Square Enix are the best at what they do, aren’t they? Mastering a genre and providing hit after hit takes years of experience, and Square Enix have that in abundance. Be it Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, or the Saga series, they continue to invent and reinvent whilst keeping the heart and soul of these games at the forefront of all they do. Bravely Default II, the sequel to the 3DS original from 2012, is the latest game by Square Enix to be given the same treatment.
Emblazoned across Pumpkin Jack’s website is the slogan “Medieval meets Jak & Daxter”. If that isn’t an indicator of what’s to follow, I’m not sure what would be. It’s indicative of everything this game stands for, warts and all, and feels very much a take it or leave it approach by the developer. ‘Remember those games from the late 90’s and early 2000’s that we all know and loved? Well, if you think you’ll still love them now, I’ve made a new one.’
Wolf. Crinos. Human. Three forms that render the moment-to-moment gameplay of Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood as unique as it comes. When you aren’t sneaking around in the shadows in Cahal’s wolf form, you are shapeshifting into a human to snap necks or transitioning into a Crinos to wreak havoc on the environment and your enemies. It’s fascinating, yet oh-so-flawed.
Perched atop the Empire State observing the snow-covered streets of Manhattan, I put the controller down and take it all in. So, this is what next-gen gaming is all about. The streets are alive with the hustle and bustle of downtown Manhattan. The visuals offer a crispness and clarity I have never seen before. And, there’s an affinity with the story that took hold from the off. As I dive off to protect the citizens of my city from the next crime in progress, it dawns on me.
Let’s get straight down to brass tacks. The performance of Deadly Premonition 2 is nothing short of appalling. With a stuttering frame-rate, inaudible cutscenes, texture pop-in that begs the question as to why they even bothered adding the asset in at all and loading times so long you’ll be left wondering if the game has crashed. All of these equate to a game that is almost unplayable. The most important word in this paragraph? Almost.
In the last month I have: renovated my house, developed a relationship with my new girlfriend, enjoyed meaningful walks out in the open air and spent some time quality time with the people that matter most. Oh, and I’ve been tending to crops and looking after the animals on my farm. That’s right; I’ve been playing STORY OF SEASONS: Friends of Mineral Town.
If real-life hadn’t got in the way, I could have quite easily completed the single player ‘campaign’ of Star Wars Episode 1 Racer in a few sittings. Harkening back to the good ol’ days of the N64 (among other consoles), this re-release of a 20+ year old racing game has the potential to transport a player back to a simpler time: a time when 2-player local coop and late nights gathered around a TV were commonplace. The fact that I would have finished it in such a short space of time is indicative of how well it has recaptured that magic, but it is also representative of how easy it is.
There is beauty to be found in boredom and a magic in the mundane. Unfortunately, in the case of Farmer’s Dynasty, it doesn’t matter how hard it tries, it can’t satiate the same sentiments. ‘More than just an agricultural simulation’ is the tagline, and whilst this may be true, it isn’t necessarily a good thing.
There is something special about a game that has been designed and developed by a small group of individuals. No matter the industry, we all know that working as part of a team can come with its challenges, but ultimately, the more team members there are, the greater the pool of resources and potential a project can have.
With such a unique approach to the release of The Wonderful 101: Remastered on the Nintendo Switch, and because it would have been a missed opportunity not to – something you’ll find rather apt as you read on, I have chosen to share 101 comments, considerations and key details about PlatinumGames’ latest game. Enjoy!