You don’t really need me here to convince you to try playing Final Fantasy VII. Even if you’re not a long-time fan of the JRPG genre, you’ve likely already heard about the refined Final Fantasy combat system and the unforgettable story of this classic. With the added bonus of the modern quality of life features, there’s no real reason not to go ahead with this if you’re still on the fence. It’s arguably the best way to get you into the series short of Square Enix finally granting me my wishes and giving us all the splendour of Final Fantasy VIII on the Switch.
The Caligula Effect: Overdose has a lot of interesting design elements to set it apart from the crowd: the combat, the story premise, the recruitable school body. While these sort of unique elements are normally enough to secure my interest, the performance issues and poor character development make it difficult to get invested in. It’s certainly far from approaching the lofty heights of the Persona series, but it may still be able to catch your interest.
There are a lot of ways this port of Final Fantasy IX could have been so much more than it is, from a simple change like a console-relevant UI to more challenging ones like the improvement to the background textures. While these gripes are justified in my opinion, the experience of the core game itself has not been affected: Final Fantasy IX is easily one of the best stories in the series with a cast on-par, if not stronger, than any recent game you care to name. While I feel it does little to win over modern gamers, fans of the genre who didn’t get to enjoy this one in their childhood would be doing themselves a disservice to not pick this one up immediately.
Tales of Vesperia is an unusual beast: beloved by fans for its unique cast and mature story, but whose combat system is only distinct from other games in the series by its slower speed. While I didn’t enjoy the bulk of the combat sections, especially when working through a long dungeon or wide field, the story of Yuri and his companions has built itself a place in my memory and is an adventure I will recommend to others for a while to come. You’ll need to love the battle system the series is known for or have a lot of patience to do it, but Tales of Vesperia is worth experiencing, and the Definitive Edition is absolutely the most sensible way to do it.
P-Studio have managed to put together an excellent package that will appeal to both Persona fans and rhythm game enthusiasts for different reasons. For one group, it’s our beloved Persona characters enjoying themselves in a silly context that’s a delight to experience. For the other, an earnest rhythm challenge in a well-presented package. As a result, this may well bridge a path between the two groups, hopefully spreading the fun of the series and genre on display to more people.
Pokémon Let’s Go has been designed with some clear key phrases in mind: “streamlined gameplay,” “capture focused,” and “primarily TV-based.” It nails these points precisely but takes little time to consider any needs outside of them. What this has resulted in is a game that I feel would be an excellent point for a casual gamer to enter into the series and have a blast, or to introduce a young gamer into the world of Pokémon. However, it offers the more experienced gamer little more than some nostalgia, and such gamers may be better off holding on for a hopefully more challenging experience with the new core game next year.
While Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun failed to make the motion control experience capture the challenging appeal of the original arcade game, it’s not without merit. The colourful presentation and catchy set list are a joy to experience, and the tap controls are responsive if a little easy to master. It’s certainly nothing to shake a stick at, but fans of the genre may not find much for them here here, especially when the console already has some solid rhythm games available.
At the face of it, the new Xenoblade Chronicles 2 standalone DLC, “Torna – The Golden Country,” is both an elaboration on the story for the fans and an entry point for newcomers, yet it is neither of these things in practice. While it’s still got all the fun of the original, albeit in a smaller package, it fails to add anything substantial for new or old. Ultimately, I would only recommend the experience if you’re in need of another Xenoblade kick, but even then I would steer you towards just considering playing New Game Plus on the original game.
Valkyria Chronicles 4 has all the workings of an excellent tactical RPG, pivoted by an interesting main cast and story, and supported by a refined version of the classic combat of the original game. With some extra benefits, like the change in thematic focus creating a refreshingly new storyline, the overall package is a powerful one. The final result is something that will appeal to the fans, but will still be able to capture a new player without confusion. I sincerely hope we'll see more from Valkyria Chronicles in the future as I believe there's still a lot to be explored here.
As my first foray into the Dragon Quest series, I’m absolutely ecstatic at what I’ve found here. A gorgeous world and exciting story made even better by a top-tier cast of characters in design, usefulness and general likeability. From what I’ve researched, this seems to be the standard for the series, so I can happily report that this will just be the first in my journey into Dragon Quest. If you’re a fan of the JRPG genre and you, like me, have never played a Dragon Quest game before, I’d highly recommend giving it a chance to impress you.
For everything I could criticise about the design of Octopath Traveler, I would not hesitate to recommend the experience to any fans of the genre. Between excellent character customisation and one of the best combat systems I’ve had the joy to experience, the faults are easier to accept. However, if you’re hoping for an in-depth story or a cast of eight characters standing side-by-side, you won’t find that here. While it certainly could have been improved on, this is still an absolute must-play for Switch owners out there.
While I’m usually a fan of the monster-catching genre and greatly enjoy anything Lovecraftian, The Lost Child fails to hit a lot of the key points that makes both of these genres fun. Add to this a standard storyline, repetitive combat and a pointless overworld, and you’ve got a game that’s ultimately very hard to recommend spending time on. With many exciting RPGs coming up in the near future, only those in desperate need of some monster catching or dungeon delving should look here.
The Shin Megami Tensei series is exactly where you should be looking if you’re after a real test of your RPG abilities in an unusual setting, and Strange Journey Redux continues to justify this well-earned reputation. Between complex party management, difficult battles and an excellent mapping element, you’ll come through the other end so very satisfied with your accomplishments. The port’s extra features also fit flawlessly, meaning this is the best way to experience this game. Admittedly, it might not be the best entry for newcomers, and it does experience a slump in the mid-game, but it’s still easy to recommend to any established SMT fan.
Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom was a particular disappointment for me. While beautiful and with a combat system that carries significant potential, the game is undermined by a failure to balance the combat for sufficient threat. While this could have been resolved by the simple inclusion of a difficulty setting, the game also features many weak side features, from the town-building to the side quests. Fans of the original aren’t the only ones who may get some enjoyment from returning to the world of Ni No Kuni, but I suspect there will be others like me who will leave unsatisfied for their time spent.
While Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology offers a battle system unlike any others you’ve likely played, what is really on offer here is a well-told story with memorable characters. If you’re one to skip cutscenes or power through dialogue boxes, you’re going to miss a lot of what is charming about this game and be put off by battles that become less interesting as you progress. On the other hand, curious and patient players will find meaningful character dialogue voiced by a talented cast, succinct storytelling to keep your interest, and a world very different to ours to learn about.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 can easily be considered the best available “reason to buy a Switch.” While there are already a lot of great titles available for the system, much of the current library is also shared with the Wii U and other platforms. Xenoblade, on the other hand, is an unforgettable journey you’ll only get to experience on Nintendo’s newest console, and is currently, in my opinion, the best exclusive available for it. A magnificent world, well-written characters, interesting plot and refined combat, all mixed together make for an experience that you’d be hard-pressed to pass on.