Level Up! | Upcoming games getting me through finals week

Level Up! Is a biweekly blog about all types of games, from Dungeons and Dragons to Mario Party

By Sinéad McDevitt, Digital Manager

Finals are coming up, and it can be hard to see anything past the looming deadlines and crushing weight of work. One way I try to stay focused through this is by reminding myself that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel— summer video game releases. Thinking about these games is what’s keeping me going, and here’s why.

“Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes”

“Fire Emblem: Three Houses” is the 16th mainline game in the series and one of the bestselling ones, for good reason. It’s filled with complex and interesting characters, mysteries for the player to unravel and piece together and more than two gay options! I’m also of the minority who enjoyed the spinoff game “Fire Emblem Warriors,” a hack-and-slash fighting game that has a cheesy plot yet is filled with addictive gameplay.

So, when I heard “Three Hopes” was going to be combining these two games, you can bet I was beyond excited. We don’t know a lot about this game other than the fact that it takes place during the five-year time skip in the original game — except nothing we see in the trailers actually lines up with what we know about the original game, there are a couple of mysterious new characters and characters who should definitely be dead show up. Oh, and one of the characters has time-travel powers, so none of those are necessarily plot holes — it could be the timeline going all wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey on us. So we just have more questions than answers, but even if I understood what was going on, I’d get the game because I want to see my kids again in new outfits to boot.

“AI: The Somnium Files Nirvana Initiative”

Speaking of wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey games and trailers that give us more questions than answers, “Nirvana Initiative” is the sequel to the original “AI: The Somnium Files,” a trippy puzzle game where you solve a bizarre mystery across multiple timelines — all of which is par for the course for writer and director Kotaro Uchikoshi.

“Nirvana Initiative” is picking up with Mizuki — the daughter of the previous game’s protagonist — as the lead character who is investigating a mysterious murder wherein the right half of a body was found five years ago, and in the present day the left half shows up, completely fresh. Like I said, weird. Uchikoshi is pretty famous for his high-concept sci-fi and insane plot twists, so I’m pretty sure whatever this game has in store is sure to be exciting if nothing else, especially with what we’ve seen of the “somniums,” the inside of peoples’ dreams that the player can investigate for clues.

“Live A Live”

The original 1994 Japanese role-playing game “Live A Live” is one of those games that gained a cult following in the United States, despite only being released in Japan on the Super Famicom. I’d never heard of this game before Nintendo announced the remake for this summer, but right away I thought it was interesting.

The game follows seven different protagonists across different eras, with turn-based combat and exploration mechanics. The original game was an early project for a lot of well-known talent in Square Enix, including Takashi Tokita and Yoko Shimomura. The remake is being made with the same HD-2D art style of “Octopath Traveler” and “Triangle Strategy,” which means it’s a gorgeous blend of 2D pixel sprites and 3D environments.

I’m so excited to get to experience this game and see what the hype is about.

“Yurukill: The Calumniation Games”

I have a bit of a thing for games with mysteries, if you can’t tell. “Yurukill” is a shoot-em-up and exploration game about a group of people who wake up in a mysterious amusement park and compete to have their wish granted. The cast is broken up into teams of criminals and “executioners” — the criminals’ victims, though things aren’t really that straightforward. For one thing, the main character, Sengoku Shunju, insists he’s innocent.

Death game stories have become more mainstream since “Squid Game” took the world by storm, but in particular games like “Danganronpa” and “World’s End Club” have been gaining traction with fans of JRPGs like myself, and “Yurukill” — which shares a developer with “World’s End Club,” in fact — is following in that vein, which has piqued my interest.

“Soul Hackers 2”

If you’re familiar with JRPGs even vaguely, you probably think of the Persona series. Well, games like “Persona 5” are technically spinoffs of the larger “Megami Tensei” series, and another spinoff series is “Devil Summoner,” and “Soul Hackers 2” is the fifth “Devil Summoner” game.

Got that?

The preceding game in the series, “Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers” came out in 1997 — though more recently got a re-release on the Nintendo 3DS — so a sequel announcement was a pleasant surprise for fans of the series. The main character is Ringo, a being from the data stream whose goal is to save humanity from destruction in the not too distant future. Gameplay is turn-based and takes a lot of things from the — highly underrated in my opinion— game “Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE,” which was a lot of fun and super interesting

It’s great seeing an old series get revived in such a stylish new way, and I can’t wait to give the game a shot.