Breaking: Atlus Publishing Handheld RPGs (And I Will Probably Play Them)
Half of Atlus's E3 2010 line-up was taken up by what one might call their bread and butter: hardcore-targeted handheld RPGs. This morning I got to check out some gameplay and hear details on Etrian Odyssey III for the DS and Knights in the Nightmare for PSP.
Etrian Odyssey III, which releases September 21, continues the series standard of throwing back to old-school PC RPGs like Wizardry. You'll explore and map out areas in first-person view, complete missions, and level up to your heart's content.
What's new in the third game? The biggest change this time is the ability to jump in a ship and explore the waters off the coastal hub city. This allows for much more wide open expanses in need of exploration, though dungeons aren't gone entirely. There are rumors of a sunken city that your party will inevitably end up plundering.
Etrian Odyssey III also features 10 all new classes and a brand new co-op multiplayer mode. In this local-only mode, up to five players can hook up and take part in specially designed boss battles.
Knights in the Nightmare, meanwhile, is making the journey from DS to PSP. The port maintains the original's unique and challenging mix of strategy RPG and shooter but adds a couple bonuses.
Most notably, you'll be able to play as a third character, Princess Yggdra. This character is actually a cameo from one of the developer Sting's previous games, Yggdra Union, and she provides a more lighthearted perspective to the story of Knights in the Nightmare.
Titles like these aren't really meant to expand Atlus's niche fanbase (stay tuned for my look at their upcoming downloadable titles for that), but they continue to provide a source of relief for RPG lovers afraid that current console offerings have largely left us behind.
[Image from Etrian Odyssey II]