Chris "Atom" DeAngelus
Foreclosed is an interesting idea that doesn't lean hard enough into its premise to succeed. The neat comic book styling and intriguing "identity theft made law" neo-noir setting give a strong first impression, but the core gameplay is tedious enough that it becomes a chore to get through to reach the more interesting bits. In the end, it feels like it squanders its potential, especially when it all but begs comparisons to similar games that offer the same ideas but are executed better.
Overall, Final Fantasy: Pixel Remaster is a slight disappointment. It isn't a terrible port, but it feels half-hearted. For a game remade and remastered as often as Final Fantasy, it's easy to compare this release to the others and realize that it doesn't have a ton going for it. The updated visuals are nice, and the remastered music is excellent, but otherwise, it's a slightly easier and slightly more user-friendly version of the original NES game. Choose Final Fantasy: Pixel Remaster if you can't play one of the many other versions that have more content.
Final Fantasy II is probably the first weird experimental game in the franchise. This can be both good, such as the more involved plots and characters, but it can also be bad, such as the weird halfway-there leveling system that comes close to being something special but misses the mark. Final Fantasy II: Pixel Remaster is a basic rerelease of the game that's difficult to recommend unless you don't have any other version available. It looks nice and sounds great, but the loss of optional content really stands out.
Final Fantasy III: Pixel Remaster is the best version of the game to date. It feels more modern and polished than the NES version, and it lacks some of the annoying foibles and flaws of the 3D version. It's still a dated JRPG, but with the Pixel Remaster, it feels a lot easier to pick up and play. I had previously said that FF3 was my least favorite of the NES trilogy, but I enjoyed this title the most in the three Pixel Remaster offerings. If you're only going to get one of the Pixel Remaster titles, then FF3PR is the one to get.
Overall, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is one of the better Ace Attorney games, period. If it had been released in its original form, I'd probably be more negative about it, but getting both parts of Dai Gyakuten Saiban in one nice package emphasizes its strong points and lessens its flaws. If you're a fan of the series, it's absolutely worth picking up, and I can imagine it jumping near the top of many people's favorite Ace Attorney title lists. It has its flaws and foibles, but it's some of the most fun I've had with the franchise to date.
Neo: The World Ends with You is the sequel that fans have been awaiting. Despite the move to 3D it feels, looks, and sounds just like the original game. If anything, its flaws are almost the same, with a messy (but fun) combat system and an even messier plot. Despite those flaws, I enjoyed the game almost from start to finish. Newcomers should play the original first, but for those who've been waiting to see where the universe of The World Ends with You goes after the first game, Neo finally provides what you've been waiting for.
Where the Heart Leads is a comfortable game about choices, family, and appreciating what you have. "Comfortable" is really the best word for it. You can pop it on and relax for an hour or two as you guide Whit through the strange landscape that is his life. I don't think it's going to change anyone's mind if they're not fond of narrative-driven titles, but it's a good example of the genre. If you're looking for the game that's the equivalent of sitting down with a cozy book, then that is exactly what this is. Often heartwarming, sometimes depressing, and frequently thought-provoking, Where the Heart Leads is worth a playthrough if you enjoy these sorts of titles.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is a charming and enjoyable little RPG that is geared toward Monster Hunter fans who are looking for something with a slower pace. The story and tone may be a tad childish for some, but it works well for the characters. The strong core combat system buoys some lackluster dungeons and a generic story. It's a chill RPG for Monster Hunter fans and a pretty good introduction to the franchise for newcomers, especially younger children who may be frustrated by a traditional Monster Hunter title.
Legend of Mana: Remastered is a difficult game to love. It's opaque, the plot needs to be pried from its hiding place, and it makes you struggle to enjoy it. If that works for you, it'll work extremely well. There's a lot of depth and replay value buried deep within the cloudy depths. You must want to dig, instead of the more instantly accessible and enjoyable gameplay of Trials of Mana or Collection of Mana. If you're looking to get a feel for the franchise, you should start with one of those other games instead. I'm fond of Legend of Mana, but that fondness is born of nostalgia for the PS1 era. Newcomers need to be willing to put up with all of its flaws and foibles to see the delicious treats beneath.
Overall, Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is a solid package. It's not quite worth buying at full price if you've already played the original, but the upgraded original game and the DLC combine to create an excellent experience. Remake still holds up as a really fun game a year later, and Yuffie's side story shows that the developers still have plenty of ideas on how to keep the combat fresh for a sequel. If this is your first time playing Final Fantasy VII Remake, then Intergrade is absolutely the version to get.