The Best to Own Forever series isn’t about what’s great right now. It’s about what will be great in 10 years, even though there will be better-looking games and later sequels, and what will keep you pulling that dusty old console out of the closet every once in a while. In this installment, we check out the best that the Vita has to offer (so far).
Persona 4 Golden
If you’ve played Persona 4, you know it’s easily one of the best PS2 games around, and introduced a whole slew of people to the wonderful world of this bizarre series. Golden doesn’t do a lot to change things up from the original, but it’s a fantastic enhanced version of an RPG many consider a classic. The added content and portability of P4G makes it a must-have for anyone who considers themselves a fan of RPGs, and one that will hold up for many years to comes. - Andrew Passafiume
The Marvel-vs.-DC comic publisher rivalry has played out for decades on the printed page and subsequent adaptations. Movies, animation (both features and series), video games, action figures and even various role-playing game systems have all drawn from the deep rosters of both companies’ history of creativity. In 2012, two deck-building games were released: one Marvel (published by Upper Deck), one DC (published by Cryptozoic). I have only recently been able to play them both, partially thanks to recent expansions, and wanted to compare the two head-to-head as is contractually required of Internet fanboys. READ MORE
Stealth games have gone through somewhat of a renaissance as of late, augmenting traditionally rigid mechanics you associate with the genre for something more forgiving. This is a way to introduce the genre to new players without alienating the veterans, and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. CounterSpy continues this new traditional in style, with randomly generated side-scrolling levels and a focus on maintaining the balance between pure stealth and action. READ MORE
As I mention in my review of the new indie title Hohokum, I prefer games with structure versus those that tend to let you roam free, learning as you go. Hohokum’s aimless approach was both its greatest strength and weakness, yet it made me realize I appreciate similar titles and their approach to that design. It’s not the best example of this approach to game design, but it had me thinking about those design philosophies and how important they are to gaming as a whole.
Emulating another genre within a game has been met with varying levels of success. Probably the most well-known of an MMO-within-a-game structure is the .hack series. That franchise spanned seven games and, for the most part, did its best to emulate the MMO structure inside a “regular” RPG of sorts. Years after .hack made an appearance in both anime and video games, Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment rolls around with a similar premise. Is SAO able to raise the bar on this kind of formula? READ MORE
I’ve been sitting here, staring at a blank page for almost an hour. How do you write about a game like Hohokum? I recall my adventures with the game’s lead “character,” taking me through vast worlds full of bizarre characters and creatures that are all unique, yet somehow feel singular. It’s a game with no real premise or clear objectives, yet I found myself (sometimes) engaged with its colorful landscapes. Let’s explore Hohokum and see if we can dissect it, shall we?
Everyone does Top 10 Games lists. The problem with those? Usually, they’re full of games that earn a place because of nostalgia or industry significance. Here at Snackbar Games, we like being a little more practical: if you’re looking to just have fun, what games should you pick up and play today? This time, we grab the indigo box by the handle and take a look at the GameCube.
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
The original Paper Mario came out very late in the N64’s life cycle, and as a result, many missed out on this still-beautiful gem of a game. With Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Intelligent Systems strove to improve the formula for a new generation of hardware and completely succeeded. This 2004 sequel has Mario journeying through the land of Rogueport while trying to rescue Princess Peach (again), meeting quirky new friends like Goombella and Professor Frankly and collecting crystal stars to open the titular Thousand-Year Door. The 2D sprites against the 3D background look fantastic, the buddies are a treat and the scenarios (particularly the coliseum section) worked well to set the pace. It’s a joy to play, and a respectable continuation of the Mario RPG series. - Henry Skey
The Sega Genesis, which just celebrated the 25th anniversary of its American release, was notoriously a bit of a mess in the multiplayer department. Instead of a unified first-party effort, there were three competing schemes for allowing up to four players at once, and compatibility is… well, it’s a headache. But there are ways to get around that, and there are games worth that effort! READ MORE
Players have been enjoying The Swapper on PCfor the previous year, but console fans are just recently getting their first taste of the game on the PS4, PS3 and Vita. The Swapper is a puzzle-action game hybrid, similar in feel to Braid, but with a much darker and more realistic tone set on an abandoned space station. The game does make a few missteps, but the atmosphere, along with some unique and well-thought-out puzzle mechanics, make this a game that anyone even remotely interested in it should play. READ MORE
Building a direct JRPG sequel creates a special opportunity. A developer can build on the hours of work of the previous game, both in asset creation and player buy-in, and the characters and locations can be fleshed out and given an ever-more-memorable presence in the minds of the fans and the zeitgeist of the genre. The focus can be on fixing flaws while retaining what went right, and the result can be a game that one-ups its accomplished predecessor.
But as enticing as this opportunity can be, it’s rarely seized in the genre, because it also presents a profound challenge. READ MORE