Dollhouse takes good ideas and puts them behind clashing mechanics. The randomly-generated landscapes all look the same, causing many issues with navigating and retrieving much-needed items. This pool of ideas lacks cohesion, and the minuscule payoff makes the tedium feel like a complete waste of time. Very little works in Dollhouse's favor.
Without its flaws, Super Neptunia RPG manages to depict the whimsical appeal of Neptunia in a new, approachable way for newcomers. However, these same flaws bring many aspects of the game down. Combat and character development also lack a whole lot of depth. Conversely, that lack of depth comes with an ease of access that works for this silly endeavor. Consider this title a between-games RPG curiosity.
This is the best way to play The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II. Visuals remain relatively the same as the PS3 version, albeit upscaled to higher resolution. The biggest changes come from perfect performance and Turbo Mode. Both add the kind of quality-of-life an epic-sized RPG such as this needs in order to feel as fresh as the first time you played it.
Rage 2 has room to grow, but it's also a great game to pick up and play. Combat is visceral in all the right ways, and exploration is always rewarding. A few technical issues and a general sense of sameness keep it from pure excellence, but Rage 2 still represents a good time.
Va-11 Hall-A is one of those games that comes out of nowhere and blindsides you with what it has to say. It beats the hearts and minds of the creators in special ways all while delivering a wonderful stylized world through its unique list of characters. Despite its few shortcomings and hefty reading, Va-11 Hall-A offers up something all its own rarely found in this industry.
Ghost 1.0 has the heart of a beloved project and the soul of the best Metroidvania games in the industry. Despite its few quirks, the balance between accessibility and challenge, coupled with intriguing writing makes Ghost 1.0 a worthy pickup for even those with some curiosity about the game.
MLB The Show 19 takes itself through the paces and comes out improved and enhanced quite well. The game itself is still missing a few features to make it truly potent. The franchise delivers a beautiful, streamlined product each and every year, and 2019 is no exception.
Death end re;Quest is far from perfect, with pacing and creative choices dragging things down. However, a simplistic, yet appealing combat and well-delivered character-based narrative make this a journey RPG fans can sink their teeth into. It may not be for everyone, but it has merit.
Degrees of Separation has a great deal of heart built into it. Ember and Rime bring a light but appealing dichotomy to the world that's fun to solve puzzles with. However, both narrative and gameplay pacing suffer greatly due to creative choices. In the right hands, Degrees of Separation could be a personal favorite. However, a great companion is required to overcome this game's frequent, repetitive shortcomings.
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition has everything an RPG fan could want: engaging combat, fun tactics, and a stellar narrative. What puts Vesperia above the rest of the franchise, however, is how accessible it is to everyone. It has clear signs of age, but within Vesperia beats the heart of a classic that everyone should experience.
Battle Princess Madelyn is everything you need in a retro romp. The lack of a map with limited direction may be frustrating at times, but the heart and soul of Ghosts & Goblins remains true to form. Battle Princess Madelyn is a joy to play and a must for retro fans.
The Last Remnant has its inherent flaws. However, there is plenty there to engross any RPG player, old or new, who needs something else. The game offers little direction and limits itself narratively, but trial and error can help polish off the rough enough to see its glimmer.
Persona Dancing: Endless Night spotlights the interstellar soundtracks from the last three Persona entries. Payoff is limited here, since these are side stories, but strong writing and interesting concepts accentuate the rhythm experience wonderfully. This collection, and each of its individual games, is meant for anyone looking for a great rhythm game that features fantastic music.
World of Final Fantasy Maxima offers a fair amount of extra content intended for newcomers and die-hards alike. With that said, this content is not necessarily essential to everybody. The extras with it make a newcomer's life easier, and the end-game content adds just enough to bring back the most dedicated completionists. This content is intriguing and adds some extra freedom and flexibility, but it is not essential content.