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Shop Watch March 2022

By Russ | February 27, 2022 at 6:36 pm

March – also known as ‘the wake of Elden Ring‘.

Story time: Demon’s Souls and Dragon Age: Origins were released close to one another. I snagged Demon’s Souls because of its snazzy packaging and genuine like for the trailers, but I was really looking forward to Dragon Age. Sadly, Dragon Age turned out to be a mess for me. The top down combat was removed for consoles, and a game-crashing bug occurred in the area I was in. I couldn’t leave or defeat the boss. And the one time I did win the fight (due to another bug I couldn’t replicate), I forgot to save and was killed in my next random fight.

Forgetting to save was on me, but the experience did sour any intention to play the game further. Apparently ever, as I never went back. Anyway, I popped in Demon’s Souls and loved it. Absolute great time with a game. See, I don’t mind dying in a game (Metroid Dread, looking at you) so much as I cannot stand having my time wasted by easily fixable things (autosave, general quality assurance). And Dragon Age wasted my time. Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, Bloodborne? These games don’t waste time. Yes, it can be frustrating or take a lot of effort to overcome the challenge; but a lot of that is solely on the player and their soul levels, equipment, etc. Not on a targeting bug, or an invincibility glitch, or whatever happened in DA:O.

Anyway, let’s talk releases.

Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons will release on February 28. In a combination attack with Elden Ring, Destiny 2: The Witch Queen, Lost Ark, and the re-opening of the critically acclaimed MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV free trial, which includes the entirety of A Realm Reborn AND the award-winning Heavensward expansion up to level 60 with no restrictions on playtime… well, World of Warcraft is probably taking a larger beating than anticipated.

But really, it is a good time to like MMOs.

Finishing up February, free to play MMO Lost Ark and the demo with the first season of online action RPG Babylon’s Fall are available. The full game of the latter hits March 3. I do recommend the demo. It’s pretty much the full game minus the extra stuff players get for paying retail thus far.

The first of two games on my radar strikes this day as well. SE’s Triangle Strategy hits the Switch. The Prologue Demo, which covers the first 3 chapters of the game and one of the big story branches; is available to play. The data loads into the final game.

I am impressed with Triangle Strategy so far. It’s very much Final Fantasy Tactics in terms of gameplay and graphical presentation, but the writing is more Xenogears, Lost Odyssey, or Endwalker – it treats the player like an adult without relying on grit or fanservice. And the concept of nakama and power of friendship is still present, but applied via democracy. Companions vote on the route the story will take, and it is up to the player to convince them otherwise before the decision.

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin has been garnering a lot of attention for its trailers. The grit and fanservice Triangle Strategy lacks has been sucked up by SoP – which edgelords to the max but also seems to be a reliable take on the first Final Fantasy? The title hits PS4/5 and Xbox on the 14th.

A port of Crystar will hit the Switch at the end of the month.

Launching the 24th is the second of two games – and second strategy RPG – on my radar. Relayer is a mech SRPG for PS4/5 and Switch. It’s Front Mission‘s style and gameplay with a bit of Super Robot Wars over-the-top power. Relayer looks to be a sleeper hit for the month as players defend the galaxy from an invasive threat.

Supposedly Steam will have a JRPG sale on March 14th, and currently the PlayStation Store has a ‘Big in Japan’ sale to hit up any RPGs you may have missed.

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