By Josh Speer / September 11th, 2019
I always value my time meeting with XSEED Games. They’re responsible for publishing many of the quirky games I so enjoy, such as the Senran Kagura series, Freedom Planet, Shantae Half-Genie Hero and that’s just recent titles. They also did some amazing work bringing over games like Unchained Blades, Pandora’s Tower, Shadow Hearts and so much more. But at PAX West 2019, I got to demo two recent titles that they’re publishing, and both are games I have a lot of familiarity with. First was a farming sim / 2D action platformer I’m quite fond of, followed by the most complete edition for Travis Strikes Again. Let’s get started though with Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin.
The first time I played Sakuna, it was on a whim and mostly because I liked the art style of the game. That quickly grew to real appreciation for what I feel is an amazing title, and one I’m eagerly waiting to finally release. Though I am not that familiar with the developer, Edelweiss, I can recognize talent when I see it. This is a game that pretty seamlessly blends farming simulation with 2D action, and while I definitely prefer the latter, I was previously impressed with how it handled the former.
As for this particular demo of Sakuna, it was all focused on the action, which is perfectly fine with me. I was racing through an area besieged by demonic forces. I used my magical scarf to grab foes and fling myself around the arena of battle, using light and strong attacks to keep them at bay. The combat in the game is really fun, and reminds me fondly of Muramasa: The Demon Blade, which I originally played as a Wii exclusive. Point being, fighting foes is fluid, fast and incredibly fun.
The demo culminated in a fight against a giant skeletal beast that summoned minions and sprayed the entire field with fire. I used my scarf to climb him, slashing as I went, and generally made a nuisance of myself. Eventually I felled the beast, but not before taking heavy damage. If this is a window into the combat in the full game, then I’m going to be very happy with Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin. Especially since XSEED is bringing it to PC, PS4 and Nintendo Switch later in 2019.
I’m still more than a little surprised to see that Travis Strikes Again is getting another release. After all, I reviewed it on the site, and generally I’m a proponent of the philosophy that new releases should have new content. But the truth is, Travis Strikes Again: Complete Edition is just a re-release on PC and PS4. Granted, that’s great for those who missed out when it was originally a Switch exclusive, but I can’t help but feel a bit let down that it doesn’t have more bells and whistles.
That said, if you haven’t played Travis Strikes Again yet, this is pretty good incentive to do so. For one thing, even though I had mixed feelings about the game, it’s still crazy and fun. It has a distinct art style, different yet capable combat and great music. Plus, like any No More Heroes title, it features some absolute ball buster boss fights. It just doesn’t feature anything new, other than bringing with it the DLC that was launched post-Switch release, including new playable characters and more.
It boils down to this – if you’re a fan of the mad genius of Suda 51 and want to take a chance on a quirky side story, then you should definitely pick up Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes Complete Edition. I’m sure XSEED games will do a capable job of porting it, and it’s gonna be released in just about a month or so.
I had a fun time playing both these games with XSEED this year, and highly recommend folks check them out. Stay tuned to oprainfall for more PAX West coverage as it hits, including interviews, articles and more!
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