Operation Backlog Completion 2017

Jun 302017
 

Zero No Kiseki and Ao No Kiseki (pictured) could be localizedIf you’ve been following the Trails games, you might have noticed we’re missing a couple.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel games take place after the Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky games, but the Crossbell Arc falls in between.

Zero no Kiseki and Ao no Kiseki, the two games that make up the Crossbell Arc, have yet to be translated, and a lot of fans gave it up as an impossible hope… but maybe they’ll be localized after all.

In an interview with DualShockers, Falcom president Toshihiro Kondo said localizing the Crossbell games is “something that I really really want to do, and it’s something that I’ll have to work with our partners or find a partner to make it happen.”

This isn’t an official announcement, but if the president of the company wants to see Zero no Kiseki and Ao no Kiseki brought West, that sounds pretty good.

It’s also worth noting that Trails localizations had previously skipped over Trails in the Sky the 3rd, only for it to be announced earlier this year and released in May.

Personally, I’m partway through Trails in the Sky (First Chapter), and I’m excited for the chance to play even more games in this series. Here’s hoping Falcom finds a partner to localize the Crossbell Arc!

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Jun 282017
 

In an E3 interview with Nintendo Life, Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino shed more light on the new structure of Layton’s Mystery Journey and where he sees the series going from here.

The reason the new game stars Katrielle instead of Professor Layton is because they wanted to focus more on everyday mysteries instead of epic, world-saving adventures.

Hino thought it would feel strange to take Professor Layton back to more mundane mysteries after all that, and instead decided to “bring in a new character, and then maybe scale up in the same way Layton did, where we start with small mysteries and then maybe five or six games later have a much bigger mystery.”

Five or six games later?

That’s right, this isn’t the end of the Layton series by any means. We’d wondered if Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy would be the start of a new series, especially once it adopted that title instead of Lady Layton, and it is.

Kat won’t necessarily be the protagonist for all of the games, but they do intend to make more Mystery Journey games.

(Also, this just occurred to me. Mystery Journey, Mystery Room? Could there be a connection there after all?)

Not only that, but we might get another Layton movie, too. After Professor Layton and the Eternal Movie, there were rumors of a second movie. Now, Hino says a new movie in the series is “being looked into.”

Finally, while there aren’t any new Layton crossovers in the works, he mentioned that they have “a good relationship with Capcom.” Who knows, maybe the Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright characters will return someday in a new game.

It’s exciting to hear that Layton’s Mystery Journey is the start of a new Layton series. It will also have a stronger emphasis on solving puzzles, with more puzzles than in any previous Professor Layton game. Remember, the worldwide mobile release and Japanese 3DS release is next month, with the localized 3DS release to follow in the fall.

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Jun 262017
 

The original Steins;Gate is one of the best visual novels I’ve played so far, and overall an amazing story to experience.

Steins;Gate 0, available for the PlayStation 4 and Vita, fills in an important gap in the original’s story. Because of this, it’s nearly impossible to discuss even its premise without Steins;Gate spoilers.

In other words, if you haven’t gone through the original Steins;Gate yet, do that before you even read about Steins;Gate 0. Steins;Gate 0 is a sequel/midquel set partway through the original game’s true ending.

If you recall, during the true ending of Steins;Gate, Suzuha tells Okabe that he had to fail once in order to set the events into motion that would allow him to reach Steins;Gate. He then gets a message from his future self, who tells him what to do.

This follows that first Okabe in the beta worldline, from the point of Kurisu’s death up through him creating that message.

As you might guess, this means Steins;Gate 0 has a dramatically different tone. While the original started out light and funny, with elements of mystery, until it reached the key point in the story where everything changed, Steins;Gate 0 starts out dark and bleak.

The events of Steins;Gate left Okabe with PTSD. The mere mention of Kurisu is enough to trigger flashbacks. Seeing Moeka causes panic attacks. He carries anxiety medication in his pocket, visits a therapist with mixed results, and doesn’t even want to think about his old “Hououin Kyouma” personality.

It does have lighter moments, and Okabe gradually gets better, but there’s no denying that the events of the first game had a serious impact.

Another notable change is that he isn’t the sole viewpoint character here. Other characters, especially Suzuha and the newly-introduced Maho, tell parts of the story from a third-person perspective. At first, I had trouble adjusting to this, but it actually works quite well. It’s especially important to show us additional perspectives because Steins;Gate 0’s story is complex.

Despite dealing with time travel, the original Steins;Gate generally kept things clear and easy to understand. When the worldline changed, you knew why.

In Steins;Gate 0, however, you don’t have the power to change time. Different countries fighting over time travel is what eventually leads to World War III in the beta worldline, so the worldline (and the route you’re on) change based on who gets that technology first.

Most of the changes depend on how much you interact with Amadeus Kurisu, an AI at the center of the struggle.

On one hand, this makes the story much more unpredictable, because you never know what might happen. On the other hand, I ended the game still not knowing why some of my decisions led to different endings. It’s much more difficult to untangle the cause and effect in Steins;Gate 0.

Steins;Gate felt like one linear story that branched into what-if scenarios, but Steins;Gate 0 feels more like many different possibilities that show you disjointed pieces of the whole.

This complexity makes the true ending feel a bit confusing, and the true ending also suffers because it’s only a step toward the original game’s ending. Steins;Gate 0 is meant to fill in a gap, and that means the conclusion feels a bit lackluster on its own.

Now, all of this might make you think I disliked Steins;Gate 0. Nothing could be further from the truth. Steins;Gate 0 is fantastic and definitely worth reading. Maho is a great addition to the cast, the story delves into interesting questions about AI research and how much an AI can be like a person, and there are many wonderful scenes in every route.

Click for Steins;Gate 0 spoilers

While Steins;Gate is an amazing story, Steins;Gate 0 is merely a great story. It’s a little hard to follow and it might raise more questions than it answers… but it’s still definitely worth a read for fans of the original.

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