Given the fact that the Suikoden game franchise has always been very associated with the PlayStation brand and platform, its inevitable arrival on Xbox is indeed remarkable and it could inspire other Japanese game publishers to consider remastering their old Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs) and releasing them on the Xbox ecosystem.
I could only imagine the possibility of Capcom releasing their old Breath of Fire JRPGs on Xbox in remastered forms someday. I am interested to replay Breath of Fire IV as I never got to finish that game on the original PlayStation console (PS1). The most extensive Breath of Fire experience I had was Breath of Fire III which I managed to finish. While I never got to play the original Breath of Fire game, I played Breath of Fire II on a rented Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).
I don’t know what it would take to convince Capcom to remaster their old Breath of Fire games and have them released on Xbox One, Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X, but it would be worth a try for all JRPG-loving Xbox gamers to reach out to the Japanese publisher as well as executives of Team Xbox and express demand for those games.
For the most part, Breath of Fire RPGs have their unique take on fantasy as well as turn-based gameplay. I also noticed online gamers who are nostalgic not only with those games but also with recurring characters Ryu and Nina. Back in 2009, it was confirmed via Capcom’s online message boards that Breath of Fire as an intellectual property was put to rest.
In my honest opinion, having the old Breath of Fire games released on Xbox Game Pass will surely attract the attention of the subscribers who love JRPGs and potentially revive the franchise. Remastering will also give Capcom opportunities to not only enhance the visuals but also correct whatever errors or technical flaws they find in each game. Xbox Game Pass has a lively subscriber base and already XGP has the remastered Ni no Kuni which subscribers are enjoying. Recently, Persona 5: Royal was released on Xbox. If having Breath of Fire games on Xbox platforms and XGP are enticing to you, then I encourage you to reach out to Capcom, Xbox chief Phil Spencer, Sarah Bond, Aaron Greenberg, Team Xbox and Xbox Game Pass on Twitter now.
In concluding this article, posted below for your enjoyment are Xbox-related videos plus a few Breath of Fire videos.
I will get straight to the point here – Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroesis my most wanted Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) of this current console generation and it is one of the main reasons why I subscribed to Xbox Game Pass (XGP) as soon as I bought my Xbox Series X console late last year. While a release date was not yet announced as of this writing, I am looking forward to this upcoming JRPG on my Xbox Series X sometime in 2023. Check out the official Xbox listing of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes by clicking here.
During the recent Tokyo Game Show (TGS), publisher 505 Games and Rabbit & Bear Studios executives – including studio head Yoshitaka Murayama (the Suikoden series creator) and Junko Kawano (who worked on Suikoden and Suikoden IV) – had their own presentation and made announcements. During the TGS, the newest trailer of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes was unveiled and it sure looks really good even though the footage shown was from pre-alpha build. Watch the newest trailer below…
As I mentioned earlier, no release date was announced during the TGS which I found baffling since that event drew a lot of viewers and gamers’ attention worldwide. Could it be possible that Konami’s surprise announcement of Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars coming to multiple platforms (including Xbox) in 2023 might have something to do with the lack of a firm release date for Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes? At least in my view, developer Rabbit & Bear is still working on finishing their JRPG.
Perhaps publisher 505 Games is doing a wait-and-see approach about the many video games expected to fill the market in 2023 with anticipated heavy hitters like Starfield, Forza Motorsport (2023) and Redfall to name a few. 505 Games will have to select soon a firm 2023 release date for Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes based on market competition and the development status of the game.
For the newcomers reading this, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is a turn-based fantasy JRPG which has a design and style similar to what was seen in the first two Suikoden video games. As seen in the above trailer, the upcoming JRPG has the combined talents of game creators such as Yoshitaka Murayama, Junko Kawano and Junichi Murakami (Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow) plus musicians Motoi Sakuraba (Star Ocean series, Tales of series) and Michiko Naruke (Wild Arms series).
Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes has a story set in one corner of Allraan, a tapestry of nations with diverse cultures and values. On Xbox.com, 505 Games released the first set of character profiles introducing: Nowa, Seign, Marisa, Lian and Garr. Their respective descriptions are as follows…
Nowa – When the League of Nations recruits warriors to assist in a joint expedition with the Galdean Empire, our protagonist answers the call and leaves his remote village to test his skills. On the mission, he finds an ancient rune-lens, unaware that the discovery will spark a war between the League and the Empire. After the conflict begins, he joins a unit in the League’s border guard. The protagonist is the “leap before you look” type. He doesn’t always weigh the pros and cons before springing to action, and while his constant need to involve himself in other people’s problems sometimes creates headaches for his companions, they like him for it and know his heart is in the right place. After all, if they ever got into trouble, he’d be the first person there.
Seign – The second-born son to House Kesling, a powerful imperial family. His older brother died on the battlefield. Seign is exceptionally gifted; after achieving outstanding grades at military academy, he was placed in command of a company of his peers and sent on the expedition to find the ancient rune-lens. During the mission, he meets the protagonist. The two warm to each other as they overcome adversity, and they learn of one another’s ambitions. Seign’s strategic mind allows him to analyze things from a broad perspective and make sound decisions. People often confuse his clear mind for a cold heart, but he is guided by strong ideals and a deep passion to fulfill them. After his brother’s death during a border rebellion, Seign began to think long and hard about what it means to fight.
Marisa– A young member of the Guardians, a clan that hallows and protects the forest. Since Marisa was very little her family has instilled their ways and traditions in her. She has a warm, affable smile — except on the battlefield, where she wears the countenance of a warrior.
Although the Guardians live as one with the forest, they have respect for the outside world’s culture and technology, and they are not against integrating the parts of it that make sense to them. Marisa is particularly forward-thinking in this regard and loves new things — especially cute things.
Lian – After the Empire’s forces invade league lands, Lian is infuriated and runs away from home without even the slightest semblance of a plan. She decides the first thing to do is hoof it to the biggest town she can find, and luckily that’s where she meets the protagonist and his companions. Lian was born in a dojo, and her father wasted no time in teaching her. She was doing roundhouse kicks before she even learned to walk properly.
Garr– A veteran beastman warrior. He and his clan make their living as mercenaries, and their vast experience and sheer brutality put them in high demand. War is all Garr has known, and to him life is one battlefield after the other until you die.
To date, Rabbit & Bear Studios already released the side-scrolling spin-off game Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising and has been working hard to complete Hundred Heroes. The shared game design elements between the early Suikoden games and Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes such has having over 100 playable characters, a story of war, in-depth world exploration, heavy use of 2D sprites for the characters along with their acts during battles, and dynamic group battles are not surprising given Murayama’s history of leading the development of the Suikoden JRPG franchise (until the 3rd game) during his time with Konami. Murayama also is a proven fantasy storyteller with the Suikoden games. Personally, I really loved playing Suikoden II which in my opinion is not only the best of the Suikoden game franchise but also one of the very best JRPGs of the 1990s that I have ever played as well as one of the best JRPGs that was not made by Square Enix.
Knowing that Murayama, Kawano and other notable Japanese creators are working together in making Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, I have reasons to be confident about it. On my end, my taste on video games has changed a lot over the past fifteen years and that goes the same with my interest in JRPGs. Along the way, I really miss the fun I had with the first two Suikoden games as they had gameplay elements that were not only uniquely fun but also aged well. For me, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes could become the most delightful surprise among JRPGs in this current console generation. It is my most-wanted JRPG of this console generation and I believe it will fit in nicely with the Xbox ecosystem which is already becoming an ideal haven for fantasy RPGs and RPG fans in general.
Watch out for Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, Windows PC and Xbox Game Pass in 2023.
To be clear, I find Square Enix’s business relationship with Team Xbox lacking. The HD remastered version of Legend of Mana was very noticeably released on multiple platforms but not on Xbox. Tactics Ogre: Reborn was announced for future release for multiple platforms except Xbox. Still on Square Enix, the Final Fantasy VII remake as well as the announced sequel are exclusive to Sony’s platforms. The exclusions are clear and disturbing. Why Square Enix excluded the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and the Xbox One (which still has many millions of console users until now) as platforms to sell the above mentioned games remains a mystery although there is speculation that Sony Corporation and its PlayStation executives made a secret deal with the JRPG giant to specifically hurt Xbox without affecting Nintendo and Steam. Realistically, Microsoft pointed out that Sony pays game companies for blocking rights to keep games off Xbox Game Pass. Read all about it here, here and here.
While these developments are disturbing and also annoying, I still wish that Square Enix would remaster one of its classic JRPGs and release it on Xbox platforms similar to what they did with the remastered Chrono Cross. That classic RPG I’m referring to is none other than Xenogears.
I played Xenogears on the original PlayStation console way back in 1998 but I never got to finish it due to my academics and other external matters. It also did not help that the CD-ROM of the PlayStation deteriorated.
Regardless, I had a lot of enjoyment during my limited time with the said JRPG, the design of which was led by Tetsuya Takahashi. The fictional concept of Xenogears took a lot of inspiration from real-life forms of religion as well as concepts from certain intellectuals to establish the story themes, the fictional cultures and historical backgrounds within the game. At the same time, the game had this in-depth universe composed of different settings for gamers to explore. In my experience, I felt immersed into the game’s universe and I still remember the moments I got astonished discovering not only the many locations and landmarks but also the many non-playable characters (NPCs presented as 2D sprites) in the form of local communities and the in-game cultures.
While Xenogears had a science fiction concept, it still had lots of settings and gameplay features that made it feel like a fantasy. I love the way how the creative team’s artists implemented their art styles on the environments, the characters, the machines, the interiors of places and more. Visually, this game saw the use of 2D sprites for the characters who move along a 3D polygonal environment which can be explored creatively by a camera that can be adjusted by the players. As such, this approach done in Xenogears made the game look and feel a lot like Grandia.
While Xenogears’ battle system had key elements that were common with other JRPGs, there was a clear emphasis on hand-to-hand combat that took a lot of inspiration from martial arts as well as 2D fighting games of the decade. There were these martial arts-inspired combos which required button combinations and timing which were fun to watch happen. There were also these death blows which were really rewarding when pulled off correctly. Of course, there were still some magic attacks that were nicely presented.
What made Xenogears stand out is the use of giant robots or gears in the game. Not only did the game allow me to travel with the gears, it also allowed me to engage with enemies (both the large and the small ones standing on the floor/ground) with a fully functional battle system that emphasized size, scale and impact altogether. Similar to the other battle system, the gears battle system fun and engaging in my experience. I can never forget the moment I first saw my gear crush a huge enemy with a lot of impact to seal the victory. Travel using gears, however, was hampered somewhat by the creative team who implemented platform gaming elements (note: this includes jumping from one platform to another without falling down to your death) and the controls were not really responsive enough. This is something Square Enix should consider improving if they ever remaster Xenogears.
Right now, I would love to replay Xenogears and complete it but I prefer the game should be remastered and be released for Xbox consoles. I have no intention of buying a new console from Sony and Nintendo to play Square Enix JRPGs that are missing on Xbox consoles. JRPGs on Xbox are not exactly lacking (note: Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes will be released via Xbox Game Pass in 2023 while Persona RPGs are coming to Xbox soon) but it would be great not only for Xbox gamers but also Square Enix itself to remaster Xenogears and release it on the Xbox ecosystem. That being said, I believe Xenogears itself would make a great addition into Xbox Game Pass (XGP) which already has many millions of subscribers worldwide!
Think about it carefully. Having a remastered Xenogears for sale on Xbox and also listed on Xbox Game Pass will not only be good for the Xbox ecosystem but also for Square Enix to not only sell games but also reach out to the XGP subscribers who could enjoy the said JRPG and add a lot of new players that the JRPG giant could not reach before. Not only are more Square Enix role-playing games are needed on XGP right now (note: adding Chrono Cross into it will be delightful), they can also benefit nicely as the Xbox ecosystem is gradually becoming the premier ecosystem for RPG enthusiasts in this console generation. Xbox-exclusive RPGs like Starfield, The Outer Worlds 2, Fable as well as future sequels of The Elder Scrolls and Fallout will collectively generate big game sales as well as increase the number of gamers in the Xbox ecosystem and Xbox Game Pass subscribers will grow big as well. The growth will be even bigger once Team Xbox’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard gets approved. For Square Enix to miss out on fast growing Xbox ecosystem in favor of Sony’s blocking rights will be a regrettable move.
Going back to Xenogears, I want to make it clear to Square Enix that now is the time to remaster it and release it on Xbox as well as other platforms. That being said, I also urge Team Xbox’s chief Phil Spencer, executive Aaron Greenberg and the Xbox Game Pass team to reinvigorate the business relationship with Square Enix and try to convince them to release Xenogears and other classic JRPGs into XGP and the Xbox game store. To the Xbox gamers and RPG enthusiasts reading this, I encourage you to contact Square Enix and Team Xbox to have Xenogears and other JRPGs (both classic and modern) released on the Xbox consoles and Windows PC.
In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos plus a few Xenogears-related videos for your enjoyment.
Anyone who owns an Xbox console or a Windows PC who loves Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs) should be delighted to know that the popular Persona game franchise will have three of its established games released for Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Windows PC with availability through Xbox Game Pass (XGP) soon as confirmed in the recent Xbox-Bethesda games showcase! For clarity, Persona 5 Royal is slated for an October 21, 2022 release.
For starters, watch the official video below…
To understand the Persona games better, posted below is an excerpt from the official article published at Xbox.com written by SEGA Communications Manager Stacy Lee. Some parts in boldface…
Cheers to 25 years of Persona! In this very special anniversary year, we are bringing the worldwide hits Persona 5 Royal, Persona 4 Golden, and Persona 3 Portable to Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, and with Xbox Game Pass. Starting this fall, fans will get to experience this beloved RPG series.
To kick things off, on October 21, don the mask of Joker and join the Phantom Thieves of Hearts when Persona 5 Royal arrives with Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Windows PC. We’ll have more to share on the release of Persona 4 Golden and Persona 3 Portable so be sure to stay tuned here to Xbox Wire.
For those who missed out on these games originally, or are excited to play Persona on Xbox and Windows PC, the 25th Anniversary is a great time to join in the celebration. Here’s a quick refresher on each game:
Persona 3 Portable – If I say there’s an hour “hidden” between one day and the next… would you believe me? This unknown time is the “Dark Hour.” Unfamiliar stillness swallows the city, people turn into eerie coffins, and otherworldly monsters called Shadows swarm. One night, the protagonist is attacked by these Shadows. When all hope seems lost, the power of the heart, their Persona, is awakened.
Persona 4 Golden – They say your soulmate will appear if you stare into a television set on a rainy night… This strange rumor slowly spreads through the rural town of Inaba, the protagonist’s new home, just as a chain of mysterious murders begin. As the protagonist and his teammates chase after the truth, they find themselves opening the door to another world.
Persona 5 Royal – Forced to transfer to a high school in Tokyo, the protagonist has a strange dream. “You truly are a prisoner of fate. In the near future, ruin awaits you.” With the goal of “rehabilitation” looming overhead, he must save others from distorted desires by donning the mask of a Phantom Thief.
In my personal experience, the one and only Persona video game I ever played was Revelations: Persona on the original Sony PlayStation way back in 1996. I never finished that game but I spent many hours playing it and that includes the loading times and the not-so-efficient pacing of the gameplay.
Combined with those mentioned Japanese games or JRPGs to be exact, the addition of Persona games is indeed a welcome addition to the Xbox ecosystem which has lots of gamers craving for such games. It’s nice to see that Team Xbox head Phil Spencer has been working hard negotiating with Japanese game companies and makers to release their games into the Xbox ecosystem. In fact, during the Xbox-Bethesda showcase, a special Xbox project with Hideo Kojima’s company was confirmed to be real and there was also the announcement of an Xbox release of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty developed by Team Ninja.
Let me end this piece by ask you readers: Are you happy that the Persona game franchise is coming to Xbox with the mentioned three games? Do you think that more Japanese RPGs and other kinds of games made by Japanese game developers will continue to be released on Xbox? What other past JRPGs do you want to see released on Xbox and Xbox Game Pass? Do you think that all the JRPGs already announced coming to Xbox and mix in with Western RPGs (examples: Starfield, Fable reboot, The Outer Worlds 2 and Avowed to name a few) will result a wide variety of games for those who love playing role-playing games? Do you see Xbox as the definitive ecosystem for RPGs right now?
To the gamers who are craving for new role-playing experiences and some more action, get ready as 505 Games confirmed that Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising (the spin-off game to 2023’s Suikoden-inspired Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes) will be released on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One and Windows PC (via Steam) on May 10, 2022, and it will also launch on both Xbox Game Pass (XGP) and PC Game Pass that same day!
To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from 505 Games’ announcement. Some parts in boldface…
Global publisher 505 Games in collaboration with Rabbit & Bear Studios, headed by Yoshitaka Murayama, a creator of Suikoden, and NatsumeAtari today unveil the release date for Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, the fast-paced 2.5D action RPG with town-upgrading elements serving as a companion prequel game to the upcoming Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes. Rising’s pre-war tales begin May 10th, 2022 on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam, Epic and GOG. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising will also be available day one via Xbox and PC Game Pass.
After a massive earthquake revealed Runebarrows deep below a town on the remote frontier of the Allraan known as New Nevaeh, fortune-seeking adventurers and merchants from across the world arrive. Among those hoping to find treasure, three star-crossed heroes come together. CJ, the Venerable Scavenger, and Garoo, the Beastman Mercenary, hope to mine the Rune Lens, a source of magic hidden underground. Isha, the Young Deputy Mayor, wants to rebuild her town.
Delve into the ruins and master Rising’s satisfying combat. Dash in quick and strike with CJ’s climbing axes, sling sorcery from afar as Isha, and punish foes with Garoo’s gigantic sword. Topple imaginative bosses by swapping between each character and unleashing devastating Link Attacks combining each hero’s specialty, all while platforming through gorgeous 2.5D environments.
Scavenge dungeons and earn materials to reconstruct New Nevaeh to its former glory and reap benefits applying to Hundred Heroes when it releases in 2023. Cross content includes special cosmetic items, valuable equipment, and trade goods. Make a personal mark on the world of Eiyuden Chronicle by naming certain weapons and delicacies in Rising that will carry over to Hundred Heroes next year.
For those who missed out on the latest on Xbox gaming, last week saw the surprise launch of the independently made action-adventure game Tunic on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, Windows PC and on MacOS. For those who are subscribing on Xbox Game Pass (XGP), Tunic is available for you to simply download and play.
To get yourself oriented with Tunic (developed by Andrew Shouldice and published by Finji), watch this official launch trailer below…
In relation to the surprise launch buzz it generated, Tunic gathered several rave reviews from several gaming media outlets. Below are some of notable quotes from the published reviews.
Game Informer: Tunic is a stunning achievement that manages to embody the best of nostalgia while being completely refreshing. It’s absolutely a must-play gem.
Windows Central: Tunic is an absolutely delightful game to slink away to for a few hours to explore, discover, and conquer. Solving puzzles and uncovering the myriad of hidden secrets can make for a calming adventure, but there’s always the potential for an exhilarating moment of victory after a particularly difficult boss.
Destructoid: What’s amazing about Tunic is that I can’t count any misstep. I fell into the world a few times, big deal. The penalty for death is paltry and they’re bugs that can be squashed. Once, a sound queue got stuck playing continuously, and I found myself pondering its significance in futility. I only noticed it wasn’t supposed to be happening when it continued through to the main menu. Sometimes things get in the way of the camera. There was nothing major enough to drag down the experience.
GameSpot: Most Souls-likes tend to adopt a grimdark fantasy aesthetic, but Tunic harkens back to the 8- and 16-bit eras by presenting a vibrant and colorful world that also offers a fiendishly difficult challenge. It’s not simply evocative of games from the late ’80s and early ’90s because it creates facsimiles of their graphics or gameplay, but because it manages to capture a tangible feeling of exploration and difficulty, where an instruction manual is your tool to deciphering everything. It’s the kind of game you would’ve purchased because the box art looked cool, eagerly flipping through the pages of its manual on the car ride home, not quite understanding it all but getting excited at the possibilities all the same. In Tunic’s case, this grand adventure lives up to the expectations.
For the newcomers reading this who are still trying to figure out what exactly Tunic is and what they need to know before trying the game, posted below is an excerpt from the launch day announcement published on Xbox.com written by Finji Senior Community Manager Harris Foster. Some parts in boldface…
A few years back, Tunic was revealed to the world on stage during the Xbox E3 2018 Briefing. This was a huge moment for both of us as a publishing team and for Andrew Shouldice who at the time was handling the duties of game designer, programmer, level designer, character artist, animator, and tester on Tunic.
In the nearly four years that followed, Tunic grew in an astonishing fashion. The development team and the game itself have multiplied in size and thousands of new fans have shared their excitement with us. Starting today we invite you to discover Tunic and all the secrets it has to offer on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and with Xbox Game Pass.
At first glance, Tunic may seem like a cute action-adventure game. You play as a small fox in a big world, fighting monsters and exploring an ancient land. But don’t let its charming exterior fool you, Tunic’s combat will test your reflexes and its mysteries will challenge your perception.
On your adventure you’ll explore a dense and mysterious overworld, from shadowy forests inhabited by dangerous creatures to intricate temples filled with hostile sorcerers. The sword is your primary weapon, but your greatest tool is knowing the right time to dodge, block, and swing. Your enemies will not hold back, so be sure to search your environment for bombs, stat boosts, and refillable health potions. Make a wrong move and your death will send you back to the last checkpoint without giving back any items you used. Be careful out there!
Tunic’s white-knuckle combat system pulls from modern action RPGs while its setting and tone comes from games of the classic cartridge era. But the challenge and inspiration doesn’t end there. Remember the good ol’ days when every game included a full-color instruction manual? A flimsy booklet packed with helpful combat tips, enemy descriptions, and secret hints? Tunic takes the lost art of the instruction manual and injects it directly into the game.
Scattered throughout the in-game world of Tunic are instruction manual pages for you to collect. Each one you find adds to your booklet, creating a compendium of this foreign realm. Study the pages carefully to get a lay of the land and have the upper hand on your combatants. Filled with gorgeous hand-drawn illustrations, the manual appears to be written in some unknown language. Come to think of it, everything in this world is written in these glyphs. What does it mean? Will we be able to translate it? What else might Tunic be hiding?
Mysteries and secrets sit at the heart of the Tunic experience. Every seasoned gamer knows that when a game has a waterfall, they should check behind it for hidden loot. Tunic presents a world overflowing with opportunities to sniff out secrets. When playing Tunic, we encourage you to collaborate with your friends.
In my own experience, I find Tunic to be highly playable, challenging and pretty enticing to play. It has that wholesome approach to its art style and visuals which resulted a unique fantasy look. The gameplay is where Tunic really stands out. The controls are pretty responsive and unique, and the game itself encourages both exploration and discovery to be done. This game also comes with a unique way on learning the functions on gameplay and controls complete with that nostalgic touch of visualizing instructions very similar to what video game manuals of long ago pulled off.
As of now, I’m still making my way through the game. I don’t know yet how long it will take to complete this acclaimed game but I can assure you readers that I am enjoying it a lot. Playing, discovering and learning with Tunic is fun! If you are an Xbox console owner with an active subscription to Xbox Game Pass, I encourage you to download and play Tunic!
In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure.
Before I begin, I want to make clear to all of you reading this that I never got to play Cyberpunk 2077 on any platform when it was first launched in late-2020. Like anyone else, I waited years for that game and I was excited too but Cyberpunk 2077 was released just a few weeks after Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 launched. At that very time in December 2020, I was focused on raising funds for Xbox Series X than buying new games for my console at the time – the Xbox One (which stopped functioning in mid-2021 after 6 years of use). I can also say that the exposure of Cyberpunk 2077’s very flawed state on consoles plus the criticism that followed convinced me to stay away from CD Projekt Red’s promised epic video game.
Very recently, CD Projekt Red not only polished Cyberpunk 2077 with Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 in mind, they also released a free 5-hour trial version (with patch 1.5) which I decided to download and play to really experience the game for the first time ever. This post I’m writing is clearly not a game review but my own observation about what Cyberpunk 2077 offered and what I experienced in the five hours I played.
After downloading it, I got to play the free trial version on my Xbox Series X with the performance mode chosen as I wanted to play the game with the best frame-rate possible. I customized V in female form and chose Streetkid as her lifepath as I was eager to discover Night City.
While I knew five hours was rather limiting to make tremendous story progress or discover much of the city, I still went on with the main storyline of V, discovered the key characters, and went through the tutorials to learn the basics of combat (both guns and melee weapons), stealth, hacking and, late in my limited playtime, the braindance (note: you get to experience life through another person’s own views and experiences in first-person view and externally).
On combat, I find the shooting rather lacking in precision in terms of aiming and controller response when compared to what I’ve played in first-person role-playing games (RPGs) The Outer Worlds and Fallout 4. In fairness, the impact of shots fired against enemies in Cyberpunk 2077 is rather strong, especially when you use powerful weapons like the shotgun. The melee combat meanwhile can be challenging to pull off precisely. Even with the immersive first-person view, I had a bit of trouble estimating if my character’s fists or weapon would be able to reach the opposition figure. I also had similar results with regards to blocking the opposition’s melee attacks on my character. Ultimately, I managed to overcome the opposition to complete the tutorial. Stealth gameplay is challenging as well not only because it was difficult to estimate the farthest reach of the view of the opposing character or security cameras/drones, but also because I found moving around lacking precision.
The hacking system of the game is well-designed and easily outclasses that of Ubisoft’s hacking-oriented open-world games Watch Dogs and Watch Dogs 2. Hacking in Cyberpunk 2077 is not only more user-friendly but also comes with options that make sense within the game’s concept and the many different digital set-ups in each different location I have been to. Since I was limited by the 5 hours allowed in the trial version, I got to use the hacking system as far as I could and I saw how more options become available once I got to level up V’s character level, attributes and tech capabilities. I was enjoying the in-game hacking by the time my trial ended.
Braindance is like a video record of events experienced by other people in which players will get to review, move forward or backward, and be able to spot/scan new details in order to progress. While it is very immersive to see and experience happenings through the eyes and memory of another character, the video editing aspect of braindance is where the detective work really happens which I enjoyed. This part of the gameplay really pushed me to be observant with the moments and details to progress.
When it comes to exploration in Cyberpunk 2077, I can clearly say that moving down the many sidewalks, streets and varied spots of Night City is really intense and immersive to play. For one thing, the first-person view itself is immersive visually and the immersion got enhanced a lot more with the very clever sound editing (all those cars moving around, the people and their steps, the sound of products coming out from vending machines, the sound of the street barbeque being cooked, the voices of people talking and more) as well as the high number of civilians around me doing their own things. As I never got to play this game in its debut version of late-2020, I could not tell if the in-city exploration was this dense and lively. What I can say is that exploring Night City on foot, going through the alleys, entering establishment that are open and observing the people around is a very engaging gaming experience for me.
Going back to combat, the use of an inhaler to keep V’s hit points (note: life) up easily reminds me of The Outer Worlds. In addition, the food and drinks you purchased at vending machines are also helpful to keep not only your life up but also your stamina. As V is cybernetic, hacking is easily a major part of the gameplay and as you upgrade the character’s cyberwear, V will eventually gain more high-tech capabilities like scanning people and machines for information and more.
Conclusion – For the sake of the people who have not yet played Cyberpunk 2077, I decided not to reveal much about the story of V in my limited playtime. I can say, however, that players are allowed freedom to choose places to visit and activities to do. There is also the freedom for players to take time away from doing main story mission in favor of side-activities or moving around freely to do what you think you could do. My playtime ended as I was in the middle of a main story mission that involved the supporting character Jackie, a high-tech small robot (pet-like in design) and infiltrating rooms and devices while V stays inside the room of a very high-end hotel.
As of this writing, Cyberpunk 2077 is selling at 50% off on the Xbox online store. Now you must be wondering…should you buy the game now that it has been polished and updated with the current generation of game consoles?
In my honest opinion, I prefer to wait first for CD Projekt Red to improve the game even more. I can say that I had an overall positive experience playing the Streetkid path of V during my 5-hour trial play and I had an astounding experience exploring Night City on foot and discovering many new places which show how talented CD Projekt Red’s designers and artists really are. As mentioned earlier, the shooting aspect is still lacking which is unfortunate because it is clear that shooting is the core method of combat. If you don’t like shooting, melee combat is available but that one also needs more refinement to be truly responsive and engaging.
As much as I enjoyed my five hours with Cyberpunk 2077’s free trial, I am not yet convinced to buy the game’s full version for my Xbox Series X now. Not even the 50% discount is enough to convince me to buy it. The game is fun and has its unique ways of entertaining me, but there is still more work needed be done to really make it the great game it was promised to be. To say the least, CD Projekt Red is moving on the right direction on improving the game.
Of course, you my readers who have the means to buy and play Cyberpunk 2077 can decide for yourselves. It’s a risk to take if you really want to spend your hard-earned money on the game now. I’d rather wait for further improvements to be made first before buying it.
Way back in 2000, I got to play Chrono Cross on the PlayStation which was a hot release from Squaresoft. Due to a lack of time as well as the breaking down of the console (bought in late 1996), I never got to finish the Japanese role-playing game (JRPG).
Just days ago, I got very surprised as Square Enix announced that it will be re-releasing Chrono Cross in remastered form in Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition which is set for an April 7, 2022 release on Xbox One (compatible with Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S) and Windows PC (via Steam). The good news is that you can order it already online now for only $19.99. Anyway, watch the official video below…
To put things in perspective, posted below are excerpts from the official announcement by Square Enix. Some parts in boldface…
CHRONO CROSS, which was never before released in Europe, returns as a remaster in CHRONO CROSS: THE RADICAL DREAMERS EDITION. Follow the story of Serge, who stumbles into another world and learns of the connection between his existence and the future of his planet. A classic time-bending tale of adventure and friendship, featuring one of the largest and most diverse casts of playable characters of any RPG. With over 40 potential party members, each character brings their own element affinity and unique skills. Additionally, “RADICAL DREAMERS – Le Trésor Interdit -“, a text-based adventure video game released for Satellaview in 1996, which forms the bedrock of the story, is also included in this edition.
Players can look forward to some exciting new features, such as:
3D models converted to HD*
Brand new artwork and character redesign by Nobuteru Yuuki*
Refined background music by Yasunori Mitsuda
Switch enemy encounters on or off
Background filter feature*
Battle enhancement features
French, Italian, German and Spanish localization now added
Switch between imitation pixel font and HD font*
The inclusion of Radical Dreamers, never before released in the West.
Players can choose between playing with original or updated graphics*
As I am writing this, I still am very surprised by the announcement as I never anticipated Chrono Cross would be made for Xbox, even though I wanted Square Enix to release many of its RPGs – both classic or modern ones – on Xbox. It is, however, nice to see Square Enix including Xbox in the worldwide release of Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition which is one of many Japanese RPGs (Japanese role-playing games) that has always been identified with PlayStation. Its strong legacy with PlayStation even made certain gamers – including the people who hate Xbox – believe that it would never ever be released on any Xbox console. Well, Square Enix proved them wrong and it is clear that the company needs to sell to the many gamers who own an Xbox One or Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S console. The Windows PC release through Steam makes business sense.
For the newcomers reading this, Chrono Cross is set in the same world as the classic JRPG Chrono Trigger. It should not be perceived as a sequel. On its own, Chrono Cross was very playable and engaging, and it is notable for allowing players to recruit lots of characters and take them on quests as they play along. As for the common elements between Chrono Cross and Chrono Trigger, learn from producer and designer Hiromichi Tanaka’s statement below.
When creating a series, one method is to carry over a basic system, improving upon it as the series progresses, but our stance has been to create a completely new and different world from the ground up, and to restructure the former style. Therefore, Chrono Cross is not a sequel to Chrono Trigger. Had it been, it would have been called Chrono Trigger 2. Our main objective for Chrono Cross was to share a little bit of the Chrono Trigger worldview, while creating a completely different game as a means of providing new entertainment to the player. This is mainly due to the transition in platform generation from the SNES to the PS. The method I mentioned above, about improving upon a basic system, has inefficiencies, in that it’s impossible to maximize the console’s performance as the console continues to make improvements in leaps and bounds. Although essentially an RPG, at its core, it is a computer game, and I believe that games should be expressed with a close connection to the console’s performance. Therefore, in regards to game development, our goal has always been to “express the game utilizing the maximum performance of the console at that time.” I strongly believe that anything created in this way will continue to be innovative. – Hiromichi Tanaka (source – GamePro)
As I mentioned previously, 2022 will be a bigger and more exciting year for enjoying video games on Xbox platforms as there will be more and varied new video games coming out as well as new fun stuff through the Xbox network and Xbox Game Pass (XGP). Adding more depth and excitement on Xbox gaming this year is the fast-approaching release of Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin on March 18, 2022 on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One consoles!
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin is an action-packed, Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) being made by Koei Tecmo-owned developer Team Ninja (best known for Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive) under publisher Square Enix. For key details about the upcoming game, read the Square Enix press release excerpt below. Some parts in boldface…
STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN blends challenging and strategic action gameplay with the world and lore of the FINAL FANTASY series to create a unique action RPG experience. Join Jack and his allies as they throw open the gates to the Chaos Shrine and step into a world of dark fantasy and exhilarating battles to discover if they are truly the Warriors of Light the prophecy foretold.
In this new tale you’ll play as Jack, a stranger to the Kingdom of Cornelia with a past shrouded in mystery. He must hazard numerous challenges to bring the light of the crystals back to a kingdom conquered by darkness in this hard-core action RPG. Will restoring the crystals’ light usher in peace or a new form of darkness? Or perhaps something else entirely? Keep reading to find out what makes this Final Fantasy story so unique.
Visceral Action Combat
Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin allows players to experience Final Fantasy action like never before. Real-time combat keeps the action at the forefront of gameplay. But you won’t find success by mashing buttons. You’ll need to turn your enemies’ powers against them to turn the tides of battle. Switch between jobs with a push of a button so you can be prepared for anything that comes your way. When the odds are overwhelming, use the powerful Lightbringer ability to push back the monstrous hordes. Once you’ve broken their spirit, finish them off with a crystal crushing finishing move.
Deep Character Customization
With each enemy you defeat and every chest you open, you’ll uncover powerful treasure to help you on your journey. Each piece of armor will not only augment your abilities but will also change the look of your character as well. The weapons you find will also unlock new jobs to fit your play style. You might start off as a swordsman, but you’ll quickly discover options to become a mage, dragoon, monk, and so much more. Find the right combination of abilities to fit the way you play and don’t forget to customize your team-mates gear for some added support.
A Dark World to Discover
If you’ve played a Final Fantasy game before you might recognize some familiar creatures and locations, but you’ve never seen them like this. What secrets does each location hold and what manner of monster await you in the darkness?
To order the game in advance for your Xbox console, you can go for the regular edition here or the digital deluxe version here. Being a highly stylized action RPG developed by the talented guys at Team Ninja, Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin will surely standout among all other RPGs (regardless of core design or gameplay styles) that are coming to Xbox consoles in this console generation. It is also interesting to see how this upcoming game will perform in terms of visual fidelity and frame rates when optimized for Xbox Series X. Mark your calendars for March 18, 2022 for Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin.
In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure.
Adding even more to the excitement of gaming on the Xbox ecosystem, Thundeful announced officially via Xbox.com that The Gunk will be released worldwide on December 16, 2021 exclusively on Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X, Windows PC and also on Xbox Game Pass! To start with, watch the latest video about the game below…
Personally, I am interested in playing The Gunk on Xbox Game Pass as soon as it becomes available. At the same time, I am more interested in the talents of game developer Thunderful which is responsible for the SteamWorld franchise of games. I never got to play any SteamWorld game before and as such, The Gunk will be the first Thunderful-made game for me to play ever!
The Gunk, as it turns out, will NOT be the last Xbox-exclusive coming from Thunderful. In fact, the SteamWorld developer is working on another console-exclusive game for Xbox Series consoles and the aging Xbox One which will be released in 2023…Planet of Lana. Check out the trailer below…
In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure.
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