At long last… signs of Brandish: The Dark Revenant’s arrival on PSN in the western world have come! Behold… screenshots!
(English-language screenshots will come with the next entry – right now, it’s all about ACTION, yo!)
This is a moment that’s literally been years in the making, as we first subtly teased the game… what, three years ago? Scheduling conflicts have been keeping it in a state of near constant limbo since then, but we never gave up on it, and its day is finally due – most likely before the end of 2014, even!
For those who are unaware, Brandish: The Dark Revenant is a PSP remake (bordering on reimagining) of a classic Falcom title from the days of yore. And although the game was released once before in English on the SNES in 1995 (simply titled “Brandish”), the PSP version is a massive improvement over what was then seen as a rather divisive title.
See, on the surface, Brandish is a fairly straight-forward action-oriented dungeon crawler: you fight monsters, solve puzzles, buy items, avoid traps, etc. Its standout feature is its perspective, as the camera is always situated behind you; so when you change directions, it’s not your character model that turns, but the world itself. In all original versions of the game, this change happened instantaneously – as soon as you turned, your surroundings snapped into place around you, making it look almost as if you’d teleported to a new area altogether. It was a bit disorienting if you weren’t used to it, with the catch-22 being that you had to spend a significant amount of time being disoriented before you could get used to it.
Those players who did, however, found a beautifully-designed, wholly engrossing experience waiting for them, with large, imposing maps, a balanced challenge, clever puzzles and absolutely devious traps.
Brandish: The Dark Revenant keeps all of those aspects, adds even more like them (like new boss patterns, and 13 extra floors in a Dark Revenant-exclusive post-game expert mode!), and completely kills all the disorientation and user-unfriendly clunkiness that prevented people in 1995 from recognizing what a diamond in the rough this game really is.
Because now, when you change direction, the world turns smoothly around you – still quickly enough to allow you to react to your surroundings, but not instantaneously, giving your brain enough of a chance to adjust to your new orientation without any confusion or difficulty at all.
…Yeah, it doesn’t sound like much, but seriously, it makes all the difference in the world. The over-the-shoulder-but-might-as-well-be-first-person perspective of Brandish is a staple of the series for good reason, as it offers all the immersion that comes with first-person gameplay, but without any of the drawbacks. You’re not just able to see what’s in front of you, but also what’s immediately behind you and off to the sides… plus, the physical viability of jumps can be immediately judged with virtually no effort… and your “spatial awareness” is always accurate down to the last coordinate, making it possible to use timing to your advantage, dodge enemies or traps more effectively, etc.
And now, all of this can be done without having to spend hours getting accustomed to sudden, jarring shifts in perspective or cumbersome, user-unfriendly menus. You can just jump right in and have a blast!
I really wish I could communicate through osmosis or something just how awesome this game is, because it’s impossible to do it justice simply by describing it. Suffice it to say, it’s a PSP game (planned for compatibility with Vita and PSTV, but still!) that we’re willing to release in 2014 solely because we really like it, and we really want you guys to be able to experience it.
I’d say if you’re a fan of the Etrian Odyssey series, enjoy the tough but fair difficulty of Dark Souls, or appreciate any of Falcom’s other action RPG offerings, you need to give this game a shot when it releases sometime… next month? (Fingers crossed!)
Look forward to more information in the coming weeks, as we still have toooons to talk about with this title. Since it was on the back burner for such a long time, we’ve had ample opportunity to really massage the text and make this one something special, so on the localization side alone, I’ve got at least one more gigantic tumblr post in me… and I’m not afraid to use it! 😉