Editorial – Journey to Pandora’s Tower

Pandora's Tower

Nintendo and Ganbarion’s Pandora’s Tower has been often relegated to the backseat among its contemporaries. Being that other game included in the Operation Rainfall campaign, it has neither the pedigree nor the accolades of Xenoblade Chronicles or The Last Story. As such, it was the game considered least likely to have a North American release. Even Operation Rainfall had left it for dead after their final push for it in Spring of 2012. But thanks to strong sales of The Last Story, XSEED Games has announced that they will publish Pandora’s Tower in North America in Spring 2013.

Still, the game will likely continue to sit in the shadows. Being developer Ganbarion’s first original work outside of licensed games, they don’t have the same brand recognition as Monolith Soft or Mistwalker. After the storm has died down from the surprising releases of Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story in 2012, Pandora’s Tower likely won’t ignite the same fire. It doesn’t help that it’s a Wii game being released in 2013.

Pandora's Tower

But I, for one, am still excited for Pandora’s Tower. Back in early 2011, before there was an Operation Rainfall, before the infamous comments about how Nintendo of America didn’t want to showcase games at E3 that they weren’t planning to sell, the first Japanese trailers for Pandora’s Tower caught my attention. I had heard of Xenoblade and The Last Story, but since I wasn’t as into RPGs at the time, they weren’t really on my radar. Pandora’s Tower, on the other hand, just looked like a cool action game, and I hoped it would get a North American release, even though I knew at the time that the odds weren’t great.

Then, it happened. The storm that led to Operation Rainfall broke, and seeing it as a good cause, I supported it. My attention quickly shifted over to Xenoblade, since that was the only game that seemed to have a small chance of actually getting a North American release. It also helped rekindle my interest in RPGs, as I ended up playing a number of them in 2012. My attention then shifted to The Last Story when it was announced and subsequently released. And now, much to my surprise, here I am again, standing at the foot of Pandora’s Tower.

Pandora's Tower

It’s interesting to see the split reactions to the game. Those that have played it either criticize it for being far inferior to those other two games, or praise it for being the best of the trio. I can’t know for sure what I’ll think until I’ve played it for myself, but I do know my own tastes. It caught my attention in the first place because I like action-adventure games, like the Zelda series. I also tend to like games that are a little bit experimental, even if they’re rough around the edges. I’m a big fan of both Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers and Epic Mickey. For me, it’s worth forgiving a few quirks for a fresh, new experience. In other words, Pandora’s Tower sounds like it’s right up my alley.

It’s unfortunate the game can’t be mentioned without those other games being included in the same breath. Even I have just spent several paragraphs discussing all three games as if they were a series. When The Last Story came out, some people seemed to look at it as “Xenoblade 2.” I suppose it’s inevitable that Pandora’s Tower will be perceived as “The Last Story 2” or even “Xenoblade 3.” But each of these games is a completely different beast, and Pandora’s Tower deserves to be judged on its own. Hopefully, it will be taken on its own merits, especially since it is the most different.

Pandora's Tower

As for me, it’s been a long, roundabout journey. I’ve braved a rainstorm through disappointment and triumph. I have traversed two dead titans, both inside and out. I have saved an island from siege, united two warring races, and married a princess. And now, I have finally returned to where I began. Everything has led up to this point. The final leg of my adventure is finally in sight.

And I can’t wait to take on Pandora’s Tower.

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5 thoughts on “Editorial – Journey to Pandora’s Tower

  1. Jason X

    It will definitely be interesting to see how this one turns out. One has to wonder just how many of the (rather vocal) members of Project Rainfall will follow through on this, the final and least understood of the three games. I know I certainly have my own reservations about it, precisely because it doesn’t have the pedigree of the previous two.

    Guess I’ll just have to wait and see what you think of the final product!

    1. Nester

      Don’t know if you’d want to go by me. My tastes tend to be a little off-beat. 😉

      I’m having a little trouble reading the reacting to Pandora’s Tower, myself. On one hand, I’m not seeing too much discussion or enthusiasm for it. On the other hand, it did reach #20 in video games on Amazon’s bestsellers list yesterday.

  2. Living in UK I have played all three. I don’t think Pandora’s Tower is the weakest or strongest of the three. It is the most different one. The other two are more or less a variation of what we come to expect from a JRPG. Pandora’s Tower is something else entirely. It is a more unique game. Which is why some will call it weakest and others strongest. The genre of Pandora’s Tower is more Love Sim/Action Adventure game then JRPG.

    1. Nester

      I get the feeling people refer to it as an RPG simply because it’s often lumped in with Xenoblade the The Last Story. But from what I understand, Pandora’s Tower is much more eclectic and difficult to categorize into a particular genre. And that’s actually why I’m so interested in playing it.

      1. I think that is one of the reasons certain games get bad reviews. People go into it expecting it to be a different sort of game then what it actually is. If you anticipate Pandora’s Tower being like those other two games your going to be in for a huge shock.

        I think another reason for the hate/like is to do with the Love Sim elements. You have to spend time with Elena and give her stuff otherwise you will miss out on I would guess roughly up to 50% of the game. It’s really easy just to feed her beast flesh and leave her and then end up getting the worst ending as a result of that.

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