Frozenheim doesn't do enough to stand out; furthermore, it suffers from some severe problems. The camera controls, unit controls, and just its overall feel makes it seem far more like an alpha build than something ready for release. While there are some small interesting things like finding free resources on the map, the game is not one to recommend.
Paradoxically, Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars is both too long and too short. The ingredients are there to make a surprisingly awesome game, such as a type of sphere grid, tons of different moves and equipment. However, in reality it is largely a button masher that needs far too much grind which artificially inflates the length. Overall, it was surprising how good it actually was, and there is hope they make a second one.
As a huge fan of the original series, there is a lot of style drawn from it. The action is fast and looks good, and seeing the characters in another format is a great surprise. Some caution is warranted as the price tag is hefty and the lack of cross-play between PlayStation and PC might shorten the game's lifespan. While not nearly as tactical as PVP was due to its 3D plane, now condensed down to its 2D linear combat, it's a fun romp and the gallery/glossary of the lore is appreciated. In the end, as good as this game is, it's more of a reminder how much better DFO is.
Clearly a budget title, even looking past some of the obvious flaws like the laughably bad voice acting or the older console generation looking characters, the core game itself - fighting - leaves a lot to be desired. Enemies largely are punching bags with annoyingly large HP pools, but the game is unforgiving with how long there is between being able to save. Ultra Age had some clear potential but it really needed its quality spread across all aspects, the bad parts drag the rest of it down making it largely passable.
It is sad to give a rating this low to a game with this much potential. The UI in Hero's Hour is often problematic, and the graphics are just too basic to understand what is happening. Furthermore, there is a very heavy 'rush' element to the game rather than the more plodding pace of older games. If the graphics were better, some balance problems ironed out, and the UI was fixed, this would be an easy game to recommend to strategy players by a wide margin.
There is little in Magnum Lord that stands out as good or interesting. The story segments are mildly amusing, as well as a few of the characters, but the plot goes nowhere fast, and the rest of the game is hard to enjoy. Combat oscillates between two second stomps to five minute plus long slogs, all the while being far more boring than it might look. The entire other 'half' beyond the visual novel segments is laughably bad in the design and the game does little to separate itself from either better or more unique JRPGs currently out.
The tactical part of Reverie Knights Tactics is mildly interesting in its 'puzzle' nature, if it does not wear out its welcome through heavy RNG outcomes. However, severe loss of quality elsewhere really drags the experience down, the levelling/stats system is fairly boring, the character design is bad, and the story is utterly forgettable for how long it drones on between combat sections. There might be something here worth salvaging, but it would need to be hacked up and pasted back together first.
Zettai Hero Project is one of the best JRPGs you are likely to play if given the chance. Its unassuming nature belies an incredible plot of growth the player actually feels, unlike nearly every other RPG. Makai Kingdom is simply a bonus for how good ZHP is. While NIS missed a little of the mark with zero actual updates, upgrades, or anything similar, this itself still stands largely on its own as one of the best games one can ever play.
For Sci-fi strategy fans Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector is a pretty good hit, even without any exposure to the lore. There is just a lot of good things to say about mowing down aliens hordes. There are some small, but ever-present issues that drag down an otherwise really good experience. The UI is particularly abysmal, and some parts of the game really drag on and bog down, but overall it's a pretty fun deal.
While the overall package is lots of fun, it's not without a few issues. The lack of a truly driving story is by far Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream's weakest point. Furthermore, progression is in general just slow throughout, with endless backtracking. The simplified alchemy system is a mixed bag. It does little to stray from the formula and will be picked up by players exactly for that. It would be nice to see Gust take some risks and really step out with some new ideas rather than re-hashes of the same thing over and over.
AI WAR 2 is the type of game that would normally be very good. The concept and guerrilla warfare are both interesting ideas. However, this just doesn't really click or feel that interesting. Given players have access to so much stuff from the beginning, there is no sense of progression which might be the largest killer, if not the steep learning curve. Some might really enjoy it, but general strategy players won't want to hop through all the hoops.
There are some rough spots with the UI, a bit of repetition with some overworld aspects, but nitpicks aside Trials of Fire was actually highly enjoyable both as a strategy game, and a deck builder. The fact the game has some strong Heroes of Might and Magic vibes going on is icing on the cake. The problem comes through that a single play (~2-4 hours) is about all it takes to get most out of the game. After that players likely won't be back.
Soul Nomad more than Phantom Brave is the real prize in Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 1; anyone who has played it will recommend its entertaining game, dark story, and just overall high quality. This collection is fun simple because the old games are good, but the real problem is that there is zero extra content added to the package. No quality-of-life improvements, no graphics updates, nothing that make the two games more accessible. The old games are essentially great, but the package itself is non-existent and feels half-hearted. This is such a huge waste and a missed opportunity, unfortunately it drags down what could have been an outstanding experience.
Eastward absolutely radiates heart, which is why it is tough to be hard on it. So many little things, from random sprite movements, to the cooking, or RPG mini-game, are charming, yet, the core element of the game - the story - takes far, far too long for any payoff. Instead, it drones on and on in meaninglessness that torpedoes the pacing of the game. While the action and exploration are interesting, it's slowed down too much by banality.
When the story hits some of its high points, AI: The Somnium Files is really good, and feels like the same kind of high 999 gave… but it is largely crippled by just how slow and repetitious it all is. Random slapstick and outright unrealistic scenes draws players out very quickly from the attempt at being a serious plot. It goes nowhere fast, and the whiplash between attempts at humour and serious moments are too ham-fisted. The overall plot could easily be cut by more than half, and the overall experience would be better for it.
If there is one problem with Caligula Effect 2 it is pacing. The beginning hits incredibly hard, with great characterization and drawing the player into the plot. The hours-long plodding dungeons and 'slice of life' sections kill what otherwise is actually a pretty cool story. Much like the first game, the core experience of fights and story is solid, but it is absolutely buried in detail which is unfortunate as it makes it far less accessible.
Shinrai Broken Beyond Despair was a pleasant surprise given its comparison to far-better funded titles in the visual novel genre. While there are some obvious issues such as graphics that never go past being simplistic and bigger issues of pacing problems, the core tale is oddly intriguing. The mystery is fun to sit through, and perhaps the only real criticism is the core narrative should have taken longer, and the various 'side stories' take far too long and detract from the main story.
Abomi Nation actually plays better than it looks. What really holds it back is simply optimization and settings that largely don't work. The combat is simplistic, with many moves being useless. One of the advantages is a story that actually is better than might be deigned simply from the pictures. Fans of the challenge mode will likely enjoy it, and with a few patches under them, expect the experience to improve. Other than those looking for something exactly like this, most will be put off by too many other things.
Tough game to rate overall, as there was some care and time that went into this; it just went to all the wrong places. Players looking for a strategy/tactical experience are going to be absolutely repulsed by the mix of "walking sim"/WRPG that leaves much of the core experience behind absolutely. The battles are simplistic, and the few redeeming features are buried beneath too many complaints and issues. There is simply very little strategy in this game that occurs, or is interesting to think about.
Those in love with the history of the era will love the detail within Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV: Diplomacy and Strategy Expansion Pack Bundle, but to those that the history is meaningless the absolute volume of names and relationships is a waste of time. Furthermore, while this has some interesting concepts, it is just too bogged down with minutia and lost in its own stats. The series could really need an overhaul on how to make things more streamlined.