Xenoblade Chronicles 2 frustrated me. It’s packed to the gills with content, so I could never claim Monolith Soft is getting lazy. In fact, I think they tried very hard with every aspect of the game’s design. But in spite of that, the game just isn’t that remarkable, at least not compared to its predecessors on the Wii and Wii U. It feels like more of the same, except with less excitement radiating from it. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a good game–just not a great one. Read more
Tag Archives: JRPG
Cosmic Star Heroine features one of the worst stories you will ever see in an RPG. It is bad to the point of exasperation. The good news is that almost everything else about the game is excellent! But the bads are so bad that they become a burden from which the game can never fully crawl out. Read more
Perhaps the similarities are just coincidental, but World of Final Fantasy gave me flashbacks to 1992’s Final Fantasy Mystic Quest on Super Nintendo. Both games are light on plot but have a strong sense of humor, and both games are clearly targeting a not-so-hardcore audience. Incidentally, that also means that both games are an acquired taste.
Fortunately, it’s a taste I happened to enjoy on the whole. World of Final Fantasy is basically Pokémon meets Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. And while it’s been over a decade since I played Pokémon–and I’m also getting a little tired of Square Enix’s efforts to exploit people’s nostalgia–the combination strangely works for me. I’m not saying the game is great, but I’d definitely say it’s worth a sequel.
(Yes, this review is pretty late coming, but that’s what happens when Final Fantasy XV, Zelda, and Persona 5 all release within a few months of each other! Oh, and also: *Minor Spoilers Ahead*) Read more
Atlus’s Persona 5 is pure wish fulfillment for everyone who has ever felt circumscribed by society’s hierarchies and expectations. In this game, Japanese teenagers gain the mystical power to change people’s hearts and force them to confess to their crimes and misdeeds. No one is too important or too powerful for these “Phantom Thieves” to hit. And strikingly, the narrative is driven more by the heroes’ proactive attacks on villains than it is driven by heroes reacting to villains’ attacks. In other words, this is a game where the heroes uncharacteristically go on the offense, and it relays a powerful message–you are the master of your own fate, if you are willing to fight for it.
Mechanically speaking, Persona 5 perfects the formula that Persona 3 began. By removing some of the more forgiving elements of Persona 4 and tweaking many other aspects, this game feels challenging and fair in generally equal portions. The addition of several elements from Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse works out surprisingly well in the game’s favor too. And there have never been as many different ways to spend your days as in the expanded life simulation options present here. Basically, the game just works really well on every front that it tackles, and it does so with an unprecedented amount of style.
Some quirks and redundancy in the narrative leave me unable to prefer this game over 4, but if you’ve never played a Persona before and only have the time to take on one of these gargantuan adventures, you should probably make it this one. Read more
In spite of this being my own personal website, I usually am very careful not to talk too much about myself, because I don’t think people actually come here to learn about me. People stumble upon my website through Google searches for video games or sometimes for weird philosophy, so those are the two chief subjects I think I should be delivering.
But I realize that the only way I can expect to grow a more dedicated audience of readers is if I pull back the curtain and start letting you know a little more about me… which is why I’m writing another article about video games.
Video games make me who I am. And yes, I know how extraordinarily nerdy that is, but I don’t care. Video games are to me what books are to people who love reading. (Because in spite of having graduated summa cum laude with an English degree, and in spite of fiction writing being my major passion, the only fiction books I read are Star Wars.) I love video games, and I don’t regret having spent a ridiculous percentage of my childhood playing them at the expense of other opportunities.
So what follows below is–if I’m being honest–just another “favorite video games” list, one of the thousands available online. But I’m going to use it as a rare opportunity to put my actual personality out there, for those who might be curious. So let’s get started! Read more
The most dangerous enemies in all of Final Fantasy XV are trees. Not evil trees–just regular trees. The camera gets stuck on them mercilessly during combat, obstructing your view and making it almost literally impossible to fight near foliage. This is just one of many problems that makes this game the clunkiest and least polished main-series Final Fantasy title ever. I would be sensationalizing if I were to call the game bad, but it sure ain’t great, not in any context. Whether compared to past entries in the series or to other modern open-world games, Final Fantasy XV comes up short. Read more
For better or worse, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse looks and plays like expensive DLC for Shin Megami Tensei IV. It takes all the same locations from the first title and remixes it with a mostly new story, along with some new monsters and abilities. In theory, people who loved the original and want to play something else exactly like it have every reason to be thrilled. Heck, I myself have quietly regarded Shin Megami Tensei IV as my favorite game for Nintendo 3DS. But after playing Apocalypse–and in spite of it being a quality title in its own right–I can’t help but wonder if Atlus would have been better served to just dedicate its resources to making Shin Megami Tensei V. Read more
Guys, full disclosure–if I could live inside a Super Nintendo RPG, I would. My bias for Japanese RPGs in general is just ridiculous, but any RPG that draws influence from the 16-bit era piques my interest. With that in mind, I Am Setsuna is the most disappointingly flawed game I have played since Lunar: Dragon Song. Every aspect of its design suffers from problems that someone should have spotted during development. The game sells for a reduced retail price, but that can only excuse the game’s small scale. It does not excuse a bland and forgettable experience. Read more
When it was first announced that Nintendo and Atlus were collaborating to create a game that crosses Fire Emblem with Shin Megami Tensei, absolutely no one in the universe was expecting Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE to be the final result. It takes the standard Persona formula of high schoolers dungeon-crawling, but it throws out the series’s dark tone in favor of an overtly energetic and colorful J-pop backdrop. You play as teenagers who need to balance their obligation of protecting modern-day Tokyo with maintaining their careers as budding idols. As Polygon’s Janine Hawkins points out, the whole game ends up feeling like a Sailor Moon spinoff. Well, as a lover of both JRPGs and Sailor Moon, suffice to say I was pleasantly surprised. Read more
Xenoblade Chronicles X is a game about turning your brain off and indulging in a 90-hour power fantasy. To try to claim much more about the game than that would probably be overreaching. It takes everything about the design of its predecessor and says, “Let’s do that again, but bigger,” in the most literal possible sense. The only thing that didn’t survive the embiggening process was the previous game’s story execution. The ultimate result is an absolutely massive game where you as the player are largely left to your own devices, for better and for worse. Read more