From an accessibility standpoint, however, HIVE: Altenum Wars does little to make the player feel welcome, and even less still to reward their perseverance in staying. It feels very much like an alpha gameplay demo for a game years down the pipeline. HIVE is a shooter that misses the mark almost entirely, but does, at the very least, provide a very solid foundation upon which Catness Games could build something truly special with more time spent iterating and refining the process.
Ultimately, New Gundam Breaker does little to continue the good faith the past few Gundam games have worked so hard to garner. It's a charming game at times, and its characters are refreshingly simple. That's not enough to save it from itself, though, and the gameplay is well below what a game based entirely on building and piloting a Gundam should be. Hardcore fans will likely want to pick this one up simply because it has Gundam in the name, but for anyone else, this one should probably be avoided.
Secret of Mana is an entirely skippable remake of a game that was the progenitor for a number of JRPG conventions. That's a shame. The greater failing, however, is what happens when fans will inevitably pick this title up in the hopes of recapturing some of the feelings of grandeur the original game contained so much of. They, like me, might end up realizing that a game they had placed on a pedestal for decades is actually rather ordinary by today's standards, and any magic that made it a lasting impression on those who played it has long since been left behind by the cruel, inexorable march of time.
All of this is good, but NHL 23 is simply that - good. It's a fine effort in a fine series that has continuously failed to successfully capture the feeling of ice hockey in a way that is as satisfying as soccer simulators, but it's not going to move the needle for anyone who wasn't already interested. It feels like NHL 23 is about as far as EA can go with the current system of gameplay modes and mechanics - it might be good for the sport's video games if some from-the-ground-up rebuilds were attempted, much in the same vein as teams that tanked for Shane Wright last year.
Ultimately, SD Gundam Battle Alliance feels like the sort of game that will appeal to those who haven't picked up a Gundam game in a few years, but it's not going to move the needle for anyone else. Standard and unexciting combat is combined with some strange meta-narrative decisions that make this feel like a cute spin on some of the series' most iconic moments. The RPG elements of the game are also very limited, which means arcade-style fighters like Gundam Extreme Versus Maxiboost ON offers more exciting action. SD Gundam Battle Alliance is solid and will definitely be a hit with dedicated Gundam fans, but it's definitely not a reason to dive into the property for those who haven't done so before.
Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time is probably a safe pick up for diehard fans, a gamble for those with a little bit of familiarity like myself, and a dangerous choice for anyone outside of those two categories. For a title based on a world filled with magic, the game itself has very little of it to be found.
As it stands, though, Dynasty Warriors 9 is more of a foundation for the next title than the dawning of a new era for the franchise. That's perfectly acceptable, too, given that series like Dynasty Warriors inevitably must evolve to stay relevant. Right now, there are just some growing pains, and anyone who was interested in the newest iteration because of its new gameplay features would do better waiting for the next one instead.
When the game is at its best, however, it is an enjoyable dungeon runner that features intriguing, fun combat, and it's definitely worth playing for those who never experienced the original Tokyo Xanadu for PS Vita—just with the caveat that players will need to stomach a lot of flavorless JRPG tropes to get to what makes Tokyo Xanadu eX+ tasty enough to merit its forty-hour-long runtime.
All criticisms aside, though, Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon never really pretended as though it was going to be anything different than what players have gotten with its release. It's quick and dirty, the video game equivalent of a greasy burger, and Nights of Azure 2 will leave all but the most hardcore fans of yuri tropes feeling the same kind of shame that comes after consuming fast food as well. Nights of Azure 2 isn't a bad game, but it certainly isn't a good one either—it's just empty calories, with nothing having been gained or lost after a playthrough.