Two-deep on GameBoy Advance, the Golden Sun games are a throwback to those days when 2D turn-based RPGs were driving the industry. They’re full of all the classic ingredients: turn-based battle systems; massive magic spells that usually summon some crazy floating god-thing that does one attack and bails; characters with melodramatic storylines, elaborate costumes and wild hairdos; and a world-shattering quest that still boils down to relationships between these same characters. But far from being cliche, these are games that show you why all of this stuff has become compulsory – because it’s captivating.
Demon’s Souls (PS3)
Ignore the slightly bland art style, with its realistic earth tones and normal-looking knights, to notice how technologically impressive Demon’s Souls looks. Then get ready to die over and over … and over. This is a massive, Zelda-style action RPG adventure that also happens to be spirit-crushingly difficult. However, it’s the good kind of spirit crushing, the kind that makes you feel like a super-hero when you finally shove your sword through that bastard tongue-demon’s fat face. Like other legendarily tough games such as Contra: Shattered Soldier or Ninja Gaiden, this one is best left to the true warriors – but they’re going to love it.
G-Force (PS3, 360, PC – plus other versions we haven’t seen)
Okay. We’re going to go ahead and acknowledge that we’re about to recommend a game based upon a Disney movie, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and starring … wait for it … one housefly, a mole, and several guinea pigs.
The thing is: G-Force looks really fun. Most of the time, you play as a guinea pig kitted-up with a jetpack, a light saber-style electric whip, and a whole grip of other gadgets that would make Batman jealous: night vision, a flamethrower – even a hamster ball equipped with heavy artillery. It should be deeper than the usual movie licensed game too. There are action bits, stealth bits, vehicle sequences, and even flight moments, courtesy of your friend the spy fly. The movie features only a handful of mechanized, appliances-come-to-evil-life enemies, but the game looks to have around 30, ranging from shimmery-hot toaster ovens to doom-hovering electric razors and ravenous ceiling fans. Weird as it is to say, we’re really looking forward to it.
Programmed by the same folks who handled the DS remakes of Final Fantasy III and IV, Nostalgia looks to provide a refreshing change of scenery in the often predictable RPG landscape. It’s set in a steampunk version of 19th century England and while you’re the usual young man with a quest (find your missing father, a great adventurer) your party includes unusual members such as a witch and a grubby street kid. Plus, in addition to the usual turn-based team battles in dungeons, you’ll have to fight airship battles from aboard your customizable zeppelin. If the Final Fantasy games were reinvented as an Indiana Jones-meets-Jules Verne sort of adventure, this would be it.
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