We’ve got some sweet, sweet deals for you, loyal readers. And by “sweet, sweet deals,” I do not actually mean discounts on your most anticipated upcoming games. That’s not in my power (trust me, I wish it were). But what deal is greater than the gift of knowledge? Without our column, you might not even know about your most anticipated upcoming games. I learn a lot of things just from writing about them. It’s a job perk.
Do you know what else is a job perk? Dual Wield. Level 5 ability for the Ninja class. 450 ABP and it’s yours.
Heck. Why didn’t I save that for the actual Final Fantasy V entry? Live and learn.
We’re starting things off pretty poorly today when I make a bad joke simply to put further words to your screen. So let’s just mosey and talk about all of those RPGs coming this week.
Blue Reflection: Second Light – November 9th (PS4, Switch, Windows)
What’s more magical than a JRPG? A magical girl JRPG. I keep hearing that Blue Reflection fans have tempered their expectations for Blue Reflection: Second Light due to the small budget of the first game. In fact, that’s exactly what our wonderful Des Miller had to say in his hands-on preview a few weeks back. Waking up in a desolate world, bereft of their memories but gifted with special powers, this game’s leading lasses must explore and protect their school against wicked demons.
If Des’ preview takeaway proves indicative of the complete experience, Blue Reflection: Second Light may continue developer Gust’s recent winning streak with aplomb. The crafting, sightseeing, and experimental combat that imbues other great Gust games with success seems to be sticking around here, but don’t take my word for it — check out the demo on PS4 and Switch.
Final Fantasy V (Pixel Remaster) – November 10th (Windows, iOS, Android)
I understand, Gilgamesh. I, too, made an error of judgment. I poured the milk into my bowl before my cereal this morning. Splashes on the countertop. Mayhem.
Final Fantasy V‘s Pixel Remaster is — get this — the fifth in a series of Final Fantasy re-releases centered on the NES and SNES trilogies, respectively. Final Fantasy V has an interesting history here in the West. Debuting on the Super Famicom in Japan way back in 1992, it didn’t make its way to North America until 1999, courtesy of Final Fantasy Anthology for the PlayStation. Europeans would have to wait another three years before they could give it a whirl because, frankly, I’m convinced that Squaresoft hated Europe until around 2007 or so. [Editor’s Note: As someone who suffered at the hands of this — me too.]
Since IV and VI came to North America not long after their Japanese releases, V was something of a pariah when it showed up seven years later and gained a reputation on message boards as something of an ugly duckling for its somewhat-slim focus on storytelling compared to its SNES siblings. (Poor Europe, again loathed by Square for reasons unknown, didn’t get any of the above games until 2002. What the heck?) [Editor’s Note: Me again. Yes. Thank you for reminding me.]
Flash-forward some years, and Final Fantasy V has slowly but surely secured such a delightful reputation for its gameplay brilliance that this exists (and has existed for some time now). Now, the epic saga of Bartz, his bird, and a smack-talking turtle (and some other people, I guess) return with improved pixelation and a beautifully rearranged soundtrack. If you’re a PC or mobile player, strongly consider scooping this one up. It will help me justify why I spent four paragraphs on what is, technically, “just” an enhanced port.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition – November 11th (PS4, PS5, XB1, XSX, Windows)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of those games for which it’s hard to find a completely neutral opinion. I’m sure they exist, but I’ve seldom met a person whose thoughts on the game are “I neither love nor loath this.” To call it influential would be an understatement; the open-world phenomenon that followed has had a rippling effect that is still felt in full today. It’s not that Skyrim is the first game to have employed such an approach — far from it, and not simply because its two direct predecessors did the same thing — but somewhere in the midst of all those lovely vistas, meme-spewing NPCs, and memorable jank, there exists a core experience that challenged millions and roped in more players than virtually any other role-playing game ever has.
If the game’s your cup of tea, you’ve been served very well in the ten years since its inaugural launch. If it happens to emblemize many aspects of RPGs you do not enjoy, the Western RPG landscape (and even certain JRPGs!) may have transformed into something of a cruel Daedric Curse you cannot escape.
Whatever the case may be, Skyrim has chased us all just as urgently as the gaming industry has chased it. When Special Edition graced PS4, Xbox One, and Windows, fans ogled it. When Very Special Edition allied with Alexa, fans invited it into their homes. Now, Anniversary Edition is Special Edition with a veritable ton of Creation Club (read: fan-made) mods. You can upgrade your copy of Special Edition on PS5, Xbox Series, and PC for the graphical bells and whistles and a few of those mods, like fishing, for free. You can also shell out some more dough to the House of Todd Howard to partake of that aforementioned ton.
Shin Megami Tensei V – November 12th (Switch)
No, this is not Persona. This is Shin Megami Tensei V, the latest in a very long line of games in the Megami Tensei franchise. The first of those games dates all the way back to September 11th, 1987. That’s basically the day after the dinosaur meteor media frenzy. As most know, Megami Tensei spawned the Persona spin-off series. And the rest is history.
Decades of gamer confusion later, and Shin Megami Tensei V is here. Given the rise of Persona‘s star, it is inevitable that somebody out there will get the game, realize that social links and classroom quizzes are nowhere to be found, and blame Atlus for poor marketing. Search your heart, readers. You know it to be true.
Shin Megami Tensei V seems like a good time. I’m not just guessing in the dark, here. We have a review from the indomitable Izzy Parsons, and they loved it so much they gave it a 92 and an Editor’s Choice. Do note that they scored “Gameplay” a 98 and “Controls” a 100, but the “Story” category earned an 80. Hey, an 80 is great! And, of course, Izzy’s impressions of the game and your own could differ wildly. But I think, to some degree, this review score is an interesting primer for first-time SMT players on what to expect here.
That’s not to say Persona 5 Royal doesn’t have outstanding gameplay. It does! It’s simply that Shin Megami Tensei games tend to weigh more heavily in favor of battles and demon fusion, whereas Persona has evolved to provide players with a premise that puts its story at the center stage at all times. Though we do also have a primer for this entire series.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I want this game, and I’m going to purchase it for the express purpose of playing it happily. I don’t expect the cast to blow me away, but I’m going to spend so many hours fusing demons that my roommates will knock on my door and ask if I’m okay. And that’s okay.
Also Coming This Week
Games. Video games. Video games that are RPGs. RPGs that are role-playing games. You want them? We’ve got them.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – November 11th (Switch)
Let’s say you want to bring an older game back into your life on November 11th, but Skyrim ain’t it. Maybe you’re looking for something a bit more linear. A bit more BioWare. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic could be the game for you. If you haven’t played it, why not give it a shot on a console you can bring to bed with you? I’d recommend this classic gem to folks whether they’re dyed-in-the-tauntaun-wool Star Wars aficionados or even “Baby Yoda” doesn’t warm them to the Galaxy Far, Far Away. It’s that good.
Alchemic Cutie – November 12th (Windows)
Alchemic Cutie is cute. Cutely put, the irrevocable Alana Hagues herself had this to say: “Alchemic Cutie is an adept of adorableness that’s in need of an elixir to smooth out the bugs, improve tutorials, and make it that bit more manageable and engaging.” I want to be an adept of adorableness, too. I want to be an Alchemic Cutie.
Ephesus – November 12th (Windows)
Plenty of games purport to be “exploration and survival” themed. But how many boast that and the West Aegean Coast during the height of the Roman Empire? Haven’t you ever wanted to wander the Classical-era shorelines in naught but a toga? Okay, I’ll grant you that the protagonist of Ephesus appears to be wearing substantially more than just a toga on the Steam page, but surely a beachside stroll in a toga can be arranged?
Grave Knight – November 12th (Windows)
“Let the dice forge the fate of your hero.” That’s what developer Dreamlight Games wants us to do in Grave Knight, an adventure based on the SRD 5.1 tabletop ruleset, but I’ve gotta tell you, friends, I’m not much of a gambler. We’re supposed to fight the titular Grave Knight and his ruthless horde, but I’m over here rolling dice? Who the heck am I, Mat Cauthron? This is outrageous.
The Legend of Zelda – November 12th (Game & Watch)
Did I need to include this in this week’s list? Uh, are you joking? This may be my only chance to ever list the Game & Watch as a platform here. Look at it! It has three beloved Legend of Zelda games on it! Or maybe, like, two beloved Legend of Zelda classics and one dark horse sheep of sorts. Still! Buy it! Nintendo wants your money! And mine. Sigh. And mine.
The Waylanders (Exiting Early Access) – November 12th (Windows) – UPDATED
The Waylanders is a party-based RPG steeped in Celtic myth. I want to be steeped in Celtic myth. I can’t be an Alchemic Cutie; I can’t bring a toga to the beach; I can’t be anything! This week sucks. Fine. I just want to be a Waylander! GATO STUDIO says the game is for RPG lovers! I’m an RPG lover! Steep me in your Celtic myth! (Sometimes, I wonder what these poor developers would say if they read my column. Gato Salvaje Studio, if you’re reading this, I promise your game looks cool. I’m just Quinton. I cannot help myself.)
11/10/21 Update: Soon after we published this week’s article, Gato Salvaje Studio announced they had to push the final version of The Waylanders out to February 2nd, 2022, with the statement below. While we received this update directly from the developers, thanks to reader Jbumi for pointing it out below!
“Releasing this month would not provide the quality experience our fans deserve. While we have been working hard to get all our backers and Early Access players the RPG they’d been hoping for before the holidays, we’ve done an internal review pass on The Waylanders and our team needs more time to polish the game,” said Gato Salvaje co-founder Fernando Prieto. “Developing during Covid has been challenging for many teams, including ours, and rushing The Waylanders out the door after nearly four years of development will not make anyone happy. The Waylanders will have over two hours of cinematics and more than thirty hours of gameplay, and we want to provide the best possible day one release version to the community.”
I’ve been rocking out to Gundam singles on Spotify while writing this. That explains some things, I’m sure, unless it doesn’t. And by Gundam singles, I mean, like, music singles from the Gundam franchise. Not single-looking-to-mingle mobile suits. That would be something, right?
Anyway, this song is wild. “Even Shakespeare must have tasted fear or shed a tear,” composers Miwa Yoshida and Masato Nakamura sing, and that’s just the most precious thing.
But seriously, though. Do not pour the milk into the bowl first. I had so much milk on my countertop. It was terrible.
Go play some RPGs!