Wherein I write more stuff about upcoming games

I’ve been on something a previews-writing kick lately. I guess it’s because I heard our previews editor recently won the lottery and I’m hoping he’ll write me into his will if I do nice things for him. Sadly, this is a lie, though I certainly wouldn’t complain about a vast financial windfall right about now.

Today sees a rather extensive Heroes of Mana English version hands-on write-up, which game I must say surprised me. Real-time strategy is among my least favorite genres ever, mainly because I hate feeling rushed when I’m gaming and that’s entirely what the genre is about. Hurry or the zerglings will get you! But having played a bit of Heroes in English, I’m actually liking it. I guess I’m easily swayed by the ability to command a legion of Rabites and Kid Goblins.

Good thing, too, because from what I can tell Heroes of Mana is exactly the same game as Revenant Wings, and I would be so, so sad if I ended up not liking that.

Mana creator Koichi Ishii was on-hand for the demo, and I have to say he was probably the least engaged developer I’ve ever met. Usually people are all too eager to show off the details of their creations, but we had to drag every last nugget of information out of the man. I’ll chalk it up to jetlag, because I’m a generous soul. And there were a few among those nuggets were genuinely interesting: The company reps spent a lot more time talking up the connection between Heroes and Seiken Densetsu 3 than you’d really expect considering the latter has never seen a U.S. release, which means that they’re at least aware of American interest in the game even if they don’t plan to publish here, like, ever. And I hadn’t realized that the Mana series doesn’t have a single continuity but rather consists of a number of alternate worlds and realities tied together by the Mana Tree. That’s great, because it spares us the pain of fanboys trying to reconcile a bunch of plotlines that were never meant to be cohesively coherent. Here’s hoping Nintendo will take the hint and do likewise with Zelda to spare us all those retarded “split timeline” theories.

Also: A Pokémon Diamond/Pearl preview which is about 40% informative and 60% me being a smartass. In a shocking jolt of synergy, it serves an editorial tie-in with this week’s Retronauts, which is 20% informative and 80% smartass. I think that works out to about 30% informative by average volume.

Despite my historical disinterest in Pokématters, I am actually quite looking forward to Diamond; I’ve played more of that in Japanese than I have of any other game in the series in English. I can’t decide if it’s because it’s suitably refined to the point where it finally appeals to me, or if I’m just inherently incapable of hating DS games. I probably would have even liked Xenosaga DS if Namco had brought it over!

Just kidding. Not even the DS can redeem that series.

25 thoughts on “Wherein I write more stuff about upcoming games

  1. Heh, I’m still excited about Revenant Wings, and I’m not quite sure why (I still know next to nothing about it).

    Can I say that it’s too bad though that Baten Kaitos DS is dead? Touch-screen would be beautiful with that battle system. And it’d fix the voice acting problem (i.e. there wouldn’t be any).

  2. If by spare us you mean, “In an interview at , Eiji Aonuma explicitly endorses the split timeline for Zelda,” then yes, we’ve been spared.

  3. Damn your URL eating comment box! The interview is on Nindori’s website on the second page of the interview with Aonuma.

  4. It only eats malformed HTML. What kind of syntax was that supposed to be, exactly?

  5. Ah, Chatot. He was funny in the Pokemon Battle Frontier episode in which he appeared.

  6. I’m wondering, how much emphasis does HoM give to base building compared to engagements? It sounds like the ship is the only structure that you have to worry about. Games like WC3 and C&C seem to involve more base building to get train specialized units and structures that increase their attributes. Attention is often divided between keeping your base maintained and ordering your troops around. Having an uber micro is a must if you want to play competitively in those kinds of games, or even appreciate the strategies involved.

  7. You were right about this episode of Retronauts being the best ever; you 1UP folks really sounded like you were having a good time right from the beginning. And you better watch out, Jeremy: with the amount of voices you’ve been doing on the podcast, you may just turn into the Rich Little of the 00s. Or of EGM. Just please don’t do any more Gollum impressions. Please.

    And I thoroughly enjoyed your analogy of Pokemon’s online “glory hole,” as well as the haunting Mr. Mime discussion. Keep up the good work!

  8. I do have to ask you Jeremy how the hell you didn’t just reach over and slap Chris in the face during the Pokemon MMORPG segment. Probably the first person to ever not start seeing flashes of 28 Days Later upon just hearing of its possible existence, to the point where it was actually kinda frustrating to listen to him talk against it.

    Also, dear momma was this episode of Retronauts awesome.

  9. P.S. I got a kadoches from that Passover section. You kischef machers have gotta do that more often

  10. I loved Kischief Makers! What a fun little game.

    Heroes of Mana has very little structure maintenance to deal with, thankfully. So far it’s just the one ship, which contains all the monster generators and heal shelters. I don’t think the DS’ tiny resolution lends itself to managing armies and structures — the game is chaotic enough as it is.

  11. Even though wacky voices are only one step above prop comedy as far as dignity is concerned, I want to say that the Texan Who Is Scared of Japanese People voice was amazing. I wish you could make him the main character of a cartoon.

  12. Oh mekheye, when Sharkey is asked if Virtual Hydlide is worse than Bubsy 3D and responds that its worse than everthing, I completely lost it.

  13. I too very much enjoyed this episode.

    I also endorse the slapping of Kohler. I’ve been singing the glory of a potential PokeMMORPG ever since the game came out (as in “The only way I’d ever enjoy this game is if ______”). I think your own comment of “That’s why nobody plays WoW, right?” should have been much, much louder.

  14. This episode was great for only one thing. And that was Kohler quoting The Terminator when describing Jak 2. He just scored a whole bunch of points in my book there. Other than that, it was like trying to listen to a bunch of guys talking over each other.

    But that’s just me. I like bonus stage. Its like watching TV. Retronauts is like listening to the radio. I’m not a very good listener. Really bad at it.

  15. A Mana RTS where you control the monsters of the series is an idea so unexpectedly great you wonder how anyone came up with it.

    But it works. Secret of Mana turned out more iconic monster designs in one game than any other RPG I can think of, and Heroes utilises that.

  16. I’m vaguely curious as to how you could hate Suikoden III so much. Granite, it pales in comparison to the first two games (as do MOST other games), and granite, the battle system is totally inexplicable–but I still thought it was pretty neato. Most of the main characters were appealing. And you must concede that the theatre minigame is totally rad. Or you would have to agree, had you played that far.

  17. if you knew what he was sayin, why bother correcting him? Unless you’re a *GASP* GRAMMAR NAZI! I -HATE- those guys

  18. People, people–I teach freshman composition. I see students use “granite” for “granted” all the time (also: “defiantly” for “definitely”). The misuse was entirely intentional on my part.

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