Overall, I step away from this new port of El Shaddai with much the same opinion I had as when I played the original ten years ago. It’s an intriguing premise with absolutely stunning audiovisual presentation, but the repetitive gameplay struggled to hold my interest. The story I’m mostly neutral on – it’s just plain odd and told in a weird way, which somehow works in the full package.
For SRPG fans clamoring for games of a more “classic” style, this title comes highly recommended, especially with the replayability afforded to it through its custom campaign options. I know for sure I’ll be loading this up on the regular for a long time to come.
Asha in Monster World wears its retro heart on its sleeve, with the modern graphical overhaul only helping to increase its charm. For fans of classic games and platformers, it is definitely worth a shot, though you will need to be ready to overlook a few quirks.
If I had to use one word to sum up all of the paragraphs above, it would be “boring.” Ashwalkers takes some intriguing prose and some truly difficult decisions and casts them all into a dull world design with tedious gameplay. The visuals and interactivity presented here do so little to prop up the relatively decent writing that I can’t help but wonder if this game would’ve been better off as a book instead.
What the Dub?! knows what it wants to be, and it does it well, straight-forward and with very little frills. If you have a friend group that already enjoys the Jackbox series and other quick and easy party games, there’s little reason not to add this one to your rotation.
The writing here, though, leaves a lot to be desired. I’m used to visual novels having slow opening routes, but completely foregoing any real character development for hours made this game incredibly difficult to get into. Once over the hump of the initial route, though, Altdeus managed to provide an entertaining story, one that I didn’t mind strapping my Vive headset on for. It’s not mind-blowing by any means, but it’s still a worthwhile read.
The problem is the game feels like a major step back from the previous entry in the series. The stilted storytelling, boring setting, and just decent soundtrack all feed into my feelings of disappointment. Lacrimosa of Dana was one of the best games I played in 2017, and the fact that Ys IX doesn’t reach that high is frustrating. If you’re in the mood for more Ys, Ys IX: Monstrum Nox is still worth a play. This isn’t a bad game in the slightest…just a disappointing one compared to the highs of recent series entries.
While the question remains if Gust will stick with this formula when they eventually move away from titles staring Ryza, I personally hope they continue to revise and refine this model. If Ryza 1 caught my interest, then Ryza 2 definitely has my attention.
Look, I’m fine with difficult games. The early Ys titles are some of my favorites, I love the Fire Emblem franchise, and I enjoyed the time I put into titles like Code Vein. In those games, though, at least it feels like you have a fighting chance, that if you screw up and die, it was completely your fault. Unto the End just wants to punish the player. It feels like it went too far off the deep end of “purposefully difficult game” and ended up in kaizo territory. The challenge here isn’t fun, it’s just annoying.