Digital | ON: GAMES

Updates for the fan boys and girls

Ready to paint the town again?

Nintendo’s colorful third-person shooter returns, ready to splatter players with ink and cuteness. When released in 2015, “Splatoon” was a big departure for Nintendo. First, it was a multiplayer shooter. Second, its vibrant color palette ushered in a new look for Nintendo games — one that has been brilliantly continued with the recently released “Arms.”

“Splatoon 2,” another entry to what is becoming a solid lineup of Switch titles, looks to be less of a departure from the previous game, but more of a follow up, which isn’t a bad thing. As in the prequel, it is a team-based shooter that supports up to eight players in four-on-four matches. Players shoot ink, which they can swim through after transforming themselves into squids, and splat enemies. It features the previous release’s gameplay modes, including Turf Wars and Tower Control, as well as a new four-player co-op one called Salmon Run. For this, players join forces to defeat an onslaught of enemies.

“Splatoon 2” also has voice chat, an important feature for the multiplayer experience. This works via a smartphone app instead of being piped directly through the game, which is unusual for an online multiplayer title. A headset with a special voice-switcher device is available for the game, too. For fans, the most surprising difference may be the absence of the in-game idols Marie and Callie. Don’t fear, though, there are two new ones — Pearl and Marina, who sing and dance in the game.

“Splatoon 2” is priced at ¥6,458. Nintendo has also released a special “Splatoon 2” Switch bundle that comes with neon colored Joy-Con controllers for ¥38,837.

Same but different

New “Dragon Quest” games are always a big deal, but “Dragon Quest XI” has garnered more attention because it’s getting released on three different platforms: Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. The 3DS and PS4 versions are out this month, while the Switch one will roll out at a later date.

To get players excited for the PS4 and 3DS versions, Sony and Nintendo are releasing limited-edition “Dragon Quest” emblazoned hardware. Sony’s is a fetching blue DQXI PlayStation 4, while Nintendo’s 3DS is modeled after the game’s Metallic Slime character. Both look great, as do the games themselves, which brings us to an interesting difference between them.

Square Enix has created different “Dragon Quest XI” graphics for the two platforms. The PS4 release was made using the Unreal Engine and features beautiful hi-res graphics that take advantage of the PS4’s processing power. For the 3DS, which isn’t as powerful, however, the style was changed to a charming combination of cel-shaded and old-style 16-bit graphics. This means that Square Enix has created three different visual looks for the same game. Because die-hard fans may want to play both the 3DS and the PS4 versions, Square Enix is doing something else almost unheard of for a game maker. It’s offering a bundle of both versions (¥16,157) through Lawson and HMV, even though the platforms are from different companies.

“Dragon Quest XI” will be released on July 29. The PS4 version is priced at ¥9,698 and the 3DS one at ¥6,458.

No objections to more ‘Ace Attorney’

The latest entry in the long-running “Ace Attorney” lawyer adventure series takes players to Meiji-Era (1868-1912) Japan and Victorian England. In “Dai Gyakuten Saiban 2: Naruhodo Ryunosuke no Kakugo,” players once again follow the adventures of Ryunosuke Naruhodo, his legal cohorts and Sherlock Holmes. Ryunosuke is an ancestor of Ryuichi Naruhodo (Phoenix Wright in the English version), the star of many “Ace Attorney” games.

As always, scenarios unfold and players investigate crime scenes, talk to witnesses and collect evidence. All of this leads up to wonderfully overwrought courtroom showdowns. The “Ace Attorney” games often feature some of Capcom’s most enjoyable art and character design, and this latest entry, marking the series’ 15th anniversary, is no exception. It’s packed with interesting characters, engaging mysteries and dramatic courtroom suspense, while the period setting lets players experience a bygone era and a different flavor of legal drama involving some good old Sherlock-style deduction. The famous sleuth’s trusty sidekick is a girl genius named Iris Watson, so artistic liberties have been taken, but I doubt there will be any objections.

“Dai Gyakuten Saiban 2: Naruhodo Ryunosuke no Kakugo” will be released on Aug. 3 at ¥6,264 for the packaged version and ¥5,989 for the download.

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