This post is one chapter of a MegaFeature!
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With the ninth installment in the mainline Atelier series, Gust took the curious decision to temporarily drop the “Atelier [x]” naming convention and instead start a new subseries.
Except it’s not quite that simple; the two Mana Khemia games actually have a fair bit in common with the Atelier Iris subseries in terms of presentation, mechanics, tone and themes, leading some people to consider them an unofficial part of the Atelier Iris “trilogy”.
Ultimately it doesn’t really matter too much; Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis certainly stands by itself as a solid title in the franchise as a whole, so let’s begin with a general overview of what it’s all about.
Continue reading Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis – The Ninth Atelier
Well, after an inordinately long wait — about eight years, to be exact — Phantasy Star Online 2 has finally arrived, for both Xbox One and PC players… and possibly with other platforms to follow.
To say that English speakers have been eagerly awaiting this game is something of an understatement. The Dreamcast original, being one of the original breakout successes in online gaming — and many players’ first experience with cooperative, social online gaming — is a widely beloved game, so in the eight years since Phantasy Star Online 2 released in Japan, people have been finding increasingly creative ways to get their fix, with particularly dedicated fans even going so far as to provide translation patches.
Now, none of those workarounds and fiddly tweaks are needed; everyone can just play Phantasy Star Online 2 as they please. So I thought it would probably be a good idea to jump in on the PC launch day and have a go. Read on to find out how that all went.
Continue reading Phantasy Star Online 2: Day 1 As an ARKS Operative
Although at the time of writing a lot of people are super-excited for the impending PC release of Phantasy Star Online 2, the series as a whole isn’t anywhere near as well-known as the heavy-hitting classics of the RPG genre.
Indeed, Phantasy Star as a whole has always been something of a niche interest series — perhaps in part due to the majority of its “golden age” being released on platforms that were not typically renowned for their role-playing games.
The first game in particular is very interesting to return to, especially when you consider its original release date as a contemporary of the first Final Fantasy and the second Dragon Quest. And the Sega Ages version for Nintendo Switch is the definitive way to experience it — so let’s explore that now!
Continue reading Sega Ages Phantasy Star – Classic Dungeon Crawling, Modern Conveniences
Ah, Streets of Rage 3. Probably the most notorious entry in the franchise due to how heavily it was altered between its original Japanese release as Bare Knuckle III and its Western incarnation.
Thankfully, modern compilations such as the Sega Mega Drive Classics collection make it very easy to access the Japanese version — though it’s worth taking a look at the Western release too for an extreme example of what unnecessary localisation due to external pressure looks like.
Let’s hit the streets once again!
Continue reading Streets of Rage 3: The Most Notorious Localisation
Despite what anyone who has ever worked in the teaching profession (including myself) might tell you, children are not inherently evil.
They’re not inherently good either, mind you, and that’s what potentially makes them interesting as characters. Particularly characters in some form of interactive media where you get to explore the consequences of “good” and “bad” behaviour in various contexts.
Among other things, A Hat in Time is a joyful exploration of what it means to be a child. A child who has their own spaceship and is clearly a lot more 1) intelligent and 2) affluent than they might let on, but a child nonetheless. Let’s explore this strange and wonderful world through the eyes of the one and only Hat Kid.
Continue reading A Hat in Time: Hat the Nipper
Part of my intention behind my Delving Into series focusing on Castlevania was to get a solid understanding of the classic franchise before jumping into Koji Igarashi’s Kickstarter-funded Bloodstained project.
While I’m not all the way through the classic games at the time of writing, I do feel like I’m at an adequate point where I can start looking at the two Bloodstained games and be able to analyse their similarities and differences from classic-formula Castlevania.
So let’s begin today with a look at Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon, a spinoff title developed by Inti Creates, designed more in the mould of Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse than the more recent, post-Symphony of the Night open-structure 2D platformer incarnations.
Continue reading Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon – Enhanced Nostalgia
Speak to pretty much anyone familiar with the Streets of Rage series, and chances are their favourite installment is probably the second.
While the first game may have set the template for the series to follow by being a beat ’em up designed for the home rather than the arcade, the second is where it well and truly hit its stride. Streets of Rage 2 demonstrates what the humble Mega Drive is truly capable of in the hands of real masters of their craft.
And it’s a game that is still relevant, enormously playable and impressive to look at, even to this day. So let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading Streets of Rage 2: Everyone’s Favourite