Smaller dev teams are great because they’re often the only ones willing to push deep into gamers’ nostalgia for genres of the past. Take jRPGs: while they’re not seeing a resurgence per se, there are still Western developers out there willing to make games in that style and add in new features that modernize/revitalize the classic formula. Earlier this year it was Cosmic Star Heroine evoking Chrono Trigger, and now Battle Chasers: Nightwar is here to accomplish much the same thing (though it’s more reminiscent of a Final Fantasy). Add dungeon crawling, loot hoarding, sidequest questing, and weapon/armor/item crafting on top of the impeccable combat and you have an incredibly rounded jRPG experience. Read more →
I’m not entirely sure what to call this DLC. “Shantae: Half-Genie Hero: Pirate Queen’s Quest”? “Shantae – Pirate Queen’s Quest?” “Tae of Shan: – : – : PQQ”? Probably not that last one, but still, it’s one of those games where tacking on the previous game’s title is descriptive, but makes the whole thing start to sound kind of unwieldy. Not including it, however, makes it sound like a separate game rather than a DLC that ties into Half-Genie Hero. I suppose “Shantae: Pirate Queen’s Quest” is descriptive enough since I insist on tacking a (DLC) tag at the end of downloadable content, but still. As for the game itself, it’s good. Not incredible, but definitely good.
As always seems to be the case with screenshots I’ve made on my Xbox One, these are out of order a bit, but that doesn’t matter quite as much here since you can play through stages in any order. I really need to find a new way of organizing them, though, because this happens every time I post screenshots from the system. Read more →
The Deception series has got to be one of my all-time favorites, and even a weaker entry like Trapt is supremely enjoyable despite having virtually nothing to do with the original Kagero (it’s called “Kagero II” in Japan) and suffering from a number of technical issues that can be incredibly frustrating. I think part of it has to do with rarity, because there just aren’t any other games where you can slaughter groups of intruders on behalf of the devil using elaborate Rube Goldberg-esque trap chains. Read more →
As seems to be the case with all my Xbox One screenshots, some of these may be slightly out of order. I really need to start renaming them before putting the batches all together, because something about the naming scheme throws everything out of whack. Thankfully (and also kind of regrettably), Valkyria Revolution is so filled to the brim with meaningless filler that it really doesn’t matter what’s in the middle parts so long as the beginning and end are in roughly the right place. Really, that speaks to the quality of the story that so little of what happens matters to anything. Read more →
My completionist side really got the better of me on this one. Dragon’s Crown is a game where after beating it, the difficulty is cranked up a bit and just enough is left incomplete to compel you to keep playing. I refused to call this one finished until I had unlocked all of the art, which meant beating the story three times on the easy/normal/hard difficulty equivalents and doing a ton of sidequests. Oh, and playing through the story on the starting difficulty using all 6 different characters, too. I can now confidently state that Dragon’s Crown is like candy—it’s sweet and fulfilling at first, but repeatedly cramming it into your eye sockets for 40 hours probably isn’t a good move from a health or sanity point of view. Read more →
The Surge is a game I have mixed feelings about. On one hand, I love Deck13’s games; Venetica was one of the first games I got back when I constructed my first gaming PC back in ~2010, and I have fond memories of playing through Ankh (undeniably good) and Blood Knights (possibly Stockholm syndrome). On the other hand, Souls/Souls-y games haven’t ever really captivated me to the point where I’ve become willing to overlook their numerous, unaddressed flaws. Bloodborne was decent enough to warrant a positive review despite said flaws and I definitely like The Surge more than that game as a whole, but it also feels like these types of games follow the formula so strictly that they put themselves in a box and fail to live up to their potential. I mean, why do these things always send you through dark, mazelike corridors that are littered with screaming, lunging enemies hiding behind things? It’s not even scary anymore because a single one of these games teaches you to check behind things with the camera before charging blindly ahead. Read more →