Ben West


16 games reviewed
68.8% of games recommended
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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.

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Mar 18, 2019

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Nov 23, 2018

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.

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Nov 6, 2018

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.

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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.

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Sep 25, 2018

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.

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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.

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