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game review

KILL la KILL - IF

The iconic cast of TRIGGER's KILL la KILL is back in a brawler for consoles and PC - but is the return worth your time? Heidi's here with the verdict! ― Kill la Kill is a beloved anime series for a very good reason: fantastic art design, memorable characters, a weird and fascinating setting, and – perhaps most importantly – fantastic action sequences. Fans have clamored for a Kill la Kill game for ye...
game review

REVIEW: Trails of Cold Steel

This underrated JRPG gem comes to the PS4 in a definitive edition that retains the original's charm. Branden Johnson explains what makes this series so special. ― There are RPGs that command attention with each new release. Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, even (to a lesser extent in the States) the Tales of series. Then there are RPGs that, while exceptional, fly under the radar for whatever reason: may...
game review

The World Next Door (Switch)

Manga giant Viz Media's first foray into game publishing hits the Nintendo Switch in the form of the colorful, visual novel-flavored match-3 puzzle game The World Next Door. ― When I sat down to play The World Next Door, I had almost no expectations, something that rarely happens with a new game these days. I had been impressed by artwork I'd seen, and I knew it was being released by Viz, manga publi...
game review

REVIEW - One Piece: World Seeker

This open-world adventure takes its ambitions beyond the usual limits of licensed anime games. Sam Leach finds out if the result is fun enough to be worth a look for casual or experienced players. ― I'm hesitant to use the word “ambitious” to describe One Piece: World Seeker, because if we're comparing it to anything beyond licensed anime games, it looks like a half-baked cookie-cutter rendition of a...
game review

Fate/Extella Link (Switch)

The sequel to the Dynasty Warriors-style Fate game Fate/Extella is here, loaded with new characters and costumes - but is it a step up from the last one, or just more of the same? ― Fate/Extella Link is set in the same general continuity as the past games in the Fate/Extra series--Fate/Extra, Fate/Extra CCC, and Fate Extella. However, despite this, it is not a direct sequel to the previous game, Fate...
game review

REVIEW: Steins;Gate Elite

This remastered version of the sci fi visual novel classic is finally available with new footage and features for fans to discover all over again. James Beckett finds out if this revamped game is worth a look for S;G fans. ― Despite its foibles, I still consider the Steins;Gate anime to be a solid science-fiction romp, and I've long meant to double back and play the original 2009 visual novel on whic...
game review

Kingdom Hearts III

Sora's long journey with his many Disney friends comes to a close in this long-awaited final chapter of the trilogy. Callum May has our full review of this highly anticipated RPG. ― Your impressions of Kingdom Hearts III are almost entirely shaped by how much experience you've had with the series thus far. Or how you felt about each entry. Zipping around Disney, Pixar and original Kingdom Hearts worl...
game review

Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition

One of the most beloved Tales RPGs is finally available in HD on the Nintendo Switch. Dave Riley finds out how this classic has held up over ten years later. ― It took ten years, and one legendarily dismissive tweet, but we finally got it. Originally released on Xbox as part of Microsoft's push for a Japanese audience, Tales of Vesperia's updated and expanded PS3 version was a Japan-only release, bar...
game review

REVIEW: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

At long last, the definitive version of Nintendo's beloved fighting game series is out on the Nintendo Switch. Branden Johnson finds out if this edition really lives up to all the hype. ― The level of excitement in the Smash Bros. fan community has probably never been higher. For all intents and purposes, this is the game. The one that has everything we could possibly want (okay, except for Waluigi)....
game review

Pokémon: Let's Go!

Pokémon fans can explore the Kanto region like never before in this high-def remake of the classic Yellow Version, but has Generation 1 aged gracefully? Branden Johnson finds out. ― I missed the Pokemon train entirely the first time around. It's strange; I love JRPGs, and I was the perfect age when Pokemon Red and Blue hit the Gameboy in the 90s. Whatever the reasons, I haven't played a single Pokemo...
game review

SNK 40th Anniversary Collection

SNK delivers a history lesson with an anthology of early arcade and NES titles. Todd finds out how well these games have held up in this new game for the Switch. ― What made SNK a cult favorite game company? Was it the Neo Geo, which delivered arcade-perfect games at home for just two hundred dollars per cartridge? Was it the Neo Geo Pocket Color, a well-made and vastly underappreciated handheld syst...
game review

My Hero: One's Justice (PlayStation 4)

My Hero One’s Justice captures the essence of its source material, and offers a fine experience for anyone looking to cross blows as their My Hero Academia favorites. ― The anime franchise tie-in brawler is a venerable gaming institution, with Bandai Namco having published similar efforts for franchises like Naruto and Dragon Ball in the past. On the other hand, One's Justice developer Byking are rel...
game review

Fist of the North Star: Paradise Lost

The classic head-exploding action of Fist of the North Star is poured into the Yakuza gameplay mold, but do these two great tastes taste great together? Daryl Surat scours the wasteland to find out. ― The last few years have marked a surge in popularity among English-language fans of both Sega's long-running Yakuza series of videogames as well as—to a lesser extent—the formative trope-establishing Sh...
game review

Mega Man 11

It's Mega Man's big chance for a comeback, and it's not what some fans might expect. We dig into a video-game icon's return! ― Don't let the number fool you. This may be the eleventh or twelfth central Mega Man title. It may be backed by several spin-off series. Yet it's been nearly a decade since the last full-blown game in the series. Even then, Mega Man 9 and 10 were deliberate throwbacks, built t...
game review

Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle

Capcom resurrects a bunch of their classic arcade brawlers with a seven-game collection. Do they still put up a fight? ― Brawlers. Beat 'Em Ups. Belt-Scrollers. Double Dragon Clones. Punk Punching Parades. Those Arcade Games That Mom And Dad Always Said Were Too Violent For You Back in 1988. Whatever you call them, they never quite got their moment on top. True, they were staples of arcades in the la...
game review

Import Review: My Hero One's Justice

My Hero Academia arrives on consoles and PC as a fully-featured arena brawler bursting with everyone's favorite heroes, but does it go PLUS ULTRA? Find out in our early review. ― With the current popularity of superheroes in popular culture, it's no surprise that superhero anime My Hero Academia is three seasons in and commands an ever-growing legion of loyal fans both inside and outside of Japan. Th...
game review

Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate

This content-rich but intimidating adventure from the 3DS has landed on the Nintendo Switch. Branden Johnson gets lost in the world of Monster Hunter. ― I've long aspired to be the sort of person who is into Monster Hunter. It's a real “gamer” series: brutal difficulty, complex systems, a strong community. Being a fan of Dark Souls and Bloodborne, I figured I would get into Monster Hunter, if I could...
game review

Review: Fate/Grand Order Arcade

The smash hit Fate smartphone game gets an extra-fancy new arcade edition in Japan that actually prints out physical cards for you to take home - but it doesn't come cheap! Richard Eisenbeis took the plunge, here's his report. ― The Fate franchise is massive and sprawling. There are numerous games, TV anime, movies, novels, drama CDs, and manga. But while the franchise originally became popular duri...
game review

Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night & Persona 5: Dancing Star Night

In the wake of Persona 4's successful rhythm game, its siblings are getting in on the action! Which of these two new games should you play? Richard Eisenbeis has the answers in our full review. ― Following in the footsteps of 2015's Persona 4: Dancing All Night, Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night and Persona 5: Dancing Star Night are a pair of rhythm/music games that showcase the awesome soundtracks of Pe...
game review

Valkyria Chronicles 4

Whether you're a longtime fan of the series or a newcomer, Valkyria Chronicles 4 doesn't disappoint. Richard Eisenbeis delivers his full review of the newest entry in this TRPG saga. ― The Valkyria Chronicles series is a piece of historical fiction set in a world much like our own. However, instead of coal or oil, it is the mysterious mineral ragnite—which can do anything from cure wounds to power a ...
game review

Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido

This quirky puzzle game for the Nintendo Switch and 3DS is sure to win over fans of absurd humor and fast-paced strategy. Branden Johnson elaborates. ― Nailing absurdist humor is tricky. If you wink too much at the audience, it can be eye roll-inducing, and if you aren't polished enough in your presentation, you run the risk of your audience laughing at you, not with you. But Nintendo has pulled it o...
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Review: Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time

This dungeon-crawling action RPG boasts all the style of Studio Trigger's hit series, but not so much the substance. Todd Ciolek digs into this magical adventure. ― It's neither original nor unkind to say that Little Witch Academia stood out on appearances. The series is a charming tale of a misfit at a magical academy, a fantasy staple since well before Harry Potter, but it might not have leapt from...
game review

REVIEW: Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet

This run-and-gun RPG for the PS4 allows SAO fans to interact with all their favorite characters in a brand-new story. But is it fun to play? Branden Johnson finds out. ― Unpopular opinion time: my least favorite arc in Sword Art Online was Gun Gale Online. Not that it was bad, just that it felt lacking compared to the two storylines that preceded it. So my expectations going into Sword Art Online: Fa...
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Ni no Kuni II:Revenant Kingdom

It took 8 years for a Ni no Kuni sequel to finally surface, and now that it's here, there's both good news and bad for this lavish Studio Ghibli-esque action RPG. ― Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch was a bit too traditional for me. As a lover of RPGs and the films of Hayao Miyazaki, I figured it would be right up my alley. An RPG that looks and sounds like a real Studio Ghibli film is basically a...
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GAME REVIEW: Attack on Titan 2

This sequel to the first action game in the franchise from KOEI-TECMO and Omega Force makes significant improvements on its predecessor, but is it worth a purchase? Heidi Kemps has the answers. ― Omega Force's record with anime and manga adaptations is a bit spotty. We've had disappointments like Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage and Berserk and the Band of the Hawk, but we've also had some real win...
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REVIEW: Dragon Ball FighterZ

Dustin Bailey has the full rundown on the most hotly anticipated DBZ fighting game of all time. Find out if FighterZ lives up to all the hype! ― Dragon Ball FighterZ isn't just a good game for fans of Dragon Ball—it's a great game period, a best-in-class fighter that looks great and is fun to play at any level. That it's crafted with loving reverence to one of the most popular anime on the planet is ...
game review

River City: Rival Showdown

The open-world gameplay of this breezy beat-em-up returns on the Nintendo 3DS. Heidi breaks down how this game stacks up against its predecessors for prior fans and newcomers alike. ― For being such a long-running game franchise, the Kunio-kun series of beat-em-ups is quite a confusing mess. It's a beat-em-up series about a bunch of high school delinquents fighting for turf and showing who's the toug...
game review

Resident Evil Revelations Collection

Both RE: Revelations games have arrived in a special re-release for the Nintendo Switch, but is there anything new in this edition worth picking up? Dave Riley finds out. ― With the release of a new console, the Switch, comes the expected glut of HD ports, and Resident Evil Revelations, which has been ported to on average a console and a half per year since its original release on the 3DS in 2012, is...
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Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth

Does the newest entry in this difficult RPG series still hurt good enough to be worth the challenge? Todd Ciolek finds out. ― Etrian Odyssey games ask a lot. They require you to pace around dungeon grids full of nasty enemies. They require you to map out levels in the tradition of the hardest RPGs of 1986. They require you to try again and again, even after a sudden and vicious encounter wipes out yo...
game review

Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online

Is this super-meta RPG worth playing for more than its jokes and fanservice? Todd Ciolek finds out. ― Neptunia is a series of inexhaustible potential. The central RPGs feature anime heroines who represent various game consoles and companies, and that makes for rampant and excusable genre parody. Put the characters in a pop-idol simulation or a strategy-RPG and you're not just cynically exploiting a m...
game review

Super NES Classic Edition

With heaps of 16-bit classics to choose from including the never-before-released Star Fox 2, the Super NES Classic is a retro gamer's dream. Todd Ciolek has the lowdown on every title in this collection. ― Last year's NES Classic Edition was a finely crafted piece of nostalgia: an authentically miniature Nintendo Entertainment System with thirty built-in games, ranging from enduring classics to dispo...
game review

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite

Several changes have been made to this fighting game's new installment, but not all of them are for the better. Dustin Bailey gets into it. ― The new story mode in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite has all the characters trapped in a pair of worlds awkwardly smashed together out of pieces from their respective universes. Marvel's AIM laboratories host not only MODOK, but also the BOWs of Resident Evil, smu...
game review

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony

To call the end of Danganronpa "shocking" would be an understatement! Jacob Chapman takes on the controversial final chapter in this SPOILER-FREE review. ― Prior to the release of this (second?) conclusion to the main Danganronpa trilogy, series creator Kazutaka Kodaka was emphatic in several interviews that this "new semester" would be completely open to newcomers. While it would bring closure to th...
game review

Metroid: Samus Returns

Samus is back in this expansive, extensive remake of Game Boy original Metroid II, but can it capture that old Metroid feeling? Dustin suits up to find out... ― There's a lot of bombast to a title like Samus Returns. Not just a nod to the original Metroid II subhead, this is indeed the return of Samus after an interminable hiatus for the Metroid franchise. It's been thirteen years since the last 2D M...
game review

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony

To call the latest chapter of Danganronpa "shocking" would be an understatement! Jacob Chapman takes on the controversial V3 in this SPOILER-FREE review. ― Prior to the release of this (second?) conclusion to the main Danganronpa trilogy, series creator Kazutaka Kodaka was emphatic in several interviews that this "new semester" would be completely open to newcomers. While it would bring closure to th...
game review

Warriors All-Stars

This colorful cast of characters spanning a dozen different Tecmo titles have come together for a crossover musou extravaganza! Dustin Bailey finds out if the gameplay can fulfill its promising premise. ― Tecmo has a deceptively large roster of franchises. There's the big stuff, like the Warriors games, Dead or Alive, and Ninja Gaiden. There's more niche RPGs and weird action hybrids like Atelier, Ni...
game review

Review - One Piece: Unlimited World Red

The PS4 version of this combat-based collect-a-thon is just one of many available on nearly every console and even PC! Sam Leach finds out if the most accessible One Piece game is worth playing. ― Unlimited World Red Deluxe is a re-release of the 2013 game originally made for the 3DS, the most recent in a series of One Piece “Unlimited” games. At this point, Red is out for nearly all Sony and Nintend...
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Review: Yakuza Kiwami

Can this entry in the Yakuza franchise escape the shadow of its older brother, Yakuza Zero? Dustin Bailey has the answers. ― Kazuma Kiryu. Some call him the “dragon of Dojima,” one of the most legendary fighters the Japanese underworld has ever known. But there's much more to Kiryu than that. He's Kamurocho's toughest boy scott, a righter of wrongs and puncher of faces, the kind of guy who'll help a ...
game review

Hey! Pikmin

Captain Olimar touches down on the 3DS in the first portable Pikmin adventure. Dustin Bailey finds out if shrinking down the action affects the experience. ― Up until now, the adventures of Captain Olimar have seen him and a legion little plant people called Pikmin in a long-term battle for survival, racing against the clock or dwindling food reserves to gather the materials necessary to repair the l...
game review

Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires' Conspiracy

Layton passes his puzzle-solving prowess down to his daughter for the franchise's mobile game debut. Is it worth a look for Professor Layton fans and casual puzzle game players? ― The latest Professor Layton game opens with its most compelling mystery. Young Katrielle Layton endures a dream where she chases after her father, who vanishes into a dense London fog. Is Professor Hershel Layton, the didac...
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Review: Splatoon 2

Combine your talents as both kid and squid to ink your way to victory once again! Dustin Bailey finds out if this highly anticipated sequel holds up against the original. ― Two things are true of the Wii U—it was Nintendo's biggest hardware failure since the Virtual Boy, and it served as a home for some of the most fun, original games the company has ever produced. When the Switch came along to deliv...
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Final Fantasy XV: Episode Prompto

This short - but engaging - Final Fantasy XV side story might not fill you up, but it's much more satisfying than the game's previous DLC. Dustin digs in. ― Final Fantasy XV's DLC didn't get off to a great start. Coming off a tremendously flawed launch where certain aspects of the game—you already know which ones—felt anywhere from “half-baked” to “completely unfinished,” the notion of turning around...
game review

Valkyria Revolution

This spinoff of the beloved tactical RPG series Valkyria Chronicles tries to live up to the sterling reputation of its predecessors, but Dustin finds it might fall a little short. ― Valkyria Revolution is told through the pages of history books. A young historian sets out to find the truth about the Five Traitors who led the nation of Jutland to revolution for their own selfish ends, and with the hel...
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Dragon Quest Heroes II

Dragon Quest Heroes II layers thoughtful strategy on top of a solid action-RPG base, but is it enough to stave off musou fatigue? Dustin dives in. ― Here is yet another entry in the pantheon of “Dynasty Warriors but with [blank]” from Omega Force, a single-developer genre that's produced its share of hits and misses, though there's come to be a certain baseline reliable quality that's made these game...
game review

Dark Souls 3: The Ringed City

It's the final piece of DLC for the final Dark Souls game - but does Dave Riley have any energy or spirit left for Dark Souls? The Ringed City puts him to the test. ― The Ringed City opens on a vertiginous sight: a sheer cliffside overlooking a bristling conglomeration of towers and mountain peaks spiraling down as far as the eye can see. Shattered chapels jut horizontally from ruined ground and terr...
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Review: Persona 5

Can this highly anticipated JRPG live up to the legacy of its predecessors? Dave Riley explores what new innovations Persona 5 brings to the table. ― Even though it's five hours before the game slips the tutorial reins and lets you loose in a full-on dungeon, Persona 5's opening grips you immediately and doesn't let go. In contrast to the milquetoast player-inserts of games past, this player-characte...
game review

Review: NieR: Automata

Androids battle alien machines for control of Earth in a boldly strange action game that loves to mess with your head. Todd Ciolek has the details. ― It's important to know that NieR: Automata does not hate you, the player. NieR: Automata very easily could, after all. Yoko Taro's Drakengard titles are vicious creations, and Drakengard 3 remains a fascinatingly savage mockery of violent games and play...
game review

Review: Berserk and the Band of the Hawk

Berserk: Band of the Hawk lets you slaughter your way through Guts' most traumatic adventures in classic Musou style - but it isn't without its problems. ― By now, the formula for Omega Force's increasingly prolific line of Musou anime adaptions has proven to be a mostly winning one. Take the basic Dynasty Warriors gameplay, replace Chinese historical figures with an array of fan-favorite characters,...
game review

Review: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

It's Resident Evil as "true horror", returning to the concepts that spawned the franchise in the first place. But is it Resident Evil, or a "me too" take on modern horror? ― It's easy to imagine a world where Resident Evil 7 was just called Biohazard, marketed as a spiritual successor to the venerable zombie-killing franchise. It leaves behind the complicated series lore with its intense network of c...
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Review: Tales of Berseria

The latest Tales game goes darker than ever before, but does that make it better? Todd Ciolek cracks into the first big RPG of 2017! ― Tales games are struggles, and they're not just between a world-saving cadre of misfits and some ruthless villain or eldritch power. They're clashes of quality. On one side, you'll find entertaining characters and hectic, enjoyable battle systems. On the other, you'll...
game review

Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS

Can the portable version of this addictive nostalgia-bomb live up to the success of its predecessor? That might depend on what kind of Mario Maker you're looking for. ― Every once in a while, there's a game that comes along that makes me say “who wanted this?” Well, sure, I bet there were plenty of folks out there who said “Yeah, I love Super Mario Maker, but it'd be really cool to have a portable ve...
game review

Review: Final Fantasy XV

After a decade in development, the latest entry in the Final Fantasy franchise is finally here! Dustin Bailey has the lowdown on this bishounen-packed road trip. ― Every time you boot up Final Fantasy XV, it presents you with a message, calling itself a “Final Fantasy for fans and first timers.” The series' disconnected chronology has always favored reinvention, but this one takes that that further t...
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Review: Dragon Ball Fusions

This 3DS game is a goofy mashup of characters, places, and memorable flourishes from every corner of Dragon Ball. Todd Ciolek takes a look. ― Dragon Ball Fusions says a lot in its title. It's ostensibly about the art of fusion, which in Dragon Ball canon finds two or more character blending themselves into a more powerful being. Yet it could refer to the game just as easily, as this 3DS game is a goo...
game review

Review: NES Classic Edition

This little console full of Nintendo nostalgia might be the most sought-after gadget of the holiday season! Todd Ciolek breaks down the NES Classic Edition and all 30 games available in its library. ― The Nintendo Entertainment System wasn't just a gray-and-black box that played video games. It was a paragon of late 1980s pastimes. Seizing an industry left vacant after a widespread collapse, Nintendo...
game review

Dark Souls 3: The Ashes of Ariandel

The latest DLC for Dark Souls III sends Dave Riley to the Painted World of Ariandel, where he can't shake the feeling that he should be having a lot more fun with all this. ― Calling the Souls expansions “DLC” does them a disservice. Not at all similar to the micro transaction character skins and map addons the term calls to mind, Dark Souls' Artorias of the Abyss and Bloodborne's The Old Hunters are...
game review

Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky

Departed souls are forced to duke it out in the afterlife in this unusual JRPG adventure. Todd Ciolek explores Exist Archive. ― If nothing else, Exist Archive: the other Side of the Sky poses a creative vision of the afterlife. Never mind those angel-heaped clouds, surging hellfires, or even the Norse realms that developer tri-Ace adapted into their Valkyrie Profile series. According to Exist Archive...
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Review: World of Final Fantasy (Playstation 4)

Just in time for the series' 30th anniversary, World of Final Fantasy brings together characters new and old for a lighthearted role-playing adventure that builds on three decades of legacy while crafting its own identity. ― It's been nearly 30 years since the four Warriors of Light crossed the bridge out of Cornelia and into our collective hearts, launching one of the biggest—if not the biggest—RPG ...
game review

Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness

In this visual novel adventure, you take on the role of Investigator or Enforcer to help the heroes of Psycho-Pass solve gruesome cases. Can this game live up to the legacy of its franchise? ― In the future, superpowered AI monitor human psychological states, measuring their likelihood of committing criminal acts and meting out proactive justice to prevent those crimes from happening. Enforcers, dire...
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Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice

In Phoenix's sixth adventure, he travels abroad to take on cases in a country where defense attorneys have been outlawed! Todd Ciolek puts his own lawyer skills to the test. ― Phoenix Wright needs a vacation, a transfer, or to use apt terminology, a change of venue. Throughout five major Ace Attorney games and several spin-offs, Capcom's presented Wright with fiendishly complex murders, help in the f...
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Review: Zero Time Dilemma

The latest installment in Kotaro Uchikoshi's ambitious story-driven series is a riveting sci-fi tale that takes no prisoners. ― Zero Time Dilemma is a game that almost didn't happen. Development was put on hiatus in 2012, citing poor sales of the Zero Escape series in Japan as the cause. The previous game, Virtue's Last Reward, ended on a tremendous cliffhanger that looked like it could be forever un...
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Review: Dark Souls III

Dark Souls III is a splendid rendition of the form, but familiarity often breeds contempt. Though it's a great refinement of everything that's come before, this new iteration adds little to the formula. ― It's tough to describe Dark Souls 3 without becoming mired in references, it leans so hard into what's come before that its own character feels somewhat slight. Here's the poison swamp, here's the c...
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Review: Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc PC

The smash cult visual novel finally comes to Steam! Jacob Hope Chapman puts the latest port of this shocking and wildly entertaining mystery to the test. ― Outside of a few mainstream-friendly darlings like the Phoenix Wright series, Western gamers don't get many official releases from Japan's massive bevy of murder-mystery-driven visual novels. Given how hard it can be to get these games brought ove...
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Resident Evil Zero HD Remaster

One of Dave Riley's fondest videogame friends and a cult favorite entry in the Resident Evil series comes back with a facelift and a new suite of features, but can Dave go home again? ― Resident Evil Zero, a prequel featuring Resident Evil 1's ultra-wimp, Rebecca Chambers, places the eighteen-year-old rookie medic in her own grueling, eight-to-ten hour, zombie-shotgunning adventure. Backing her up is...
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Review: Yakuza 5

The flaws and foibles of Yakuza 5's presentation aren't hurdles to jump, they're an inextricable part of what makes this game special. ― Yakuza is a hectic blend of the absurd, the melodramatic, and the mundane. In this bizarre world where even the loan sharks have a heart of gold--Sky Finance offers the best no-collateral, no-interest loan you'll get this side of Tom Nook--mafiosos spend as much tim...
game review

Rodea the Sky Soldier

Simple but reflexively fun, Rodea the Sky Soldier emerges as the last good Wii game. Unfortunately, it's also on the Wii U and 3DS. ― Second chances come often in Rodea the Sky Soldier. The original game emerged as a Wii creation from Yuji Naka and his Prope studio in 2011. The Wii was on the verge of retirement at the time, but if the man responsible for NiGHTS, Burning Rangers, Ivy the Kiwi!, and s...
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Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden

Arc System Works put together a competent fighter with some enjoyable side attractions, but Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden can't escape the fans-only landing zone that awaits merely adequate anime-inspired games. ― The modern fighting game barely existed back when Dragon Ball Z first appeared as an anime series and an extension of Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball manga. Yet the two worlds were fated to m...
game review

Fatal Frame 5: Maiden of Black Water

Fatal Frame returns as a somewhat modernized horror game experience just in time for Halloween, but the results are decidedly less than spooktacular. ― Featuring more spooky dolls than you can shake a camera at and a cast comprised primarily of breathily voiced young women in incredibly intricate attire, Fatal Frame's fifth installment, Maiden of Black Water, certainly nails the look and feel. The ic...
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Review: Yoshi's Woolly World

After two decades of mediocrity, Yoshi finally delivers a worthy follow-up to his most beloved classic. ― A personal litmus test for what makes a truly superb action/platform game is how memorable individual levels are. After all, when you're zipping through stage after stage, bouncing across dangling lifts and bopping bunches of enemies, things can start to blend together after a while. The best pla...
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Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer

The new Animal Crossing game strips out most of what people associate with the franchise to focus almost entirely on interior design. It's so crazy it just might work! ― There are some game ideas that sound great on paper but are executed horribly. Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is the exact opposite: it sounds like an absolutely terrible idea on paper. Take a game known for its numerous life-s...
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Game Review: Afro Samurai 2: Kuma's Revenge

Afro Samurai gets resurrected as a video game, this time an episodic sequel to the 2009 Xbox 360 game. Dave Riley thinks maybe they should've left this one in the oven a little longer, though. ― Afro Samurai has always been a curious case, a rare piece of major Japanese media that reciprocates American hip hop's pointed interest in Asian pop culture. A self-funded manga from an indie Japanese creator...
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Super Mario Maker

The good news: Mario Maker is a great tool that lets anyone design Mario levels. The bad news: Mario Maker is a great tool that lets anyone design Mario levels. ― It's pointless to try and review Super Mario Maker like most other games, because it's not as much of a game as it is a tool. Sure, there are a handful of pre-made levels on the disc to mess around with, but ultimately most of the fun from ...
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Mega Man Legacy Collection

The Legacy Collection ably captures Mega Man's first great heights as well as his slide into mediocrity, and even that mediocrity is enjoyable. ― Mega Man wasn't meant to survive. As longtime series producer Keiji Inafune relayed, Capcom's heads initially didn't want to make a sequel to the original 1987 Mega Man. They were content to leave it an impressive but not particularly profitable stand-alone...
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Review: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

The Phantom Pain takes Metal Gear Solid into the open world, but loses some of the series' essential personality in the process. Also: there's a dog. ― Snake (aka "Big Boss") wakes up from a nine-year coma in 1984 with blurry vision and the lo-fi crackle of David Bowie's The Man Who Sold the World blaring from a nearby boombox. The beginning of The Phantom Pain burdens this weakened Snake, and his pl...
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Review: Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls

Ultra Despair Girls takes Danganronpa into the third person shooter genre, with decidedly mixed results. Some of the things you love about Danganronpa are still here, but there's something amiss... ― Taking place between the first and second Danganronpa games, Ultra Despair Girls is a sidequel starring ultra-generic series lead Makoto Naegi's ultra-generic sister Komaru Naegi. Komaru, kept as a hosta...
game review

D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die

Dave Riley straps himself in for a trip through Swery65's crime-solving, episodic murder mystery, now on PC. ― A giant man in a surgical mask and crisp white suit steps out of the airplane bathroom, scraping his cutlery while the sounds of a smoky saxophone tootle through the air, and you can't help but think, "we're still doing the David Lynch thing, huh?" Swery65's crime-solving, episodic murder my...
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Review: Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains

Attack on Titan comes to the Nintendo 3DS, and Dave Riley straps on his 3D maneuver gear to take down some titans. Whether or not he's still having fun after the first one is up for debate, though. ― Trapped behind giant stone walls of their own making, the final remnants of humanity huddle in fear of the unexplained threat of giant, gleefully stupid titans who saunter in every now and then to chow d...
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Review: Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart

The latest entry in Idea Factory's consoles-turned-moe-girls series takes the form of a PS Vita strategy game. Heidi Kemps puts it through the paces. ― My experience with the Neptunia franchise hasn't been the greatest: I played the first and second games in their original releases on the PS3 and would choose to describe them as “aggressively mediocre.” Even as someone who nerds out over all manner o...
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Review: Bloodborne

Dave Riley eagerly gnaws on From Software's latest grim and visceral action RPG for the PS4, but does it live up to the legacy established by the Dark Souls series? ― Some hours into Bloodborne you'll find your first shield, a rotten wooden board, whose item description comments on its poor construction and immediately insults you for considering using it. "Shields are nice, but not if they engender ...
game review

Resident Evil Revelations 2

Capcom's horror sequel attempts to bring Resident Evil into the episodic age. Dave Riley, superfan of the original Revelations, investigates. ― For fans, Revelations 2 justifies its existence through its protagonists alone, Claire Redfield and Barry Burton, neither of whom have had more than a minigame cameo or light gun spinoff in a decade. Trapped on an abandoned island, Claire and Barry are paired...
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Review: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Dave Riley is on a mission to determine if the latest entry in Capcom's monster-slaying portable juggernaut is any more penetrable than the last. ― Monster Hunter's body language is the best in the business. Few games model the stages between an enemy being alive (and shooting) or dead (and in chunks), so saying that feels like half a compliment. But, amid the common complaints about how this series ...
game review

Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-

Xrd is not just a next-generation fighting game, it's also a complete package in every department. Could it be the pinnacle of modern fighting games? ― The last fighting game release in the Guilty Gear series was (putting aside several patches) GGXX Accent Core in 2006: rights issues put another GG fighting game out of the question. After the strange, brilliant, and largely ignored Guilty Gear 2-- a ...
game review

Resident Evil HD Remaster

The remake of the survival horror classic an entire generation grew up with arrives once again, this time remastered for modern consoles and PC. ― The 2002 Resident Evil's strict adherence to its Playstation source material immediately drew you in. Walking into that two story entrance hall, players saw the same staircase, pillars, marble floor, and ornate rugs that defined many people's first 32-bit ...
game review

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy

These three Ace Attorney games show little wear, proving just as witty and endearing as they were many years ago. Hiccups and silliness aside, Phoenix Wright’s cases are hard to set down once you’re in deep. ― The game-playing multitudes often worry over writing quality. Many of us want game stories to be the serious, respected stuff of collegiate literary analysis, and we get downright bitter when t...
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Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Fresh from the bonus stages of Super Mario 3D World, Captain Toad's treasure tracking adventures are fun, whimsical, and easy on the senses. ― Treasure Tracker is a simple game, built on the ultra-fun playhouses that Super Mario 3D World used for variety between its standard platforming levels. Captain Toad and Toadette trundle through bite-sized dioramas floating in space, grabbing up 1-ups and fist...
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Game Review: Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax

Your favorite (and not-so-favorite) light novel anime characters come together to pound the tar out of one another in this import-only fighting game. ― This is a funny situation for French Bread. As one of the stars of the late 90s-early 00's doujinshi game era, they used to make games like this all the time. The formula is pretty simple: you slap whatever character's popular right now into a fightin...
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Game Review: Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth

A fanservice-heavy, dungeon-crawling, number-crunching marriage between Etrian Odyssey and Personas 3 and 4. What could possibly go wrong? ― Thrown together across time, the casts of Persona 3 and 4 navigate a very Etrian Odyssey labyrinth with a very Persona set of abilities. Though the series seem at odds with each other--Etrian Odyssey's barely-there story clashes with Persona's sappy melodrama an...
game review

Bayonetta 2

Not much here is completely new, but the first game was essentially the pinnacle of the genre so who could complain about ten more hours of new looks, new locations, and new armaments? ― More happens in the beginning of Bayonetta 2 than in most other game's whole run. It's almost a cliche, people have been saying that since the first one came around, but there's no more succinct way to put it when th...
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The Evil Within

It's hard to blame Shinji Mikami for going back to the well, especially when everything else, from Gears of War to The Last of Us, has spent the past ten years stripping Resident Evil 4 to its bones. ― The Evil Within introduces its first enemy in a perfect recreation of Resident Evil's iconic zombie reveal, as if it wants to be certain you know it is a Shinji Mikami game. This is a game with a lot o...
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Planetarian

Key's heartstring-tugging postapocalyptic kinetic novel finally comes to the US thanks to Sekai Project, and it just might make you cry. ― Yumemi is possibly the best employee anyone could ask for. She's cute, polite, and cares deeply for each and every customer that sets foot in the planetarium at the top of the giant Flowercrest department store. She's also exceptionally knowledgeable about the dis...
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Hatoful Boyfriend

For something so pointedly aware of its camp, for something predicated on silliness, Hatoful Boyfriend is remarkable in its sincerity. ― Since this game's absurd premise has seemingly been spread around and bird-punned to death there's no sense belaboring the description: Hatoful Boyfriend is a dating sim where your potential suitors are pigeons. As the only homo sapiens in the game, Hiyoko, your mis...
game review

Dangan Ronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

Goodbye Despair, the second Dangan Ronpa, is exactly what you'd expect from the sequel to Trigger Happy Havoc. ― Goodbye Despair, the second Dangan Ronpa, is exactly what you'd expect from the sequel to Trigger Happy Havoc, a madcap series of murder mysteries constructed with the same pastel-spattered palette of goofy anime caricatures that belie its dark tone. A fresh crop of super geniuses arrives ...
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Muramasa: Rebirth / Genroku Legends

The main game doesn't have anything new to offer fans of the original, but veterans willing to double dip will get the best Muramasa's ever been. ― Muramasa always felt like a weekend sort of game: a 2D brawler with some light RPG bits, short and simple, and fun enough for a couple days. Compared to Vanillaware's previous game, Odin Sphere, everything in Muramasa is quick and fluid. Fighting is high ...
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Review: Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late

Under Night is an elegantly designed game by people who have been at fighting games for a long time, and who deeply understand what's truly important about them. ― Between the convoluted modern-fantasy setting, a magic-powered cast, and its quite amazing interpretation of the English language, one could not be blamed for mistaking Under Night In-Birth for some kind of Type-Moon knockoff. The truth is...
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Kamen Rider Battride War II

There is probably a good videogame waiting to burst forth out of Kamen Rider Battride War II. ― Of all the Japanese characters that have been used to make a Dynasty Warriors/Musou game (or just a ripoff of one, as this game is), the long-lived Kamen Rider superhero series is among the most appropriate. You see, beating up hordes of identical henchmen before finishing off their boss with a fancy move ...
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Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn

Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn does little more than its assigned duty as a playground for battle-mecha carnage. It's enjoyable in quick little brawls, never outright terrible but always a bit tedious. ― Gundam is often at war with itself. At its most meaningful, it's a revolving mythos of savage conflicts amid orbital colonies. It's a space-robot melodrama proving that technology and exploration do ...
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Mobile Suit Gundam Side Stories

For the duration of the time I played this game, I was thinking about other, better Gundam things I'd have rather been enjoying. ― To start with, this has been marketed as a collection of HD remakes of old games, which is a brazenly false statement As I write this, the game's Amazon.jp page is ravaged by justifiably angry one-star reviews, in part due to this. Rather than remaking six fairly differen...

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