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.