Utawarerumono is one of those series that became a huge hit in Japan but never graced us with its presence in the west. For most, their exposure was through a fan translation of the visual novel or from checking out the anime adaptations. It’s a series I hold in high regard having played the original, appreciating how could blend different gameplay elements but never feeling like a mess.
Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception and Mask of Truth released in Japan a year apart from each other, acting as sequels to the original visual novel released back in 2002. I was excited when I heard Atlus announced they were localizing both entries for western audiences, marking the first time the series has ever been seen over here. I had heard great things about these games from those I knew who imported them, so I was more than ready to get my hands on it. Continue reading
To me, Toukiden 1 was a brilliant but flawed game. Here was something I really wanted from the genre: a story-driven experience utilizing the Monster Hunter formula. On the other hand, it fell too deep into the hole of repetition and didn’t go far enough to differentiate itself.
The enhanced re-release Toukiden Kiwami rapidly expanded on the formula and provided a far greater amount of everything – storytelling, Oni, Mitama, equipment, and more. I had a better time with it due to the way it tried to fill in all the empty spaces that left the previous version a fairly hollow adventure. Continue reading
To me, the Atelier series has been great in turning on the charm and putting me into a much better mood as I play it. It’s almost therapeutic in how it pulls me in close and wraps around me like a warm blanket. The fact the stories never get too serious makes a lot of my cares and stresses melt away the more I play.
Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey does a brilliant job at this thanks in large part to its very likeable cast. Although each character has their own backstory and motivation, they all play off each other so well. Gust has continously managed to do this despite having to introduce a largely new cast of characters, though it’s not always seamless. This is easily the biggest game Gust has ever made, both in sheer size and the amount of content to indulge in, but does it stick the landing? Continue reading
Nioh takes direct inspiration from the Souls series – there’s no doubt about that. While other titles have tried their best to emulate those games, this one builds upon that foundation and creates an experience that is virtually unmatched. While Souls can at times feel slow and plodding, Nioh cranks the energy level to the breaking point while delivering an absurd supply of content to keep you busy.
The story takes place during the late Sengoku era of Japan in the 1600s. The Queen of England is hell bent on obtaining the fabled Philosopher’s Stone to the point that she goes to war with Spain in order to procure it. But there’s something even more malevolent happening. Continue reading
Criminal Girls: Invite Only takes place in the wonderful land of Hell. You, the voiceless protagonist, have been hired on as Warden of a group of girls who, for one reason or another, find themselves imprisoned in the afterlife.
As a result, they each must go through a “Redemption Program” to learn the error of their ways, escape eternal damnation, and earn their way towards rejoining the land of the living. As you might expect, the journey won’t be an easy one. Continue reading
Attack On Titan re-tells the events of the anime’s first season in a condensed form. While the world was experiencing a moment of peace, the manlike Titans suddenly appeared out of nowhere a century ago. Composed of great strength and the power to regenerate rapidly, humanity has been ill-prepared to face such dangerous beings whose sole focus is the destruction of mankind.
Shortly before they appeared, the citizens built three fortified walls that are now act as a garrison to protect themselves from the cannibalistic beasts. But fate always has something else in mind. One day, a colossal Titan appears practically out of thin air at the outermost wall. With one swift kick, it destroys the wall like it was made out of construction paper. Continue reading
Atelier Sophie represents a jumping-off point for the series as it finally makes its way to the PlayStation 4 after continuing on in the last generation of consoles. Granted, the game was still released on the PlayStation Vita and on the PlayStation 3 in Japan (that version was not localized).
However, with the leap to the latest hardware, we should get a glimpse in what developer Gust is capable of with more horsepower at their disposal. While there is an indication of that happening here, it still falls short of what I would have loved to see. But that isn’t to say it was a disappointment. Continue reading