If you all were paying attention last week, I put up a review of 7th Dragon by imageepoch and Sega. I was... not very charitable towards it, but that's a discussion for another day (right, Wheels?). More to the point, the first game I played at TGS 2015 was 7th Dragon III: Code VFD, because apparently I am a glutton for punishment.
It was better than I expected, though I'm not sure if that was because of the change in development teams or because the series has had time to mature, but Code VFD was a much less painful experience for me. There was a much stronger sense of cohesion, even in the twenty-five minutes allotted for the demo. After an obligatorily mysterious prologue, I could put together my own character from a sample of available classes and designs. And then, we came to the actual game.
The year is 2100, eight decades after the great dragon Fomalhaut failed to consume the Earth. In Tokyo, the newest big thing is 7th Encounter, a hyper-realistic VR game set in the turbulent year of 2020. After gaining entrance to this hot-ticket experience, I could make my own party under the guise of picking fellow ticket-holders to play with, and dove right in. The game-within-a-game had me exploring the Tokyo Sky Tower, now overcome with monsters and the series' trademark red flowers.
While I only had about fifteen minutes at this point, and there was a marked lack of dragons to be found, I still had a good time with this. My main guy was a Duelist, while my wingmen were a God Hand and a Samurai. Party size restrictions prevented me from having the fourth available character class, the Hacker, along for the ride as well. My chosen team had a good balance despite being solely comprised of front-liners. Both the Samurai and the God-Hand had basic healing abilities, while my Duelist turned out to be a sort of Summoner. Every round, he would draw a random color card and add it to his hand, giving him access to an elemental monster fit for blasting the enemy. The other two had their own subsystems going on, though I didn't have the chance to explore those more fully.
After a mid-boss was beaten, someone outside the simulation commented on how well my team was doing, and suggested ratcheting up the difficulty to see what we were really capable of. I'm wondering if we have a Last Starfighter scenario on our hands now....
So yeah, in spite of everything I have said and will continue to say about the first game in this series, the newest installment has my interest piqued. I am amazed at myself, truly.