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CrossCode's Update Expands On Its Best Part: The Story 

Not an MMO

CrossCode [official site] is a Japanese-inspired action RPG about hurling great big balls of energy to kill enemies in a fictional MMORPG. CrossCode deftly blends a lot of different retro-ish inspirations and looks great doing it. Our resident Lord of the Dance, Marsh Davies, thought so when he waltzed through its world, noting that the game-within-a-game narrative was a "surprisingly multilayered fiction, which, despite the chirpy caricatures, feels like it might go bleakly Ghost in the Shell at any moment." And now that story is just a wee bit bigger with a new update this week.

The new version 0.7 brings a bunch of new features to CrossCode, chief among them being an additional one and a half chapters of new story to play through along with a handful of new quests to complete. The new story takes players to the Temple Mine, introduces some new characters, and also updates the character portraits and some other visual assets. There's also a nifty "Trader Book" which tracks every merchant you encounter while playing, their location, and their item stock. Now that this exists, I'm going to be just a little bitter when every other RPG doesn't have something similar.

Released on Early Access back in May 2015, CrossCode lets you play as Lea, a virtual avatar who is mute and has amnesia. As you navigate a fictional MMORPG trying to rediscover your memories, you'll grind the usual skeleton archers for sacks of cloth to sell at the local auction house and then get chewed out because your item level isn't high enough to complete the new raid. I'm just kidding... there's no auction house. Okay seriously though, CrossCode pulls from the likes of Legend of Zelda, Secret of Mana, and even has brief moments of bullet-hellishness to boot.

If you're keen on it, you can purchase CrossCode on Steam's Early Access for $19.99/£14.99. Otherwise you can wait for the full release which is expected to be in the first quarter of 2017.

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Steven Messner