Tag Archives: exploration

Delving Into Dragon Quest: Chapters of the Chosen – #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.

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Shantae: 1/2 Genie Hero – Beyond the Pixel

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When I was growing up with computers and consoles in the early days of gaming, my dream of “what graphics will be like in the future” was not one of photorealism.

Okay, I’ll admit, attempts at photorealism — particularly in games that tackled this challenge early on, such as flight simulators — impressed me a great deal. But what I really, really wanted more than anything was that elusive thing: a game that truly looked like a cartoon; a true interactive animated movie.

Today, I have that. And it’s wonderful.

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Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Jumping Generations

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An interesting aspect of the Shantae series is how its presentation and execution has evolved over time.

While the first game, being released in the twilight years of the 8-bit Game Boy Color, represented the diminutive handheld being pushed to its absolute limits, the two subsequent installments in particular made a specific effort to be “modern retro” titles — games that emulated experiences from systems of the past while providing modern-day conveniences.

Risky’s Revenge, which we’re concerned with today, very much has its sights set on the 16-bit era. And it explores this concept with a clear knowledge and understanding of not only the classic 16-bit consoles, but also the earlier 16-bit home computers.

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Xenoblade Chronicles 2: A Titanic World

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While the Xeno series has, from its outset, always been about imaginative takes on worldbuilding, the Xenoblade subseries in particular has placed a strong emphasis on this.

Indeed, as we’ve already explored, the very reason the first Xenoblade Chronicles exists at all is because series creator Tetsuya Takahashi thought it would be cool to have a game set atop the bodies of two gigantic, frozen gods. The concept was subsequently fleshed out into the divide between the Bionis and the Mechonis, and the rest is history.

Xenoblade Chronicles X subsequently provided a somewhat different take on worldbuilding, providing us with a huge, seamless and geographically diverse planet to explore at our own pace. But Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is closer in concept to the first in the series, albeit with a few twists of its own.

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From the Archives: Wandering the World

I’ve asked this question before in our visual novel column, but it bears repeating: why do we play?

The answer is different for everyone, even between fans of the same type of game. Some enjoy JRPGs for their heavy focus on story and character development in a narrative sense; others enjoy the gradual process of building up their strength and power and being able to take on the toughest challenges the game has to offer. Others still enjoy finding all the secrets there are to find in the game — and there are usually a lot.

For me, as a self-confessed narrative junkie, I primarily enjoy the experience of hanging out with the characters, of fighting alongside them and, eventually, taking on some sort of earth-shattering, physically-improbable Big Bad, probably in space. Battling against all odds. Building those bonds between people that the Persona series is always banging on about, you know?

But this isn’t the only way to enjoy a JRPG.

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.

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Nier Automata: Creating a Game That is “Unexpected”, That “Keeps Changing Form”

Nier creator Taro Yoko has some strong opinions about how to keep games interesting.

Last time, we heard how he felt that modern triple-A games were often fun for the first twenty minutes, but that he frequently became concerned these initially impressive titles would become tiresome after twenty or more hours. It was this mindset that caused him to design the original Nier with so many unusual features to it, and many of these — and more — have carried across to Nier: Automata.

Today, then, we’ll take a look at Nier: Automata’s mechanical aspects — and how Yoko’s collaboration with Platinum Games has helped him to realise his vision better than ever before.

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Wii U Essentials: Xenoblade Chronicles X

While Nintendo platforms were very much the spiritual home of JRPGs in the 8- and 16-bit eras, in more recent times most of those games have jumped ship to Sony platforms.

This isn’t to say there’s a complete lack of JRPG goodness on Nintendo platforms, however; the 3DS has some solid titles, the original Wii had its three famous “Operation Rainfall” titles Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story and Pandora’s Tower — and the Wii U has Xenoblade Chronicles X.

Xenoblade Chronicles X is, it’s fair to say, a fairly different beast from its predecessor, and consequently it wasn’t to everyone’s taste. However, even if you didn’t enjoy it, it’s hard to deny that it’s a truly remarkable game, and a highly noteworthy entry in the Wii U’s library.

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