Xenoblade Chronicles is one of my favorite games of all time and Nintendo has made it even better with the release of Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition. The game looks amazing, the soundtrack is one of the best you will find, and the story is top tier. There really is no other franchise out there like this one, and that’s what makes it so special. While others may copy aspects of it, none can put together the whole package like Xenoblade does. At the $59.99 price tag, if you own a Switch, you should snag up a copy today. This is one journey that should not be missed by anyone!
Disgaea 4 Complete+ is undoubtedly the best way to experience this classic title. Not only is it the best looking version of the game, but it has all of the DLC from previous releases packed in and some important new features as well. If you own the Vita version of this title, while I feel the upgrades here are nice, they are probably not must haves. I would still suggest you pick this on up on sale down the line. If you do not currently own Disgaea 4 this version is worth every bit of the $49.99 price tag. There are hundreds of hours of some of the best Strategy gameplay anywhere here, and one of the best stories in the franchise. Picking this one is a no brainier, now the only real question that remains is – who is cuter? Desco or Fuka?
All in all I really love Rune Factory 4 Special. I had a blast playing it, and would highly recommend it to just about anyone. I’ve been playing this game for about 70 hours now, and I don’t feel like a single minute of that was wasted. It’s only about $39.99 on the Nintendo Switch, and since this is the re-release, it’s got a ton of new content, including a post-marriage scenario and a new difficulty. Definitely pick this up, it’s a must have.
When SEGA first announced they were doing a soft reboot of the Sakura Wars franchise I was shocked. I had many questions on how they would handle it and if they would devote enough resources to make it something that truly stood out, and they did exactly that. The amount of love SEGA has put into this title shows with every aspect of it. From the amazing soundtrack to the character designs, they made the game feel very nostalgic for older fans while making it completely accessible to new players. This is not an easy feat to pull off and others should really look to this for an example of how this is done well. I put well over 30 hours in this and completed a couple of playthroughs. The $60 price tag is a very fair price for a title with this level of quality. I hope this spurs them to do more with this amazing franchise going forward. Sakura Wars is one of those rare titles that does everything right and is just a pure joy from start to finish.
Senren*Banka is the most amazing visual novel I’ve read to date. The amount of content put in by Yuzusoft and properly brought over by NekoNyan make this a must own title for all types of visual novel fans. This was the most satisfying 40 hours I’ve spent on a visual novel and I took the time to write my longest review yet in hopes I can convince you to play. Please consider supporting both developer and publisher by grabbing the game if you haven’t already. It’s $34.99 and it’s easily worth every penny. I want to thank NekoNyan for giving me the best Valentine’s Day gift ever. Please look forward to Dracu-Riot and Riddle Joker when they’re out, and if you want more NekoNyan consider playing Making*Lovers! Thank you for reading all of this, and please stay safe.
I have to say Granblue Fantasy: Versus exceeded my expectations by miles. There is a great amount of single player content. RPG Mode is a ton of fun. The story is pretty basic but it’s fun for old players to see some of their favorites in a new adventure and a great introduction for new players. The gameplay is easy enough for anyone to pick up on and deep enough for advance players to still have fun with. This game is just simply a lot of fun. If you have a passing interest in Granblue Fantasy you should pick this up. If you’re a fan of fighting games looking for something different I think you will find a lot to love here as well!
I truly am pleased I finally got the opportunity to play Sundered on my Switch. Eldritch Edition is a fantastic version of the game, offering just enough new content to sate the appetite of new players, while offering reasons for existing players to delve back in. For $19.99, you get a lot of adventure to enjoy, full of challenge and a twisted and diabolical story. I spent about 13 hours beating the game once, thoroughly searching out and killing all the optional minibosses and unlocking the Magnate of the Gong fight. After finally playing this, I’m eagerly looking forward to whatever the next project is that Thunder Lotus develops. In the meantime, I’ll be beating the game to get the other 2 endings. If you are looking for a reason to embrace madness and have a great time in the process, Sundered: Eldritch Edition is well worth your time.
Frankly, I should have bought Celeste a long time ago, but I’m glad I finally made my way the mountain. It’s a perfect example of why I love both indies and platformers. It’s also easily the best platformer I’ve played this year. For $19.99 you get a robust package full of challenge, heart and mystery. This small cast of characters really charmed me, and the gameplay itself was pitch perfect. Though I played it with the default settings, you can turn on many helpful features to make things a bit easier. I had gotten about 1300 deaths and 81 strawberries the first time I beat the game, and since starting this review I’ve already added plenty more to both tallies. I honestly love this indie gem, and can’t recommend it highly enough. Go do yourself a favor and climb this mountain!
As I said at the beginning, if you are new to this game but like JRPGs then feel free to jump right in. But even if you played through the entirety of the game in its original form, I can still heartily recommend this game. I might say that you can wait for a sale, but this is published by Nintendo and sales will be extremely rare. Was it worth playing through again for $60? Most definitely, but I cannot say that will be true for everyone. There is at least 20 hours of new content here, but realistically just having this wonderful JRPG on the go and with the quality of life improvements already made it a must buy for me. Fringe benefit is the added story content. If I was in charge, there is only really one other thing I would have added, and that’s additional skill trees. But that is small fry compared to what they did add, especially when it comes to actually getting to marry my waifu Jade (which wasn’t possible in the original).
All in all, I was truly impressed with Iconoclasts. I spent 11 hours playing through the game, and that’s without even finishing all the side quests or finding all the deviously hidden chests. It’s not often an indie game comes out of nowhere to surprise me, but that’s just what it managed to do, proving itself a new indie gem. If you have a PS4, Vita or Steam account, go buy it. It’s easily the best indie I’ve played so far in 2018, and one I highly recommend.
In summation, VA-11 HALL-A was well worth the wait on my Vita. It drew me in much deeper than I would have thought possible, making me actually care about the lives of these characters. Kudos as well to Sukeban Games for subtly tying in themes of consciousness, sexual identity, depression, true friendship, love and much more. For $14.99, VA-11 HALL-A is a game every Vita fan should own. It’s full of heart, drama and hope. My only hope now is that the world of the game gets expanded in the future, as I would love a sequel or something similar from the developers. VA-11 HALL-A is the bar I desperately need in my own life, and after playing it, you’ll feel the same.
If you are waiting for any negatives, I simply don’t have any. It’s entirely possible that a game of this type will not be for you, and especially when it comes to a monthly subscription. But for those who are enthusiasts of the genre, that is no real barrier to entry. This was simply the perfect release for me, and is now my favorite MMORPG experience of all time. The one issue they might have going forward is how to continue at such a fantastic level. It is a really difficult balance to make a single player story feel so immediate and important in an MMORPG setting. And one casualty of that process is that I now love the First so much, that I don’t even want to go back to the Source. Of course, there are much worse problems to have in a game. And as the story of Shadowbringers continues, there will be more story hooks that will lead us back into the Source. This is a meaty RPG on its own, but the structure of Final Fantasy XIV expansions is always that you get about half of the story up front, and the other half will progress across the next two years leading into the next expansion. Even what is here more than justifies the $39.99 expansion price, but the continuing story also makes it satisfying to keep renewing that $10-$15 a month subscription fee. It’s much more than busy work, they truly care about this game and they always listen to their community. There is just nothing more you could ask for a MMORPG, and this is the new standard for which other developers are going to have to reach for in order to have any chance with us switching over to something new.
All in all, for $29.99 Cave Story+ is still a great deal. It takes all the aspects that make it a classic and further refines them in small ways to offer fans a reason to be excited again. I also personally appreciate that it’s on the Nintendo Switch, especially since the physical version came with sexy preorder bonuses. My only minor complaints are that you can’t skip dialogue and that it’s unclear how to unlock more challenges. Regardless, if you’re a fan of Cave Story already or are just a fan of retro games, I can’t recommend Cave Story+ highly enough. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does remind fans why this game is still relevant today.
Overall, I was incredibly impressed with Blaster Master Zero. This is indisputably the definitive version of the classic Sunsoft game. Inti Creates has poured their heart, soul and artistry into making a game from 1988 not only relevant again, but a must-own title for any Switch (and eventually 3DS) owner. I truly enjoyed my time with the game, especially once I realized that the ending I got wasn’t the only one. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to jump back into the Sophia III and go find that best ending!
It occurs to me after playing the game that although each version of the game was different, they each dealt with the concepts of love and loss. While Shovel Knight focused on his hunt to save Shield Knight and Plague of Shadows dealt with Plague Knight’s secret feelings for a certain someone, Specter of Torment’s story is not about romantic passion, but camaraderie. However, even then, there is a romance in the campaign between the skeleton Red and his lady love, Scarlet. More than anything though, Specter of Torment is a game about duty and the price of holding on to our humanity. I truly enjoyed my time with it, and spent a little more than 4 hours beating the game, with 85% item completion. The Nintendo Switch is truly fortunate to have Specter of Torment as an exclusive, and for those of you waiting, rest easy knowing it will be truly worth the wait. Specter Knight’s tale is a dark and epic one, and it makes me all the more excited for the next DLC Yacht Club Games has up their voluminous sleeves.
Simply put, The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ is the best possible version of the game. In my time, I unlocked 26% of the 339 achievements, and I can easily see myself playing off and on for a long while to come. Afterbirth+ has managed to perfectly distill that insane Binding experience into a well-designed, challenging roguelike. With tons of new features and new incentives to keep playing, I think the game is well worth the bundle price of $35.97 (which gets you Rebirth, Afterbirth and Afterbirth+). It more than satisfied my lofty expectations, and allowed me to see the game with fresh eyes again. While I can’t see another DLC in The Binding of Isaac’s future, I think Afterbirth+ will help it go out on a very high note. At least until they release it for the Nintendo Switch, and force me to get that sexy physical edition…
For a mere $9.99, I think Shutshimi is a great bargain. It offers a game so strange that it stands out from the pack, and it’s simple nature keeps me replaying it just for kicks. Though the version I reviewed was on my Vita, the game is also available on PS4 and Steam, and will eventually make its way to other consoles. If you like crazy games or SHMUPs, or just want to take your anger out on some laser-spewing sharks, you won’t go wrong with Shutshimi. Well done, Neon Deity Games and Choice Provisions. This fish is worth keeping!
I honestly have no real complaints about BOXBOY! It kept me playing practically non-stop, and I loved every minute of it. The only aspects of it I didn’t experience were the Demos and Hints. The Demos let you send a free taste of the game to those you StreetPass with. The Hint system lets you spend Play Coins to help you get past levels if you’re stuck. I’m too much of an stubborn old school gamer to ever give up and use a hint. Overall, I was very, very pleased with BOXBOY! For $4.99, it offered over seven hours of gameplay, and that’s not even counting the Challenge Stages or the Bonus Worlds that opened up after I beat the Story Mode. BOXBOY! is not only one the best new IPs HAL Laboratory has come out with in years, it’s my favorite new 3DS eShop game. If you like puzzles or old school video games, go buy it.
Even if this is the last major game for this handheld console, you couldn’t ask for a better way to send the system off. This is easily one of the best games to ever be released on the Nintendo 3DS, and perhaps over time it may be selected as the overall best. Not only do you get to enjoy the characters from Persona 3 Portable, Persona 4: Golden, and Persona 5 one more time, but there is a good overall narrative here, and their interactions with their counterparts from other games are a delight to behold. Persona Q: Shadows of the Labyrinth was a great game, but the sequel Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth improves upon it in every way. The sequel is slightly shorter than the original, but features much more story, the time saved is entirely in the amount of dungeon crawling. But there is still enough there to more than satisfy, it took me 84 hours to complete the game, complete all 45 special screenings, complete 100% of the Persona Registry, and defeat all Velvet Room trials. That is a lot of content, especially for a game that is only $39.99, and you can tell the developers put a whole lot of care into the translation of all these beloved characters. So I cannot recommend this game enough, it’s vying with Sekiro for my favorite game this year, and it would be a strong candidate any other year as well. And more than that, it’s a strong reason to keep that 3DS charged up and ready to go.
Sabbat of the Witch is my choice for the best visual novel localization of last year. It’s without a doubt a masterpiece of a story featuring a very lovely and memorable cast. Furthermore, you’re going to get your money’s worth. For clarification, the game currently sits at $29.99, and I spent well over 40 hours reading. It’s worth every penny and second. The question remains if anything will release this year that will fill me with as much joy as this one.