Coming from its Q4 Fiscal Year results call, it was revealed by the Gematsu Twitter Account that multiple titles are scheduled to be released by EA for the rest of the year, with titles such as Burnout Paradise Remastered, Command & Conquer Remastered, FIFA21, and Madden21 among others.
It was also revealed that EA will be launching a number of Nintendo Switch titles this year, to the surprise and delight of many.
Via an interview with VentureBeat, EA CEO Andrew Wilson says the titles that they have planned “includes four new EA Sports titles — FIFA, Madden, NHL, and one more unannounced sports game — all of which deliver on the mix of creativity, authenticity, and quality that sets EA Sports apart. … Our FY21 plans also include four more games drawing on the breadth of our IP, from Command & Conquer Remastered to unannounced games for our console and PC players. We’ll have more games from indie developers launching this year through EA Partners, and two new mobile titles leveraging top IP that we’ll bring to players worldwide.”
The bigger news, however is having EA on the Nintendo Switch platform, something they’ve been very shy about. With their limited presence on the system, this could mark the start of a change and we may be seeing more titles to come, with Burnout Paradise Remastered as the first drop.
It’s not hard to see which titles would fit well into the Switch lineup. The Sims would be a good choice, along with some sports games like FIFA but what people would really want to see are some of the big ticket titles like the more recent Star Wars titles in Jedi Fallen Order, shooters like Battlefield, and maybe even some of the Need for Speed titles.
Our review format is not your usual fare and we’ve broken it down into 3 very simple ratings!
“Buy it!” means that the game deserves a place in your collection. Be it day 1 or a slightly delayed purchase, it’s hard to go wrong with this title. In numbers, this is around an 8/10 and above.
“Wait for it…” means that the game probably isn’t worth it at its day 1 price point, we suggest you wait for a sale before jumping in. In numbers, this is around a 5 – 7/10.
“Ignore it!” means that the game is not something we’d recommend playing, whether it be now or in the near future, unless you want to intentionally hurt yourself. Let’s not even go to the numbers for this one.
Release Date: April 24, 2020
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC
Genre: Action RPG
Similar Games: Secret of Mana
Price: Starts at PHP2,199
Seiken Densetsu 3 was a beloved action RPG released by Square, before they became the Square Enix most would know now, for the Super Famicom back in 1995. Trials of Mana, not to be confused with the remake, was its English moniker as it was ported and released for the Nintendo Switch nearly a year ago.
I say only for the Super Famicom and not the SNES, because Seiken Densetsu 3 would never reach outside of Japan for 24 years; and even though a direct prequel was released worldwide for the Nintendo DS in 2007, the original had remained a dream in many a non-Japanese-speaking JRPG fan’s head.
The series itself is a franchise with a lot of underrated history that could stand amongst the heavyweights: the Tales, Xenos, Final Fantasies, and Dragon Quests, but has been mostly quiet for the past decade… until around now, that is.
Trials of Mana Remake is an action-RPG that did the multiple-POV gimmick long before Octopath Traveller did, offering replayability and variety right off the bat. The player follows the plot from the viewpoint of 3 out of 6 main characters to choose from: the swordsman Duran, the amazon Riesz, the mage Angela, the cleric Charlotte, the rogue Hawkeye, and the beastman fighter Kevin.
Once you choose your team of three (1 main hero and 2 companions), your main character (MC) is introduced in their home nation and sets off on quest that brings them in contact with a cadre of villains, each representing nations of their own and seeking to exploit the world’s Mana Stones (sources of magic) as they seek to conquer the rest of the world. While the premise is as familiar as most JRPGs, players are presented with different perspectives depending on the characters they choose.
The world of Mana is rich and bright
The story is a light and charming romp across the locales where our characters live, even with the fate of the world hanging in a balance: I loved that fact that it still doesn’t take itself too seriously, nor project an edgy or hardcore feel. The 3D rendering of characters I knew from the original is done with a very consistent aesthetic, with the designs making sure our cast are distinct and memorable no matter your pick.
I played the PC version, which ran at a good 60 FPS at 1920×1080 resolution, although it isn’t the kind of game that I’d say benefits much from that. The PS4 Pro version plays at mostly the same clip, so expect good performance either way you choose.
The perpetual snow of the mage-country Altena glistens in a bright white in contrast to the lush jungles bathed in a moonlit night in Ferolia, where the beastmen reside: the world you travel in is a visual treat as you explore it, fighting monsters in real-time. Spending time in the world itself moves along the day-night cycle, with either Lumina (day) or Shade (night) Time conferring a few bonuses or enabling certain interactions.
Your face buttons allow you to jump, dodge, and execute two varying levels of attacks, which can be strung together in simple combos that have unique qualities (AOE, long-range poke, or a knockback), or in the case of your power attack, can be held then released to break an opponent’s armor (which some of them have). These elements combine with items (such as offensive Coins and defensive/restorative Candies and Herbs) and special learnable moves that exude a certain rhythm in combat that rarely gets stale, in the face of the monster’s equally varied attacks.
The D-pad interface for moves and items pause the battles while you take your pick at your own leisure, but you can also assign certain frequently used ones to shortcut button combinations (shoulder + face) that don’t halt the action.
Enemies also have a variety of ways to hurt our party, ranging from normal bites, charges, and pokes with minute tells that warn you to dodge, or abilities that take some time to come out while forming a red danger marker on the battlezone that you will want to avoid. Engaging an enemy traps the party in a limited area of the map without having to load a battle sequence, and escaping is a simple matter of hugging the edges of the area until your escape meter fills out completely ( while avoiding attacks that cancel or slow it down).
The boss fights are inescapable showdowns with often huge and towering multi-hitbox fiends, and will test your skills in timing and positioning as your entire team is pelted by a barrage of attacks. Your player-controlled character is aided by the other two, whose AI can be set to settings like “Target: Range Enemies” and “Balanced Attack: switch between attacking and supporting allies.”
I played on Normal difficulty with Charlotte, Kevin, and Riesz for my first playthrough that took 23+ hours to complete along with a post-game section not in the original game, and am currently progression through New Game Plus on Hard, which allows you to bring all your items and Chain Abilities that can be equipped by any character, and even choose a new team.
It’s good, but is it great?
My younger self who played the original would blow his mind off on how it looks and plays, but now, I guess not. It’s got a lot going for it, but the general feeling I get is that it could be so much better.
The exploration is one thing that feels stunted: while maps are quite sizeable in scale, the feeling I’d expected to get when strolling around whacking monster heads was betrayed by the game handholding me every single moment and ushering me on to the next plot-mover.
In terms of interface, this was great – an icon kept you pointed in the right direction always, you will almost never be lost. But what if I had wanted to be lost? The fun in leaving the beaten path in search of hidden treasure is still there (examine shining points in clever hiding spots, breaking pots and vases to reveal free stuff), but with the rewards being mostly just a few potion-type items and lucre (the Mana series’ version of Gil/gold).
I also have this pet peeve where invisible walls that keep you on rails are somewhat inconsistent in execution, as there are places where you’d expect them to be, and places where I cannot fathom why the hell they don’t want me crossing through.
There’s a bit of platforming (and 2D sections in a throwback to the same in SD3) and verticality, but all the handholding made me feel like some clever level designs were wasted. Some maps just end up outright inaccessible… so why even let me go there? These are the hometowns of the characters you didn’t pick, which were treated the same in the original, but this is exactly one of the things I was expecting to be tooled up in a remake.
The class system, too, has been retouched (not revamped – it’s still a tree split into Light and Dark paths), which does create a healthy amount of options in combination with the completely new stat system that enables a couple of different builds for your characters. Your final class is locked to items that are based on RNG: if you don’t find the item for what you want, you’re forced to either stay at a lower class or grind/look for more ??? seeds (they turn into what you’ll need). A fourth class upgrade has been added to the mix, but unfortunately you can only use the new ultimate classes after you’ve defeated the main boss in your saga.
Story-wise, I felt alright with the exact same beats getting faithfully retained in this remake, but I’d felt a certain amount of polish lacking from how the narrative was unfolded. The game is pretty linear in flow once you get started: here’s a new area, explore it, get through it, fight the boss. That wasn’t a problem for me by itself, except that some parts of the game feel like they’re just moving the plot along – nothing is unexpected and while I’m thankful for a fairly fast and non-grindy pace, I feel like this could have been the opportunity to fill out more of the setting and backstories that weren’t possible in Seiken Densetsu 3.
Cutscenes (in-engine) would also sometimes end with little to show for it compared to what was said; this is a big factor for me that made me feel like while overall the effort is well-done… the creators have missed a solid chance to further develop what was great about the game: its charm.
Charlotte, who’s an Elfin girl who ages slower than humans, speaks in permanent UwU-mode, which I never thought annoying, because it was tastefully done, and the ENG VA totally owned and killed the act: Alana Marie Cheuvront seems like a new talent in the industry, and her part in Mana I’d think would be well received for acing a potentially cringe-worthy affair. My fellow editors, on the other hand, didn’t like it at all. To each their own, I guess? Overall, the English VA’s are decent enough to not want to switch over to Japanese.
The world embraces the cartoony vibe of the old one and doesn’t get bogged down in explaining itself, for instance, why one of the fast travel options is getting launched by a cannon to your destination. Your moves and attacks feel impactful and fun without having to always be overpowered, and really shows the flavor of your team and the choices you made in building them.
And as a bold redeeming factor, I cannot help but compare (again) the multi-POV approach to Octopath Traveller (a game which was also well-done but ultimately fell short of greatness). Trials at least has your team interact with you and the world more than Octopath’s just- or barely-there teammates.
These and the experience as a whole at least made it easy for me to overlook what seems to me like details that fell over the wayside in the mad rush to release a finished product. Here’s hoping that remakes in general can again build from these subtle decisions that differentiate a remake from a remaster. I understand that some people would want things to stay with a degree of familiarity from the past iteration… but a remake to me means it’s the past-plus-more. More than just a fresh coat of paint and new tunes (which by the way, were still fantastically awesome, but can still opt to switch to the classic SD3 versions of the OST).
What we liked:
It’s the classic you’ve known and loved, from story to soundtrack
Battle system is fun and easy to pick up
Stat builds and Class trees make for massive replayability
What we didn’t like:
As a remake, more aspects of the game could have been explored
Load times are quite lengthy
Our verdict: Wait for it.
Trials of Mana is a Squeenix JRPG that competes well with other more recent franchises. To me it’s a better Octopath Traveller, but just a little short of Bravely Default or the new Tales games. I enjoyed my time with it but I’ll probably put the controller down soon – it’s like meeting an old friend from your childhood haunts, even if you know you’re not going to talk with ‘em everyday now like you guys did before.
If you’re a Mana fan, by all means, buy it now since we’ve waited YEARS for this. It’s a great Mana game that can stand toe to toe with JRPG’s of the current generation. It’s no Final Fantasy, so it’s quite understandable that not a lot of people may be familiar with the series.
If you’re on the other side of the spectrum (which is probably the majority) who are wanting to get your feet wet into the franchise, we recommend waiting a bit more for a sale. The steep price tag is hard to justify for something that straddles a fine line between a remake and a remaster. Trials of Mana feels more like it’s somewhere in between, with multiple missed opportunities that could have fully justified the “Remake” tag.
Trials of Mana was reviewed on the PC and PS4 via a review code provided by the publishers.
The demo is said to allow players to play the first few parts of the game as the Norzaleo Kingdom, one of the six playable forces in the final version, as per Gematsu.
Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia is scheduled to release on July 25 and will retail for $49.99 or around PHP2,500. Brigandine will release digitally but for physical version collectors, you can check out the standard and collectors edition offered by Limited Run Games.
Indivisible is out now on the Nintendo Switch, but it released to quite an unusual circumstance.
It appears that as the eShop entry went live, it was such a surprise to everybody that even the developers didn’t know about it, prompting a Twitter thread from Mike Zaimont, project lead for the game.
505 Games, the publisher for Indivisible, has now broken their silence about the matter, stating that the 28th was indeed the original launch date and was approved by all parties. A decision to delay the game was made but the new release date was not updated in the release tool.
Hey, everyone. Some updated info on yesterday’s surprise Switch Launch.
April 28th was the original launch date for Indivisible on Switch. The build had passed QA and submission checks and was approved for release by all parties. Everything was set to automatically go live on that date. The build released was the planned launch build of the game.
A decision was made to delay the launch to early May to allow for a Day 1 update. This update will add a framerate toggle option, 1080 docked support, Roti, performance updates and localization changes when it goes live in May.
Unfortunately, the new launch date did not get changed within the release tool. This resulted in the game going live yesterday to the surprise of everyone involved, including 505 Games.
The early launch does have an impact on Indiegogo backers who have not yet received their digital keys. We are working to fulfill those keys as quickly as possible and have them distributed via BackerKit surveys. We are working to deliver keys earlier than our planned May launch date. An announcement will be made when keys are being distributed.
Backers of the physical version will get an opportunity to update their shipping address shortly. We expect 1-2 months delay due to manufacturing and shipping delays worldwide. Please check Indiegogo updates for more info.
We apologize for the suddenness of the launch and the impact it has on the game’s backers.
Thanks for your patience and we hope you enjoy Indivisible a bit earlier than expected on Switch!
Apparently, the developers (Lab Zero Games) didn’t know anything about it. About the release, about when it was going to be released… nothing. How does something like this even happen?
Mike Zaimont, the project lead and lead designer for Indivisible, tweeted about the whole fiasco, saying that the devs only knew about it after people sent them messages of congratulations on Twitter.
That’s not all. Zaimont continues to say that up to the release, there was no PR lead up at all and the final build that made the eShop is not the latest one, pointing out missing features like co-op and new game plus.
While he is “happy”, he did go on to say that “This launch does not represent the quality standards of Lab Zero. It just doesn’t. I’m sorry. It wasn’t us.”, obviously washing his hands off of the launch fiasco.
One of the worst things, as if the previous instances aren’t bad enough, is that Zaimont has zero knowledge about how the crowdfunding rewards will be distributed, stating that he had to purchase the game from the eShop without any idea of when Switch codes or a physical release will happen.
It’s hard to pinpoint where this all went wrong but we’ve yet to hear from 505 Games, the publisher for this title. No official statement has been made on the matter yet.
Indivisible is now available on the Switch via the eShop for a special introductory price of $23.99, around PHP1,250.
Indivisible first released for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC last October and while a Physical copy for the Switch has yet to be announced, some retailers are listing the Physical release for June 30 as per Gematsu. Local physical copies for the Philippines have yet to be announced as well.
Indivisible is an action RPG / platformer featuring stunning hand drawn art and animation combined with unique real-time combat mechanics. Immerse yourself in a fantastical world with dozens of playable characters, a rich storytelling experience, gameplay that’s easy to learn but difficult to master, and the trademark razor-sharp quality that Lab Zero Games is known for!
Our story revolves around Ajna, a fearless girl with a rebellious streak. Raised by her father on the outskirts of their rural town, her life is thrown into chaos when her home is attacked, and a mysterious power awakens within her.
The game’s huge fantasy world, characters and aesthetic design are inspired by various cultures and mythologies. Throughout Ajna’s quest she’ll encounter many “Incarnations”: people whom she can absorb and manifest to fight alongside her. There are many Incarnations to recruit, each with their own story and personality. By uniting people from faraway lands, Ajna will learn about herself, the world she inhabits, and most importantly, how to save it.
A classic returns. Well, soon, but for now, a demo should suffice.
Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia will have a Nintendo Switch eShop demo available on April 30 and will allow players to play the first few parts of the game as the Norzaleo Kingdom, one of the six playable forces in the final version, as per Gematsu.
Check out the trailer below:
Brigandine will only be available via digital download on the eShop there will be some areas and territories that will offer a physical copy. In North America, Limited Run Games will be opening pre-orders for a Standard and Collectors edition starting May 1 and in Japan, there will be a Standard and Limited Edition as well.
Peep the inclusions of the North American Collectors edition release below:
Brigandine will release worldwide on June 25 for the Nintendo Switch.
What started out as an innocent Tweet ended up in Elijah Wood (via his official Twitter account) sending a DM asking for her dodo code (to access the island). I mean, who wouldn’t be excited, right?
And of course, as prompt as can be, Elijah arrives to the island in style, looking all spiffy and clean with his avatar named Elwood. Sorry, no style and creativity points for you, Mr. Elijah, but props for having your islander look just like you!
Elwood then proceeds to catch everyone off guard with his good manners, straight from the Tom Nook’s Guide to visiting other islands (is there even such a thing?). He compliments her island and mingles with the other guests, maybe even share some stories from the Shire.
It’s quite probably the surprise that puts and leaves a big smile on anyone’s face, and at least we all know what our favorite celebrities are doing while also staying at home during the lockdown… Playing Animal Crossing just like the rest of us!
Now when is Brie Larson going to come visit my island? Should I tell her that turnip prices are at 1,000 bells each or something?
With no sure sign of the lockdown being lifted anytime soon, get ready to hunker down and play some more games while you’re at it. Thankfully, there are a ton of crazy good deals out there to provide you with some ammo.
Case in point, this huge Capcom sale going on right now for the Switch and even some titles for the 3DS! From Devil May Cry to Mega Man and even the Resident Evil series, add some gems to your growing digital collection of games.
Hurry though, promo period is only up to April 28! You can view the full list of titles on sale below:
Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle – $9.99 (was $19.99)
Devil May Cry – $11.99 (was $19.99)
Devil May Cry 2 – $11.99 (was $19.99)
Devil May Cry 3 – $14.99 (was $29.99)
Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen – $14.99 (was $29.99)
Mega Man Legacy Collection – $9.89 (was $14.99)
Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 – $9.99 (was $19.99)
Mega Man X Legacy Collection – $9.99 (was $19.99)
Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 – $9.99 (was $19.99)
Call it a stroke of luck or what you may want to attribute it to, but Animal Crossing: New Horizons is selling like pancakes (or Turnips). It has become the game that a lot of people ran to during the ongoing lockdown and has proven to be such a creative enabler for players around the world.
In fact, as SuperData reports, the game has already sold more than 5 million units, breaking the prestigious record of being the best selling game in a month, previously held by Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons sold more digital units in a single month (5.0M) than any console game in history. The Nintendo-published title broke the console record for monthly digital game sales previously held by Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII. Animal Crossing: New Horizons also roughly matched the first-month digital sales of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Pokémon Sword and Shield put together. The game’s combination of social features and a relaxing setting likely appealed to individuals stuck at home. Closures of brick and mortar stores also meant that a higher share of consumers purchased the game digitally compared to past Switch titles.
Animal Crossing can also be one of the factors that Switch sales are soaring, leading to various supply shortages, of course paired with the ongoing pandemic that has troubled supply chains across the world.
Whatever the case may be, it is undeniable that Nintendo has another hit in Animal Crossing and there seems to be no signs of slowing down, Bells and Turnips and all.