If a classic JRPG is what you're looking for, The Alliance Alive HD delivers most of what you could want, if little else. With a few tweaks to the JRPG formula, a likeable cast of occasionally dumb characters, and some interesting combat mechanics, it's not exactly breaking the mould, but it's doing a pretty good job of filling it.
Katrielle and the Millionaires' Conspiracy is more Layton, but with a host of new characters and a healthy dollop of puzzles. Unfortunately, they're weaker, more contrived tests of your mind than previously. Katrielle and the stellar supporting cast really boost the experience, as do the stunning visuals, but the sum of its parts is less than I expect from a Layton title.
With unenjoyable and clunky combat that is made much worse during the 3D segments, a laughably archetypal fantasy story, and dated character models, it's hard to actually believe that AeternoBlade II released this year for modern consoles. AeternoBlade II simply falls short of all of its ambitions, whatever they might have been.
With a lot of gameplay enhancements from previous iterations, a gorgeously rendered game world, and a whole host more besides, Luigi's Mansion 3 is easily the apex of the franchise. The sheer amount to see and do, along with the amount of adorable details, make this game a wonderful experience and one I would recommend. Sucking at games has (rarely) felt this good.
AI: The Somnium Files has to be easily one of the best visual novels I've ever had the joy of playing, maybe even ranks as one of the best games I've played this year. With superb visuals, engaging gameplay, likeable characters, and a twist-filled story to rival that of M. Night Shyamalan, this is definitely not a visual novel to be slept on (sorry).
With an insane (but great) storyline, borderline inappropriate dialogue and the fascination with crying aside of course, CRYSTAR is a decent little game. The combat and other things tend to be repetitive, but there's enough different things in here to keep the experience fresh. And after all, even with all of the gameplay flaws, you can still PET THE DAMN DOG.
Once you fall into the groove, Oninaki is greatly enjoyable, even if it initially falls flat because of its repetitive combat. The story heads to dark places surrounding the central theming, occasionally in a ham-fisted way, but still manages to have emotional impact. Ultimately though, Oninaki is a gem of a game if you're persistent in putting in the work. Tokyo RPG Factory have done it again
An enjoyable retro-style rogue-lite; in RAD you should expect brutal gameplay in a gaudy and synthesised world. The random nature of the world sometimes proves to be a problem, but not enough to diminish what is a fantastically loud take on the genre. If only for letting players smack about mutants with their engorged limbs and a baseball bat, RAD lives up to its name. Just try to stop playing it, you'll struggle.
As I said before, I cannot recommend Shadowbringers more. The story, visuals, music, vocal performances, and gameplay all combine together to create a phenomenal gaming experience. Final Fantasy XIV has only gotten better over time, and after playing Shadowbringers I have simply no idea how they are going to better this expansion in the future. It really and truly is that good.
In trying to be so many things at once, Songbird Symphony never truly succeeds at any of them. This is far from a deal breaker, however, as the game is an enjoyable and unique combination of elements. This mix is then paired with the adorable protagonist, funny writing with a lot of childish puns, and a bouncy soundtrack to create possibly the most wholesome game this year.