James Paley


275 games reviewed
75.6 average score
75 median score
44.0% of games recommended
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Once again I ask, is the Pokemon Violet DLC worth buying? That depends. If you were hoping for a smoother framerate, you’ll be disappointed. The Teal Mask DLC runs just as well as the base game. If you want more Pokemon content, you’re in luck! There’s something like 100 old Pokemon being added to the total roster. There’s also new sidequests, new story content, and new items to acquire. The battles are challenging (by Pokemon standards), and there’s a wide variety of biomes within Kitakami to explore. For me, this was a perfect excuse to jump back into the game. But I recognize that I’m a hardcore fan of these games. Ultimately, that’s who Pokemon DLC is usually for. If you’re a fan, you’ll enjoy this extra content. Otherwise, you can leave this one be.

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70 / 100 - Eternights
Sep 11, 2023

There’s a lot of cool little ideas on display here. The combat system and the use of bonds is excellent. The dating sim sections are fun. Even the survival scavenging elements are a fun distraction. But they all feel insubstantial. Certain activities feel repetitive or limited. The progression path you follow with every teammate feels almost identical. Scavenging is the same thing every time. Even the fights fall into a predictable rhythm after a while. But I still had fun. I’m not sure if all these subgenres add up to a proper game. But I did enjoy the ride. If you’re looking for a pretty, Persona-style RPG, check out Eternights.

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Aug 30, 2023

Virgo is a fascinating character, navigating a big, bizarre world. Everyone you meet adds to the weird and wonderful flavor of things. The combat is engaging and unique, the premise is compelling, and the presentation is slick. On the other hand, it’s real easy to get lost. And without a rigorous saving routine, you might end up losing progress once in a while. But events you replay might not play out the same way, which is cool. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this game, but I ended up pleasantly surprised. If you’re looking for a new and unusual RPG, definitely check out Virgo Versus The Zodiac.

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Story Mode and Arcade Mode are fun enough, yes. It’s cool seeing the parade of classic stages and scenes, it’s cool fighting all the old enemies. And I love the music and visuals. It all comes together to make a delightful Turtles experience. But Survival Mode is the first time I’ve felt properly compelled to keep playing. It’s deeply frustrating at times, but not in a discouraging way. I want to get better! I want to improve my last run, I want to power up all the characters. If Shredder’s Revenge felt light, then Dimension Shellshock adds significant weight. I highly recommend picking up this DLC.

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Aug 21, 2023

I had a ton of fun with Immortals. The combat is snappy, explosive, and smooth. Everything looks amazing, just a colossal colorful assault on the senses at every turn. The puzzles are a pleasant distraction. The writing has its ups and downs, to be sure, but the story itself is a proper ride. I truly can’t get enough of the word Everwar. I could have used a bit less quipping in the dialogue, however. While the combat occasionally got frustrating, it’s nothing a little practice (and difficulty adjustment) can’t fix. Traversal is a good time, even if the dodge cooldown feels excessive. If your first-person shooters have felt too serious lately, take heart! Immortals of Aveum is a magic-soaked, colorful romp that grips hard and doesn’t let go.

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Aug 16, 2023

I loved this game. The story is engrossing, the art is terrific, and the emotional impact is undeniable. I was a little bored by the election arc, but it still had me engaged. Card crafting is somewhat nebulous at times, but this is likely for the best. After all, if it was laid out nice and clean, it wouldn’t feel as mystical. You’re making a brand new form of divination. It’s normal for some elements to feel distant and strange. The game is touching, it hooked me, and creatively energized me. If you’re looking for more magic and mystery in your life, check out The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood. You won’t regret it.

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Jul 26, 2023

I may not be the target audience for LISA, but I recognize quality when I encounter it. The mechanics subvert the usual RPG tropes, leaving you tense and scrambling the entire time. The world itself is both funny and awful, with a heavy dose of post-apocalyptic tragedy thrown in. The level design left me feeling disoriented, but I think it was meant to. The graphics get your guard down, setting you up nicely for the brutal writing. The game is tough too, which feels appropriate. I have no idea what to score this game. Although I hated playing it, I can tell it was a well-crafted experience. I can’t honestly recommend LISA: Definitive Edition, but some of you will check it out regardless. To you I say, have fun! You will not soon forget this game.

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85 / 100 - Pikmin 4
Jul 19, 2023

Pikmin 4 is more about the core gameplay loop than anything else. Slowly exploring every part of this game, gathering your tiny army, and looting every piece of possible treasure is its own reward. Whether you’re a newcomer or a series veteran, Pikmin 4 will be an excellent adventure.

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Jun 28, 2023

Such is the wrinkle here. My final score applies to the expansion in particular. Taken as a complete product, my previous review (right here) is a more accurate assessment. But man oh man, that expansion. If you’ve already got the base game, I can’t imagine you’ll get much out of Origins Plus. If you grew up playing the Game Gear, great news! These are twelve colorful trips down memory lane. Otherwise, I don’t recommend it. Turns out Sega’s first portable gaming experiment aged rather poorly. Sonic Origins is a fun and accessible way to play Sonic’s greatest hits. But Origins Plus spends too much time on bland, awful games.

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Jun 27, 2023

A good mystery should hook you right from the beginning. Solving your own murder is a juicy hook, to say the least. Better still, there’s a fascinating narrative beyond that elevator pitch. The mechanics are unique and engaging, the graphics are slick, and the writing keeps you plugged in until the very end. While I wasn’t a perfect fit for the puzzle design, that’s alright. Players more interested in a tense experience will find a lot to love here. I still appreciated the mix of frustration and elation, even as it burrowed into my brain. If you’re looking for a unique, puzzling mystery, definitely give Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective a shot.

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100 / 100 - Final Fantasy XVI
Jun 21, 2023

In many ways, XVI hardly resembles the usual FF experience. There’s no massive party of adventurers, no MP-based magic system, and no open world map traversal, among other things. And yet, I got the quintessential Final Fantasy experience. There’s a sweeping, epic story. The stakes are incredibly high. Clive is beset by tragedy and hardship. He experiences character growth, moments of joy, companionship, and love. The battles go from mundane to impossibly epic. Clive is given all the power, special moves, and responsibilities of a capital ‘P’ Protagonist. The game is gorgeous, the music is incredible, and the story got its hooks deep into my flesh. Despite my initial misgivings, I’ve come to love this game completely. Long-time fans, series newcomers, RPG enthusiasts, hear me now: Final Fantasy XVI is the platonic ideal of FF games. They don’t get better than this.

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Jun 11, 2023

I love these RPGs. I’m psyched that they’ve come to the Nintendo Switch, and I’m overjoyed that they’ve been improved upon. But still, I recognize that these are difficult, imposing, extremely retro games. To say they’re not for everybody is a slight understatement. Even so, if you’ve always wanted to check out the Etrian Odyssey franchise, this is a perfect opportunity. With a little patience, and an open mind, you might find your new favorite series.

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May 24, 2023

This here’s the tricky part – is Monstrum Nox worth getting on PS5? If you’ve never played it before, this is a great time to start. You’ve got smooth, fast-paced combat, corny dialogue, and a narrative crammed with anime nonsense. These games are utterly shameless and it rules. On top of that, the DLC makes an excellent cherry on top, a wacky garnish if you will. But if you’ve played any other version of the game, I wouldn’t bother with this one. The graphics are the same, the content is 95% identical, and your PS5 can play PS4 games. Ys IX: Monstrum Nox is a great game, but it’s not quite worth a double dip.

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82 / 100 - Wild Dogs
May 2, 2023

Is Wild Dogs worth your time and attention? If you’re a fan of punishing retro action games, absolutely. This game nails that balance of old-school presentation and modern sensibilities. Assuming you’re looking for a very specific kind of challenge, that is. Anyone looking for a new game to memorize will be overjoyed. On the flip side, your raw skills won’t be tested to the same degree. This is a short, sweet, sadistic title with remarkable graphics and an excellent soundtrack. Wild Dogs is the quintessential retro action experience.

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Apr 26, 2023

I also recognize that these games are crazy old. I through III are a tough sell for a newcomer. V is a weird outlier with a solid mechanical base. Yet, even with reservations in tow, Final Fantasy IV and VI are highly recommended. In summation, this is a fantastic collection of RPGs. Every game looks, sounds, and plays better than ever before. Some of the edges are still rather rough, but that’s normal for games this old. On balance, the Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters collection represents an essential slice of gaming history. You won’t want to miss a single one.

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Apr 26, 2023

I also recognize that these games are crazy old. I through III are a tough sell for a newcomer. V is a weird outlier with a solid mechanical base. Yet, even with reservations in tow, Final Fantasy IV and VI are highly recommended. In summation, this is a fantastic collection of RPGs. Every game looks, sounds, and plays better than ever before. Some of the edges are still rather rough, but that’s normal for games this old. On balance, the Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters collection represents an essential slice of gaming history. You won’t want to miss a single one.

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Apr 26, 2023

I also recognize that these games are crazy old. I through III are a tough sell for a newcomer. V is a weird outlier with a solid mechanical base. Yet, even with reservations in tow, Final Fantasy IV and VI are highly recommended. In summation, this is a fantastic collection of RPGs. Every game looks, sounds, and plays better than ever before. Some of the edges are still rather rough, but that’s normal for games this old. On balance, the Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters collection represents an essential slice of gaming history. You won’t want to miss a single one.

Read full review

Apr 26, 2023

I also recognize that these games are crazy old. I through III are a tough sell for a newcomer. V is a weird outlier with a solid mechanical base. Yet, even with reservations in tow, Final Fantasy IV and VI are highly recommended. In summation, this is a fantastic collection of RPGs. Every game looks, sounds, and plays better than ever before. Some of the edges are still rather rough, but that’s normal for games this old. On balance, the Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters collection represents an essential slice of gaming history. You won’t want to miss a single one.

Read full review

Apr 26, 2023

I also recognize that these games are crazy old. I through III are a tough sell for a newcomer. V is a weird outlier with a solid mechanical base. Yet, even with reservations in tow, Final Fantasy IV and VI are highly recommended. In summation, this is a fantastic collection of RPGs. Every game looks, sounds, and plays better than ever before. Some of the edges are still rather rough, but that’s normal for games this old. On balance, the Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters collection represents an essential slice of gaming history. You won’t want to miss a single one.

Read full review

Apr 26, 2023

I also recognize that these games are crazy old. I through III are a tough sell for a newcomer. V is a weird outlier with a solid mechanical base. Yet, even with reservations in tow, Final Fantasy IV and VI are highly recommended. In summation, this is a fantastic collection of RPGs. Every game looks, sounds, and plays better than ever before. Some of the edges are still rather rough, but that’s normal for games this old. On balance, the Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters collection represents an essential slice of gaming history. You won’t want to miss a single one.

Read full review