Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland, the second installment in Atelier’s Arland trilogy, is in that unenviable position that all “middle children” end up in — perhaps more so than most.
Originally offering considerable improvements over Atelier Rorona’s first incarnation — particularly in the graphical and mechanical departments — Gust’s tendency to put out “Plus” versions for its Atelier games means that Totori has ended up, in some respects, now being the most dated of the Arland trilogy even once it, in turn, got its own “Plus” and “DX” rereleases, the most recent of which is on PlayStation 4, Switch and PC.
This isn’t to say Totori is a bad game, mind you — far from it. Just… don’t take anything for granted! Let’s have a closer look.
Continue reading Atelier Totori: Arland’s Middle Child
As we’ve previously explored, the Atelier series is no stranger to rereleases and remakes — and at the time of writing, Arland trilogy debut Atelier Rorona has had more than most.
Initially releasing in Japan in 2009 as Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland before being localised by NIS America for North America, Europe and Australasia in 2010, the game was subsequently completely rebuilt in 2013 under its new worldwide publisher Koei Tecmo as Atelier Rorona Plus in an attempt to bring it more in line with the subsequent releases in the series. In 2015, Japan got a unique 3DS version of the game. And in 2018, Gust and Koei Tecmo brought Atelier Rorona DX — pretty much a port of Atelier Rorona Plus — to Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Windows PC.
Keeping one game relevant for nine full years and counting is no mean feat. So let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons this game might have stuck around for quite as long as it has!
Continue reading Atelier Rorona: Arland’s New Beginning
I fancied a bit of a change from OutRun this week, so I present to you one of my all-time favourite arcade racers: Split/Second, developed by Black Rock and published by Disney.
Split/Second is a tragic tale, really; it was a spectacularly good game that came out at a bad time, had no marketing whatsoever and consequently flopped so badly that Black Rock had to close down and Disney stopped doing anything interesting like unusual cinematic arcade racers ever again. Booo.
Still, at least Split/Second still exists, and we can still enjoy it for ourselves, so let’s do just that!
Continue reading Sunday Driving: Rigged to Blow
The MoeGamer Awards are a series of “alternative” awards that I’ve devised in collaboration with the community as an excuse to celebrate the games, experiences and fanbases that have left a particular impression on me in 2018. Find out more and leave a suggestion here!
This award was suggested by spaktukal.
Environmental design in gaming is a funny old beast; you only tend to really actively notice it if it’s really good or really bad — most of the rest of the time, it’s just sort of there, indicating that it’s doing its job. That job being, of course, to immerse the player in the game world and give that game world a bit of “character” of its own.
There were a number of games that had particularly striking world design this year, but today we’re focusing specifically on the idea of “common architecture” — the way just regular ol’ normal buildings look, rather than palaces, temples and ruins of an ancient civilisation.
And the winner is…
Continue reading The MoeGamer Awards 2018: Best Common Architecture
With how positively Sonic Adventure had been received on its original release — and many subsequent Sonic releases being compared unfavourably to it — it’s surprising that Sonic Team didn’t return to the concept sooner.
Return they did, however, with an ambitious multiplatform title that was originally intended to be the third official Sonic Adventure game. Initially developed under the working title of Sonic World Adventure — a title it would keep in Japan — Sonic Unleashed was intended to shake up the series in a few fundamental ways.
These days, in retrospect, Sonic Unleashed is seen as one of the earliest examples of what some people describe as “Boost Sonic“, but it’s an interesting game in its own right. Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading Sonic the Hedgehog: Dare to be Different
Declaring anything the “best thing ever” or the “worst thing ever” is a dangerous game, for a variety of reasons.
Tastes change over time. Preferences vary between individuals. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all that. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned since starting MoeGamer — well, quite a bit before that, to be honest — it’s that something getting critically panned doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not worth checking out.
It was with this in mind that I was greatly looking forward to investigating the much-maligned 2006 reboot of Sonic the Hedgehog for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 — a game that Wikipedia claims (without citation) to be “among the worst games not only in the Sonic series but also in the video game medium.” That sounds like a challenge to me.
Continue reading Sonic the Hedgehog: The Dark Age
Following some discussion on the podcast recently, I decided to revisit some old favourite arcade racers, including Bizarre Creations’ swansong Blur.
For the uninitiated, this “powered up racer” features a delightful blend of real-world cars and locales with purely fantastic, neon-coloured power-ups. This makes the racing enormously aggressive and a huge amount of fun, and it’s a crying shame that Activision completely failed to market the game effectively.
But, well, the game still exists, so I’m damn well going to play it and enjoy it, and you can join me for the ride! Hit the jump for the first part of this new video series.
Continue reading Sunday Driving: Blur – Powered-Up Racing