The theme of Falcom and XSEED’s latest, Ys: Memories of Celceta, is exploration. Series hero Adol Christin has always been portrayed as an adventurer, but this time around, the focus turns away from combat and puzzles and puts most of its eggs in a basket of discovery. It is an interesting take on the Ys formula, but due to some technical issues and a few underwhelming design choices, the Vita debut of the series isn’t as exciting as it should be. READ MORE
Media Molecule, a developer known for putting its most creative tools into the hands of the players, is a factory of imaginative design. The LittleBigPlanet games have done well to demonstrate its talents, but are more a showcase for its fans and not of its own abilities as a studio. Tearaway is the first game from them that infuses their design philosophies and creative ambitions into a title that feels like a passion project. Most importantly of all, it’s probably the best demonstrations of the Vita as a system. 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
Valhalla Knights 3 takes the series onto the Vita, and with this transition comes a major change in tone: it’s much darker and grittier than the previous games. The big difference is the setting, taking place inside of a prison complex and the surrounding area, as opposed to the usual fantasy locales. The result is a collection of decidedly-seedy characters and stories. READ MORE
How do you follow a game that not only revitalized a franchise, but also restored many players’ faith in the power of the platformer? 2011′s Rayman Origins combined a refreshing and gorgeous aesthetic with smooth, interesting level design, and had some seriously questioning Mario’s place as the top of the genre.
Rayman Legends follows up in the most straightforward way it can: by stepping up its game in every possible aspect.
The latest release from Vanillaware, Dragon’s Crown, is a bundle of contradictions. It’s brilliantly elegant, except for the moments when it’s mind-numbingly frustrating. It’s gorgeous and lush, except for the moments when it makes you intensely uncomfortable. It’s a multiplayer-focused design that may be best played solo, and it’s a much-needed evolution of the brawler genre that nevertheless clings tightly to long-outdated mechanics and methods.
As I sat on my couch playing Class of Heroes II, I found myself complaining a lot. Not out loud, mind you; the only other person around right now is my infant son, and he’s more interested in throwing my DVD collection on the floor. No, just grumbling to myself. Class of Heroes II is a messy game, with a lot of little logistical problems that make the game clunky at times. However, something must be wrong with me, because I can hardly stop playing it. MonkeyPaw Games did us a favor in bringing it over. READ MORE
Soul Sacrifice does what few games do. It carries a theme, clings to it, spreads it throughout all of the bits and pieces that make up a video game: a medium that tells a story not only through blatant exposition, but also the personal experience a player has when physically interacting with its world. Soul Sacrifice demands much of the player, and forces tough choices: not just good versus evil, but risk versus reward. The ramifications of your choices, your sacrifices, go beyond altering your ending or your flavor text. They also define the way you play the game. READ MORE
The Atelier series has always had a bit of difficulty making its way across the pond. Starting from humble origins on the Sega Saturn, it never saw an English release until seven years later with Atelier Iris on the PlayStation 2. These days, the series is finally seeing regular localizations. The latest in the series is Atelier Totori Plus, a Vita port of the PS3 original of the same name, with a little extra content thrown in for good measure. Is this new port worth your time, or is it just more of the same? READ MORE
The latest in a long line of games by developer Artdink and only the second to make it to the West, Carnage Heart EXA is not your typical game. It feels more like a programming training tool, with a very specific language and no external applications. That’s not to say it isn’t fun by any means, though. It’s just important to know going in just exactly what you’re getting into. READ MORE