I am sitting in my boring room, not listening to anything at all. I put myself in a blank stasis, to figure out if silence can be deafening and seeing nothing can be a beautiful sight. I fail to answer those questions, quickly. Whether it’s because I’m a slave to stimulation, or thoughts of gorgeous aesthetics and catchy tunes are too much to resist, I’ll never know. Specific songs creep in and force me to remember things that matter, things that don’t and all things in-between. READ MORE
Due to the popularity of the recent Persona games, specifically Persona 3 and 4, we’ve seen a good number of spin-off titles released featuring both casts. If you find yourself interested in these two groups of characters interacting and aren’t particularly fond of fighting games, you’re in luck: Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth is finally here.
Featuring every character you know and love from both titles and gameplay reminiscent of the Etrian Odyssey series, Persona Q seems to appeal only to a very specific audience, but one that will find plenty to keep them busy.
2008 PS3 title Valkyria Chronicles has become known and revered in the years since its release for its poignant story, innovative mechanics and challenging-but-fair approach to difficulty. While its reputation precedes it for many, fewer have managed to actually play it, with low initial success in the West limiting its print run and its PS3 exclusivity limiting access to those with the platform.
Until now, anyway. Now it’s on Steam at an affordable price, and the enhancements it sports may make it the definitive way to play. READ MORE
Assassin’s Creed: Unity is the closest the series has come yet to making me feel like a true assassin. It provides an incredible open world with missions that can be approached from a variety of different angles, and it rewards creativity while punishing brute force. It falls short of the the best titles in the series, but for a fan that isn’t suffering from yearly franchise fatigue, Arno’s journey in late-eighteenth-century Paris is one that is definitely worth taking. READ MORE
I found myself constantly surprised by Rollers of the Realm. Phantom Compass has managed to blend pinball gameplay with RPG mechanics in the absolute best way. There’s no denying that Rollers is a digital game, and there is no effort put into making it a simulacrum of a real pinball table. Physical pinball is great, but sometimes it’s nice to use electronic platforms for more, and that’s exactly what Phantom Compass has done here. READ MORE
The “4X” (explore, expand, exploit and exterminate) genre is one more familiar and accessible to PC gamers (e.g., Civilization, StarCraft) than it is to the cardboard crowd. The most well-known 4X board games are usually epic, sprawling affairs like Twilight Imperium, Age of Empires, Eclipse or even Civilization: the Board Game. These games have their devotees, but turn away many with their intensive session times, excessive number of pieces, intricate rules, or any number of other factors.
Combining traditional 4X gameplay with the recent design trend towards “micro-games” — games with minimal components that can be played in under 20 minutes — has resulted in Scott Almes’s Tiny Epic Kingdoms, published by Gamelyn Games (Dungeon Heroes). TEK actually has a play time of about half an hour, but that’s still at least one-eighth the time commitment of a normal 4X so the “micro” label still fits. But can you really condense 4X gameplay into a box the size of about two DVD cases stacked on top of each other? READ MORE
2014 has proven to be a fruitful year for fans of the Tales franchise. Tales of Hearts R marks the third release, following remaster compilation Tales of Symphonia Chronicles and fan-friendly sequel Tales of Xillia 2. It’s been billed by some as the great JRPG hope for the faltering Vita, the result of a fan-led campaign to see more localized titles make it to American shores for its content-starved audience.
It isn’t a bad game by any means, but it suffers from the weight of the expectations it bears. READ MORE
It can be easy to forget how tough telling a compelling story in a video game can be. Some games do it brilliantly, like last year’s Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, but others tend to struggle. Sometimes telling a story within an interactive medium requires sacrificing some of the gameplay in order for the narrative to stand front and center. Kan Gao, the creator of one of my favorite games, To the Moon, fully understands this. No one will call it a masterwork of game design, but few can deny the impact of its story.
In lieu of a proper review, I thought I would take the time to talk about Kan Gao’s latest title, A Bird Story. Although it features no dialogue and is a lighter story than To the Moon, it’s a yet another prime example of finely-crafted interactive fiction.
In this episode, Graham takes Andrew and Henry back to Gallia for a look at the Steam release of the previously PS3-exclusive Valkyria Chronicles. Other topics: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, the Mario Kart 8 DLC, Tales of Hearts R, Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Massive Chalice and Halo: The Master Chief Collection!
Our next show is a special stream! We’ll be gathering to play Super Smash Bros. for Wii U at a special time: Tuesday, November 25 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
To watch the show and chat with us live, check out this page every other Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern and follow us on Twitter for special streams.
There’s no denying that The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is a huge package offering lots of replay value. With over 200 items, randomly-generated maps and enemy placements and rewards for completing the game multiple times, Rebirth is a completionist’s dream. READ MORE