In poking fun at RPGs of old, Artefacts Studio elicits laughs, but it loses sight of what makes those classics special: an engrossing narrative. The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk’s threadbare story does little to help you stay engaged beyond its opening hours, and inexcusable technical failings dampen the fun thereafter. I recommend The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk to fans of the source material and anyone with a high pain tolerance in desperate need of SRPG combat goodness. But for all others, you’re better off picking up one of the RPGs this one mocks.
Though Death end’s engaging narrative pushes me to reconsider my skepticism of games whose titles include semicolons, this Switch port’s monotonous combat system, cookie-cutter progression mechanics, and serious technical failings keep me from dumping this aversion altogether. For fans of top-notch visual novels willing to tuck in for the hours of tedium much the rest of the game amounts to, I can wholeheartedly recommend Death end re;Quest — just not on Switch. To all others: steer clear of this one or, if you can’t resist experiencing this odd series for yourself, nab this on PS4 or PC and dodge this technical travesty.
Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance is a game with great promise but poor-to-mediocre performance, depending on your affinity for action-oriented loot hunting and patience for AI and other technical shortcomings that should have been nipped in beta. But with promise comes optimism; Tuque Games has a robust DLC and expansion roadmap planned, so its continued investment in the game could lead to patches ameliorating my gripes. If it does, you’ll find that Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance reaches the lofty heights of its renowned spiritual predecessors. But if Tuque Games neglects these issues, Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance will remain a fun but prohibitively frustrating game I can recommend to series devotees and few others.
Despite my gripes with the narrative and framerate, Monster Hunter Stories 2 is an exhilarating ride from start to finish. I had a blast getting lost in its addictive combat, collection, and customization systems and appreciating its wondrous visual style. Whether you want to collect Monsties or battle them, or if this is your first or fifth foray into Monster Hunter, you’d be remiss to overlook Monster Hunter Stories 2. Regardless of whether it dethrones Pokémon as the king of monster collecting games, you’ll find it injects welcome innovation into the subgenre and stands on its own merits as an RPG well worth your time.
Even 30 years after release, Final Fantasy IV still shines as brightly as it did in 1991. Its genre-defining story and combat system coupled with the Pixel Remaster’s reorchestrated soundtrack and quality of life updates make this an iconic game you’d be a fool to miss. Much like Cecil struggles with his unwitting role as a killer for his king, I struggle to let go of Final Fantasy IV Pixel Remaster after spending a few dozen hours wrapping up its main quest. If you have even a modicum of affection for JRPGs, you will too.