As a soft-reboot, Origins establishes what this reviewer hopes to be a precedent for the series. A stronger focus on the historical settings impact on gameplay is a definite step in the right direction, but Ubisoft still continue to bog their title down with unnecessary elements intended to provide longevity to their game. There's still a need to break away from the remaining restraints of the franchise. Without the resource grinding and MMO level progression, Assassin’s Creed Origins could have been the best in the series yet.
As an entry to dungeon crawling, Demon Gaze II certainly does improve upon its predecessors accessibility. It’s more polished and is clearly more direct in approaching its goal. While broadening the appeal for fans of Japanese RPGs, this new focus has come at a cost. It feels a little generic.
Midnight Shadows is capable of conveying dread and tension, but this requires the player to engage it as intended and explained in the opening user agreement. Don't look way and play it in the dark. This is a fairly tight, atmospheric title that fans of horror will likely enjoy.
Ultimately, readers that have experienced the original will be able to determine whether this title is worth their time. The story does certainly head in an interesting direction, but players will need a tolerance for the anime fanservice present. It's a niche title, but one that the intended audience will likely be able to appreciate. There's a surprising amount of sincerity to be found here.
As a tightly designed title, with every aspect intended to serve a single common purpose, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is actually a pretty strong entry in the series. Its simplicity really is its strength, and players looking for some sense of adventure should be able to find a good one in this. Additionally, that simplicity also makes Ys VIII accessible to players who have yet to experience this neat and fun series.
Narratively, the goal of Stormblood was to create change for the better. In reality, the developers ultimately succeeded in this same goal. Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see how this is reflected in the upcoming content patches that will further build on what the expansion is seeking to achieve.
Kiwami doesn’t replace the original. The original Yakuza is an interesting retrospective, featuring a somewhat more down-to-Earth depiction of Kamurocho. However, Kiwami serves as a brilliant follow-up to Yakuza 0 in its own right. It was honestly really hard to put down in order to even write this review. Yakuza Kiwami is just an absolute blast.
Speaking broadly, Children of Zodiarc is a rather ambitious title, feeling somewhat scaled down. Perhaps its biggest flaw is that it leaves players wanting for more, which can also be considered a compliment. It honestly feels at home in Square Enix' own catalogue, and it's a shame that the publisher presumably had no role in funding. This is a title rich with potential and passion from its developers, but it's still very short and sweet.
As a title, Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward is polished. It might not always get everything right, but when it does, it does it pretty damn well. It’s an example of developers finally finding their footing and taking a game to its limits. Even if those limits are the consequence of a rather shameful disaster.
I’m not sure if Atelier Firis will be the entry that introduces new players to the franchise. Its strengths are found in its charm, as well as in the adventure and concocting new items to play with. I can’t penalize a title too much for clearly not having a high budget, but there are some definite areas that need improved upon. For what it's worth, it's easy to lose track of your time when playing the game, but it's just overshadowed by the many stronger titles that are launching in the same quarter.
NieR: Automata is an utterly fantastic title. It has some definite flaws, but these flaws just disappear into the background as you get deeper and more immersed in the experience. It’s hard-hitting and poignant, and provides a polished action-JRPG combat in an underwhelming series that really needed it.
While Strange of Sword City has a fairly strong framework to work with, it only really sells the tone of its world very well. Combat feels like it could be tuned more, and a stronger narrative in this interesting world may provide the player with motivation to push on. There's a layer of polish that feels like it's missing, and it really holds back the title.