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.
What Supergiant Games have created here is the perfect roguelike; immensely satisfying, even in failure, with an excellently-written array of characters and a compelling story. With variety of events to avoid the gameplay every becoming stale, a myriad of different weapons with markedly varied play styles, and gameplay-altering boons, Hades is an absolute joy to play. Oh, and everyone is hot, EVERYONE.
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition is out this Friday January 11th for Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam. Will you be picking this title up? Did you play the original? Who is your favourite member of the main cast? Let us know in the comments, or on Twitter and Facebook, and check back for more coverage of JRPGs and other Japanese titles.
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 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.
Silent Hill by way of Japanese horror, Re:Turn makes a more than decent attempt at inciting fear in the player. It might be handled in a way that comes across a little hammy at times, but the fantastic atmosphere incited by the visual and sound design more than make up for this. Sprinkle in some excellent puzzles and an engrossing story and you've got one hell of a reason to turn up those headphones and turn down those lights.
Age of Calamity is, for all intents and purposes, a prequel to Breath of the Wild. It might be a spin-off in a separate genre, but it's clearly a labour of love, and the result is a thoroughly enjoyable romp through one of the most interesting periods of Hyrule. If the first game was a love letter to the Zelda series, this not only improves on this concept in every way, but stands as one of the best Zelda games, period.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game - Complete Edition remains an excellent game. With the whole game and DLC bundled together, this is the definitive package for fans of the franchise and of beat 'em ups in general. There's a lot to be in lesbians with here, from the stellar soundtrack to excellent moment to moment gameplay. It's clearly an utterly unique labour of love from a talented group of people (who happen to work at Ubisoft).
Cris Tales is an absolutely incredible homage to classic JRPGs, whilst taking care to modernise their core mechanics for modern audiences. The gorgeous visual style, superb voice acting, clever mechanics and emotive story-telling all combine together here to make an incredible title. Then, with the addition of comprehensive and innovative uses of time in all parts of the game, it becomes a near perfect experience. Cris Tales has arguably surpassed its JRPG inspirations and absolutely deserves your time (pun entirely intended).
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles has all the hallmarks of the Ace Attorney series, with excellent characters and brilliant writing through the remastered duology's ten cases, but there's some clever flourishes that make the story and gameplay far more interesting and enjoyable. The only objection we have is that it took far too long for these excellent Victorian adventures to reach the West!
Life Is Strange: True Colors is an incredible new addition to the series. It brings perhaps the most likeable protagonist yet, the absolutely gorgeous Haven Springs, and an excellent supporting cast together for an intensely emotional but hopeful tale. With enough gorgeous sweeping cinematic shots to put an indie film to shame, and some absolutely incredible writing, Alex's journey is something you must experience.
Once you're past the horrendously long queues to actually get into the game, Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker was an almost flawless experience. This conclusion to a decade-long tale is told with a visual, musical and narrative artistry that isn't often seen in any medium. Endwalker doesn't quite reach the heights of earlier parts of the series, but it sure as hell ends the current arc with a bang and everyone involved with this game should feel damn proud of themselves.
Live A Live is hands down one of the most interesting games I've experienced in a while. A neat little package made up of completely disparate elements, it shouldn't work but it does. Add in some truly clever gameplay mechanics, the gorgeous HD-2D visuals and phenomenal soundtrack, and you have a game I would urge any JRPG fan to play.
Octopath Traveler II manages to improve on almost every aspect of its predecessor, whether they needed it or not. The exploration is deeper with more nooks and crannies to nose your way through. The combat is far more intricate, giving greater options to build your party and skillset, and a large degree of player choice. The visuals are absolutely beautiful, and the sound design is phenomenal once again. Honestly, Octopath Traveler II has basically negated the need to play the first title, and I cannot think of higher praise.
There's a lot to love with FUGA 2, and the game is incredibly rewarding if you commit to the experience. It's an improvement in every possible way on the original and provides an impactful and heart wrenching story with engaging gameplay throughout. If you played and loved the original game, this is an absolutely essential purchase, and even if you didn't, this is turn-based strategy done very right. Just don't you dare let Boron get loaded into the Soul Cannon, you monster.
Smooth combat, seamless exploration and a set of well-executed mechanics makes Lies of P an excellent Soulslike. When you add in the gorgeous visuals, desolate world design, stark sound design and engrossing story, it raises the experience above a lot of its contemporaries. All in all, although Lies of P is essentially Bloodborne featuring Timothée Chalamet, it does more than enough to mark itself out as a unique title worth your time – and I'm not lying.