While it was largely considered one of the less popular titles in the franchise, Nintendo rereleased Skyward Sword HD for the Nintendo Switch so a new generation of players that can experience what is considered to be the narrative foundation for the series. The result is an adequate entry, but one where its history and original control scheme’s legacy still can influence people’s enjoyment.
Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights begins with the soft pitter-patter of rain and text scrawling itself along the bottom of the screen. A short exposition accompanies a beautiful illustration that showcases the player character: a young girl fast asleep with lilies in her hair and a foreboding, sinister looking brand on her forehead. She awakens alone in an unfamiliar world with the spirit of a deceased knight to guide her. This paints an evocative picture of the world of Ender Lilies and sets the tone going forward.
And as the franchise has continued to endure the test of time, each game builds upon the foundation of the first game in many ways. Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny attempts to bring something new to the formula to reinvigorate the series. While there are more than enough quality of life improvements to make this entry arguably the most accessible entry, it greatly suffers in other areas.
In missions, players have two options upon clearing set areas, which are to increase the rarity of loot that will drop, or to rest at camp, which will create a checkpoint for the player and restore any used healing items. On the Legendary and Ascended difficulty - the final two tiers of difficulty the game offers - I would spend most of these instances resting at camp to refill my resources, because enemies at this level, be they goblins or frenzied psionic cultists, would simply evaporate my health with a single strike. That was also a normal occurrence if my character's power level did not meet the suggested requirement of the selected difficulty.
Walking away from Resident Evil Village leaves me with mixed feelings. It wasn’t a game that I immediately disliked, and I can’t say that I didn’t have a lot of fun playing it. But a second playthrough made me more aware of pacing issues, and on harder difficulties the general spike that otherwise feels somewhat artificial.
Monster Hunter Rise is without a doubt one of the best Monster Hunter games I have ever played, if not the best outright. It caters to new and veteran players effortlessly, and while some accessibility issues holding it back from outright being a perfect game, it really offers the best of both worlds.
Like a Dragon's story attempts to touch on certain social issues that are relevant in present-day Japan, such as classism, social status, sex work, and government corruption on a prefectural level. However, the writing often lacks the nuance or range to address the topics at hand, and doesn't give any of them adequate room to breathe. The second half of the game gains some measure of focus as plot threads tie together and result in genuinely surprising twists, but when Like a Dragon drops the ball, it drops it hard. Despite this, the Japanese cast's performances sell the story with evocative deliveries that breathe life into the characters. The finale is an emotional one that brought me to tears and moved me, just as most previous Yakuza games have.
Another installment of Supermassive Games’ The Dark Pictures Anthology is upon us. This next chapter in the series places players in the town of Little Hope, a mysterious and enigmatic city beset with tragedy and a dark history. Similar to the previous entry, Man of Medan, this bite sized story attempts to scare players while convincing them that their choices will result in life or death for mostly under developed cast of characters.
There is something all encompassing about the darkness in Amnesia: Rebirth. The distinction is how it swells around the player and creeps up the corners of your screen, and how you’re left scrambling over rocks and oddly shaped architecture when resources run thin. I’ve never felt something more complete and simultaneously frustrating in all of my years playing horror games.