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game review

Pocky & Rocky Reshrined

A shrine maiden and a tanuki take on monster hordes in this extensive remake of a classic Super NES shooter! Do Pocky and Rocky still have the magic? ― You don't need to know anything about Pocky or Rocky to enjoy their latest game, Pocky & Rocky Reshrined. You don't need to know how their series began with the Taito arcade game Kiki Kaikai or how it reached its greatest international popularity when...
game review

Fault StP: Lightkravte

Lightkravte features gorgeous art and is interesting both as a prequel and as a game in its own right. ― The fourth game in Alice in Dissonance's fault series, Fault StP Lightkravte may raise a few eyebrows since it's being released ahead of Milestone Two: Side Below, meaning that series fans have to wait a bit longer to continue the main story. (On Steam, the developers have said that staffing issue...
game review

Metal Max Xeno Reborn

Metal Max Xeno Reborn can be a lot of fun, but it does make you work for it. Its oblique objectives and wild difficulty curves can definitely be off-putting—and yet there's fun to be had in driving around the wasteland, scrounging for scrap metal, and blasting away mobs of cannon fodder. ― Fans of old PS2 JRPGs might remember the obscure Metal Saga; what you might not have known is that it's one in a...
game review

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA MegaMix+

Hatsune Miku is back, with over 170 songs and customizable outfits. Does the Vocaloid gang still bring the charm in this PC game release? ― With how much a certain blue hedgehog and a would-be reformed Japanese gangster dominate Sega's limelight, you'd be forgiven for forgetting that Sega also plays host to the video game exploits of Hatsune Miku, the famed digital singing platform musicians have use...
game review

Cotton Fantasy

Cotton Fantasy serves up a complete course of the “cute-‘em-up” flavor of 2-D shooting game, and it turns out light and breezy yet surprisingly filling. ― The Cotton series is nothing if not a survivor. First appearing in 1991, Cotton introduced the horizontal shooter genre to a cute little witch with a cuter, littler fairy sidekick, and it never wavered from that. The 1990s brought sequels and ports...
game review

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising

Suikoden was never an action game, and now that series creator Yoshitaka Murayama returned to it with Eiyuden Chronicle, what better form for its prequel to take than a side-scrolling action title with some RPG trappings? ― Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising makes a certain degree of sense. It's a prequel to Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, which is itself the spiritual revival of the Suikoden series that s...
game review

Kirby and the Forgotten Land

Forgotten Land represents more than anything else, an opportunity for HAL Laboratory to break out of the side-scrolling mold and expand Kirby's horizons. ― In my eyes, Kirby games have always been defined by their astounding visual and musical artistic direction that is somewhat held back simple yet serviceable side-scrolling platforming gameplay. Forgotten Land represented, more than anything else, ...
game review

Gotta Protectors: Cart of Darkness Game Review

But what about the players who don't have fond memories or excessive fixations surrounding that particular era of video games? What does Gotta Protectors: Cart of Darkness offer them? As it turns out, plenty. ― There's no shortage of modern creations that evoke the look and sound of late 1980s games. Not so much as those games actually were, but as players fondly remember them—with bigger characters,...
game review

Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition

Chrono Cross returns with a remastered treatment and its never-before-translated predecessor, Radical Dreamers! How do these follow-ups to the cherished RPG classic Chrono Trigger endure after all these years? ― The best way to approach Chrono Cross is to forget that it's a sequel to Chrono Trigger. It is, of course, but Chrono Trigger—an inventive, marvelously crafted time-travel romp that's tied wi...
game review

Rune Factory 5

Some technical issues aside, the latest installment in the village-making RPG brings it all together in the end. What will you do with your time in Rigbarth? ― It's a little hard to talk about the Story of Seasons games (and their Rune Factory spin-offs). Not because of the complicated legal snarl involving the Story of Seasons and Harvest Moon branding, but because on the merits that most games woul...
game review

Chocobo GP

Chocobo GP is a big improvement and an even greater risk. It's sharper, tighter, more enjoyable...and now competing directly with the latest Mario Kart on Nintendo's home turf. ― The original Chocobo Racing was not an astounding game, but it was a cleverly-positioned one. It offered the PlayStation owners of 1999 an answer to the Nintendo 64's Mario Kart while dusting itself with Final Fantasy refere...
game review

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax Review

Now that Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is out on modern platforms with a massive adoption rate, the question is how much is in here for a single-playing Persona? The answer is an inspiring "Quite a bit!" ― The rerelease of 2014's Persona 4 Arena Ultimax finds itself in an odd situation for such a thing. The fighting game scene has ballooned into an even bigger, better place in the eight years since, so put...
game review

Jujutsu Kaisen: Escape From the Cursed Spirit of the Abandoned School

Gojo assigns you to a mission to help the first-year students investigate a creepy abandoned school. Can you and the others use your techniques -- and your smarts -- to exorcise the cursed spirit before it's too late? ― When you think of an anime world you would want to live in, Jujutsu Kaisen probably isn't at the top of your list, if it is even on the list. But it's possible you've dreamed of going...
game review

Atelier Sophie 2: Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream

The Nintendo Switch struggles to handle this new entry in the Atelier franchise, but beyond its technical issues the world of Erde Wiege introduces players to characters that quickly come to feel like longtime friends. ― There are three things I've come to expect from the Atelier series: cozy atmosphere, charming character writing, and breezy combat. The series is content to dwell within that realm, ...
game review

The King of Fighters XV

The King of Fighters XV doesn't find the series at its prettiest, boldest, or most densely populated and varied in characters. Yet this might be the most accessible it's ever been. ― If anyone ever asks you how many The King of Fighters games there are, resist the temptation to say fifteen. That may be the number on this latest flagship entry, but this is a vast and complicated series with many, many...
game review

REVIEW: Pokémon Legends: Arceus

While the plot left much to be desired, Pokémon Legends: Arceus brings new energy and possibilities to the franchise. ― For years, it seems the big ask of Pokémon fans has been that the franchise innovate itself in a meaningful way. Pokémon Legends: Arceus seems to be Game Freak's response to that request, and I'd go out on a limb to say that it's exactly the sort of thing we've been waiting for. It ...
game review

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl

As a fan, it pains me to see an entry to one of my favorite franchises fall to such low lows. But what exactly are the decisions that got us here? ― Unlike animation, video games are in large part a disposable medium. Games once hailed as era-defining breakthrough titles upon their release often become antiquated and awkward within a little less than a decade. And so we see a plethora of remakes and ...
game review

Clockwork Aquario

The arcade game Clockwork Aquario finally arrives on modern systems after disappearing twenty-eight years ago. Is it a mere relic or a true deep-cut gem? ― Some games are delayed. Others are canceled. And then there's the unique and bizarre journey of Clockwork Aquario. Westone, creators of the Wonder Boy and Monster World games, tested this colorful side-scroller in arcades several times back in 199...
game review

Metallic Child

Metallic Child's narrative is instantly compelling and the dialogue that accompanies its characters is entertaining to boot. ― I initially wasn't expecting much from this quietly released indie “rouge-lite” game, but found myself sad to see it go by the time I reached its ending. The greatest appeal of Metallic Child comes from the way it applies the aesthetics of the Japanese Action-RPGs without hol...
game review

Cupid Parasite

A game with this many strengths is easy to recommend, which is why it's unfortunate that the current game is ridden with typos, ill-fitting text, and the telltale signs of a hastily edited machine translation. Cupid Parasite opens with some of the trashiest male love interests you could possibly imagine. One guy is exclusively interested in meeting women who are already "taken." Another literally c...
game review

Danganronpa Decadence

Danganronpa Decadence offers a bit of new content, gameplay, and interactions between cast members, but this little something extra hardly feels decadent. ― Over ten years ago, the first Danganronpa game came out on the PlayStation Portable. Even back then, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc was a standout of the visual novel genre, combining detective work and dating sim elements in a way that weirdly...
game review

Shin Megami Tensei V

While SMT fans have no doubt chomped at the bit in anticipation of a new numbered entry arriving on consoles, some might still want to cling to the memory of Nocturne. Is this new, untested Shin Megami Tensei worth the plunge? Shin Megami Tensei V has one glaring problem it has to contend with: Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster was released just this past May. While SMT fans have no doub...
game review

Metroid Dread

The gameplay of Dread is similarly spectacular. A lot of the DNA from Samus Returns – Mercury Steam's first Metroid project – is present here, albeit with the fat shaved off the bones. ― Before diving into the meat of this review, I feel it's important to mention that it is coming from a newcomer to the series, and that I ran some short stints into Metroid: Zero Mission and Fusion in order to lend so...
game review

Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles

Being one of the most acclaimed anime of the past few years partially due to its stellar animation and fight scenes, a Demon Slayer fighting game felt like it was only a matter of time. ― Being one of the most acclaimed anime of the past few years partially due to its stellar animation and fight scenes, a Demon Slayer fighting game felt like it was only a matter of time. The game acts as an accelerat...
game review

Mary Skelter Finale

Mary Skelter Finale's twistedly imaginative imagery are sure to sit with any player long after they've put it down. ― Of all the JRPG/visual novel hybrids I've had a chance to play, Mary Skelter Finale is by far the most memorable of the considerably homogenous bunch. Its aesthetically varied character designs, lewd but narratively significant fanservice (think Darling in the Franxx), and twistedly i...
game review

Samurai Warriors 5

The most creatively bankrupt aspect of Samurai Warriors 5 is by and large its combat. ― While I've called Dynasty Warrior's gameplay recipe outdated before, the franchise has gone out of its way to prove me wrong recently, with games like Age of Calamity and Persona 5 Strikers exceeding my expectations. These games have their own unique mechanics that add some much-needed depth to Warrior's combat wh...
game review

Shadowverse: Champion's Battle

Take on the role of Hiro Ryugasaki as you engage in card duels to save your school club! ― Coming straight from Cygames, Shadowverse: Champion's Battle is a story-based adaptation of the collectible card game app. You play as a youth who meets up with Hiro Ryugasaki, protagonist of the Shadowverse anime, and joins Tensei Academy's Shadowverse club. It seems the club is suffering from a lack of member...
game review

Fuga: Melodies of Steel

It's a challenge to take on a brutal World War II retelling with imagery and characters cute enough to populate Maple Town, but CyberConnect2 sticks with it, and it's paid off. ― Cyberconnect2 is best known as the developer of gorgeous anime-to-game adaptations stretching from Naruto and .hack to JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. In their heart of hearts, however, company president/CEO Hiroshi Matsuyama and ...
game review

NEO: The World Ends With You

Well, it took fourteen years, but NEO: The World Ends with You is finally here, and it's every bit as stylish, engrossing, and outright fun as its predecessor. ― When the original The World Ends with You launched all the way back in 2007 on the Nintendo DS, it won attention and praise for its unorthodox storytelling and gameplay. It used many of the features of the Nintendo DS in experimental ways an...
game review

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin

It's easy to say that Monster Hunter Stories 2 provided the most enjoyable gameplay experience I've had within the genre in recent years. ― The monster-collecting genre might be one of the most criminally under-represented in gaming. Aside from the Pokémon games and the steady trickle of indie projects inspired by that franchise, it's practically barren. It is my hope that Monster Hunter Stories 2 wi...
game review

Akiba's Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed

Akiba's Trip: Hellbound and Debriefed is a cheeky romp through anime fandom mecca with plenty of fun references. But sadly, it's also just shy of the mark to make it a must-have. Akiba's Trip: Hellbound and Debriefed is a lot of things. It's a remaster of a 10-year-old PlayStation Portable game. It's a cheeky romp through anime fandom mecca with plenty of fun references. But sadly, it's also just s...
game review

MARS RED Edge of the Nightmare

If you enjoyed the show, the story acts as a nice companion to the events of the anime, and several familiar characters from the Code Zero crew like Takeuchi, Suwa, and Kurusu all play key roles. ― Whenever a major new anime hits the scene, there's a mobile game to accompany it, like clockwork. Many of these games remain Japanese exclusives, with only a handful releasing globally. Additionally, many ...
game review

Death end re;Quest

Death end proves me dead wrong: it demonstrates not only Idea Factory's ability to put out quality titles, but that they can also be trusted to take real creative risks and create unique games – something all too rare in today's market. ― I wasn't expecting much from Death end re;Quest when I first picked it up. It's a product of Compile Heart, which is itself a subsidiary of Idea Factory – a studio ...
game review

No More Heroes 1 & 2

The No More Heroes franchise is first and foremost a celebration of video games. ― The No More Heroes franchise is first and foremost a celebration of video games. It perfectly captures a certain branch of gamer culture in its dialogue, visual styles, and gameplay, making for a unique experience that absolutely should not be missed. The games feature a brash comedic style, absurdly degenerate action,...
game review

Everyday♪ Today's MENU for EMIYA Family

With its sparse content, performance issues, and tepid dialogue, Everyday♪ Today's Menu for Emiya Family is a bad game even by the standards of low-budget anime tie-ins. ― With its sparse content, performance issues, and tepid dialogue, Everyday♪ Today's MENU for EMIYA Family is a bad game even by the standards of low-budget anime tie-ins. To be fair, it's not like I had no fun with the game at all; ...
game review

Touken Ranbu

Touken Ranbu. It's out in English now, almost six years after its initial release in Japan. I've played it for about two months, and I believe I can safely say… I'm not sure I get it. ― Touken Ranbu. It's out in English now, almost six years after its initial release in Japan. I've played it for about two months, and I believe I can safely say… I'm not sure I get it. I mean, yeah, on the one hand, I ...
game review

Ninja Gaiden Master Collection

For a certain vintage of gamer, Ninja Gaiden is a name that carries a certain amount of fear. Grant Jones revisits the franchise to see if the games still hold up to their legacy. ― The Ninja Gaiden Master Collection is hard to talk about in isolation. In many ways, you need a dramatic, long-winded cut scene to get the context for the release. So if you'll indulge me, I'll try to spin the tale as bes...
game review

Capcom Arcade Stadium

Video game archives and collections of this nature are all about making sure these newer generations of gamers get a chance to experience those which laid the groundwork for the stuff that we have today in an easy-to-digest package. ― Judging collections like this is always a bit tricky because we're not reviewing a brand new game made specifically for the current generation; rather, we're technicall...
game review

Famicom Detective Club: The Two-Case Collection

Both stories have some arbitrary info blocks like this, but even with my sus sense tingling, neither case went exactly where I expected it to go. ― This visual novel double-pack was released for English-speaking audiences for the first time on May 14, offering a shiny remake of Satoru Okada and Yoshio Sakamoto's adventure games for Nintendo. While this 2021 edition visually bears little resemblance t...
game review

Spirit Hunter: NG

Aksys Games' release of Spirit Hunter: NG is the second in Experience, Inc.'s Spirit Hunter horror visual novel franchise, serving up over 15 hours of creeping horrors. ― Aksys Games' release of Spirit Hunter: NG is the second in Experience, Inc.'s Spirit Hunter horror visual novel franchise, serving up over 15 hours of creeping horrors. Set in the year 1999, players assume the role of Akira, a punk ...
game review

Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne HD Remaster

It might be a little hard to recommend, but Nocturne is still one of the most gripping and rewarding JRPGs you could experience. ― Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster has a tall order to fulfill. It's a modern-day port of an older Shin Megami Tensei game that was still experimenting with 3D movement and presentation (those have mostly stuck to the Persona games while later SMTs went back to ...
game review

Resident Evil Village

It has been three years since the events of the last game and our favorite, perfectly normal everyman Ethan Winters is trying to live a normal life with his wife and newly born daughter Rose. Unfortunately, the universe really hates Ethan. ― Capcom's Resident Evil VILLAGE, the ninth numerical installment in the Resident Evil franchise, is a game that I feel almost shouldn't work as well as it does wh...
game review

Nier Replicant Ver.1.22474487139...

Okay, so we've established that Nier Replicant earns top marks for its aesthetics. The real question is whether or not it is actually any fun to play, now, and the answer is: “…kind of? Sometimes. But it's bad on purpose, I swear!” ― Yoko Taro's recent transformation from cult JRPG auteur to something of a fandom icon has been a very welcome surprise. To be clear, Taro is not the sole reason for the ...
game review

SaGa Frontier Remastered

I do not exaggerate when I say that SaGa Frontier is extremely rude. This is a game that throws you head-first into the depths of its myriad gameplay systems with only a half-inflated life vest while telling you that you need to learn to swim right now. ― SaGa Frontier is a game whose original release could best be described as unfortunate. It came not long after Final Fantasy VII had made many new p...
game review

Another Eden: The Cat Beyond Time and Space

Another Eden is the latest offering from members of theChrono Trigger team It has a high pedigree and some great quality-of-life features, but is it a loving tribute to those original Squaresoft titles, or just a half-baked shadow? ― It's been a long time since I sat down with a gacha game the way I have over the last couple of weeks. My disdain for the genre has always been palpable – I've never bee...
game review

New Pokémon Snap

I took a four day weekend off work to play this and was squarely dedicated to getting the absolute most out of it. More importantly, I was never bored. There was always something more to see each time I set out on an expedition. ― By the end of 1999 Pokémon Snap was the sixth best-selling Nintendo 64 title of the year and by the console's retirement it was its 11th highest-selling title of all time. ...
game review

Monster Hunter Rise

Monster Hunter: Rise offers a few new features like rideable monsters, grappling hooks, and customizable weapon arts. But will it be the knockout game players have been waiting for? ― Up until now, the Monster Hunter series has mainly existed in my periphery. I knew of and respected these games for the better part of the last decade, but I never played any of them (with the exception of Monster Hunte...
game review

Yakuza 6: The Song of Life

Yakuza 6 is a triumphant ending to the Dragon of Dojima's story, even for all of its failings. If you've played many of the Yakuza titles and are interested in seeing how it all comes together, I can't recommend this game enough. ― Most Japanese RPGs are wildly fantastical and cartoonish in their setting, but attempt to stay grounded through relatable character writing and conflict. In contrast, Yaku...
game review

Neptunia Virtual Stars

The game incentivizes the player to watch these clips by promising a reward and it just strikes me that the decision to leave a targeted ad embedded within a $50 game isn't the sort of thing many players would be happy about. ― I'll admit that, upon starting up this game, I found myself slightly excited for what it would deliver. Neptunia Virtual Stars had a well-choreographed opening, and a cute eno...
game review

Gal*Gun Returns

However, even dismissing the lack of any new challenges, locations, or prominent characters, the absence of gyro controls in aiming is inexcusable. ― Gal*Gun Returns revolves around a simple but decidedly niche concept: an arcade-style on-rails shooter a la House of the Dead where instead of being chased by zombies through a haunted mansion, you're fending off the advances of every woman in your scho...
game review

Persona 5 Strikers

Persona 5 strives to explore social issues, and in the case of Persona 5 Strikers, this is specifically targeted at the way trauma can inflict long-lasting harm and resentment. ― Six months after the events of Persona 5 (not Royal), the Thieves have gotten back together for the summer holidays. But after meeting the AI Sophia and the police inspector Zenkichi, their plans get uprooted. While a lot of...
game review

Nioh 2 The Complete Edition

Taking place in Japan during the 1500s, Nioh 2 allows you to design your own half-yokai character who embarks on a journey to defeat a great evil at the center of a broiling feudal war. Nioh 2 is Koei-Tecmo and Team Ninja's answer to the Dark Souls series. While it would be easy to write it off as a Feudal Japan-flavored Souls game, Team Ninja has injected the series with their own brand of intense...
game review

Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy

It became clear to me that Atelier truly has a beating heart as a game. Despite its missteps, this game managed to capture a spark of inspiration that kept me interested the entire time. ― Atelier Ryza 2 is somehow both one of the most belligerently boring and uniquely compelling games that I have ever played. The plot is dull and heavy-handed. Gameplay consists in large part of traversing an oversiz...
game review

Shiren the Wanderer: the Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate

If you love roguelikes as a genre and want to experience one of the most satisfying, well-crafted examples of the genre, you owe it to yourself to pick Shiren the Wanderer up. ― When you ask Japanese gamers about roguelike dungeon-crawling games, there is one series that stands out as a benchmark among all others: Shiren the Wanderer. The formula developers Chun Soft (now part of Spike-Chunsoft) have...
game review

Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- The Prophecy of the Throne

Prophecy of the Throne tells a compelling story that satisfied me greatly as a Re:Zero fan. It has everything I like about the original series: An intriguing mystery, fun characters, entertaining dialogue, and clever foreshadowing. ― The anime world is filled with cheap tie-in visual novel games aimed at niche collectors, very few of which get localized. In fact, this isn't even the first Re:Zero con...
game review

Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia

Gorgeous artwork sets Brigadine apart from other SRPGs, but will it keep players' attention? James Beckett tries out the new PS4 port to find out! ― In 1998, I was barely old enough to have a firm grasp on how RPGs as basic as Pokémon worked, so I had never even heard of the original Brigandine: The Legend of Forensa, though here in the West it has apparently amassed quite the reputation as a cult c...
game review

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin

Easily the most unique title I've picked up in recent memory, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is a side-scrolling platform brawler paired with an incredibly in-depth rice-farming sim, complete with JRPG leveling systems. ― Easily the most unique title I've picked up in recent memory, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is a side-scrolling platform brawler paired with an incredibly in-depth rice-farming sim, complete w...
game review

Puyo Puyo Tetris 2

The mixture requires Puyo Puyo to be faster and Tetris slower, yet the concept proved fun the first time around, particularly with four players involved. How does Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 follow that up? ― Pity the sequel to a perfectly good puzzle game. Its core idea is already established, appealing, and therefore limitlessly enjoyable. The sequel can only refine it, add to it, or broaden its player base...
game review

Robotics;Notes: ELITE & DaSH (Double Pack)

While it has the typical trappings of a game in the Science Adventure vein, it's also bolstered by fleshed-out characters, a sense of a stable grounding in reality, and a unique narrative. However, its drawbacks are not insignificant. ― The Robotics;Notes double pack is the third in a series of visual novels I've been reviewing in recent days. And while I hold no love for the visual novel genre, I mu...
game review

Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia

Champions of Vestroia is Bakugan's take on the monster-collecting RPG genre. It takes some unique steps in some interesting and smart directions, but also holds onto some of the more tedious aspects of other games in its fold. ― The Bakugan franchise has sold kaiju brawlers, duel simulators, and even tower defense games – these titles have variety in droves, and this is no exception. Vestroia commits...
game review

Yakuza: Like a Dragon Review

Yakuza: Like a Dragon is easily one of the best installments in the franchise, boasting a fascinating and memorable cast of characters, a twisting story chock-full of underworld and political intrigue, plenty of absurd sub-quests and addictive minigames, and combat that gets across the satisfaction of whooping serious ass despite its turn-based nature. ― I am, admittedly, a huge Sega fan, and part of...
game review

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim

Once the training wheels come off and its gameplay opens up, however, Aegis Rim goes from a good game to a great one. ― 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is a one-of-a-kind game that blends visual novel storytelling with real-time strategy combat. It draws on some heavy inspiration from War of the Worlds. This is most apparent in its storytelling, but the book is touched on all over. Space Invaders is referenc...
game review

Kandagawa Jet Girls

Summer isn't over yet! Kandagawa Jet Girls is racing on to PlayStation 4 but can beautiful girls bring life to this kart-style racer? ― When I first booted up Kandagawa Jet Girls, I had no idea what to expect. I watched the first half of its anime run as a primer, and I was looking forward to seeing how they would translate the premise into gameplay. If you haven't seen the show, it centers heavily a...
game review

Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS. Maxiboost ON

Myles tries his hand at the cut-throat arcade hit's port to the PS4. ― Playing Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost On made me instantly nostalgic for times I spent traveling and enjoyed playing it in over-the-top Akihabara arcades. I didn't understand what I was doing or who I was doing it with, but the experience itself was a blast. I couldn't tell you then why is was that I felt so gravitated ...
game review

Yakuza Kiwami 2

Yakuza Kiwami 2's recent release on the Xbox One means that the title is now accessible everywhere, and if you love Yakuza, there's no reason not to play it. ― The Yakuza series is notorious for its unique balancing act – depicting a striking and gritty realism offset by moments of ridiculous lunacy. Kiwami 2 is no exception to the trend, and it executes the franchise's characteristic mishmash of ele...
game review

SINoALICE

SINoALICE's spin is in how it takes the subjects of these oft-sanitized stories and not only drags them back down to their darker and bloodier roots, but also slaps on even more layers of Yoko Taro's unique brand of violent, kinky nihilism on top of it all. ― When NieR: Automata became my favorite videogame of all time in 2017, I dove headlong into the eccentric director Yoko Taro's weird and wonder...
game review

Fairy Tail

I went into Fairy Tail with the low expectations I've been accustomed to when dealing with many anime-adapted games, but I must say, this title blew them away. ― I went into Fairy Tail with the low expectations I've been accustomed to when dealing with many anime-adapted games, but I must say, this title blew them away. It's been a good while since I've seen an anime-based game so well realized – not...
game review

Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris

Myles takes off the kid gloves in his review, calling this Sword Art Online game installment a "thoroughly uninvolved experience." Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris attempts to translate the most recent season of Sword Art Online into a game, beat for beat. It promised engaging fantasy-action gameplay, a riveting plot taken straight from the show, and stunning anime-quality art. It fails to del...
game review

Sakura Wars

1996's Sakura Taisen was a pioneer for games like Persona and Fire Emblem. Myles sees how the franchise's newest installment measures up to its legacy. Sakura Taisen, released in 1996 Japan on the SEGA Saturn, was a pioneer for games like Shin Megami Tensei (Persona) and Fire Emblem. It was one of the first games to try and pair a sort of Social/Dating Simulator into a tactical JRPG title. Now, in ...
game review

Pokémon Sword and Shield: Isle of Armor

The Isle of Armor is the first of two expansions for the games, and it adds a set of islands with impressive diversity and new Galarian experiences. ― Before I could get into The Isle of Armor, my $30 took a one-hit KO. I was among the not insignificant number of players who got overly excited for the expansion, bought the wrong version, and got hit with a wave of confused regret. After purchasing th...
game review

Cadence of Hyrule

Find yourself hacking, slashing, bombing, and shooting your way through hordes of enemies to the nostalgic tune of classic Zelda tracks, re-imagined in a Chiptune/EDM style. ― Cadence of Hyrule is of the most unique games I've ever touched. When Crypt of the NecroDancer creator Ryan Clark approached Nintendo seeking permission to add characters from the Zelda franchise to his game as DLC, he was met ...
game review

Indivisible

Skullgirls developer LabZero is back with a new platforming action RPG featuring the work of Studio Trigger - Heidi Kemps has all the details. ― DISCLAIMER: I backed this project on IndieGoGo and am on cordial terms with some people involved with its development. Indivisible, Lab Zero Games' sophomore effort after Skullgirls, has had a fair bit of hype and attention surrounding it. A lot was promised...
game review

REVIEW: Robotics;Notes DaSH

The newest Science Adventure visual novel seeks to bring the worlds of Robotics;Notes and Steins;Gate together, as Daru takes a trip to Tanegashima Island. Richard Eisenbeis has the details on how these storylines converge from the game's Japanese release. ― The Science Adventure Series is a franchise of Japanese visual novels that mixes grounded science with pseudoscience to create sci-fi adventures...
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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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 ...
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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...
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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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