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Important Importables: Monolith Soft

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Good morning everyone and welcome to Important Importables! It’s been a while since we talked about import games together, but stuff happened and you know how it is. I’m making it up to you today. We’re learning about Monolith Soft, an up-and-coming developer that’s been making a name for itself with its quality RPGs. I mean, with its X mystery project coming out for the Wii U eventually, you should want to know more about the company making it.

monolith soft xenoblade chronicles

Who is Monolith Soft?

I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t know Monolith Soft. Until now, most of the developer’s games have been trapped in Japan and even people with a PS2, GameCube or Wii may be unfamiliar with the name. Monolith Soft was made by two former Square employees, Hirohide Sugiura and Tetsuya Takahashi, of Xenosaga, Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy IV fame. They set up shop in 1999 with help from Namco Bandai and started working with the publisher to put out Xenosaga Episodes I-III (PS2), Baten Kaitos (GameCube) and Namco x Capcom (PS2). Nintendo then took an interest in Monolith Soft in 2007, and eventually went on to completely buy out Namco Bandai’s stake to make the developer a full fledged member of the Nintendo family.

It’s a move that has done well for both Nintendo and Monolith Soft. While Namco Bandai has still published some of the developer’s games since then, it’s mean quite a few high quality games for Nintendo platforms. For example, the deal brought us Baten Kaitos Origins (GameCube), Soma Bringer (DS), Disaster: Day of Crisis (Wii) and of course Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii). Not to mention the future is quite bright. Monolith Soft worked on Project X Zone and Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the 3DS and is currently developing a Wii U RPG currently known only as X.

monolith soft project x zone

What Monolith Soft games should I be playing?

So you think Monolith Soft sounds awesome, you’re interested in the developer’s mystery X Wii U game and you want to see what they’ve done so far. Well, when it comes to Monolith Soft games it’s not like you have a lot of games to choose from, but the ones you can try are usually pretty awesome. It’s a classic quality over quantity situation. On the flip side, most of the company’s games haven’t made it outside of Japan, which makes the situation a little harder.

To help you out, I’m going to recommend some of the Monolith Soft games you should be able to find pretty easily and enjoy. A few imports are on the list, because this is a column about import games. It’d be crazy if they weren’t.

  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS): Yup, Monolith Soft was in on making the new Animal Crossing game. It worked with Nintendo to put together the latest 3DS installment in the series, which is coming to North America in summer 2013..
  • Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean (GameCube): Baten Kaitos is an interesting, “save the world” kind of RPG that centers around a flawed protagonist who has only one wing in a world where everyone else has two wings. Of course, the truly cool part is that the player is a sort of spirit guide to the hero, Kalas, and develops a relationship with him that influences the game. It’s considered a cult classic, so I’d definitely recommend giving it a chance.
  • Project X Zone (3DS): Keep an eye out for this one, as Project X Zone is getting released in North America in Summer 2013. It’s a strategic RPG that mashes together characters from Namco Bandai, Sega and Capcom games.
  • Soma Bringer (DS): The fact that this fantastic action RPG didn’t make it to North America is a travesty. It’s a great game with plenty of playable characters and quite a bit of available customization to make sure you’re comfortable. There’s a fan translation available, which is a bit of a grey area. The DS is region-free, so if you ever find a copy I recommend picking it up.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii): If you own a Wii or Wii U, you should really own Xenoblade Chronicles. It’s a fantastic RPG with a lengthy story, oodles of sidequests and the ability to build bonds with party members. It’s a very cool game and I highly recommend it. I’d say it’s the best Monolith Soft game I’ve ever played.
  • Xenosaga: Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht (PS2): I liked Xenosaga. It’s an interesting series and game, but it also isn’t for everyone. The cutscenes and jumping around can turn some people off. It doesn’t help that an epic was crunched into three games. I recommend grabbing the first installment, seeing what you think, then using that to decide if you want to play more.

That should give you a good idea of what you could and should be playing. If you’re only going take a chance on one Monolith Soft game though, it better be Xenoblade Chronicles. It’s amazing.

COMING NEXT TIME: Important Importables provides people with some reasons to try a Dragon Quest game.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Important Importables talked about Sony’s Toro Inoue.

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