Hello readers! And welcome to Moar Powah’s “Give It a Shot!” A segment where every now and then some of the writers will give a quick word on a game, movie, artist, darn near anything really that might not be so well known but they think is well… Worth a shot!
Platform: PSP, 360, Steam, Playism
The Inverseman here with Half-Minute Hero. Known as Hero 30 in Japan, in this game you have thirty seconds to save the world. Literally. That includes level-grinding, powering up, side-quests, and creaming the big bad Evil Lord of the day before he/she/it casts the Spell of Destruction. Your methods to accomplishing such time-consuming tasks? Letting your old-school 8-bit self run like the dickens, hurling through towns and trampling over enemies at supersonic speeds. Fear not, thanks to the Time Goddess, time is on your side (for a price). Basically, it’s a high-speed action game that parodies every JRPG ever. Humor is spot-on for this game. The cast disregards the fourth wall, every victory over the Evil Lord of the day treats you to a super-fast credits sequence, and nobody takes anything seriously at all. And XSEED’s localization is comedy gold. Not to mention the game is stylish and the soundtrack is frantic as it should. Once you beat the Hero’s story, you can challenge the other character’s stories. The Evil Lord’s story is a super-fast RTS, the Princess has a shoot ’em up, the Knight has a defense game, and then you can challenge the Hero’s story with a few harder twists.
With each mission only taking minutes to play, Marvelous Entertainment has the time-conscious RPG-player in mind. Made some moments out of my morning commute. And of course, replay value is high since missions do have secret objectives and alternate pathways and there’s tons of unlockable art and extras. Currently the game was rereleased twice after the original PSP edition. You can get the game off the Xbox Live Arcade and a more complete version of the game off Steam and Playism. Too bad due to the state of the PSP we never got the sequel though, but with this many popular avenues to enjoy the original game, if you love classic RPGs then you just gotta give Half-Minute Hero a shot!
Platform: 3DS (eShop)
And now it is Laevatein’s turn to roll the dice.
Ever wonder what a video game that plays like a tabletop game would be like (D&D RPGs don’t count)? Well, look no further, Level 5 has you covered! Released as part of a box release called “Guild01”, three out of four of the games were released stateside digitally. Crimson Shroud, one of the three that made it over, is a turn based RPG that looks and feels like a tabletop or pen and paper game. Imagine going through a short dungeon crawler campaign, with a GM and cute little miniatures and everything. Now it becomes a video game. What changes? Unlike other RPGs, not much, really. You still have the cute miniatures representing characters and monsters, the narration sounds like it comes straight from a DM’s mouth, and best of all, you still roll dice! The game literally brings up a dice board with several dice, and you’re asked to grab the dice, shake ’em, and toss ’em. Dice rolling, more than any other element, is ubiquitous in Crimson Shroud, as they are used to decide most situations. These situations range from deciding whether an ability hits and how effective a spell is, to avoiding an encounter and even a few story sequences.
Though the dice mechanic is the foundation for Crimson Shroud, the rest of it is a pretty solid turn-based RPG. While I need not explain how the turn based system works (as the only surprised come from the dice rolling), one noteworthy mechanic is the lack of levels. All character progression is done through better equipment and the occasional learning of skills. This means you literally can’t grind endlessly to overpower anything; you can only become as good as the equipment available. It works wonders for balancing.
Now, I mentioned it was brought to you by Level 5, but much of Crimson Shroud can be attributed to Yasumi Matsuno of Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre, and Vagrant Story fame. Now, Crimson Shroud’s a short title, and your first playthrough will last you somewhere around 8 hours, so much of Matsuno’s famous political style does not show up in full force. Despite that, the writing style is very similar to any of his previous works, so fans of his will definitely know what they’re getting in to. For those who aren’t, you may find the writing coming off as a cross between some ye olde English plays and your standard DM’s narration style. It works wondrously, fortunately.
So what are you waiting for? It’s your turn.