Exciting things have been happening in the world of Dragon Quest V, and I am thoroughly enraptured with this game.
I can’t remember the last RPG that managed to make one’s adventure feel so simultaneously personal and meaningful to the broader context in which the narrative unfolds. But Hand of the Heavenly Bride does a wonderful job at this — and now I’m into the game’s third (and, I believe, final) act, things are escalating considerably while still remaining tightly focused on the protagonist and his family.
Let’s take a closer look, then! Doubtless you’ve already figured out that spoilers likely abound in this series, but I’ll warn you once more just in case.
Continue reading Delving Into Dragon Quest: Hand of the Heavenly Bride – #3
I’ve been making good progress through Dragon Quest: Chapters of the Chosen so far. I think I might be nearing the end of the game. Or at least the end of the main story.
So far I’ve been playing for about twenty hours or so, and the game has provided a pleasant amount of variety during that time. It hasn’t really got what I’d call especially complex at any point, but sometimes that can be refreshing; it allows you the freedom to enjoy what mechanics there are, and more importantly, the other aspects of the game such as its world design and characterisation.
Today I wanted to talk a little about Chapters of the Chosen’s more “traditional” aspects, and how they make it quite a refreshing experience when played from a modern perspective.
Continue reading Delving Into Dragon Quest: Chapters of the Chosen – #3
Ah, the ’90s. The era of attitude. Or, more specifically, the era of everyone spontaneously and inexplicably wishing they were Californian.
Video games certainly weren’t exempt from this trend at all, though various different titles from the era took their attitude towards, uh, “‘tude” more seriously than others.
One noteworthy game from the early ’90s that simultaneously acknowledged the popularity of California-style attitude as well as poking fun at the inherent absurdity of it all — particularly the disconnect between your stereotypical video game nerd and what one would think of as a “cool dude” — was Johnson Voorsanger Productions’ ToeJam & Earl, published by Sega for the Mega Drive in 1991.
Continue reading Mega Drive Essentials: ToeJam and Earl
The Shantae series as a whole is a wonderful symbol of endurance, and of holding on to the things you believe in.
I’m not talking about the narratives of the games themselves — though for sure this theme certainly makes an appearance numerous times throughout Shantae’s career to date — but rather the fact that series creator Matt Bozon and the team at WayForward have always believed in the quality of these games, even during difficult times.
It’s gratifying to see that, at the time of writing, the Shantae series as a whole is finally coming to see some mainstream acceptance and appreciation with its latest installment 1/2 Genie Hero. But this doesn’t mean the earlier games aren’t worth checking out. Quite the opposite, in fact… so let’s go right back to the beginning.
Continue reading Shantae: You Stay
It’s always a pleasure when a game comes along out of nowhere and gives you a delightful surprise by being “good” in some way.
Re;Lord 1 ~The witch of Herfort and stuffed animals ~ (just Re;Lord hereafter for the sake of everyone’s sanity), a game developed by Escu:de and recently released in both all-ages and 18+ English versions by Sekai Project and Denpasoft, is the most recent example of this happening to me.
Not only is it an interesting, unusual and enjoyable game from a mechanical perspective, but it’s also pretty fascinating to contemplate from a narrative perspective, too. And it has some lovely art! So let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading Re;Lord 1: It’s All a Matter of Perspective
With this month’s Cover Game being one of the most influential, well-regarded visual novels of all time, it seems only right and proper to take a look at the history of the medium as a whole.
To date, there have been three main “eras” of visual novels that can be clearly distinguished through a combination of their visual style, thematic content, gameplay elements (if any) and breadth of appeal. Of course, things aren’t quite as neat and simple as that might suggest, with some modern works deliberately channeling older styles, or some older works being ahead of their time, but it’s a working hypothesis to start from.
And, since visual novels form an extremely important part of both Japanese gaming and Japanese popular media in general, it’s worth tracing the route things have taken to get to where we are today.
Continue reading The Three Ages of Visual Novels
Elevator Action is an established classic of the ’80s arcade scene, and saw a wide variety of ports to most of the popular computer and console systems of the period.
While the original game is still relatively well-known today, many people remain unaware that Taito followed it up with an official sequel in 1994, some eleven years after the original game’s release.
These people are, of course, also unaware that Elevator Action Returns is an absolutely awesome game, even from a modern perspective.
Continue reading Taito Essentials: Elevator Action Returns