Cindered Shadows is a nice addition to the Three Houses experience, especially for folks who have played the game heavily and want more or just need some extra variety to add to their replays. The difficulty might frustrate more casual fans and it would have been nice to have more class options for your crew. If you’re looking for an excuse to travel back to Fodlan, however, Cindered Shadows just might be your ticket.
The premise behind Arc of Alchemist’s world and its story is a good one. The implementation, however, could be better and the game feels incomplete due to its uneven combat as well as its awkward interface and systems. Given my affinity for old-school JRPGs and cute character designs, Arc of Alchemist should be a game that I absolutely love. Instead, I now find myself wondering what could have been.
Azur Lane Crosswave is a tale of two games. On one hand, you have the story mode, which features a chunky, entertaining narrative that also doubles as a visual novel with nice art and excellent Japanese voice acting. On the other hand, you have the 3D combat, which starts out promising but eventually feels a bit sparse and shallow. That being said, I still enjoyed my time with Crosswave. It won’t be for everyone. But if you love the lore behind Azur Lane, it might be worth dipping into this pool for the story mode alone.
Nearly four years after its original release, Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE Encore holds up well even today. The switch to the Switch, pun so totally intended, feels surprisingly natural even with the loss of a second screen. The first game was criminally underrated so now’s a good time for folks who missed it to experience its unique flavor as well as all the extra post-release content. The game also adds some new features to entice fans who played the game before. In fact, I selfishly want folks to support if that means we get a chance for a Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE 2. Pretty please for reals, Sega/Atlus and Nintendo?
Dragon Ball Z Kakarot starts out with a lot of potential thanks to the addition of RPG touches to the expected fighting mechanics. The adventure portion feels like it was taken out of the oven a bit early, however, and we’re left with a Dragon Ball game that feels closer to what came before instead of being something completely new. If you love the previous Dragon Ball games before this, then Dragon Ball Z Kakarot is another worthy title to add to your collection. If you were expecting a different Dragon Ball game with highly polished adventure and RPG mechanics, however, just falls a bit short of reaching a new power level.
Fallen Order is exactly the kind of game that the Star Wars gaming community needed after Battlefront 2. You have a game centered around you playing as a Jedi, exploring as a Jedi and fighting as a Jedi. It’s something that feels like a no-brainer but somehow got lost in the shuffle somewhere. Throw in the fun combat, solid narrative and nice production values and it seems that the Star Wars gaming franchise just might have a new hope.
As an old-school gamer, there’s just something about Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout that checks a lot of boxes for me. Maybe it’s the game’s colorful visuals and fantasy setting. Perhaps it’s the ability to use alchemy to craft all sorts of gear and items from the materials that I gather from the field. Or it could be its likable cast of characters. Regardless, there isn’t quite anything out there like the Atelier series and Ryza builds on a lot of the things I like about the franchise. Give this game a shot and you just might find your own alchemical romance.
Even with the controversy surrounding Dexit, I still find Pokemon Sword and Shield to be a fun romp. While certain features still feel like they’re not quite fully fleshed out, I appreciate all the quality-of-life improvements as well as the new things Game Freak added to change things up. Pokemon Sword and Shield feels fresh and new, something I haven’t felt in the series since Diamond and Pearl. It may not be the very best like no Pokemon game ever was. But it’s promising, which makes me look forward to what comes next for the series.
The Alliance Alive HD Remastered brings back the 3DS JRPG to home consoles with improved graphics. It’s a bit on the short side for an RPG and doesn’t really add much for folks who have played it before. At the same time, its nice story, likable cast of characters and classic gameplay make this a great title for JRPG lovers, especially those who never got a chance to play the original.
Doraemon and farming? Sign me up! Doraemon: Story of Seasons adds a fresh take on the farming series with the addition of characters from the popular Japanese manga and anime. The introductory tutorial is a bit of a slog and the game admittedly has a slow deliberate pace as do most farming games. Nevertheless, it has lots of stuff for you to do while oozing plenty of charm. Give it a shot if you love Doraemon and farming games to boot.