Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse to be released 9/20

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Just a quick one today, to alert my multitudes of readers to the fact that Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse is being released in three days.  This spinoff of SMT4 is getting excellent reviews all over the place.  I’m reading as little as I can about the story of Apocalypse in order to go in fresh, but the general consensus about the game’s quality seems to be that it’s not merely a spinoff, but a full game in itself, and that it corrects some of the shortcomings that the good but somewhat flawed SMT4 suffered from (see here for more on my opinions regarding the original.)  So needless to say, I’m excited as fuck about this development and have preordered a copy.  I encourage any and all fans of the Megaten series or of stupidly difficult JRPGs in general to do so if you haven’t already.

In the meantime, I’ll be playing Hyper Light Drifter, a 3D isometric action game released earlier this year that looks and sounds amazing so far.  Between these two games, I should be able to distract myself from my crushing depression when I’m not busy with work to think about it.  That’s something to celebrate, isn’t it?

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Demo mode: CrossCode

Demo Mode is a new feature in which I’ll be looking at demos of upcoming games.  Not that my site needs a new feature, or any features at all, but why not?  The demo we’re considering today is…

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It’s extremely rare that I consider buying a game that’s still in early access on Steam.  The reasons for my reluctance are that I don’t want to spoil myself for the final, completed experience once the game is finished, and also that I’m cheap as hell and hope that the price of the game might drop a few dollars upon its final release.  However, after playing the demo of CrossCode, I’m sorely tempted to buy into it right away.

CrossCode is a cyberpunk-ish 2D top-down action title with graphics reminiscent of early 90s games.  It’s so cyberpunk-ish that it reminds me a little bit of VA-11 HALL-A, a visual novel that I recently played about cyberpunk bartending action.  The soundtrack has a similar feel and the opening screen even looks almost identical in layout to that of Valhalla.  A lone girl, her hair flying in the wind, her back turned to us as she gazes at a the skyline of a futuristic city.  Maybe it’s just a coincidence.

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Otherwise, though, CrossCode is an entirely different experience.  The game is centered around a top-down beat-em-up mechanic in which the player can use melee attacks, projectile attacks, dodges, and guards to battle enemies.  The player can move around with WASD and use the mouse to attack.  Combat plays nicely, but standing alone, it’s nothing special.

However, CrossCode throws in a possibly intriguing story and nice graphic design and pure style into the mix, making this game a lot more attractive than it might otherwise be.  Animation is nice and fluid, the characters look interesting, and the game doesn’t seem to be afraid to inject some humor as well (not that the humor might always work, but it’s better than a game that takes itself deadly seriously, isn’t it?  Well, maybe it isn’t.)  It also has a few scenes that can easily be exploited for cheap laughs when taken out of context.

Sorry.

Sorry.

The demo only takes about 45 minutes to get through, depending upon your battle competence and projectile puzzle-solving skills, but there’s enough here to interest me and to make me feel like the finished CrossCode will be well worth a play.  The question now is whether I’ll drop 20 dollars to get it in early access (the developer, Radical Fish Games, has set down a final release for the beginning of 2017, so we have at least four months before that can be expected.)

I guess it’s good that I have the luxury to wonder about whether to buy this game in early access.  Then again, it is a dilemma.  If you also want to debate with yourself about whether to get into this game during its early access period, try the demo here or here.