• SHARE

Crash course

It’s about time (and space): The latest Crash Bandicoot installment finds its titular hero once again trying to stop the evil Doctor Neo Cortex from conquering the multiverse. | © 2020 ACTIVISION PUBLISHING INC.
It’s about time (and space): The latest Crash Bandicoot installment finds its titular hero once again trying to stop the evil Doctor Neo Cortex from conquering the multiverse. | © 2020 ACTIVISION PUBLISHING INC.

Nintendo had Mario. Sega had Sonic the Hedgehog. And Sony? Crash Bandicoot debuted in 1996 on the PlayStation 1 so Sony could have a mascot of its own. Crash stayed an exclusive Sony character until 2000, after which the game series was also released on non-Sony platforms.

The character, a genetically mutated eastern barred bandicoot, is back with another multiplatform release, Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time. While Crash Bandicoot games were released annually from 1996 to 2010, the character didn’t see any new games until 2017. Now, its titular hero is once again trying to stop the evil Doctor Neo Cortex from conquering the universe, after the nefarious villain tore the fabric of space and time.

It’s the best Crash game in years. What makes it appealing to both new players and those already familiar with the franchise are the two gameplay models. “Modern” restarts you at the nearest checkpoint after dying, while “Retro” has a limited number of lives and sends players back to the start of each level after dying, akin to how the original Crash Bandicoot games played.

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time was released on Oct. 2. It’s priced at ¥7,590 on PS4, while Xbox One is getting a digital-only version for ¥7,560.

bit.ly/bandicoot4-jp (Japanese); bit.ly/bandicoot4-en (English)

Pick Pikmin

A little pick-me-up: Pikmin 3 Deluxe has all the downloadable content stages from the original games, plus the Piklopedia from Pikmin 2. | © 2013-2020 NINTENDO
A little pick-me-up: Pikmin 3 Deluxe has all the downloadable content stages from the original games, plus the Piklopedia from Pikmin 2. | © 2013-2020 NINTENDO

The Pikmin games have always had diehard fans. Hitoshi Matsumoto, for example, of the comedy duo Downtown, is obsessed with Pikmin, and has even appeared in promotional clips for Nintendo. If you’ve ever played a Pikmin game, it’s easy to see why.

Back in 2007, Nintendo’s resident genius game director, Shigeru Miyamoto, hinted at what would become Pikmin 3, several years before its official release on the Wii U in 2013. Now, Nintendo is releasing an enhanced deluxe version for the Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo has already done deluxe Switch versions of other games, such as Mario Kart 8, so this isn’t entirely unexpected. Pikmin 3 Deluxe has all the downloadable content stages from the original games; added cooperative play in the story mode; and new prologue and epilogue story missions. One glaring omission from the 2013 version was the Piklopedia, which appeared in Pikmin 2 as an in-game catalog of all the fauna and flora. Thankfully, it has been added to Pikmin 3 Deluxe.

Pikmin 3 Deluxe will be released on the Nintendo Switch on Oct. 30 for ¥6,578.

bit.ly/pikmin3deluxe-jp (Japanese); bit.ly/pikmin3deluxe-en (English)

Releases and anticipation

Deep cut: The remastered version of Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne is based on the director's cut. | © ATLUS © SEGA ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Deep cut: The remastered version of Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne is based on the director’s cut. | © ATLUS © SEGA ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Tokyo-based Atlus has done several remastered releases of titles in its back catalog, but Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne HD Remaster is the first from its Megami Tensei series, which debuted way back in 1987.

What makes Atlus’ games so popular is not only their playability, but the fact there’s so much style, pizazz and meaning poured into each one.

Set in post-apocalyptic Shinjuku, Nocturne follows a high school student who’s been turned into a half-demon man and must use his new powers to drive out other demons fighting over the future of the universe. The remastered version is based on the director’s cut and has revamped graphics, cutscenes with added voice tracks as well as a new “Merciful” difficulty setting that aims to make the game more approachable for newcomers.

Atlus is going to release Shin Megami Tensei V early next year on the Nintendo Switch. Since this eagerly anticipated upcoming title is influenced by Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne, playing the HD remaster is a very good way to get excited for the latest installment in the franchise.

Priced at ¥6,578, Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne HD Remaster will be released on Oct. 29 on the Nintendo Switch and the PS4.

bit.ly/nocturnehd-jp (Japanese); bit.ly/nocturnehd-en (English)

PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)