June 2013 In Review: Hot Cops Edition
Okay, no, there's no hot cops here, but it's definitely heating up outside.
07.02.13 - 1:05 AM
Hey guys, it's hot out there. Did you notice? Granted, not everyone lives in SoCal, but this week I'm really thinking of an extended getaway.
So! I'm going to do this edition a little differently. Since the bulk of our previews, media, and more happened during and after E3, I'm skipping most that stuff here. Our E3 Complete Coverage has links to... well, our complete coverage of E3, so rather than duplicate all of that, I'll be focusing on the non-E3 parts of June.
June was host to three podcast episodes. Random Encounter covered E3 from both ends... let me start again. The crew's first episode of the month — the E3 Pre-Show... Show — was all about what we hoped to see happen at E3.
On the music front, we just posted our seventh episode of Rhythm Encounter. The topic this time? Boss themes. Stephen made us try hard to pick good boss themes that weren't used for a game's final boss. Otherwise, my list was something like "Dancing Mad/Dancing Mad/Dancing Mad."
June was also host to one non-E3 feature: John's in-depth look at Hex: Shards of Fate, an "MMOTCG" from Cryptozoic. Since they know a thing or two about collectible card games, John has high hopes for their endeavor.
Posted early in June was Derek's preview of Time and Eternity, an "animation RPG" developed by Imageepoch. He was cautious about the game then, but his recent review might be his lowest-scored one ever. It also includes the phrase "puddle-deep" in regards to the gameplay, which is a term I adore and need to steal and use in my daily life.
Class of Heroes 2's Kickstarter campaign may not have ended the way Monkeypaw wanted, but luckily, the dungeon crawler still saw release, and Stephen thinks that if you like the genre, you should give it a look.
Hardly over a week had passed since Spiders Studio announced they updated Mars War Logs with a new script and re-recorded dialog, and Kyle updated his earlier review to reflect the changes. It may not completely change the game, but he was impressed at Spiders' dedication and willingness to address the script quality in such a way.
Late in the month saw a pair of iOS port reviews: Dave looked at Aspyr's iPad version of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, which has made the transition to touch screen well. Neal reviewed the iOS version of Sega CD classic Vay. Which made the transition... less well. Luckily, Neal also reviewed visual novel Nowhere Safe: Unintended Silence, a visual novel that's not exactly meant for the younger crowd (but not for the reasons you think).
Our final review of June was John Tucker's look at Penny Arcade's On The Rain-slick Precipice of Darkness 4. Was he satisfied with the series' conclusion? Maaaaaybe...
RPGFan Music saw a fair amount of activity in June. Rob reviewed the Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch OST and loved it, while Pat tackled TPR's Final Heaven: A Melancholy Tribute to Final Fantasy VII and came away melancholy. But he was supposed to, so the album did its job!
John Tucker continues his quest to review all the things, by taking on two singles of cover music from Skyrim. Mike... oh, that's me! I reviewed Joypad's Triforce of Bass, an electronic collaboration of classic Zelda tunes. Finally, Pat reviewed Hoshi no Arika Zanmai, an album featuring five remixes of The Legend of Heroes VI: Sora no Kiseki's ending vocal song.
We had two stragglers that missed our initial E3 coverage in our Previews department. Bob wrote up his impressions on both retro RPG Dragon Fantasy Book II and multiplayer action RPG Legend of Dungeon.
Now that Final Fantasy III is available on every console known to man and chocobo, Square Enix has brought the 3D remake (first seen on DS, then iOS) of Final Fantasy IV to Android. Speaking of updated games, Microsoft is upgrading Fable for the Xbox 360 later this year with Fable Anniversary. It will feature HD graphics, achievements, and The Lost Chapters expansion pack.
In his news story, John referred to this release as "inevitable," and it was. But if you've been thinking about getting Skyrim, the Legendary Edition contains the original game, all its DLC, and more for $59.99.
Perfect World and Cryptic finally announced the end of beta and official launch of Neverwinter to hit on June 20th, and detailed new and upcoming content as well.
I know I said I'm skipping E3-related articles here, but I'd be remiss not to mention Sony's amazing press conference, where they not only delivered a few sucker punches to Microsoft, but got Square Enix on stage to discuss two long-awaited games: Kingdom Hearts III and Final Fantasy Versus XIII. The latter is now Final Fantasy XV, of course, but after a 6+ year development cycle, it was joyous to see the game was finally becoming a real thing. You better believe that as the RPGFan staff watched these announcements over dinner, there was some excitement in the air.
One of the most surprisingly low-key announcements of June was the news that the Wii- and Wii U-based Dragon Quest X will be coming to PCs in Japan in September. It's a logical step for an MMORPG, although for those of us outside Japan, there's still no word if we'll see the game on any platform.
Udon Entertainment brings some amazing artbooks to English-speaking audiences, and I adore them for it (why yes, I do love my Atelier: Artworks of Arland book). Coming this fall is a pair of Legend of Heroes Artbooks, each featuring 272 pages of glorious Falcom artwork.
Just last week, Borderlands 2 received its final piece of DLC, Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep.
Indie dev Zeboyd Games announced their next original project: The sci-fi retro-themed Cosmic Star Heroine. Finally, Gust — makers of the long-running Atelier series — announced a brand-new IP. Really! The PS Vita-based Chronos Materia gives players control over time, a thing pretty much all of us wish we had in reality.
Soon after its release in late May, Neocore detailed some free DLC for The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing.
There was also some, you know, massive Tales news when Namco Bandai revealed Tales of Symphonia Chronicles is heading west. The updated-for-PS3 pack contains both Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, and it releases in 2014.
The Shadow Sun, an iOS RPG intended for release in 2010, surprisingly resurfaced. The game is now progressing steadily, and is on track for a summer 2013 release.
Along with releasing the E3 trailer early, Square Enix announced release dates for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII in all regions.
We knew Diablo III was coming to PS3 and PS4 at some point. On June 6th, Blizzard announced the game would also be coming to Xbox 360, and that the PS3 and 360 versions will launch on September 3rd.
Shin Megami Tensei IV is getting some launch day DLC, and we've got the skinny. Also coming in July, we learned, is Harebrained Schemes' Shadowrun reboot, Shadowrun Returns. The PC, Mac, iOS, and Android versions all release on July 25th.
Now that Final Fantasy XV is a real, tangible thing, we're getting information on the game for the first time, such as a first look at the lead characters and their bios.
Index Corp, Atlus' parent company, recently filed for civil rehabilitation, which isn't exactly bankruptcy, but isn't good the company (ya think?). It doesn't appear that this will affect Atlus' three upcoming titles in North America, and frankly, I've no doubt that Atlus will be sticking around, because they're too talented not to.
In better news, Square Enix revealed a gorgeous limited anniversary edition of the upcoming Drag-On Dragoon 3 (we optimistically refer to it as 'Drakengard 3,' hoping to get news of an English release). And yes, it's an anniversary edition because the original Drakengard released 10 years ago this fall in Japan. Do you feel old yet?
Are you among those who think that NIS' Hyperdimension Neptunia was overdue for a reboot? Well you're not alone — there are dozens of us. Dozens! Here's our first look at Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1, a remake of the original, this time for PS Vita.
After being teased for a scant two days, when Square Enix officially announced Deus Ex: The Fall, we also got our first look at the game. That same day saw a substantial addition to our Mario & Luigi: Dream Team gallery, which multiplied the size of our screen shot collection fourfold.
Tales of Symphonia Chronicles may still be a ways off, but Namco Bandai at least released a few screen shots of both titles in their HD incarnations, plus a first trailer. Speaking of Tales, the latest Tales of Xillia trailer makes many of us here want the game badly.
Now that Ossian Studios' The Shadow Sun is back on track, the studio released the first new screen shots since 2010.
Our Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII gallery has seen a handful of updates, with new screen shots, some great character renders, and two new videos.
We got a brief glimpse at Spiders Studios' Bound by Flame — which maybe kinda sorta looks like a fantasy-themed Mars War Logs — in new screen shots. Joining them that day was a new gallery and trailer for Capcom's newly-released Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara. Look for a review soon!
There was a lot to like from Nintendo at E3, but it was their pre-show Nintendo Direct that gave us new trailers for their upcoming Zelda titles, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Pokémon X & Y, and that Xenoblade Chronicles-esque "Project X" from Monolithsoft that looks nothing short of awe-inspiring.
NIS' The Witch and the Hundred Knights has been delayed several times, and still lacks release dates for North America and Europe. But we have a new trailer! We also debuted (and then updated!) a hefty gallery for Carbine Studios' WildStar, another title lacking a release date. Luckily, there's nearly 300 screen shots to keep you occupied.
There's a few games on the horizon that have Stephen giddy, and Daedalic's Memoria is one of them. We recently saw the first teaser video and... well, he's still excited. Daedalic also released a few more screen shots for Goodbye Deponia. For you would-be farmers, XSEED released a short farming tutorial video for Rune Factory 4.
As expected, June was quite a whirlwind of news, announcements, impression pieces, and media. As you've seen, there was even quite a bit going on outside of E3. So much so, that if I was smart, I would have started putting this piece together before July 1st. In any case, that was June in a (large, walnut-sized) nutshell. Post-E3 can be quite slow in terms of news, but we'll see if that holds true a month from now. Until then... you stay classy, RPGFan readers.
If you have any thoughts on our Month in Review features, drop me a line! Email me, tweet @ me, whichever is easiest for you. I always appreciate the feedback.