2016 is already looking like it's going to be a bountiful year for RPGs, and thanks to Sega and Atlus, we have one more adventurous surprise queued up for the summer: 7th Dragon III Code: VFD is being localized for the Nintendo 3DS.
Though the 7th Dragon series has enjoyed considerable success in Japan since its 2009 debut on the Nintendo DS, none of the games have received translations outside of fan-orchestrated efforts. Sega and Atlus realize as much, which is why the distributed press release emphasizes that 7th Dragon III Code: VFD is a self-sustaining adventure that serves as a good jumping-in point for newbies:
"[E]ven though the series debuted in 2009 on the DS, 7th Dragon III Code: VFD is a self-contained episode, full of dungeon-crawling goodness."
Which is why fans of the Etrian Odyssey series should be particularly happy to hear the news about Code: VFD. It's the product of Odyssey's father, Kazuya Ninou, and Rieko Kodama of Phantasy Star and Skies of Arcadia.
Although the 7th Dragon series pays tribute to dungeon crawlers of old, it's also engineered to be a little kinder (and potentially more visually interesting) to RPG fans who aren't so hot on the brutality and uniformity of Wizardry and the crawlers it spawned.
VFD lets you choose the appearance, gender, and class of your party. Up to nine characters can fight in teams of three. If the front lines fall, the backups take the rear. Unlike most dungeon crawlers, however, Code: VFD lets you get a good look at your party as they fight and travel. And while battles can still get pretty nail-biting, the bosses are quite vulnerable to debuffs, which can help you stand your ground.
This is pretty vital, since as the series' name suggests, you fight against a truckload of dragons in 7th Dragon III Code: VFD. The game takes place in a grim future wherein dragon invaders are treating the Earth and its inhabitants like their own personal bucket of popcorn chicken. In response, Nodens Enterprises (a dragon-slayer training corps that fronts as a video game company) sends the protagonist and their party back in time to take on the "True Dragons," including Big Number Seven: VFD.
7th Dragon games aren't story-heavy affairs, and Code: VFD is no exception. That hardly means the game is bereft of opportunities to connect with your party, though. The character customization options are varied and welcome, as is the ability to see your party as they travel across the overworld and defend themselves in battle.
Also -- and this is really, really important -- Code: VFD lets you add a cat café to your party's headquarters.
Sure, you can also install a library, develop skills, go on side-quests and dates, but … cat café.
Incidentally, this is another welcome localization effort from Sega, which is also bringing Yakuza 0 to the PlayStation 4 sometime in 2017, and is also translating Valkyria Chronicles Remastered for North America and Europe.
If you'd like to know more about 7th Dragon III Code: VFD or the 7th Dragon series in general, consult your local librarian. If they've been incinerated by The Great Scaled Death, try Hardcore Gamer 101's excellent summation of the first two games in the series, or JRPGReview's review of Code: VFD.