The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is essentially a direct sequel to A Link to the Past, set in the same world and with many callbacks to one of the finest games ever made. Many of the mechanics, such as the constant switching between Hyrule and another world — in this case the kingdom of Lorule (a bit of wordplay also made by The Wonderful 101, oddly) — make a return in some form or another, but Link Between Worlds adds some modern twists to the classic Zelda gameplay. READ MORE
Digital distribution has opened up a far wider spectrum of games to be commercially released. In generations past, we could only ever see big-budget retail releases and freeware PC games on the other end of the spectrum, with little to fill the gap (other than, arguably, portable games). Jett Rocket II is a game that simply would not survive in a modern market under the old business model. It is a game with a very specific set of goals, meant to appeal to its own niche and do so with a reasonable price tag. Was developer Shin’en able to create a quality budget platformer for the still-burgeoning eShop? READ MORE
It’s not often that I am embarrassed to play a game in public. As a man in his mid-30s, I can train pocket monsters and manage my animal-inhabited town without caring who knows about it. But Senran Kagura Burst will never get played outside of my own private home, despite its legitimately-earned (if barely) T rating. Which on one level is something of a shame, and yet on another level completely justified. READ MORE
Batman: Arkham Asylum drew a lot of comparisons to Metroid when it released in 2009. Arkham City and Arkham Origins have been steadily moving away from that formula ever since, trading upgrade-driven exploration for open-world gameplay. Blackgate, however, channels the Metroid franchise quite a bit, which is unsurprising given developer Armature Studio’s ex-Retro origins. READ MORE
The first few days of a major game release are always the best.
If you’re lucky enough to pick a game up on day one, there’s really nothing like it. The fandom is abuzz, every social network is on the same page and you suddenly have plenty to talk about with all of your friends. It’s a rush, enough of one to make the most grizzled of critical thinkers gloss over problems in the wake of that irreplaceable joy of discovery. Then, inevitably, a week passes. This is where longer games are put to the test. Plenty of them pass, but not without a few nasty bumps along the way. READ MORE
Given how well the simulation and role-playing genres work together, making the easygoing farming experience of Harvest Moon more engaging by adding RPG elements turned out to be developer Neverland’s chocolate and peanut butter. The sub-franchise has garnered a fair share of success on the DS, Wii and PS3, so its leap into the next generation was highly anticipated. Does Rune Factory 4 grow a four-leaf clover, or is the series sowing seeds in barren soil? READ MORE
Etrian Odyssey has always been about player agency, allowing you full control over every aspect of your party, from their names and appearance to their class and equipment. Likewise, the central story tends to serve as a backdrop for your characters to explore the multi-floor labyrinth that you’ll spend most of your time in. Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl casts that aside for its main mode, layering the existing story from Etrian Odyssey with a cast of pre-built characters and expanding on the story itself. READ MORE
The Mario & Luigi series technically started on the GBA with Superstar Saga, but the argument could be made that the series is the successor to the SNES’s Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. The battle systems are similar, the aesthetic is familiar and the Paper Mario series is definitely off doing its own thing. Either way, Dream Team lives up to the legacy laid out by Superstar Saga, Partners in Time and Bowser’s Inside Story before it. READ MORE
At first glance, Attack of the Friday Monsters!: A Tokyo Tale seems to be some action-packed game of monsters and heroes. After all, it has big creatures and fighting! Really, though, it’s a tiny fraction of the world, and serves as a backdrop for a relaxing story of childhood. READ MORE
It’s crazy to think about how long Atlus’ popular Shin Megami Tensei franchise has been around, especially when you consider how much of the series is dominated by various spinoffs. Some of those spinoffs have undoubtedly eclipsed the popularity of the rest of the franchise, but that doesn’t mean fans haven’t been eagerly anticipating what Atlus has up its sleeves next for the mainline series. After a nearly decade-long wait, Shin Megami Tensei IV is finally here. If you’ve been desperate for the real follow-up to 2004’s Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, you’ll be happy to know the long wait was well worth it.