To stretch an analogy worthy of the game, South Park: The Stick of Truth is much like its “magic” burritos. It is far tastier than it has any right to be, taking a solid, meaty system for combat, beans and cheese for field interactions, and then wrapping them up in the tortilla of South Park.
Most importantly, Atelier Ryza 3 is a game that fulfills its purpose as the capstone to a trilogy. It does its best to provide closure to the series and its characters, and by the end sequence most of the cast has some sense of growth in themselves and their relationships.
While I can say that I enjoyed my time with Shin Megami Tensei V, it was the exploration of ruined Tokyo that kept my attention. Once the last big map was filled in, the last treasures claimed, and the last little red dude returned to the item shop’s master, the game quickly lost its luster.
When I started this game, I was not expecting to find the best Atelier game of its generation, but the development team at Gust has proven with Sophie 2 that they can learn from experience, leveling up in knowledge and skill just as the alchemists do to provide a more polished product.
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is nothing like its predecessor in general playstyle, but it shares the same sense of whimsy and wonder, the same motifs of sadness and redemption, and is a well-built game overall.
The level of challenge won’t be to everyone’s liking, but for those who do like this sort of thing, then Batbarian is a game that will give the player a run for their money. It’s hard, but never unfair, and it lures the player onward with an interesting plot and retro graphics. This one stands as an example of what a good indie developer can do with a classic game genre, breathing life into it and making it their own.