NEO: The World Ends With You is the sequel we’ve been waiting for. While its new cast of characters have a lofty legacy to live up to, they manage to cement themselves as equally memorable even if their own journey begins to intersect with one we know so well. Combat falls victim to repetition, yet the ideas that surround it are substantial enough that such flaws are easy to forgive. If you’re after a vast JRPG adventure, it’s time to surrender yourself to the underground and never look back. TWEWY is back, and I hope it’s here to stay.
Those looking for an easygoing yet surprisingly deep JRPG will be taken with Monster Hunter Stories 2, even if some of its more notable flaws are harder to forgive. But once you look past those, you’re left with a wondrous little adventure with an engaging battle system, lovable characters, and an emotionally resonant narrative that sunk its claws in far deeper than I ever expected it to. If you’ve never been able to vibe with the mainline games, give this one a punt.
If you’re after an anime-infused action romp in a similar vein to Akira or Sword Art Online, Scarlet Nexus is almost certainly worth a punt. However, there are a few caveats. Combat is excellent yet not without its flaws, while the story being told and characters you encounter don’t have nearly enough depth to feel emotionally resonant. The potential for something brilliant is here, but much like Code Vein before it, this is a game that seems determined to stop itself from achieving something truly special.
Intermission is an excellent expansion for the world of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, introducing Yuffie Kisaragi and expanding upon her character and history in ways that simply weren’t possible in the 1997 original. She absolutely steals the show here, bolstered up by a selection of compelling newcomers and a continuation of the main narrative that teases a tantalisingly exciting future for this ambitious project. I’m unsure when we will next see something from Final Fantasy 7 Remake, but if it’s anything like this - we’re in for a treat.
Its attachment to the past can hold it back from greatness, especially in regards to its dedication to bombastic set-pieces and a hesitation to explore its own ideas. Village is drenched in excellence throughout, but the occasional fumble stops it from reaching the heights of both its predecessor and the seminal masterpiece it is so desperate to imitate. There’s also not nearly enough big lady - she needs her own game.
Oddworld: Soulstorm is clearly a labour of love, and I can see that in everything it does. The ambition that bleeds into its story, characters, and gameplay are all evident, but the execution is just sorely lacking everywhere it matters. Perhaps my perspective on past games is warped by nostalgia, but this isn’t the road I imagined Abe and company going down. It’s in the right direction, but they’ve veered off course and landed themselves in a ditch.
The Medium is an enjoyable survival horror that's held back by a lacklustre narrative and a signature mechanic that never reaches its full potential. Even with Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka's score ringing across the twisted soviet world, Bloober Team's latest project pales in comparison to the legends that came before it.
Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends and the Secret Fairy is a brilliant sequel that expands upon everything that made the original great, while forging a path forward that can be further expanded upon in the trilogy's final chapter.