Every so often a game comes along that really makes you sit up and pay attention.
Sometimes it’s because it features a beautiful refinement or evolution of some established mechanics. Sometimes it’s because it really pushes graphical technology forwards. Sometimes it has famous names attached to it.
And sometimes it’s 428: Shibuya Scramble, a title so far removed from what we traditionally think of as a “video game” that you can’t help but notice it.
Continue reading 428: Shibuya Scramble – Introduction and History
There’s a lot of hoo-hah about “representation” in games right now from various sources, tending to lead to arguments between people who don’t think it matters and people who think it is more important than absolutely anything in the whole wide world.
For the most part, I tend to stay out of these discussions because I have no particularly strong feelings one way or the other and I’m not going to just sit here and hollowly say “the right thing” for Internet brownie points. For me, it’s always cool to see characters who are a bit “different from the norm” in various ways, yes, but it’s not something I specifically find myself seeking out. Unless you count generally favouring Japanese games with female protagonists or at least leading cast members, in which case… uh… well, look at the stuff I’ve covered on this site over the course of the last few years. Hmm, maybe I care about it more than I think.
Anyway, all that said, it’s nice when you feel some sort of connection to a character depicted in a piece of media. Even if it’s just in one small way…
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Esty
Dragon Quest is a great example of what I like to think of as a “comfy game”. That is, the kind of game you can pick up and play, and immediately feel like you’re welcome in its world.
There are certain series that do this very well. Gust’s Atelier games — particularly from the PS3 era onwards — are especially well-known for it, and my journey through Chapters of the Chosen on Nintendo DS is making me feel like Dragon Quest as a whole is very likely to be the same way.
As controversial as it might be to say these days, I feel a big part of the pleasant atmosphere the later English versions succeed in creating is down to the efforts of the localisation team and how they made some significant changes to how the original scripts were presented. So let’s take a look at that aspect today.
Continue reading Delving Into Dragon Quest: Chapters of the Chosen – #2
An interesting aspect of Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s Western release is the matter of its localisation.
I’m not talking about it from a “censorship” perspective or anything like that, mind you — largely because, in my experience, those sorts of discussions often tend to get bogged down and never really go anywhere.
Rather, Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s localisation is an interesting case because, more than anything, it appears to represent an honest attempt to bridge the gap between a genre of game that has come to be regarded as highly “niche interest” over the last few years, and the broader, mainstream audience Nintendo typically courts with its console platforms.
Continue reading Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Bringing the “Niche” to the “Mainstream”
With Omega Labyrinth Z being the first game to be refused classification in the UK for a decade — the last was Rockstar’s ultra-violent Manhunt 2 — there has been a lot of discussion surrounding the title.
With that in mind, I felt it important to express my own feelings on the matter directly to the Video Standards Council (VSC), the body responsible for refusing to allow the game to be sold in the United Kingdom, despite it already having successfully attained a PEGI 18 rating elsewhere in Europe.
If you feel similarly, I encourage you to reach out to the VSC yourself using the contact details on their website. I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will anyway: if you choose to do so, please keep your messages polite and respectful, whatever you may think of the decision. And whether or not anything changes as a result of feedback from consumers like this, we can at least say we tried to get our voices heard.
The letter I sent directly to the VSC follows after the jump.
Continue reading An Open Letter to the Video Standards Council
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
As we’ve already seen, one of Inti Creates’ biggest strengths as a developer is its ability to understand what made the games of the past great while simultaneously updating them with modern conveniences and conventions.
Azure Striker Gunvolt, a relatively new series from the company but one which has already gone on to be popular and well-received, is a great example of this philosophy at work. Adopting a pleasingly chunky but detailed late 16-bit pixel art look and combining it with delicious 2D art, excellent storytelling and a well-crafted world, the game provides a wonderful experience, whether you enjoy it on its original host platform of the 3DS, its port to PC or its most recent incarnation on Nintendo Switch as part of the Azure Striker Gunvolt Striker Pack alongside its sequel.
Let’s take a closer look at where this game from and what makes it tick… or rather buzz, perhaps.
Continue reading Azure Striker Gunvolt: An Electrifying Action Platformer