- Valkyria Chronicles
- Sakura Taisen 2
Ultimately, though, what stings the most about seeing My Hero One's Justice 2 is how much hasn't changed since the first game. It's still very much a reasonably well-made and pretty anime arena fighter, but it's nothing more than that. Even the considerably messier One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows at least had the ambition to try to capture the source material's spirit through its main single-player mode. My Hero Academia fans looking for exactly that will be satisfied, but once again it seems Bandai Namco have opted to coast rather than adopt U.A.'s "Plus Ultra" philosophy.
To that end, it's more charitable to see One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows as more of a Hero Association RPG than a fully qualified fighting game. You won't be seeing it on the main stage at EVO anytime soon, but you can at least have a fun few hours raising your own hero.
In the end, that's the real draw of Azur Lane: Crosswave, rather than its gameplay, which is more of a formality. As such, your reaction to it will likely depend on your on how receptive you are to Azur Lane itself. Existing fans and open-minded lovers of cute anime girls gabbing will find much to dive deep into, but everyone else is probably better off taking some shore leave.
Ultimately, it doesn't feel like Utawarerumono: ZAN effectively serves any part of its prospective audience. It's inadequate as a gateway game for newcomers to the franchise, and despite some decent graphics and interesting musou-gameplay twists, it lacks the substance to attract existing fans. It feels like a game created mainly to remind people that the franchise still exists, rather than actually satisfy those who'd deign to play it. Utawarerumono fans are better off waiting for the remake of the original game in the series, while newcomers are advised to pick up the game, or watch the anime instead.
Sea of Solitude stands out as heartfelt, almost painfully sincere, so much so that I hesitated to actually put a score on this review at all. It felt almost crass to do so, like being allowed to read a relative's diary, only to give it a thumbs-up or -down. Though engaging gameplay and meaningful messaging aren't mutually exclusive in games, Sea of Solitude is squarely one of a growing number of titles that challenges the notion that "fun and entertainment" should be a game's main priority in every case.
Outer Wilds proves there's still a sense of genuine adventure to be gained from games that commit to a set, fixed structure and design, rather than the kind of sprawling, endless expanses many contemporary titles set out to become. Playing it brought to mind my favorite bits of Dr. Seuss' Oh, The Places You'll Go...except with more of the sun exploding.