Monday, February 10, 2014

There are a lot of time-consuming games being released this week

This was supposed to be the weekend that I began punching through Bravely Default. Instead, I picked up the game (from a clerk who ominously reported that they'd only received enough copies to accommodate preorders), watched the very neat AR intro... and then shelved the game to continue playing my current review assignment, Toukiden: The Age of Demons.

My plan was actually to finish the game in time for today's review embargo, but I've dumped around 20 hours into the thing since receiving the press key on Thursday night and there's still no end in sight. And you'd think that when I'm only given four days to cover a game that spans at least a couple dozen hours, the publisher is probably pretty embarrassed of the product, right? It's like when a studio doesn't screen a film for critics until the night before; it's usually because the movie is bad.

Well, Toukiden isn't bad. Not by a long shot.

It's a straight-up Monster Hunter clone, and speaking as someone who's always been simultaneously intrigued and intimidated by that franchise, Toukiden is comparatively a perfect entry point into this subgenre. That's not to say that it's better (Monster Hunter is clearly a much deeper experience), but it's better explained and offers a far greater emphasis on story as a driving point. I'll hold off on the specifics of why I'm really enjoying the game until I review it, which will hopefully happen later this week, but even amidst a busy release week, it'd be a mistake to write this one off.

That'd probably be easier said than done if I hadn't actually received a review assignment for Toukiden, since it's being released alongside at least three presumably massive games with considerably more hype. Aside from Bravely Default, my most anticipated game of 2014, we've got Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (the biggest name of the week, even if it's a sequel to basically the worst game in the world) and Danganronpa: Happy Trigger Havoc, which reportedly takes something like 25 hours to finish. I'm pretty much the only critic on my Twitter feed who hasn't played Danganronpa yet, but based on what I've heard, that one might just be my number-one priority when it's released on Friday.

Still, I'd rather have too much to play than not enough. This time last year, I was beating DmC for literally the sixth time and choking on Aliens: Colonial Marines. 2014 ain't bad so far.

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