There’s a growing trend in game remakes that has proven to be somewhat of a double-edged sword. A lot of games are being remastered in high definition, and released with a sequel or two on the same disc. While some HD remaster collections add new features or even bits of content to give the player more incentive to pick up the pack, there are many that offer nothing more than a resolution bump. This is fruitful for the interests of game preservation and keeping classics relevant and available, but it also sets a worrisome precedent for remakes as a whole. Most of these games remain fine as they are, but the fact that it has become so easy for publishers to repackage one or two old titles without giving them the careful and lavish presentation upgrade they deserve is disappointing. READ MORE
South Park: The Stick of Truth is meant as an earnest effort by South Park Digital Studios and Obsidian Entertainment to make a game that truly embraces the license of the show. This has certainly been a problem in the past, as the South Park name has been slapped on all manner of horrible things since the series began its run. In this aspect, Stick of Truth is a resounding success: it doesn’t just feel like it’s faithful to the South Park name, it feels like an interactive, especially-long episode of South Park.
The long-dormant Thief franchise is considered by many to be a pioneer of the stealth genre. Eidos Montreal, the team behind the successful revival of the Deus Ex series, is back with their take on this classic. This new game, simply titled Thief, brings the genre back to its roots by attempting to focus on what made the original games so compelling, while also making it more approachable for newcomers.
Card City Nights is exactly what I never knew I wanted: Pokemon crossed with Triple Triad from Final Fantasy VIII, wrapped up in a cute, hand-drawn visual style. You start out as the new kid in town, taking part in card battles until you get the eight legendary cards and challenge the Card King for a huge cash prize. 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.
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
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
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.
If you’ve played a game in the Ace Attorney series, imagine if it had something like Final Fantasy IV’s Active Time Battle system and you start to approach the weirdness that is Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. FFIV was considered a game-changer for JRPGs, and similarly, Danganronpa introduces some game-changing elements for the mystery visual novel. READ MORE