Atlus has been entirely too quiet in 2001, only publishing the fun yet non-RPG Super Dodge Ball for Game Boy Advance. However, the last two months of 2001 will be quite, quite different, as Atlus is preparing to release not one but three RPGs for PlayStation and PlayStation 2. Those games are Tsugunai: Atonement from Sony, Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth from Maxfive, and Wizardry: Tales of the Forsaken Land, finally confirmed for North American release, from both Four Winds and Atlus.
Tsugunai: Atonement has a very unique concept. The game, set to be released on the PlayStation 2 in late November, is what you could call a "Quantum Leap" style, where the spirit of the hero, Leise, jumps from body to body, putting right what once went wrong, in hopes that the next leap will be the leap to his original body. For more details, check our back coverage here. The leaping will eventually lead him into a fight against the ultimate evil of the land.
The battle system is also not typical, including options to block, dodge, or counter-attack, for added strategy, among other options. Also featured is a chilling Celtic-themed soundtrack by Yasunori Mitsuda, famed for the soundtracks of Xenogears, Chrono Cross, and many other famous RPGs. (Click here for Mitsuda's homepage in English) With all of these innovations, Tsugunai is set to be a nice breath of fresh air for the RPG library of the PlayStation 2.
Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth is the wildly anticipated Strategy RPG in vein of such games as Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre. Hoshigami takes place in the world of Mardias, which is in danger of being destroyed. You, Faz, must stop that. Not simply content to copy these past games, Hoshigami has many different features, such as forty non-linear missions, combination attacks, critical attack gauges, and an a battle strategy system called "Ready Action Points." For more in depth background on the specifics of the game, peruse both RPGamer's coverage and Hoshigami's official site. Hoshigami will be released in early December for Sony PlayStation.
Wizardry: Tales of the Forsaken Land is a PlayStation 2 RPG based on the classic computer series. As the game is on PS2, Wizardry features an advanced 3D battle engine that allows over a dozen enemies at once. However, what is quite unique is the many new features added into this new version that were not in any of the PC Wizardry games. Wizardry's parties consist of five races and eight character classes, and each character will have a varying personality. These personalities can either help form a more cohesive unit or cause chaos by clashing. This affects battle through the new "Trust System" which can give you special group attacks that will become an integral part of your battle strategy. With clashing personalities, the group attacks are few which makes battle all the more difficult. Wizardry: Tales of the Forsaken Land will be released on PlayStation 2 in early December.
Tsugunai: Atonement, Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth, and Wizardry: Tales of the Forsaken Land all have a MSRP of $49.95 and are rated Teen by the ESRB.