M2 and Sega have done a bang-up job of refining this classic for the SEGA AGES line, and though this is apparently the final release in the series, I think it is a great game to end on. If you have a Genesis and a Switch but aren’t too keen on spending 90 USD or more on a copy, I’d consider this release. If you have a 16-bit RTS itch that needs to be scratched, you will be very satisfied with Herzog Zwei.
The quips from the racers, the announcer yelling “CHECKPOINT!” every time you cross over one, and even the music evoke the feeling of sitting down in a seat of an old racing cabinet, putting some quarters in, gripping the steering wheel, and mashing the gas pedal. Of course, the wheel and seat will be missing in most home racing experiences, Hotshot Racing is still plenty of fun without them. If you want to take a short trip back in time to the ’90s, this is one ride you won’t want to miss.
All in all, Samurai Shodown! 2 is a great little port of an admittedly overlooked part of gaming history. Though the Neo Geo Pocket/Pocket Color lost its steam due to corporate shenanigans, it has a good library and is very fun to play. Seeing these games being modernized and re-released is charming to see, and I’m hoping SNK brings even more titles out in the near future. Though the controls really won’t translate 100% with the lack of the Pocket’s wonderful clicky-stick, Samurai Shodown! 2 and other SNK Pocket Fighting Games are a blast to play, especially for the low cost of entry.
Though the Neo Geo Pocket lacks the overall power of the base Neo Geo MVS and AES Hardware, it was a pretty potent little handheld that had a solid library, and seeing these games ported to the Nintendo Switch to open up access to people that never got to experience it for a very low cost of entry is awesome. The lack of a micro-switch joystick might make things feel a little alien to you if you’re used to playing on real hardware. However, if you’re just delving into the Neo Geo Pocket library on the Switch, that shouldn’t be an issue, and with some practice, more seasoned players can get used to it as well
Fae Tactics is a game filled with one step forward and two steps back. While its art style and music are charming, they are very limited. Likewise, the gameplay is solid but holds itself back with a few odd design decisions. While not a bad game, it may not be enough to excite fans of the genre.
Overall, Azur Lane: Crosswave is a good game chock-full of fan service. If you’re a fan of the mobile game you’ll have plenty to like here. Many of the systems in the game function the same as they do on mobile so it is very easy to play, looks nice, and sounds nice too. Though the story segments can seem to drag on at times, they do add some good depth to the myriad of characters throughout the game by showing their interactions with one another.
Though it still has some minor quirks, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II is a big step up from the previous chapter in the large political drama surrounding the land of Erebonia. What I have experienced is nothing short of amazing work on both Falcom’s and XSEED’s part. Whether you own a PlayStation 3, a Vita, or both (this game also supports Cross Saves), you owe it to yourself to give this series a look. As mentioned earlier, do check out the first part of the story before diving into this one. It will give you a far greater appreciation for the story if you do.