Franchises either live or die by their audience – both long time followers and prospective ones alike. Whether it is a change in approach or reaffirming its appeal, the challenge for most brands is staying relevant and being where the eyes of its consumers are. Fire Emblem is certainly one of many long running titles doing just that as it passes through the years modifying its mechanics, incorporating new elements, and even changing how it markets itself. With Fire Emblem Fates being a good example of the latter, one place I never expected to see the series is on mobile as it was so beholden to Nintendo consoles, but thanks to the minds at Intelligent Systems and Nintendo, Fire Emblem Heroes bucks that trend. Being quite the paradigm shift for the series to date, it does tend to take advantage of the franchise’s pedigree and proves to offer something worth while…or at least I think so.
The human body is a microcosm of activity that is far beyond anything we can imagine. Everything from keeping agents of sickness at bay to healing a small cut is a process that is easy in theory to understand, but probably far from simple. So what would it be like to live the life of a cellular organism? Well, that is what Volume 1 of Cells at Work aims to answer and does so in a most unexpected manner.
Two years ago, Gust released Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea for the Playstation 3, which was supposedly to be the conclusion to the Dusk trilogy. Getting a few complaints from fans aside from the general gameplay, the narrative was the most criticized element as it felt incomplete as well as effacing all the developments made in the prior installments. Vowing to fix this mistake with another entry into series, there is no mistaking that the Playstation Vita title Atelier Shallie Plus is what the team had in mind. With inclusion of new events, bosses, and prominent returning characters, does it manage to succeed where the PS3 title failed?
With a new year comes new ambitions and desires to do a little better and achieve more gains than the previous year. For me, among my larger goals of getting my A+ certification and completing the next few requirements to move on to bigger and better things, it always nice to have a few diversions along the way. One in particular is start on my anime archive collection or basically, just picking up series I always wanted to own or never seen before and documenting them. While most of this stems from my love of older titles (and to put a little ease on internet bandwidth via streaming) it is also to replace a few things I use to or no longer own. Already getting off to a great start, I thought I might as well fit it into my activities here as a semimonthly (or whenever I have the cash to spare) post. Without further ado, here is the collection for the beginning of January 2017.
Exploring vast locations, making new items and equipment, and amicable characters are all qualities of Gust’s Atelier franchise that has attracted and kept me coming back to the series all these years. Mixing together fundamental and traditional RPG mechanics with modern flair, it is a franchise that has definitely changed its approach since its inception for better or worst to widen its appeal to a new audience. However, looking back on the many titles up until now, I do feel like the series has lost much of the traditional and creative life it once had long ago. With Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book – the start of a new entry for the long-running franchise – incorporating many of the lessons and ideas inspired from the earlier titles as well as handful of new ones, it does make for an interesting start, yet also one that falls short of the mark for the very same reasons.
In most fantasy tales, it is a common precept that when the hero defeats the demon lord, peace and harmony is restored to the world along with all problems plaguing it fading into the abyss. Endearing and timeless as the trope is, it doesn’t exactly make for riveting storytelling, but desirable in its own right. However, what if defeating the demon lord didn’t end the worlds problems and instead the hero and villain actually team up to find a solution to the underlying issue? Would the story still carry the same endearing mantle? From this simple shift the idea and premise of Winter’s 2013 Maoyuu Maou Yuusha (stylized as Mayou) is born, one that provides an interesting mix to the classic fantasy milieu, but also one that is something of a double-edge sword when it comes to doing it successfully.
Developed by Uzumeya, Enigma is a visual novel that takes place in a world where most of the mainland has been ravaged by mysterious illness. Chester, a young man that happen to contracted the illness find himself washed ashore on a remote island – one that isn’t even apart of any modern map. The only two noteworthy features: a small village unaccepting of those from the outside world and a mysterious forest that is said to devour people. It’s name is Enigma, the very same name of the disease Chester is infected with and now in the terminal stages – his life nearly at its end and this island likely to be his resting place. Are the two somehow connected?
Airing back during the Fall 2014 season, When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace is another copious light novel to anime adaptation produced and directed by studio Trigger. After the runaway popularity of Kill la Kill, the studio’s first full-length original project, it is sort of a surprise to see them dabble in already established property that does seem to be of the same stock they are use to dealing with. Revisiting the series a year later with an official English release, does it manage to hold up?
Developed by LizArts – creator of Resette’s Prescription, Memory’s Dogma is science fiction visual novel that places in an alternative future of earth where humans have gained the knowledge to make the memories of the deceased digitized and interactive personalities. For Kusuhara Hiroki, the memories of his friend, Mizunashi Sorano is the only thing keeping him going. However, there does seem to be more than meets the eye between Sorano mysterious passing and the string of events to follow…
With visual novels (and eroge to an extent) continuing to grow in popularity in English speaking regions, it is something of a godsend that many foreign developers are finally recognizing the potential of such an untapped market and want to jump on the bandwagon. Alicesoft, a company that has long seemed out of reach is the latest to hop onboard with releasing Beat Blades Haruka, a simulation eroge. Of course, while its awe-inspiring that we are finally getting a product from Alicesoft…it is something of a weird selection from the possible alternatives. So is this selection worth adding to your collection?