by Jayce Ham
The amount of games released is ramping up as the new year is beginning. Developers are jumping at the chance to be the hot new thing that every gamer talks about at the start of the year. With the excitement of game of the year awards dwindling, it is time to get back to the heart of it all: playing new games.
January 19 was a big day for gaming as two games from the famous Persona were finally ported to modern consoles, including Games Pass on Xbox. The Persona games in question are Persona 3 Portable and Persona 4 Golden. As a big fan of Persona 5, I was excited to finally be able to jump in to some of the other titles in the series. Persona 5 skyrocketed the series fame above and beyond what Atlus, the developers, were expecting. Hoping to market off that rise in popularity, they decided to finally port two of the games in the series, which released originally many years before Persona 5. In both games, you play as a brand new student who is thrown into a strange supernatural situation and must with his or her personas fight supernatural creatures called shadows. While each game is set in a different situation and setting with a different cast of characters, the overall premise of fighting shadows with personas stays the same. Persona 3 Portable is unique in that you can play as either a male or female protagonist, with the story being slightly different depending on which you choose. Some fans of the series have complained that the games are not much different than the originals, but the studio never promised a remake or remaster, just a port.
On January 20, a new game in the Fire Emblem series called Fire Emblem Engage was released for the Nintendo Switch. In this game, you play as either a male or female character who is called the Divine Dragon, a hero who has been asleep for a thousand years after a nearly fatal injury. You’ve awaken to discover that the enemy you thought you ended those thousand years ago has somehow reawakened. Along with new friends, you also get to battle alongside the spirits of former Fire Emblem game protagonists, which brings a unique twist to the series. Fans are happy that the series is going back to their roots and focusing more on the tactical RPG aspect than the social aspect of the previous entry into the series.
On January 24, Forspoken was released for PC and PS5. The game has been receiving not so great reactions the last several months as people complain that the dialogue from the trailers and demo is cringy and the gameplay seems messy. Reviews have been mixed as the dialogue is still not well received and the graphics leave something to be desired, but the combat is fun, engaging, and sometimes challenging.
This has been an exciting month for Japanese game studios, and this year promises to continue that trend.