There is a war brewing, a revelation. For years, Japanese based consoles were the only platforms that flourished from their roots. Nintendo was successful, Sega was successful, and the same goes for the recent Sony. All of these companies are based in Japan. In 2001 Microsoft, an American based company, stepped up to the plate. Though Microsoft’s Xbox did well in Europe and North America, it faltered in Japan. Some of the reason being is the lack of Japanese developer support, especially with RPG’s. Let’s face it; the Xbox wasn’t the ‘must have’ console for RPG fans. Sure, we had Jade Empire, Elder Scrolls and Fable, but that isn’t an adequate amount for us fan boys. We like variety, choice, and plenty of stories to play through. This time of lacking Japanese support has come to an abrupt stop for Microsoft though.
With the announcement of the 360 and J. Allard’s vision of the future of games, Japanese support came surging through the door. With all of that support came a developer by the name of FromSoftware, responsible for excellent titles like Tenchu, Armored Core and Otogi. Now FromSoftware is bringing a new title to the Xbox 360 that has us tickled with joy. It’s a traditional-like RPG that crosses over into the next generation of software, and it’s known as -eNCHANT arM-, or [eM].
From what little is known about the storyline, we can gather that there is an evil sorceress called The Devil Golem. Though her role has not yet been revealed, we understand that there is a Golem War that is taking place. The main character has special powers – whether for good or worse, we can’t tell. It seems like his forearm has been cursed, and he now has elemental powers beyond belief.
In the demo of the game, you could run into a city full of commotion and people. Sidewalks are lined with venders and entertainers. Your party of three travels together, but you only control the main character, as this is the only person you will see until battle or a cut scene. As you stop by and speak with someone along the bustling streets, the camera zooms in to a close up, laying more detail among the characters while they talk and converse.
Then comes the battle… It is in a long-established turn based combat mode, but the developers mixed in some fan favorites. Battles take place on a grid, and each character and foe has their own spot on the grid. Let’s say that you were going to pull off a regular attack that affects only the person in front of me, and then only the opponents that reside on the squares vertically aligned to you would be affected. Or maybe you want to release an extra-ordinary attack that damaged many people; then all of the enemies that are located on the surrounding squares around you would be affected. It’s slightly confusing by someone’s description, but surely it will come easy if you try it first hand.
Graphically, the game sports some innovative artwork and characters. With the extra power boost from the Xbox 360, [eM]’s world is filled with color and detail, but nothing you wouldn’t expect. What catches our eye is the action that is packed into the game. From trailers we’ve seen, it doesn’t look like you’ll complete the game without experiencing an action-filled story that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Many of us RPG fans now have a choice of what we will be buying; and -eNCHANT arM- looks like it could be a solid choice to nourish our hunger. It will also be launched along side the Xbox 360 in Japan, so we will be hearing a lot more information from the title around Christmas. Until then, we’ll keep you updated!