Digital | ON: GAMES

Just waiting for the comeback

by Brian Ashcraft

‘The Last Remnant’ returns

The Square Enix role-playing game “The Last Remnant” was first released on the Xbox 360 back in 2008. A PC version followed and though a PlayStation 3 one was announced, it never materialized. Now, a decade later, the game has been remastered and will finally be available for PlayStation hardware on Dec. 6.

“The Last Remnant Remastered,” priced at ¥4,298, comes to PlayStation 4 as a digital download only and it doesn’t feature any new content. However, Square Enix has overhauled the graphics, using a new in-game development engine, as well as making a handful of small, yet welcome changes. These include an easier-to-read in-game font and an increased number of game-save slots.

When “The Last Remnant” was originally released, it was poised as a game that would appeal more to international gamers, but it received mixed reviews. Since the PS3 version failed to appear, it’s nice to see that Square Enix hadn’t completely forgotten about PlayStation fans who have been patiently waiting.

Japanese: www.jp.square-enix.com/thelastremnant English: bit.ly/lastremnantps4

| © 2018 POKEMON. ©1995-2018 NINTENDO/CREATURES INC./GAME FREAK INC.

Hey ho, let’s go!

“Pokemon: Let’s Go! Pikachu” and “Pokemon: Let’s Go! Eevee” are the latest Pocket Monster releases from Game Freak Inc. They are not mainline pokemon games, but reworkings of the first games “Pokemon Red” and “Pokemon Blue.” In “Let’s Go! Pikachu,” players have the electric rodent as their trusty sidekick, while the rabbit-eared Eevee takes that role in the other version. Like the first games, “Let’s Go!” features all 151 original Pokemon as well as iconic characters like Brock and the Team Rocket villains.

But don’t think of this as a simple remake. It’s not. While the mainline Pokemon games have been generally aimed at young players, they feature incredible deep combat and role-playing game mechanics. In “Let’s Go!,” many of those mechanics, such as breeding new Pokemon, are absent. There are other changes, too, such as a lack of random encounters with Pokemon.

“Let’s Go!” is more of an entry point for “Pokemon Go” fans. One gameplay mechanic involves earning candies, which can be used for improving stats. The games take their cues from “Pokemon Go,” with players throwing their Poke Balls to capture Pocket Monsters instead of fighting them as they do in the traditional Pokemon games. In fact, the “Let’s Go!” games even connect and sync with “Pokemon Go,” allowing players to transfer many of their catches.

Both versions are for Nintendo Switch at ¥6,458, and for many players, a big thrill will be getting the additional Poke Ball Plus controller, which lets them catch and store Pokemon. That should tide players over until the next official mainline game arrives next year.

Japanese: www.pokemon.co.jp/ex/pika_vee English: pokemonletsgo.pokemon.com/en-us

The survival game

Survival action game “Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories,” which places players in the midst of natural disasters, was originally slated for release on the PlayStation 3 in 2011. Then a real-life tragedy hit. The 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake ravaged the country, and the game was canned. The game’s studio, Irem Software Engineering, retooled as a pachinko machine developer.

“Disaster Report” producer Kazuma Kujo, however, set up a new studio called Granzella and acquired the “Disaster Report” brand. He and his team began work on a version of the unreleased game and the result is “Disaster Report 4 Plus: Summer Memories,” available for PlayStation 4 at ¥7,776.

Within the game, the main character visits a large city for a job interview when disaster strikes, leaving players in a variety of real-world-like situations, including dealing with the issues of taking shelter in a local school.

The PS4 version has PlayStation VR support, which places players in the action like never before. The “Disaster Report” series of games, known as “Zettai Zetsumei Toshi,” was renowned for its realism and this latest entry is a collaborative effort with the Kobe Fire Department, so players should pick up authentic survival tips while playing. Let’s hope they’ll never have to use them.

Japanese and English: www.zettai-zetsumei.jp