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Impressions - Hero Bank 2 & Phantasy Star Nova - TGS 2014



Sega was really bringing it to the table with their area this year, but of all the titles available, there were only two RPGs. Unfortunately, while Shining Resonance was prominently advertised, there was no demo available. Here's what I did play, however.

Hero Bank 2

This game was everything I expected it to be, which is to say it was the exact same sort of experience that the original was. For reference, Hero Bank is an RPG formed around a single concept: virtual reality pro wrestling. Everything else stems from that. There's the babyface/heel dynamic at play, elements of kayfabe such as shoots and works, and professional rivalries throughout. If this ever does get exported, I expect the translators will really need this list in order to do it properly into English.

So when I say that this game is all about middle school online prizefighting, does that make sense? I hope so, because money really is central here. Fans throw tons of cash into the ring, which the player must scoop up before the opposition because all of the attacks are fueled by the power of money. The moves themselves are flashy as only pro wrestling can be when one removes all sense of reality from the proceedings. This second iteration includes tag team battles, and if they aren't new to the series then they're being pushed awful hard for some other reason.

So, is this one to look out for? It is if you like the pro wrestling scene, possibly, though it's such an odd title overall that I have trouble imagining anyone actually agreeing to bring it over. Miracles do happen sometimes, though.

Phantasy Star Nova

I think I've played more of this series within the spatiotemporal confines of TGS than anywhere else, which explains my continued lack of ability with it. I still have trouble surviving long enough to figure out what I'm doing wrong, but the people in the Sega Zone were nice enough not to notice how I didn't leave right after the demo ended. Instead, I read through the tutorial more closely and started the demo over for another ten minutes of fighting neon-eared bunnies and blaster-bearing carnosaurs. It was early enough that no one was waiting in line, so it was all good.

What did I learn from my stolen study period? First, the big new thing in Nova are the Gigantes. And by big, I mean the one in the demo was a sauropod loaded with cannons, ablative armor, and homing missiles. Because I'd read the tutorial, I knew there were new special weapons meant specifically for combating these behemoths. One used some facet of the Gigantes' personal energy field to create a force-field platform from which to better reach the tender spots (which typically glow yellow). The other was designed to breach the scales over those tender spots, laying them bare and allowing the player to strike for massive damage. The whole thing smacked of Monster Hunter with a fair dash of Shadow of the Colossus, because the darn thing really was that big.

Unfortunately, I was never able to ascertain whether I had either of the anti-Gigantes weapons at my disposal, but at least I think I came closer to defeating it before the quest timer ran out for the second time.

Well, that's all the Phantasy Star I'll be playing this year. Until the next TGS, then!

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