The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero is an outstanding JRPG with a great story, memorable characters, solid turn-based combat, and an absolutely amazing soundtrack. Going back to my question in the beginning, was the game worth the wait? The answer is a resounding yes. While the game’s localization can be a bit rough in some places, this shouldn’t hold you back from experiencing this title. I highly recommend this game to fans of the franchise, JRPG fans, and even newcomers. For the price of $39.99, it is definitely worth it.
In the end, while I do have my complaints, I still had a ton of fun with Xenoblade Chronicles 3. I’ve been extremely off and on burnt out lately and I’ve started and played so many games in the last year, only to lack the drive to actually finish them. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was exactly what I needed. I jumped at the chance to review it back when it was announced and it didn’t completely disappoint me. It kept me occupied for over a month and I didn’t have my usual urge as of late to jump ship and find another game to try and get sucked into for a little while. I don’t know what I would have done this summer without Xenoblade Chronicles 3. I look forward to getting back into it to sidequest some more in the future and I’m anxious to see what comes out later, as far as DLC content is concerned. It wasn’t the perfect Xenoblade game I expected and was hoping for. Nonetheless, it was overall a wonderfully fun JRPG experience.
At the end of the day, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid: Burst Forth!! Choro-gon☆Breath is a decent title overall. Fans of the series will have a great time with the cast of characters they love, and shmup fans will find some good gameplay to sink their teeth into. I don’t think this one has a ton of depth, but it is fun to play in short bursts, just to see how much you can improve on each stage and boss. Collecting all of the different collectibles is fun and adds a ton of replay value. I do think the $39.99 price tag is a bit much, but if you’re a big fan of the series, you’ll probably be alright with it. Everyone should pick this one up at some point, but maybe when it’s on sale.
Overall, I feel like Dusk Diver 2 is a solid title. There is plenty of great fighting action, the story is entertaining and the game looks great. The only real complaint I have with this one is even if you’re leveled and upgraded properly, some enemies feel like damage sponges. This makes some random encounters drag out a bit too long for my tastes. If you’re a fan of 3D Beat-em-Ups with some good world exploration and fun characters, this one is well worth the $49.99 price tag.
Even with these issues, though, Stray is undoubtedly one of my favorite gaming experiences of the year. The freedom of exploration offered by the novel protagonist, the dense world-building, and the atmospheric sound design all coalesced to provide an emotionally-moving and poignant game that I still can’t stop thinking about. I have a couple trophies left to get, but even if I didn’t, I’d still boot up the game just to walk around the city, drink in the sights and sounds, and find a comfortable place to catnap so I could listen to the stray purr contentedly. Despite its short length and some technical issues, Stray is definitely going into my list of impactful games and I’m really happy I had the chance to play it.
Overall I had a fantastic time with Yurukill: The Calumniation Games. I loved the story, characters, art style, music and the gameplay is some of the best I’ve experienced in a long time. I feel like fans of either of these genres would have a ton a fun with this game. The shmup sections are pretty challenging but there is an easy setting for folks like me that suck at them greatly. You can adjust this to your liking and take them on in higher settings in the challenge mode that features online leaderboards. It took me about 13 hours to complete the story here, but I feel like there is a bit of replay value here just taking on various shooting in the unlocked mode. This one is easy to recommend at that $39.99 price tag and will likely be one of the best and most unique titles released this year.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Birushana: Rising Flower of Genpei. The characters were charming, well-acted, and gorgeous; I’m a sucker for historical fiction, and experiencing an alternate version of the Genpei War made for a really exciting scenario; and the sound design was completely on point. Unfortunately, the game also suffered from some glaring grammatical issues that cannot be ignored. If you’re a fan of samurai or historical drama, Birushana is worth checking out, but that recommendation comes with a massive caveat thanks to what I found as less-than-professional proofreading. In the end, your tolerance for grammatical errors is YMMV, and for me they weren’t enough to take me out of the game entirely, but for others it might be a bridge too far.
I didn’t really know what to expect out of Touken Ranbu Warriors, since I knew nothing about this franchise, but what I found here was a very competent Musou game. The missions are fun with just enough variety to keep things interesting. The characters are a lot of fun, and while the combat here is pretty basic, it felt great as fan of this genre. The game looks and runs great on PC, but I think this one might be a little on the easy side for seasoned Warriors players. Though I feel like most of them will enjoy it anyways, since the gameplay is so smooth. You get around 20 hours of story missions here for $59.99, and probably a dozen or so more hours if you want to unlock everything this one has to offer. If you are a fan of Touken Ranbu, then you should probably pick this one up ASAP. There is a lot of fanservice here for you to enjoy from one of your favorite franchises. Fans of Musou games in general should probably give this one a look as well. I know I certainly had a good time with it overall.
Overall, I have to say I had a really good time with Trek to Yomi. The combat was fun, the story was great, and I loved the overall aesthetics here. It was great to explore all the unique areas the game has to offer, discovering interesting collectibles along the way. The game is a bit on the short side at just 7 hours playing on the normal difficulty level, but with multiple endings and challenge levels to choose from, there is plenty of replay value to justify the $19.99 price tag. If you’re a fan of older samurai movies or just love a good sword based action game, you can’t really go wrong with this one.
Overall, Seven Pirates H is a solid release for EastAsiaSoft. There is a great story here with some fun characters, a unique and spicy minigame for fans to enjoy, and the combat is solid as well. The only thing I feel holds this back is its length. I would’ve liked a few more hours with the girls just to flesh out their personalities a bit more. If you liked the previous releases in this series, this is well worth your coin at the $39.99 price tag. Players wanting to jump into these fan service filled beauties are in luck as well, since you need no prior knowledge of the previous releases to have a great time here. Hopefully, if this games does well for EastAsiaSoft, they will consider bringing over the last game in this series, Castles Panzers, at some point down the line.
The Cruel King and the Great Hero is a simple game, but it has a lot of heart. The characters here are wonderful, and they tell a great story with messaging I think we can all appreciate today. I think this one is well worth the $29.99 asking price, even with my few minor complaints. The physical Storybook Edition of this one is great as well. It will set you back $59.99, but it comes with a nice hardcover artbook, a soundtrack download and very cute Yuu Plushie. The artbook is really neat because it has a great design and contains the illustrations you can unlock in game. I am very glad I decided to review this one. I had a lot of fun here, and this wonderful story will stick around with me for a while. If you’re fan of storybook adventures, RPGs or just want a good to experience a good story, this one is well worth your time.
Overall, I felt this was a wonderful Nintendo Switch port. The game runs great, the graphics are good and the inclusion of all the DLC at the $35.99 price tag with the launch discount for this whole package is a great deal. It only takes a few hours to complete one run of Gal*Gun: Double Peace, but there is a lot of replay value here in seeing the story bits for each of the girls, unlocking all the hidden goodies the game has to offer, and there is even a score attack for those looking to challenge their personal best. PQube and Inti Creates have done a great service to Switch gamers by porting the last of this amazing franchise to their console. This gives them a chance to experience the entire Gal*Gun saga for themselves! Now if you will excuse me, there is a cute angel from the first game I must hunt!
At the end of the day, Phantom Breaker: Omnia is a good anime fighter. There are plenty of unique characters to choose from, and even a few special guests from other MAGES titles. I wasn’t really impressed with some of choices made with the subtitles, but this is a minor complaint that doesn’t really take much away from this one. Combat here is simple to pick up and play with enough depth to keep you interested for hours to come. There are plenty of modes to mess around with offline, as well as some online modes to take on your friends. If you’re a fan of anime style fighters, at the $39.99 price tag, you should probably give this one a go. I feel like there is enough meat here to keep you entertained for hours. If you are new to fighting games, this may be a good title to start with, since it isn’t overly complicated to play, but it is a lot of fun.
Infernax is one of the best indie games I’ve played in a long time. It’s a great throwback to not only Castlevania 2, but other great NES games from my childhood as well. The gameplay here is solid, the story is fun and humorous, and there are plenty of extra goodies to keep players coming back for more. The game is a bit on the difficult side, but there are plenty of fun options to play the game as you want to. Infernax can be completed in about 4 hours, but with all the extra endings, the replay value here is high. I feel like this one is well worth the $19.99 asking price for anyone who loves games in this style, or older gamers looking for a throwback from their childhood.
There are three difficulties where there are, at base, four in every preceding Shadow Warrior game. Despite it being a single player game that is linear but still has upgrades, there are no additional modes like a horde mode or even new game+. The only content in the game are literally the levels. How long did it take me to beat the game? Five hours. Five hours for a $49.99 game with little to no replay value. This is almost insulting. You can’t even level select with any of your previous upgrades just to play through a single level if you want, nor is there a results screen. It should be noted that the game itself, on its own, is okay. It doesn’t do anything particularly crude or ill-thought out. Most of my criticisms were more or less along the lines on how the title feels weaker compared to other games in the franchise. It’s strange since I know Flying Wild Hog can do better. Unfortunately, with how the game ended, this is more than likely going to be the last Shadow Warrior game. That is the true disappointment considering my criticisms.
Without a doubt, Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream is one of my favorite releases of this year. The graphics are top notch, gameplay is great, and the soundtrack is simply amazing. The story here is what I love the most. This is a positive story that is pure JRPG comfort food, and damn if we all don’t need some comfort right now. I was a little worried when this was announced and about how a follow up to Sophie would work, and I can safely say, I was worried for nothing. The game retails for $59.99, and I spent around 56 hours with this one. This a fantastic release in the franchise and a must own for fans. This title is very welcoming to newcomers as well, so if you never picked up one of these great JRPGs, now is a good time to jump in.
Justice Chronicles, like many others in the KEMCO library, possesses the pieces to be something remarkable, however, with the common missteps that I see time and again, the overall experience once again ends up a satisfactory, though unextraordinary one. Compared with other titles I’ve reviewed, this game is on par with Asdivine Hearts, though I would sooner recommend Revenant Saga or Antiquia Lost, which remain my standards for the publisher. Although it’s advertised as a 40+ hour game, I think an assessment of 25-30 is more accurate, and the $14.99 USD price on Steam is fair. It has its missteps, yet with a curious story, appreciable characters, and new game mechanics for the publisher, Justice Chronicles sustains my hope for an extraordinary production in the future.
I really wish I could rave about Rise of the Third Power. I’m a fan of the developer, and I enjoy retro-styled games. Nevertheless, I don’t feel this one lived up to my hype, nor that it reached the same heights as Ara Fell: Enhanced Edition. That said, if you enjoy the genre and are looking for a game to get lost in for a few hours, it’s hard to say no for the low price point of $19.99. Ultimately, I’d say this one is worth a shot, but that you should most definitely play Ara Fell as well.
Overall, while I felt Martha is Dead was a decent experience, I don’t think it’s for everyone. There are a lot of disturbing themes and images in this one that would certainly turn off some players. While the team did a great job crafting this world and the sound design is top notch, some of the gameplay elements need a bit more polish. That being said, this is still a unique experience that fans of these types of games would likely really enjoy.