SEGA has announced that the third entry in 7th Dragon franchise will be available in the North American region. 7th Dragon III Code: VFD will mark the first time the franchise has left its home in Japan. It initially launched in Japan late last year to a generally positive reception.

As this will be the first title officially translated to English, no prior story knowledge is required to enjoy the storyline. Set in the year 2100, 7th Dragon III tasks players with building a party and fighting back against the dragon menace that is plaguing humanity. By utilizing the ability to travel to three vastly different time periods, the player’s party must summon the strength to defeat the 7th Dragon.

The gameplay takes several cues from the Etrian Odyssey franchise, with a deep class-based customization system. Each of the eight playable classes plays a different, specialized role in the party, with a great amount of customization available in both skills and appearance. Though battle only comprises of a party of three, you can round out your team with up to nine members. Exploration takes place from a third-person perspective, but combat is viewed from first-person. Dungeons are expansive and littered with treasures and traps, but there’s no need for cartography. The 7th Dragon franchise and the Etrian Odyssey franchise share several key development team members, so be prepared to see some similar elements between the two.

I was fortunate enough to spend a bit of time with the Japanese release, and the experience was a positive one. The classes are rather creative, and possess a great deal of depth. You don’t often see a Hacker class that fights using virtual keyboards to debilitate foes, but that is indeed an option in 7th Dragon III Code: VFD. The difficulty was generally on the easier side, but picked up considerably around bosses, so there was an incentive to get the most out of my party members. There is an inescapably quirky tone about the story presentation, as your team is employed by a video game development firm, which serves as your base of operations. You have the authority to upgrade the facilities as you see fit. My first order of business was installing a cat café, but your mileage may vary.

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The range of classes and aesthetic options on offer

To anybody itching for a new RPG for the 3DS, 7th Dragon III Code: VFD seems like a solid choice. It’ll be interesting to see how the localization approaches the rather odd story, but there is a fundamentally sound RPG system underneath that to enjoy. The title is confirmed for an American release in Summer this year, with no official word of a European release.