XSEED’s E3 Lineup is a Thing of Beauty, Explosions, Cleavage

The time to E3 is measured in days now, not weeks, so the show lineup announcements are coming thick and fast.  Today’s announcement is for XSEED, who have a fantastic selection of games in a number of genres and styles to choose from with a couple of surprises as well.  Action, RPG, and farming all take their turn in the spotlight, and usually two at a time.

First on the list is the last of the Corpse Party trilogy, Corpse Party: Blood Drive for the Vita.  This new entry lets you walk around the school in 3D wielding a flashlight, which is a nice bit if visual pizzazz, but the real draw will be wrapping up the story and tying all its ends into a tidy bow.  Or possibly a gruesome knot, depending on how things go.  It’s Corpse Party, after all.

Next is a pair of Earth Defense Force, picking up the slack after D3 decided that Konami’s switch to mobile was the best move ever and it wanted a piece of that action.  Earth Defense Force: Invaders from Planet Space is quite possibly one of the best names for anything ever, but also a remake of the absolutely excellent PS2’s Earth Defense Force 2 for the Vita.  PS4, however, is getting Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair, the remake of the PS3/Xbox 360 EDF 2025.  It’s half again as large as the original version, which was already fairly gigantic to begin with, and my own personal level of “Want to Play Now!” is off the charts.

The fan-service section of XSEED’s booth will be packed three different games from two series.  Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson brings the series back to its original Nintendo handheld home on the 3DS, while Senran Kagura Estival Versus bounces its busty way onto the PS4 and Vita.  Both are fighting action games that just happen to star a large cast of busty women whose breasts seem to be made of jello, moving in a way that makes any actual large-boobed women watching cringe in sympathetic pain.  The games are good, cheesy, fan-service-y action, though, so it all works out right in the end.

XSEED01

Continuing on that theme is the third fan-service game, Onechanbara Z2: Chaos for PS4.  Somehow this series never quite got the memo that cheesecake needs to be creepily underage and instead features characters mostly over the age of consent.  It’s basically Bayonetta but even more B-grade ridiculous and sexualized, and a ton of fun because of it.

Popolocrois: A Story of Seasons Fairytale for 3DS takes two separate games and mushes them together into one, combining the RPG elements of Popolocrois with the farming of Story of Seasons.  There’s a 25-hour (estimated) main story with plenty of farming and life-sim to expand the play-time beyond all possible belief.  Collectible items and over 100 side-quests are packed in too, so this doesn’t look so much like a game as a long-term affair.

XSEED04

Finally rounding out the selection is Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel on Vita and PS3.  The release of this series is a bit messy, so much so that XSEED made a nicely lengthy blog post explaining how everything fits together.  The short version is that Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Second Chapter will come out before Trails of Cold Steel, while the other two games that were released between those two will come along later.  They were designed to be played in any order, so if you follow along with the US release you won’t be blowing the continuity and will eventually get the whole story.  The order may be slightly different but seeing as the games run independently there won’t be any problems with spoilers.  Legend of Heroes has been one of the consistently best RPG series of the last several years, so knowing their all on the way is great news for its fans.

E3 is going to be its annual madhouse, packed with AAA crowd-pleasers, niche-appeal indies, and everything in between.  It takes a lot to stand out in a sea of absolutely everything loud and shiny, but XSEED’s lineup does a fantastic job of having a little bit of something for just about anyone.  It also serves as a good reminder that, while the Japanese game industry is nowhere near the powerhouse it was 20 years ago, there’s still a lot of great gaming coming off the island.