See the video version of this article at the end of this page!
Holiday-time television seems to have it out for me. Between The Wheel of Time, Star Trek: Discovery, The Expanse, The Book of Boba Fett, and probably something I’m forgetting because I need more coffee, how is a Quinton to find time to write? Or any nerd with eclectic interests, for that matter? And we are legion, you know! You may not like some, or even all, of the shows I listed, but I bet plenty of you are just as eclectic as I am!
That’s the problem with our world today. We used to have 72-hour days and 21-day weeks, and our months were 84 days long. Our years felt endless. It was a good time. Actually, it was just the mid-1970s, and the folks making such outlandish claims all seemed keenly interested in certain illicit substances. But I trust them. I’ll take their word for it. Because I have to believe 24 hours cannot possibly be considered a normal amount of time for a person to function, flourish, feel fulfilled, and watch Star Trek: Discovery. I have to pick and choose!
Lots of role-playing games hitting shelves this week. Check them out.
Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker – December 7th (PS4, PS5, Windows)
Never even heard of it.
Oh! That Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker! Why yes, I have heard of it!
Yeah, this is kind of a big deal, right? Not that I’d know. I understand it’s the climactic conclusion to a saga that has been ongoing for eight years. (Or even eleven depending on how one chooses to perceive things.) It’s far and away the most built-up finale in Final Fantasy history, and possibly the history of JRPGs. It’s also packed with content. Rad new dungeons, hip new trials, oh, and your fellow Scions follow you around in cities sometimes! It’s like Final Fantasy VIII called and said, “why did we never do that again?” But this time, they’ll talk to you, too! Your party members feel like real party members, I’m not crying; you’re crying.
I wouldn’t know, though. But, like, no exaggeration, but the music in Old Sharlayan? It. Is. So. Good. It sort of sounds like Galdian Quay’s track from Final Fantasy XV, but more chill? People were singing its praises in the general chat and they’re probably still singing its praises. And will soon be singing its praises en masse, since Endwalker isn’t technically out until December 7th. But that hasn’t stopped a ton of players from getting in via Early Access, nor has it prevented five more tons of players from getting in because of that aforementioned first lot clogging the servers.
Game of the year right here. Not that I’d know.
Wolfstride – December 7th (Windows)
“Get wrecked in this immature grown-up RPG about a trio of troublemakers stumbling their way through a giant mecha tournament.” The first sentence in Wolfstride‘s Steam page description is a strange one. But that’s the point. Far be it for me to critique strangeness.
Apparently, the player character has made regrettable choices in their past, and they’re on the run from the consequences of said choices. Now I just feel called out? The premise here is pretty nifty, though. A trio of crime partners has turned over a new leaf after inheriting a mecha called Cowboy. Fueled by the heat of the moment (or something), they decide to revitalize an age-old tradition of mech-fighting called — wait for it — the Ultimate Golden Rod Tournament.
Mech-fighting tournaments are hardly an original affair, but they’re brilliant, so who cares? More importantly, developer OTA IMON Studios has placed players in the role of the top dogs here, the financiers, and that’s a nice unique spin. Wolfstride, eh? Looks promising!
Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX – December 9th (Switch, Windows)
I, too, am delighted! Monster Rancher is awesome. Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX is a highly-enhanced remaster of the classic duology. It’s going to be a fun time. The obvious comparisons here, like Pokémon and Digimon, don’t really do this justice. Monster Rancher is very much its own vibe, with even more eccentricity in its creature designs than anything the Digidestined have gone up against and a more in-depth training system than Ash Ketchum and friends are probably accustomed to.
In the old days, part of the magic of the Monster Rancher experience involved — and this is wild! — placing music CDs into your PlayStation to create monsters with millions of deviations. When I say music CDs, I’m not talking about some special branded fare. I’m talking AC/DC. Front Line Assembly. Ice-T. Look at this.
Sadly (but also not sadly, because my wallet is not a vast and self-replicating entity), Koei Tecmo understands that the Nintendo Switch does not support CD-reading. So the shtick now involves browsing through a catalog of songs by famous artists and trying your luck from there. This is pretty interesting, but I’m curious to see just how extensive such a library can possibly be.
However, everything else about this remaster shines, and I strongly suggest that seasoned vets head over to the official page for more information on what’s been improved. To newcomers, I say, give it a try! You might be pleasantly surprised.
Syberia: The World Before –
December 10th Q1 2022 (Windows)
December 7th UPDATE: Unfortunately, after we prepped this article, the Syberia Twitter posted an announcement that The World Before has been delayed until Q1 2022. Our original description — which we may or may not re-use when the release actually happens — is below.
Syberia: The World Before continues the saga of Kate Walker, the heroine of the first three games in the series. The third game, appropriately titled Syberia 3, was a blow to the series’ critical and fan appeal, with mixed reviews that threatened to sink the graphical point-and-click adventure ship.
But The World Before doesn’t just attempt to follow up on Kate’s journey after her tumultuous time with that trilogy-capper. It also delves deeply into the lore by placing new character Dana Roze in the spotlight. Unlike Kate’s exploits, which all take place in the 2000s, Dana lives in the 1930s, so her chapters will have a lovely period-piece flair that may reignite interest in the series.
Dana, at a mere 17 years of age — and this is a Western video game, so 17 doesn’t actually mean 27 a la JRPGs — must contend with a rapidly changing world in the looming shadow of the Second World War. Kate, for her part, begins to piece together a few sudden revelations about her identity, which certainly has this writer thinking she’s got Roze blood in her. We’ll see!
Also Coming This Week
Ports and such! Give them a glance!
Life is Strange: True Colors – December 7th (Switch)
The OLED model Switch features a vibrant, luxurious new display that makes the colors pop in games like Metroid Dread. But even the OLED screen can’t conceivably experience true colors without Life is Strange: True Colors, coming this week. Our very own wonderful Bob Richardson gave the game an 80, but you can give it whatever you like.
Twelve Minutes – December 7th (PS4, PS5, Switch)
I promise I’m not just operating like a walking advertisement for Bob here, although I am not sure there’d be anything wrong with that. Spreading the Gospel of Richardson isn’t such a bad way to spend a morning. Twelve MInutes seems cool, and now more people can find out for themselves. But back to Bob.
Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space – December 8th (Switch, XB1, Windows)
Back in 2007, when the world seemed like a brighter place, which probably isn’t what people in 2007 would have told us, especially since there was a dreadful economic recession worldwide… Anyway, Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space gets a nifty remaster this week for several systems. Telltale Games centered on Sam and Max’s bizarre misadventures in those days, before The Walking Dead show was even a thing, let alone the series that would earn them their most acclaim.
Loop Hero – December 9th (Switch)
No one nice is ever named The Lich. That just doesn’t happen. As evidence, I submit to you the plot of Loop Hero. A creature known only as The Lich has plunged humanity into a ceaseless time loop of chaos and despair. Thank goodness for mystical cards. Wield these, build your deck, and put an end to that bad-named baddie’s badness.
A Year of Springs – December 10th (Switch)
We could have just named “Also Coming This Week” “Coming to Switch This Week, Also.” I’m not sure why we would have shuffled the sentence structure, and I’m quite sure my editor would be equally unsure. A Year of Springs follows Haru, Erika, and Manami as they navigate their need for a sense of belonging. You can play as each of them, and you totally should, since each perspective is essentially its own miniature visual novel.
Enjoy highlight reels? So do we; that’s why David Lloyd made this video with more information on the games releasing this week.
Are you allergic to chocolate? I am. But only mildly. Mildly enough that I’m going to drink some hot cocoa now and watch my cat as she watches birds as they watch… I don’t know, grass? Other birds? It’s the circle of life, except none of us are eating each other and, in turn, being eaten. Unless we count the cacao tree that my chocolate-loving self unwittingly aided in murdering.
Oh my god, I killed a chocolate tree. I don’t know how to process this. Why does my editor let me write whatever I want with these outros? I’m having a midlife crisis now. [Editor’s note: Please be careful eating stuff you’re allergic to. And I let you write these because I wouldn’t know you were putting yourself in danger if not.]