Posts Tagged ‘Reviews’

Valkyria Chronicles 2 – Staff Review

Valkyria Chronicles 2 had at least four major hurdles to clear: deliver a second helping of the first game’s quirky strategy and action; adhere to the cartoony, yet charming and often beautiful aesthetics; tie it together with a strong narrative; and do it all with the PSP’s hardware. It doesn’t quite clear them all, as it is saddled with competing partial stories and lingering smaller issues from its predecessor. However, VC2 expands intelligently on existing mechanics and smoothly adapts the engine to the portable platform so much that it feels right at home. Continue reading ‘Valkyria Chronicles 2 – Staff Review’ »

Ys Seven – Staff Review

Ys is a series that gets far less attention than it deserves. There are many reasons for this, but the main one is that Americans have not really gotten to experience as many of the adventures of Adol the Red as their Japanese counterparts. There are also some people that are probably turned away simply by its title; it’s not exactly intuitive to pronounce it as ‘ease.’ Regardless, Nihon Falcom and XSeeD are determined to rectify the first issue by releasing more games stateside, hoping to give Americans more time with the top-down action RPG series. That’s where Ys Seven comes in, and as it takes the series in many new directions, there’s a lot to like. Continue reading ‘Ys Seven – Staff Review’ »

Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection — Staff Review

Final Fantasy is a series well known for its ports and remakes, but out of the series, one game stands above them all as one of the most frequently remade games of all time.  Final Fantasy IV has seen six iterations over the years appearing on the SNES, PlayStation, WonderSwan Color, GameBoy Advance, the Nintendo DS, and finally the PSP as Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection.  Along with an updated Final Fantasy IV, players will also get Final Fantasy IV: The After Years and a new mini-story titled Final Fantasy IV: Interlude which helps slightly to tie the two main games together.  It’s a lot of game in a very small package, so the question becomes is there still life in Final Fantasy IV? Continue reading ‘Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection — Staff Review’ »

Fallout New Vegas: Dead Money – Staff Review

Last year’s Fallout New Vegas lived up to the series’ pedigree in many important ways, not all of them to its credit. But no one can accuse Obsidian of not knowing how to plot, and even in a crowded field Vegas easily gave other story-heavy RPGs a run for their money. Dead Money is their first step into DLC territory, essentially playing as its own separate game that just happens to use your character. Minor, but frequent nuisances are determined to hobble the experience, yet beyond that are real moments of ingenuity that even Vegas didn’t pull off. Continue reading ‘Fallout New Vegas: Dead Money – Staff Review’ »

Valkyria Chronicles – Staff Review

Valkyria Chronicles is an odd beast: a grim war story constructed with standard anime elements, all wrapped around an unusual twist on turn-based strategy and painted with every bright color in the palette.  It’s not always an easy fit, and the plot has an annoying habit of telegraphing its punches.  Yet there’s a respectable narrative at the core, backed by some solid direction and a charming cast.  And if that doesn’t do it for you, the game is still some of the most fun you can have with tanks involved. Continue reading ‘Valkyria Chronicles – Staff Review’ »

Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded — Staff Review

Unlike North America, Japan has had a booming market for cell phone games for several years, and many popular RPG series have had mobile installments on Japanese phones. Kingdom Hearts: Coded was one such game, originally downloaded to phones in monthly installments. Fortunately, there is a trend to release some of these games on mobile gaming platforms like the DS and PSP with improvements in graphics and pre-rendered videos. This, in turn, brings us to Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded, a prime example of how to use a handheld’s accessibility while maintaining the feel of the original game Continue reading ‘Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded — Staff Review’ »

Deus Ex: The Nameless Mod – Staff Review, Kind Of

The otherwise clear line between fanmade product and professional creation tends to get fuzzier as people take the project more seriously.  Take The Nameless Mod, a massive and ambitious mod for Deus Ex built by fans, for fans, and about fans.  The fandom itself is the world of TNM, and as silly as it sounds the concept is played amazingly straight, yet done surprisingly well.  Even if you peel back the internet setting and nested conspiracies, you’ll still find a well-built campaign at the core, as deep and replayable as Deus Ex at its best. Continue reading ‘Deus Ex: The Nameless Mod – Staff Review, Kind Of’ »

Deus Ex: Invisible War – Staff Review

Nobody could envy the task set before Harvey Smith and Ion Storm: following up on the surprise success of Deus Ex. If they changed too much, they would risk losing what made the game special, but if they changed too little the series could stagnate. Unfortunately, the changes Invisible War brings to the table are too often damaging in comparison to its predecessor, and some of the changes make little sense on their own. Invisible War does deliver a compelling adventure, to a point, and brings a few neat ideas to the table, but it fails to meaningfully follow in Deus Ex‘s footsteps and makes too many of its own stumbles along the way. Continue reading ‘Deus Ex: Invisible War – Staff Review’ »

Puzzle Quest Galactrix – Staff Review

In 2007, Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords combined gem-matching puzzles with RPG gameplay to create a unique and entertaining experience. Puzzle Quest Galactrix for the Nintendo DS attempts to replicate the experience… and fails entirely. Riddled with control problems, a sloppy port to the DS, and frustrating gameplay, Galactrix is a poor successor to Challenge of the Warlords.

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Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride – Staff Review

The immense popularity of the DS has allowed North American gamers to get their hands on several games that previously never saw release on this side of the world. Like so many other games of the 8-bit and 16-bit era, Dragon Quest V has been completely remade as Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride. Continue reading ‘Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride – Staff Review’ »

Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero – Staff Review

The gaming world is filled with unusual mascot characters. Nintendo has a rotund Italian plumber that eats mushrooms to gain power. Sega gave us an insanely fast hedgehog with a surly attitude and a flying two-tailed fox for a friend. However, none are quite so unique, offbeat, or downright strange as the Prinny: the knife wielding, peg-legged, exploding penguins that embody the souls of sinners punished to a lifetime of slavery. Also, they say “dood” a lot. In Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero?, the seemingly weakest creatures in the Netherworld star in their own game. Continue reading ‘Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero – Staff Review’ »