All posts by Pete Davison

Former games journo (GamePro, USgamer) and expert on all those Japanese games and visual novels the mainstream press likes to go "ew, pretty girls" at. I write things at great length.

Warriors Orochi 2: More of the Same?

I love me a Musou. So naturally, with the new hotness being Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity at the time of writing, I thought it was high time I continued my journey through the completely unrelated Warriors Orochi series.

Longtime followers of my work will recall that a while back I did a full playthrough of the first Warriors Orochi over on YouTube, and that ended up being a rather enjoyable experience that I learned a lot from. Having called time on long series playthroughs in video format — the short-form, single-episode “variety” format seems to work much better for everyone, including me — I thought I’d explore the sequel in written form over the course of a few articles, much like I did with the excellent Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends Definitive Edition a while back.

So today we kick off with a high-level overview of what Warriors Orochi 2 is, my impressions of it to date, and the things I’d like to learn a bit more about it. Hit the jump and let’s begin our journey!

Continue reading Warriors Orochi 2: More of the Same?

Around the Network

Morning everyone! Wasn’t feeling too hot this weekend just gone (still not feeling too hot, to be honest) so this kind of slipped my mind, but here we are now!

You may have noticed a few “From the Archives” posts popping up this week. This is due to the recent news that the entire staff of my former place of employment, USgamer, has been laid off, and the future of the site is uncertain. With that in mind, I wanted to ensure that I preserved some of the pieces I wrote during my time there that I was most pleased with — and which are still relevant.

You’ll see more of these in the coming weeks and months, so keep an eye out for them, especially if you missed them first time around! In the meantime, let’s check out what you might have missed in the last week.

Continue reading Around the Network

Atari A to Z Flashback: Radar Lock

It is a ballsy developer who tries to recreate the After Burner experience on a machine as humble as the Atari 2600. But Doug Neubauer was nothing if not ballsy.

Radar Lock made use of the same engine he had developed for Star Raiders follow-up Solaris, but transplanted the action from the black void of space to the blue skies of Earth. Radar Lock also ditched the strategic adventure aspect of Solaris in favour of something a little more arcadey, and is a well-regarded game from the latter years of the 2600.

Check it out in the video below — including my repeated failed attempts to understand what the manual is quite clearly telling me — and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland – Royal Responsibilities

cropped-atelier-megafeature-header-1.pngThis post is one chapter of a MegaFeature!
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We’ve previously seen how the other games in the Arland series have tended towards being “coming of age” stories; Rorona learned how to respect the balance between tradition and modernity while learning to believe in herself, while Totori endured a more gruelling journey to adulthood than most!

With Meruru’s inherent position of privilege at the outset of the story, she’s obviously coming to her adolescence from a rather different starting point than her two predecessors did. But she’s still got plenty to learn about herself, the things she believes in, the things important to her and, of course, her place in the big, wide world.

Will she grow into the role of a “proper” princess by the time she hits twenty years old? Of course not, she’s got far too much work to be getting on with between now and then…

Continue reading Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland – Royal Responsibilities

From the Archives: It’s Time to Admit Final Fantasy XIII Wasn’t Actually That Bad

Final Fantasy XIII wasn’t a bad game. Neither was Final Fantasy XIII-2. And neither is the conclusion to the Final Fantasy XIII saga, Lightning Returns. Don’t just take my word for it, though; plenty of critics agree.

In one of the last issues of the sadly defunct GamePro magazine, my former colleague AJ Glasser gave FFXIII four stars out of five. 1up.com gave the game an A- rating. Eurogamer gave it 8/10. And, despite a couple of outliers, the overall consensus at the time of release was that Final Fantasy XIII was a good game — not a perfect one, by any means — but a good one. The same was true for Final Fantasy XIII-2, which scored slightly lower on average, and while I’ll admit Lightning Returns reviews were somewhat more mixed — not everyone enjoyed the game’s peculiar mechanics and structure — there were still a lot of comments about how interesting it was, despite its flaws.

Which is why it’s so baffling that I find a lot of the online discourse surrounding this particular part of Final Fantasy’s history so overwhelmingly negative.

Continue reading From the Archives: It’s Time to Admit Final Fantasy XIII Wasn’t Actually That Bad

Evercade A to Z: Exploding Fist

As a great man once said: kick, punch, it’s all in the mind. It’s also all within easy reach of two buttons and a directional pad, as Exploding Fist demonstrates.

Originally released on 8-bit home computers and helping to birth the whole fighting game genre, Exploding Fist’s NES port never quite got finished and released back in the day — but thanks to Piko Interactive and the Evercade, we can now enjoy this early take on virtual martial arts at our leisure.

Check it out in the video below, read a bit more about the game if you feel like it — and, of course, don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Chew Man Fu: Balls to the Wall

It’s fair to say that the PC Engine is primarily known for its huge collection of shoot ’em ups today, but that’s not all that the diminutive wonder-platform was good at.

And, pleasingly, Konami’s excellent PC Engine Mini console features a wide variety of these “other” games alongside some classic shmups, in both the localised Turbografx-16 and unlocalised Japanese PC Engine titles in its on-board collection.

One such example is Chew Man Fu, also known as Be Ball in Japan. This is a solid puzzler from 1990, developed by Now Production and published by Hudson Soft and NEC, and has been a real highlight of the platform’s library for me since I played it for the first time. So let’s take a closer look. And be warned, I’m going to use the word “balls” a lot of times in this article, so you’re just going to have to deal with it like a mature adult.

Continue reading Chew Man Fu: Balls to the Wall

From the Archives: Seeing the Good Within

It’s often fun to think about your favourite “bad games” — games which were received poorly either critically or commercially — and exactly why you like them.

Today, I wanted to talk a little about an interesting related consideration: why would you ever want to play a “bad” game, and how should you handle the experience?

MoeGamer was, right from the beginning, built around the idea that those games commonly considered to be “bad” by press and/or public usually have some redeeming features to someone out there — and there’s actually some solid critical theory to back it up. So let’s explore the matter further!

Continue reading From the Archives: Seeing the Good Within

Atari ST A to Z: Hudson Hawk

Remember the movie Hudson Hawk? Probably not. It was a Bruce Willis passion project that the people who actually watched found rather enjoyable, but it ultimately ended up forgotten by most.

Like many movies in the ’80s and ’90s, Hudson Hawk got a video game adaptation by Ocean. The remarkable thing this time around is that said video game adaptation didn’t suck; it was actually a rather good platformer that combined dexterity challenges, puzzling and light combat. It also didn’t feel the need to be super-true to the movie, which probably helped it in the long run.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Waifu Wednesday: Patricia Wagon

It’s easy to work on the mistaken assumption that, these days, super-cute female characters are the exclusive preserve of Asian developers, while Western developers prefer the more “gritty, realistic” angle.

That, however, is emphatically not the case, as WayForward demonstrates on a fairly regular basis. Not only do they have the wonderful Shantae and her friends in their portfolio, but they also have the cast of the delightful puzzle-platformer series Mighty Switch Force! to draw upon.

Today we’re going to take a look at the lead from that series, one Patricia Wagon. Stop, in the name of the law!

Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Patricia Wagon