After how beloved the Dusk subseries of Atelier has become over the years, how could Gust possibly follow that up?
By doing what they’ve always done, of course: completely reinventing the series and kicking off a whole new set of games. Doing so doesn’t stop the Dusk series from existing, after all — and it also prevents the series from stagnating. Not that it was ever at any risk of doing that anyway, given how much we’ve seen it varies between individual installments!
In this part of the Atelier MegaFeature, we’ll be taking a high-level look at the first game in the Mysterious trilogy, Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book. Where did this game come from, what was the thinking behind certain aspects of its design — and what do we have to look forward to?
To say that the Final Fantasy VII Remake project was hotly anticipated is something of an understatement.
Ever since the run-up to the PlayStation 2 launch, where one of the promotional videos showed a cutscene from Final Fantasy VIII apparently being rendered in real time by the new system, fans have been wondering what would happen if one of the world’s most beloved RPGs were ever to get remade.
Well, we’re starting to get some answers now… and a whole bunch of questions, too. Let’s explore!
Spoilers for both the original FFVII and FFVII Remake (yes, there are differences) ahead.
In video games, we’re accustomed to having some sort of concrete “villain” to fight — usually a personified antagonist of some description.
But what happens when you don’t really have an “enemy” as such — you’re just struggling against natural forces that have no feelings about you one way or the other? And how will your experiences interact with those of the people around you?
These are the questions that Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories attempts to answer. So let’s take a closer look at how it does that.
Out of all the members of Senran Kagura’s core cast, Haruka initially seems like the one who has it most together — or, perhaps more accurately, is most at peace with the person she is.
Combining a sense of genuinely warm, sisterly affection for her friends and comrades with an overtly sexual interest in both sadism and masochism, Haruka is, in many ways, one of the most “grown up” cast members.
That’s not to say she had an easy life, mind you. Far from it.
I remember coming across Assault Android Cactus for the first time: it was back in 2013, when I was still working on USgamer, and I was headed for EGX, or the Eurogamer Expo as it used to be known.
My boss Jaz Rignall suggested that I might want to check out this game he’d heard a bit about, and put me in contact with the developer. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it; if I’m perfectly honest, I was expecting some sort of fairly forgettable indie fare, but I trusted Jaz’s judgement. He’d been around in the games industry even longer than me, after all, so he knew his stuff.
I was right to trust his judgement. Assault Android Cactus ended up being my favourite thing I saw at EGX that year, and it’s remained a consistent favourite of mine ever since.
It’s fair to say that “insecurity” is a pretty core theme to Our World is Ended, and the different characters all express this trait in one way or another to varying degrees.
To date, we’ve seen how Tatiana is a walking contradiction in terms of the clash between her naturally childish nature and her genius-level intellect, and how Asano’s past trauma haunts her sufficiently to affect the person she is today.
Today, it’s time to take a look at Natsumi Yuki, seemingly one of the most unapproachable members of the main cast, but one who undergoes some of the most significant changes as the narrative progresses.
A common theme explored throughout the visual novel medium in general is the idea of people not being quite what they appear at first glance.
The reason for this is mostly a practical one: the very nature of the visual novel medium makes deep dives into multifaceted, layered characters a viable thing for creators to explore. Enthusiasts of visual novels are already accustomed to the medium’s slow pace and relatively limited interactivity compared to games with a stronger emphasis on their mechanical components, so writers and developers are more than happy to allow us the opportunity to get to know the main cast extremely intimately.
That doesn’t mean those first impressions the characters set don’t matter, mind you. On the contrary, they are extremely important for setting expectations as to how those characters will behave and interact — and then, in some cases, subverting rather than confirming those expectations. Let’s take a look at how Our World is Ended’s cast presents itself in the early hours of the game as the narrative is getting underway.
Even among the already niche-interest community of Japanese video games, visual novels tend not to get a ton of hype about them… at least here in the West.
That’s why when a new one comes along and its localisers are confident enough to refer to it as “a new masterpiece of narrative visual novel storytelling”, it’s probably worth taking notice. Of course, it’s pure marketing-speak, but it also demonstrates a certain amount of faith in the product — and perhaps a track record of the game being well-received back in its native territory.
Is Red Entertainment’s Our World is Ended, also known as 俺達の世界わ終っている (Ore-tachi no Sekai wa Owatteiru) worthy of the descriptor “masterpiece”? Only one way to find out!
We have Sonic Team’s attempts to move the franchise forward with various gameplay styles, new narrative components and a somewhat coherent, consistent narrative that ties in with other forms of media. We have Sonic Lost World’smuch-maligned but utterly joyful jaunt into Super Mario-esque territory. And we have probably the most disappointingly “mainstream” opinion: that “Sonic hasn’t been good since the Mega Drive”.
Among other things, the perhaps vain hope of shutting this latter group up is the reason Sonic Mania exists.