Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider has a steel-like focus on its demographic: people who either grew up with titles like Shinobi and Strider or people who have taken the dive into retro gaming and want the thrill of something new that feels authentic to the time period. The short run time, use of a lives system, and difficulty that some may feel is cheap may deter some gamers. That said, all in all, the developers have knocked it out of the park once again with some high-octane ninja action with intuitive controls, smooth gameplay, and the kind of pick-up-and-play style hook that the loftier AAA games just don’t have.
Neptunia as a series does seem to suffer when it moves away from its JRPG roots. While Neptunia Sisters VS Sisters has a lot of great points, the more action-oriented gameplay aspects do let it down quite a lot. I’d not suggest rushing out and grabbing it, but Neptunia fans will certainly find a lot to enjoy and this is certainly who it’s aimed at. If you can get past the slow start and the gameplay, the story will make it worth it.
One Piece Odyssey manages to not only be the finest One Piece title released, but it also stands on its legs alone as a damn fine JRPG adventure. It’s riddled with all kinds of franchise fan service, but that only carries a game so far and I don’t think I would have enjoyed playing through the game’s 40-hour+ story if that was all it had. The game managed to smash every expectation I had. While it had some wonky pacing and played it a little safe at times with the genre tropes, I felt fully invested in the game from start to finish. It’s to such a point that this game has rekindled my love of the franchise which had been ebbing to the point I was happy to just play the Musou titles for a story recap. It won’t convince anyone who actively dislikes or shows no interest in One Piece to get invested, but if you have a slight curiosity and a love for JRPGs, the game offers enough to entice and entrap players. If you’re a fan of Luffy and Co, then this is the easiest game recommendation I can make. This is the game I wanted from One Piece: World Seeker and has cemented itself as the absolute gold standard of Anime tie-in titles: no more cheap arena fighting games, please!
The few improvements made to Persona 3 Portable cannot begin to make up for how half-hearted this remastering effort feels otherwise. Shoddily redone audiovisual aspects compromise its atmosphere and painstakingly crafted emotional beats. Things that should have been improved simply weren’t. I implore you to play Persona 3 if you haven’t already, it’s one of the most fulfilling and characterful JRPGs ever made. However, don’t make this disappointing version your first experience.
I’d buy this on sale in its current state. Even with all the bugs and issues, I had a great time, but would not be pleased to pay full price. However, provided bugs, typos, and missing translations are fixed, this is a 7/10 game. I had a terrific time with it, but it’s a shame that there are so many issues in the game’s current state. If you are hankering for a nukige, find yourself fancying the art, and don’t mind some serious scuff around the edges, you’ll find yourself with a gem.
For a game this ambitious, I am incredibly impressed with what was accomplished! Sure, it’s quite rough around the edges, but what’s on offer here can’t be understated. Assault Spy is a highly enjoyable action game with quirky characters and an excellent combat system. Though some story and design issues prevent the game from being a truly great title. Even so, the game even continues to receive updates almost two years after its release, which is highly commendable! Whether you’ll enjoy the game or not depends on what kind of a gamer you are. If you enjoy games with a slower pace, you’re probably going to get overwhelmed by the game’s frantic pace. But if you find yourself yearning for a deep combat system that rewards experimentation, I certainly recommend Assault Spy!
With much of the time spent on that transition period from just friends whether new or old and the conversation system simulating it, Fureraba ~Friend to Lover~ feels like something a little different than most visual novels. Even if the comedy doesn’t always land, I think most will enjoy spending their time getting to know these heroines and becoming more than friends. If nothing else, Misaki is just precious — play this and you’ll fall in love with her.
I love Warhammer 40,000: Darktide, so much so that I continue to go back night after night and get stuck in that “1 more” loop that is a true testament to a great game. Yes, I haven’t been able to perfectly follow the narrative and I’m not playing it under the most ideal of circumstances, but I still cannot get enough of it. With that said, it’s not going to be for everyone. It is still at heart a horde, team-based shooter. The more single-player-focused gamer is going to get bored much sooner than others. It’s the bloody marriage of the combat, the random missions, and the sheer presentation of the levels that makes Warhammer 40,000: Darktide such an easy game to recommend to anyone who enjoys shooters. It's an essential purchase for those that “Praise The Emperor”. I love this title and the constantly evolving nature of it means that it is only going to get better!
Overall, I think Maid for Loving You is a good experience for those interested in anime maid culture. For everyone else, it's also a short story about two people finding solace in one another in a tiring world and a developing heart. There are some issues and I do believe the start of the game can be a turn-off for people who aren’t too much into the tropes, but it's worth it for those who can stick through it. Overall, it's a good recommendation for a short, 5-hour journey.
Having the chance to play one of my favorite Final Fantasy experiences, with updated graphics, tweaked combat and in 60FPS on the Playstation 5 and Steam releases was an offer I just couldn’t wait to take up. I’m so happy that it has turned out, for the most part, better than I expected. Due to the original device limitations, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion was always going to feel a little different than a traditional title. This is helped somewhat by Crisis Core always having gone beyond the average handheld title. Surprisingly, it isn’t held back at all by the disjointed gameplay loop and instead presents an addictive and fun condensed adventure with real heart and some wacky Square Enix writing to boot. Dodgy voice dub aside, it’s fantastic that this title is now more wildly available to gamers. Whether you missed it the first time around or played the original, you owe it to yourself to step into Zack Fair’s boots and take the fight to Genesis one more time.
Otome Domain took me about thirteen hours to complete and I enjoyed each one. It has a fun concept that is rare in localized visual novels. The characters are great too. I really enjoyed how it connects their various personality quirks to their own challenges and a serious plot while keeping a fairly light and comedic tone throughout most of the story. Mixing in some touching, dramatic, and romantic moments kept me engaged the entire time.
From the second I launched the game to my current second playthrough of the title, I cannot get enough of this game. I had a feeling this would be a special sequel with how unexpected the original was, but I wasn’t ready for just how good this title would be. I’ve often mentioned the fact to anyone who would listen to how much I love River City Girls from its unique style to its addictive and smooth combat. With this follow-up, WayForward has decided to completely dethrone the first title. This is frankly the perfect sequel. It adds enough while still retaining what I adored about the original. Funky performance and loading issues aside, I can’t find any faults with the girl's latest outing and anyone who may have been burned by the release that was River City Girls Zero should ignore that and join the girls and their cast for what is frankly my personal game of the year, a contender for best in the genre, and just an outright bombastic and fun adventure. Pack your bag River City Girls, you’re getting evicted by the River City Girls (too).
Aokana – EXTRA2 is a fitting follow-up to Misaki’s route in the original Aokana, with an exciting focus on Flying Circus and the feelings that occur when competing in sports with friends and rivals. Even as someone with no interest in sports, I was hooked. If you enjoyed this side of Aokana, I’d certainly recommend you pick it up.
Front Mission 1st Remake is a bizarre title. It is a true remake rather than a remaster, but all the effort has still gone into the visual side of things rather than tweaking the gameplay to make it more in line with the modern era of gaming. It’s a slow-paced title with painful RNG that really isn’t too interested in providing more than a basic SRPG experience with customizable mechs. It’s great to see the series back once again. With a remake of further titles planned, I can only hope this serves as a stepping stone to provide players with a much more fun and engaging title in the future. Unfortunately, as it stands, Front Mission 1st Remake is a pretty title that while offers some fun, really doesn’t stand out in any real meaningful way compared to its many, many peers.
Signalis is as traditional survival horror as Resident Evil 1 to 3 and Silent Hill. It has a unique art style and a different camera angle, but the result still hits just as hard. It has a compelling mystery, interesting puzzles, combat that works within the genre, and tension that at times is frankly astounding. Signalis is an essential horror title for anyone who loves a good scare, with just enough science fiction in it to keep fans engaged.
Monochrome Mobius: Rights and Wrongs Forgotten is a difficult one to rate. It has an excellent story, better than a lot of other visual novels or JRPGs, but it is severely hampered by the dated gameplay and certain design choices. If you’ve played and loved all of the Utawarerumono visual novels, I’d recommend it. Even if I found myself often frustrated, I’d certainly sign up for any potential sequel after playing.
What Samurai Maiden lacks in plot, it makes up for with excellent relationship-building scenes, and surprisingly tactical hack’n’slash gameplay. While there were a few issues, I had fun throughout. It goes beyond fanservice and delivers a surprisingly great game.
Judging it by its own merits, Didnapper 2 is a very well-made RPG, but you have to know what you're getting into. The game was clearly made by and for fans of bondage, and that could very well be a deal-breaker for some players. Its inclusion often distracts from an otherwise great story and the mature undertones, despite there being no explicit content, could be quite offputting for some. But if you can look past these elements, the unique gameplay mechanics, a well-written story, and a solid presentation make Didnapper 2 an adventure that's well worth your time!
Pokémon Scarlet/Violet is a potential 10/10 game, trapped behind severe issues. I personally had some of the most fun I’ve had with any game all year, but there’s a lot to criticize and it certainly shouldn’t have been released in the state it was. It does bring up a conflict in terms of scoring and not everyone will agree, but I feel recommending it is still fair due to all the positives and the sheer amount of fun I had with it – if not at such a high rating
As a longtime fan of the Blue Blur, I am overjoyed by Sonic Frontiers and what it represents for the series moving forward. With solid new gameplay ideas, an engaging and rewarding story, one of the best soundtracks in the series, and a good length, it’s some of the most fun I’ve ever had with a Sonic game. What holds it back are inconsistent visuals, a general lack of polish in some places, and not being particularly newcomer friendly. That being said, it’s a game I can still recommend with ease because of the sheer amount of heart it has, and how addicting it is when taken on its own terms. It’s a new frontier, and the air has never been so fresh.