Rundown (4/08-4/14) To Be a Master!

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So, you know how I’m an accounting major and how I previously mentioned that I am going to be done with school this August? Well, funny thing about that. In order to become a Certified Public Accountant, which is a goal of mine, one does not simply need a Bachelor’s degree as I thought. Instead, they at least 150 credit hours, which are best met by obtaining a Master’s degree. So, in short, I am going to start taking graduate classes this fall and should be done around December 2019, before then taking the CPA exam. And here I was looking forward to being done with school once and for all.

Starting off with the biggest story I could find, Valve updated the default privacy settings for Steam and made it so that one’s game library is unavailable to others by default. This seemingly innocuous change actually had pretty notable consequences as it effectively ruined a site that relied on this information, Steam Spy. For those unaware, Steam Spy is an unofficial tool that tracks information on the games hosted on Steam, most notably the number of owners per each game. In an industry where actual sales numbers are unknown beyond inaccurate listings and press releases, Steam Spy was a wildly useful tool for everyone from the press, to enthusiasts, to game developers. Yet now it will no longer be able to gather the data it previously relied on then the entire industry suffers from its loss, as Steam Spy was the most reliable source of digital sales data in the largest entertainment industry in the world.

After being announced earlier this year, Capcom has finally unveiled some details on their re-release of the eight mainline Mega Man X games. Much like the regular Mega Man series beforehand, the games will be released as a two part Legacy Collection that will each contain the expected series of extras including bonus modes, an easier difficulty setting, and customizable visual filters. Which is fine and reasonable except for the fact that the games are both being released on July 24th, so why separate them into two volumes? This is especially confusing when one considers that the first collection, the one containing Mega Man X, X2, X3, and X4 consists of every good Mega Man X game, with X5 through X8 ranging from okay to terrible. It just seems like it would lead to less sales, as only diehards and the ignorant will end up picking up the second iteration.

The Yo-Kai Watch series is one that I was openly ready to embrace, but following an underwhelming demo, realizing how uninvolving the gameplay was, and just getting tired of the 3DS, I was open to let the series pass me by, at least until it took a step in a more interesting and refined direction on another piece of hardware, which seems to be the case. Level-5 recently announced Yo-Kai Watch 4 (the third one has yet to come out in the west) for the Nintendo Switch. No meaningful details were given outside of how it will take place in the same setting as the darker anime spin-off Yo-Kai Watch Shadowside, which I do find far more appealing conceptually if only due to the edginess factor, and assuming that this shift comes with, well, good gameplay, then I guess I’ll finally be interested in this series.  It is set to release in 2018 in Japan, though it may be a year or two before it comes to the west.

In what has to be the most subtle and surprising game announcement since the days of the PS2 and the like, PQube, western publishers of games like Chaos;Child and Root Letter, recently put out Gal Gun 2, and the physical release of the game included a leaflet advertising the western release of the video game of Punch Line. For those unaware, Punch Line is a wackadoo multi-ending 3D adventure game written by Kotaro Uchikoshi of Zero Escape fame that centers around possession, panty shots, and a meteor that is on track to destroy the entire world, and after watching and enjoying the anime from three years ago, I am quite interested in what a fully realized version of this concept will wind up being. Punch Line will release this summer for PS4 and PS Vita.

Continuing this tirade of niche Japanese games, do you remember Shin Megami Tensei: Synchronicity Prologue? That really cool Metroidvania game that Atlus put out in collaboration with Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux but then stopped distributing last year because Atlus Japan is crappy like that? Well, the developers of the game, Ladybug Team, recently announced their next project, a metroidvania title based on Record of Lodoss War, a Japanese multimedia fantasy series that I honestly never heard of before. Based on the brief gameplay trailer provided along with this announcement, it is clear that the game is still early in development, but given the existing footage and the developer’s track record, I think the game looks incredibly promising, and will almost assuredly check it out sometime after it comes out on PC via Steam, though no release window was given.

In a move that I absolutely did not catch until it already started, Sega of Japan held a fan event by the name of Sega Fes to mark the end of this week, and as part of the event, the publisher offered a series of announcements. The biggest one being the unveiling of what is easily the most requested HD remastering since the concept was popularized almost a decade ago, as Sega is bringing Shenmue I & II to PS4, XBO, and PC in 2018. The game seems to be a fairly straightforward revision, with an updated UI, a new control scheme, and a general bump in resolution that, combined with fairly crisp textures actually make the game look better than I would have thought. While I have an inkling that neither of the games have aged particularly well, they are a much praised part of gaming history, and as somebody who backed Shenmue 3 mostly out of curiosity, I’m pretty much obligated to give these games a look after their release.

In addition to this, Sega also had two more comparatively minor announcements. Well, the announcement of a new entry in the illustrious Sakura Wars series may not be minor to some, but seeing as how niche the mostly Japanese exclusive series is, and how little I actually know about it, I cannot help but see it that way. Meanwhile, the announcement of a Sega Mega Drive Mini strikes me as an idea roughly one year late to the party, as it is clearly trying to mirror the NES Classic Edition in both design and concept. Plus, with the imminent release of the Sega Genesis Classic collection for PS4, XBO, and PC, this microconsole seems like a novelty or shelf ornament more than anything else.

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