When you think about classic Square franchises, what comes to mind? Final Fantasy would be your immediate reaction, but there’s also Mana, Kingdom Hearts, the Chrono games and even Front Mission. One I feel is rarely discussed is SaGa, a series I consider one of Square’s best (or at least its boldest). Let’s talk about what makes the series so groundbreaking despite how little attention it is paid by those fondly remembering the days of Square’s past, focusing on my favorite of the bunch, SaGa Frontier.
The rise in popularity of games like Dark Souls and indie titles such as 1001 Spikes seems to indicate people love challenging games. Yeah, I know, I’m stating the obvious here. To me, these games represent a challenge that requires more patience than I will ever have, but there’s more to it than that; I do like Spelunky a ton, after all. It’s more about coming to realize that challenge doesn’t matter to me. A game’s difficulty, specifically if it is considered “too easy,” might appeal to me more than your average Dark Souls player, for example.
It’s not that I seek out “easy” games or even actively avoid any titles celebrated for their high difficulty. Simply put, I find more value in titles for what they try to accomplish, not how difficult it is to accomplish it.
It’s the end of another packed year of new game releases. Some might consider it a lackluster one (I know I do), but that doesn’t make it any less worthwhile at the end of the day. When December rolls around, we don’t often find time to pay attention to any last-minute releases. Sure, some games manage to squeeze in right at the last minute, but they are rarely worth your attention. This year, however, there is one well worth your time, and one that might just fit alongside other, larger releases: Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. READ MORE
Assassin’s Creed is one of the most inconsistently amazing and frustrating franchises of the past five years. It utilizes immense creativity and takes us on journeys we rarely experience in other games, yet does so covered in the annoyances that seem to coat most triple-A games these days. Needless to say, it’s a mess of a franchise, but one with an unparalleled amount of potential.
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.