right enemies in order to access her pets’ full potential.
Oh, and you’ll have plenty of time to play around with different classes, since Bravely Second’s supposed to be much longer than its already-lengthy predecessor.
I’ll admit to not being familiar with the original Project X Zone, so I walked into Bandai Namco’s demo of Project X Zone 2 completely blind. I also played a very specific demo?not part of the full game?that stuffed a bunch of playable enemies and characters in the same arena in order to jump straight into the fighting.
For those also unfamiliar with the series, Project X Zone 2 is a crossover mix of Capcom, Sega, Nintendo, and Monolith Soft characters thrown into a mash-up of tactical RPGs and fighting games. During the player’s turn, friendly characters can be positioned around the grid-based overworld in order to form teams and get in or out of range of enemies.
Choosing to attack drops the selected character into a 2D fighting game-styled battle, though the fights are a bit one sided. Since attacking still counts as the player turn, the target just stands there and takes it as your chosen character dishes out combos and attempts to juggle enemies in the air. There’s player skill involved in keeping up a combo in order to get the maximum number of hits, but the enemy won’t exactly be fighting back?not until all the player characters have gone, anyway. Then, it’s the enemy’s turn, and there are a few options to take?two to defend, and one to counter. Both defense options use up points to block passively, while countering deals full damage but allows the attacked player character to get in another round of damage.
The kind of gameplay featured in Project X Zone 2 may not be my thing, but it’s always fun to see Mega Man X and Zero, Ryu and Ken, or (my personal favorite duo) Phoenix and Maya hashing it out.
One of the biggest draws of the new Fire Emblem games is the My Castle feature, a base-builder and overhaul to the multiplayer system in one. Expanding on the old Barracks system, the My Castle feature allows players to start from nothing and slowly build up their home base. Instead of showing up on the world map like in past games, players you StreetPass with will appear in your castle. You’ll have complete control over the style and placement of different buildings, choosing from options such as a mess hall, prison, hot spring, or smithy, each of which offer both functional and decorative benefits.
Before you begin placing decorations and leveling up buildings, though, you’ll have to decide whether your castle is built for battles or friendly visits. If you choose to play PvP, your castle itself becomes the battleground. This means that choice of terrain (one map with a large boulder in the middle versus another with cracks in the ground and narrow bridges, for example), as well as every decision you’ve made about where buildings are placed, will affect how the enemy player can advance.
If you design around the friendly-player approach instead, those you StreetPass with will be able to tour your castle and gather unique resources to take back to their games, giving Birthright players access to exclusive items from Conquest and vice versa. Think Animal Crossing, and you’ll have the right idea. Any compatible Amiibo you use will appear here as well, offering items and challenging you to a fight.
So, do these Pokémon remakes include the Missingno glitch? Well, I tried to ask. Apparently a lot of people have been trying to ask. Unfortunately, nobody got an answer?and no answer on whether Pokémon Yellow‘s Mew Glitch stayed in, either. Oh, well.
Glitches aside, I did confirm that the 3DS versions of these classic games are as faithful as possible, recreating the originals in all of their glory and with all of their problems. (No running shoes? Wonky menu navigation with limited bag space? Overpowered Psychic types? Check, check, and check.) There’s even a special original Game Boy “skin” you can choose to display over the screen, with a toggleable yellow-green filter to make the experience as authentic as possible. It’s noteworthy that the Pokémon Yellow version doesn’t have this yellow-green filter?since it, of course, came out on the Game Boy Color. With that level of attention to detail, maybe there’s hope for Missingno yet.