The fact that Xenoblade Chronicles 2 exists and, moreover, has been treated as a distinctly high-profile title for Nintendo’s Switch platform is nothing short of remarkable.
The Xeno series as a whole has been around for quite some time now and has been fairly consistently well-received by those who have played its various installments. But it’s been a long road for it to achieve the mainstream levels of acceptance and awareness it now enjoys. And a pretty interesting story, to boot.
So, before we dive into the game proper over the course of the next month, let’s look back at what it means to be a Xeno game, and how we got to where we are now.
Continue reading Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Introduction and History
This month on MoeGamer, we’re taking a look at a group of games that are connected primarily through the developer that created them.
That developer is Inti Creates, a group formed by ex-Capcom staff in 1996. It’s a company that is much-beloved by its fans, but which has, over the years, tended to beaver away at things quietly in the background rather than becoming a real household name like some other more high-profile Japanese development outfits.
That’s a bit of a shame, so that’s what this month is all about; specifically, it’s about the company’s recent output, presenting a variety of modern-day takes on traditional side-scrollers from the 8- and 16-bit eras.
Continue reading Inti Creates: Introduction and History
The Neptunia series is not only one of the most remarkable success stories in Japanese gaming, it’s also one of the most interesting, diverse franchises out there.
From its humble beginnings as a low-budget RPG with an atrocious critical reception to its current, widely recognised status inextricably associated with Sony platforms, even the most hardened cynic has to admit by now that there’s probably something to this series.
A big part of what has kept Neptunia fresh and interesting over the years is the fact that it’s not afraid to step outside of its traditional RPG comfort zone and experiment with gameplay styles. And, since we already explored the history of the mainline series when we dove deep into Megadimension Neptunia V-II back in 2016, it’s these spinoff games we’ll be looking in more detail today.
Continue reading Cyberdimension Neptunia: Introduction and History
A slightly early “happy new year”, everyone! I was originally going to post this at midnight but figured no-one would actually read it then, so I’m posting it now to go with all the other people posting 2017 roundup threads on Twitter and suchlike.
It’s been an interesting year and, I’m pleased to say, one that has been overall very positive, which is a very nice contrast to the numerous challenges I’ve encountered over the course of… well, probably the last seven years or so, now.
As such, I wanted to make this post a bit of a personal one to look back over the last year, to celebrate the things that went well, and to look forward to what 2018 holds. Regular gaming coverage will continue on Tuesday!
Continue reading New Year Well-Wishes, and a Look Back on an Interesting 2017
One of the most remarkable things about Alicesoft’s Rance series is quite how detailed its lore is.
This might not be something you expect to hear about a series of 18+ games with rather a lot of sexually explicit content, but just a few minutes with a Rance title will make it abundantly clear Alicesoft takes this franchise very seriously indeed. At least, so far as ensuring its lore is internally consistent; as a series with absurdist (and often black) humour at its heart, Rance is anything but “serious”.
This combination of a significant humorous component with deep, well-crafted lore established over a long cycle of individual works particularly brings to mind Terry Pratchett’s influential Discworld series. And if we look a little more deeply into that lore we can see a number of similarities along the way, particularly in terms of how things the audience will recognise from modern life are blended with the conventions of fantastic fiction.
NOTE: A hanny from /vg/ helpfully pointed out that the original version of this article used terminology from the original Japanese versions and fan translations. It’s now been updated with terminology from MangaGamer’s “official” translation to prevent confusion for series newcomers!
Continue reading Rance: The “Discworld” of Eroge
Namco’s Ridge Racer may have declined somewhat in terms of popularity and relevance at the time of writing, but there’s little denying that during its heyday, this series was one of the most important franchises in gaming.
Most notably playing a significant role in solidifying the PlayStation’s position as the leading console of the 32-bit era in particular, the Ridge Racer series remains for many the benchmark to which all 3D arcade racers — a sadly dying breed — should be compared.
So where did this all start?
Continue reading Ridge Racer: Where it All Began
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