It’s weird to think of Advance Wars as some sort of import series these days. After all, we’ve seen the last four entries in the West, and in some cases several years before they’re released in their original Japanese form. The last title, Days of Ruin, was released in the U.S. and Europe in 2008, after a breakneck localization process that saw completely different English names and conversations in the two regions. Japanese players could buy it… in October 2013. As a digital-only Club Nintendo reward. This is just the latest in the Famicom Wars franchise’s rocky, questionable release history, one sometimes affected by real-life conflict. READ MORE
Capcom’s Strider series began its life as an arcade action-platformer before slowly making its way to home consoles. Soon enough, however, Strider simply disappeared, relegating its lead character, Hiryu, to guest appearances in crossover titles such as the Marvel vs. Capcom series. Rumors of the return of this iconic franchise circled for years before a new game, developed by Double Helix, was announced. While this new Strider may not be a perfect recreation of the earlier titles, it differentiates itself by adding a new twist to a well-worn formula.
Last week saw the release of Left Behind, the first (and only) story-related add-on content for The Last of Us. It both filled in a gap during the game’s main story and also focused heavily on Ellie’s life prior to her meeting Joel. I don’t often invest in downloadable content; once I finish a game and put it down, I rarely have a reason to pick it up again for extra content. Sometimes, however, you just need a little more. Left Behind delivered exactly what I was looking for, and also made me think a lot about story DLC and its impact on a game — especially if it comes out months after its initial release.
The world of the Japanese RPG is home to tons of tropes and elements ripe for parody, and putting a game in this setting without playing the role of the traditional hero is a space that’s been increasingly explored. The Atelier series has been joined by Recettear and Hometown Story in running in-game item shops, but Weapon Shop de Omasse is the first to build a game on the experience of being the trusty blacksmith. The result is something that feels totally different from RPGs themselves, but still hinges its appeal on long-time fandom of the genre. READ MORE
Spelunky’s level modifiers can be both a gift and a curse. I do spend most of my time in the mines running away from bats in terror, but these modifiers give me a reason to take my time. Some tend to pay off in ways you might not expect, like the dark levels being full of golden bugs which net you a ton of gold, but they often lead to unexpected deaths. I still find myself panicking around bats, but the modifier that terrifies me almost as much as those winged devils happens to involve many, many spiders. READ MORE
Level-5′s Inazuma Eleven series has enjoyed a long, fruitful life in Japan, and in recent years has also gained a foothold in Europe. This 3DS eShop release marks the first American appearance of the series, possibly because of the relative popularity of soccer in the region. Its appeal isn’t limited to footy fans, though: Inazuma Eleven may have a sports theme, but it’s really a deep, involved party-building RPG with an innovative battle system. READ MORE
After four years and two initially-unplanned sequels, the tale of Final Fantasy XIII is at last complete. Set centuries after the events of XIII-2, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII gives Lightning thirteen days to save humanity from the end of the world. A harder task still may be saving the series from wearing thin after its less-than-universally-loved predecessors. READ MORE
After much delay, Sentinels of the Multiverse: Vengeance has arrived to Kickstarter backers. Originally planned as a standalone expansion, it has since been re-branded as a “mega expansion” but could still be played on its own if you don’t mind the lack of HP tokens and possibly needing to download the core rulebook. More importantly, what Vengeance brings to the table is an entirely new way of playing Sentinels. READ MORE
Successful comedy in games isn’t as rare as some make it out to be, but consistently-funny titles we almost never see. Jazzpunk, the new adventure from Necrophone Games, is a combination of the best Leslie Nielsen comedies and spoof films from a particular era jam-packed into one tiny game. Its brand of humor may not appeal to everyone, but it’s undeniably clever, charming and consistent in its approach to comedy, even when it seems nonsensical at times.
I’m not a hardware guy. If somebody asks me what my computer’s specs are, I’ll admit I have no clue. It runs Dota 2 perfectly, and that’s good enough for me. I couldn’t care less how much RAM the PS4 has versus the Xbox One, or how much anti-aliasing the Wii U can handle. I say this without trepidation, because I know the power of hardware is irrelevant if it doesn’t have the software to match it. READ MORE