Edged out by: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 and Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories, which stand to dominate the now-anemic PS2 JRPG scene.
Why it’ll have to wait: We understand that, for most of you, Eternal Poison isn’t even on your radar. It doesn’t even qualify as a triple-A title, unless of course your primary gaming machine is still a PS2, in which case you’re stuck in a last-gen ghetto of budget games and craptastic PS3/360 ports. In a situation like that, a quality original game like Eternal Poison is a rare commodity.
Above: This is a lot more interesting than it looks. Really it is
Unfortunately for EP, it’s far from the only game in town for PS2 RPG fans. While it got an early head start by launching in mid-November, even normally game-starved PS2 owners will have excellent reasons to put it off as December sees the releases of Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 and the potential juggernaut of Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories. With the “serious JRPG” and “semi-serious JRPG” niches neatly filled, there’s just not much incentive to pay attention to a strategy-RPG about Gothic Lolitas and their recruitable demon armies. At least not until sometime in 2009, when you either take notice of the fact that it's languishing in bargain bins, or it somehow becomes a sought-after collector's item(see also: Disgaea, GrimGrimoire, Odin Sphere).
Above: See? It’s got Gothic Lolitas and everything!
So why couldn’t you just buy all three games at once? Well, we’re guessing that if you’re still rocking a PS2, spending money on games isn’t a huge priority. And even if you want to play Eternal Poison on a backwards-compatible PS3, there are frankly more interesting things you could be sinking your teeth into right now. Like, say, this:
Edged out by: Japanese strategy RPGs still being a relatively niche market.
Why it’ll have to wait: Without question, Valkyria Chronicles is a great game. It’s beautiful, its alternate-universe World War II-style setting and action-strategy gameplay are fascinating and it’s adored by critics. But do you know what else was beautiful and great and adored by critics and died anyway? That’s right: Okami.* And to our trained eyes, Valkyria Chronicles has “Okami 2008” written all over it (disregarding Okami’s 2008 Wii re-release, of course).
Above: Yes, you should definitely think about maybe getting this at some point
Granted, PS3-owning JRPG buffs probably all rushed out and grabbed Valkyria Chronicles on day one, or at least have it somewhere high on their holiday wish lists. But if you don’t fall into that group, one of the following two things is probably true: you’re either completely disinterested in it, or you’re kind of interested, but maybe not as interested as you are in, say, Resistance 2 or Metal Gear Solid 4.
Above: ALL THEIR BASE ARE… oh, forget it
Maybe you’ve read something about how awesome the game is, and maybe you’re really curious about it. But when you look at it, you’re still not entirely sure what to expect from it; it’s an unknown quantity. And in a holiday season this busy, there’s no room for unknown quantities - especially not unknown quantities that sell for $60 and demand around 40 hours of your time. Most of you are going to go straight for the jugular of what you really want, and for a lot of you that’s not going to be Valkyria Chronicles. Not right now, anyway.
* Ha ha ha ha ha! We found a way to shoehorn Okami and its miserable sales into yet another list! Yeah, suck it, Internet!