The Atelier Iris subseries is, as we’ve already seen with Eternal Mana, something of an outlier in the Atelier series as a whole.
While all of the Atelier games involve RPG-style combat to varying degrees, the Iris subseries places a particular emphasis on what many would think of as a more “conventional” RPG-style structure: the protagonist goes on a journey, explores dungeons, acquires allies, seeks out wondrous treasures… there just happens to be some alchemy involved on the side.
Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny has a particularly strong emphasis on its combat and progression mechanics, making it a satisfying game for those who like making numbers get bigger. Let’s take a closer look at this aspect today.
It’s always fascinating to see a developer’s first game, because it often represents a combination of the new company’s staff bringing their past experience to the table and an attempt for that new company to truly define themselves as something unique.
Psikyo kicked off a prolific few years of shoot ’em ups with Samurai Aces (also known as Sengoku Ace: Tengai Episode I), originally released to arcades in 1993. As the company’s first game, it certainly helps set the mould for their subsequent games, but it remains a solid shoot ’em up in its own right, and can easily be experienced today as part of the Psikyo Shooting Stars Bravocompilation for Nintendo Switch.
A lot of that is probably down to the fact that it was designed by Shin Nakamura of Aero Fighters fame, so Psikyo was always set up to get a good start. But let’s take a closer look anyway, and see what makes this game truly tick.
The Final Fantasy series has, over the years, played host to some of the most well-known and beloved female characters of all time.
And this isn’t a recent thing, either; if you believe the fan theory that the White Mage in the original Final Fantasy is female (a theory which I can’t help but feel Square Enix leaned into somewhat with the sprite design in the remakes for PS1, GBA and PSP) they’ve been there since the very beginning.
And even if you don’t subscribe to that theory, Final Fantasy II certainly brought us some fine leading ladies, such as today’s spotlight character, Leila. Let’s take a closer look!
While Psikyo could have easily stuck to being a heavily armed one-trick pony with the success and popularity of Strikers 1945 and its twosequels, the company decided to branch out and get a bit experimental in a number of its games.
A particularly potent example of this comes in the form of 1996’s Sol Divide, an unusual and underappreciated game that does things very differently from many other shooters out there — particularly its contemporaries from its time of original release.
Does “experimental” equate to “worth checking out for more than five minutes out of curiosity”, though? Let’s take a closer look, since like many of its stablemates, you can enjoy it as part of the Psikyo Shooting Stars Alpha collection on Nintendo Switch.
One of the issues people have with Final Fantasy II is that its progression system can make it a little tricky to determine what “level” you are.
This means it can be quite easy to go into a new situation either woefully underpowered or vastly overpowered — though let’s be honest about this, the latter option has always been part of the fun of role-playing games, hasn’t it?
At this point, an encounter in Leviathan’s stomach on the way to track down the Ultima Tome would seem to confirm that yes, indeed, we have taken the latter option. Oh well. No turning back now!
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