Omega Force’s Warriors (or Musou, if you prefer) is one of the longest-running, most prolific series in all of gaming. And yet it is also one of the most commonly misunderstood and misrepresented in terms of its gameplay.
Often dismissed by critics as being little more than mindless button-mashers, the Warriors series has, over time and the course of more than 50 individual releases for various platforms, continued to evolve and experiment to bring us to where we are today. Not only that, it has proven to be a great way to get people interested in a number of real-world historical events such as the Three Kingdoms era of Chinese history (Dynasty Warriors) and the Sengoku period of Japanese history (Samurai Warriors) — as well as providing its developers the opportunity to explore more creative, fantastic stories that involve large-scale conflict.
Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition (just Hyrule Warriors hereafter), of course, falls into the latter category… but before we dive into it in detail, let’s take a look at the series as a whole and see exactly how we got here.
Continue reading Hyrule Warriors: Introduction and History
Once upon a time, there was a funny little fighting game on PlayStation called Ehrgeiz.
Ehrgeiz was noteworthy for a number of reasons: its high-resolution graphics; its beautifully slick framerate; its inclusion of Final Fantasy VII characters in its roster… and the bizarre inclusion of a full-on dungeon-delving action RPG mode.
If you have fond memories of that particular aspect of Ehrgeiz, then you’re most certainly going to want to check out Crimson Tears, since it’s by the same developer (DreamFactory) and expands that concept into its own distinct experience. And, given the apparently enduring popularity of games with roguelike elements, it’s a game that remains impressively relevant even today.
Continue reading PS2 Essentials: Crimson Tears
Sega’s Yakuza series is perhaps one of the most misunderstood franchises out there to people who haven’t played it.
Prior to its original release, it was assumed that the game would be a Japanese clone of Grand Theft Auto. Then people saw its real-time combat and started assuming it was a brawler.
It is neither of these things. It is, in fact, one of the most well-disguised JRPG series you’ll ever play.
This article was originally published on Games Are Evil in 2013 as part of the site’s regular Swords and Zippers column on JRPGs. It has been edited and republished here due to Games Are Evil no longer existing in its original form.
Continue reading From the Archives: Yakuza’s Modern-Day Questing Makes a Fine JRPG
At the time of writing, the Wii U may be yet to play host to a brand-new, original mainline Zelda title — Breath of the Wild will be one of the last retail titles for the system — but it’s home to one of the best spin-offs the series has seen.
Unlike its stablemate Super Mario, Zelda actually hasn’t seen all that many spin-offs over the years, with only Link’s Crossbow Training on Wii and the two atrocious CD-i titles springing immediately to mind. This is perhaps because Zelda is an inherently more “serious” affair than Super Mario — sure, it has its moments of levity, but it’s always been less focused on cartoon silliness and as such it would be rather strange to see perpetual protagonist Link doing things outside his normal remit such as playing tennis or golf. (That, of course, didn’t stop him making an appearance in Mario Kart 8, but that was something of an outlier.)
That doesn’t mean that there isn’t scope for the series to explore gameplay styles outside the mainline titles’ “explore, dungeon, puzzle, boss” formula, and Hyrule Warriors is a potent proof of concept that demonstrates the ensemble cast the series has built up over the years is more than strong enough to carry a game that doesn’t focus exclusively on Link.
Continue reading Wii U Essentials: Hyrule Warriors
The Senran Kagura series as a whole primarily has its roots in the brawler or beat ’em up genre, and while it draws mechanical influences from both classics in the field and contemporaries, it very much has its own identity.
Exactly how Senran Kagura channels the brawler genre has evolved somewhat over the game’s several installments. The first game in the series, Senran Kagura Burst, is most recognisable as a classic-style beat ’em up, but while all the subsequent entries make shifts into 3D to varying degrees, the fundamentals remain quite similar.
To understand the mechanics on display in Senran Kagura Estival Versus, it pays to look at the history of the genre as well as more modern contemporaries. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do.
Continue reading Senran Kagura Estival Versus: Historical Context and Mechanics