The NieR franchise has easily become one of my favorites. After NieR Automata, my need to replay the original NieR grew and grew, and thankfully, Square Enix has answered my prayers for an updated version of the original title. NieR: Replicant tells a fantastic story that's carried by great writing and a soundtrack that stops you in your tracks to listen to its incredible melodies. The only thing that holds Replicant back from true greatness is its old-school take on fetch quests and the horribly constant backtracking.
Saga Frontier Remastered is a great remaster for those who already enjoyed the original. The unique take on exploration and non-linear storytelling may throw some people off expecting a traditional RPG but those who stick with it may find the charm that so many found back in when it originally released. Simple but fun combat and a great skills system make it a joy to play and the improvements in the remaster may help bring in new fans while invigorating older fans with the inclusion of originally cut content.
Black Legend is a competent game that loses itself in its own cumbersome execution. For every good mechanic, Black Legend introduces it finds a way to make it confusing to learn, and hinders your enjoyment of it in the process. Black Legend crafts an intriguing world that I loved exploring when I wasn't constantly getting lost due to its poor navigation. Where the brunt of issues appear are in the game's cumbersome Catalyst System and repetitive combat animations. Thankfully ,the fun cross-class System keeps things a bit interesting for as long as it takes to finish the title.
Star Renegades is a fantastic addition to the Roglelite genre. The title's amazing animations complement the fantastic battle system that, in all honesty, had me thinking about my actions more than any strategy game has done in the past. The complex battle system feels incredibly rewarding, especially when you win a battle just by the skin of your teeth. I've never truly enjoyed a Roguelite before but Star Renegades has made me a fan.
Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy improves many of the flaws from the original game while carving out its own identity. Ryza and her companions are some of the best this franchise has seen. With a bigger focus on story, combat, and character progression, Atelier Ryza 2 feels more like an overall RPG experience rather than just a crafting simulator. It's not a perfect game by any means and it does suffer from some issues but they in no way hamper the overall experience.
The First Samurai is the first piece of content in the entire Nioh franchise that feels underwhelming. Outside of the great boss battles and boss designs, the rest of DLC just feels bland and uninspired. The First Samurai simply doesn't do enough to give the franchise the farewell it deserves .
The Game Bakers have done a wonderful job creating a unique world and telling a love story that's believable and intriguing. I was fully invested in Kay and Yu and shaping their relationship. Though the game is all about the story, the game's turn-based combat is truly unique and demands your attention. What seals the deal is Havens's fantastic soundtrack providing some of the best electronic music I've heard in a while. For those looking for a different type of game, Haven is a great alternative for those looking for a great character-driven and emotional. experience.
It's easy to say a game is amazing because you simply enjoy it. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition on the other hand backs up that statement by providing one of, if not the best JRPG titles of all time. With so much added content and quality of life improvements, it's mind-blowing to me that a game so intricately designed could be made any better. Square Enix proved that no matter how good something is, it can always be better.
A fantastic world brought to life by great storytelling, world-building, and visual and audio design. Though I wish the voices and dialogue could have gotten some extra work put into it, overall Observer: System Redux is Bloober Team's best game yet. The Ray Tracing breaths life to a dusty and decrepit building while the DualSense allows you to feel the various actions Lazarski performs. Observer: System Redux is a great example of what both Ray Tracing and the innovations of the DualSense controller are capable of.
XIII is a disastrous remake that probably never should have been made. The franchise's cult classic status officially has a major blemish in this remake. It's almost impossible to find anything positive to say about it because every aspect is just so broken and bland. If you want to get into the franchise, read the graphic novel but do yourself a favor and avoid this remake at all costs.