This week’s waifu is once again drawn from the extensive cast of the Rance series, and is a character who has been part of the brutish hero’s saga almost since the very beginning.
First appearing as an antagonist in Rance II: The Rebellious Maidens, Shizuka has been a fixture in the series alongside her best friend Maria Custard ever since.
She’s an important figure to Rance’s complete narrative arc as well as one of the most consistently popular heroines in the series — evidently a clear case of “treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen” in full effect so far as the audience is concerned!
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Shizuka Masou
2002’s Rance 5D (finally localised into English in 2017) is probably one of the most unusual RPGs you will ever play.
At least part of its rather distinctive nature is due to the fact that it is actually developer Alicesoft’s fourth attempt at a fifth Rance game, hence the “D” on the end of the title — A, B and C were all failed attempts that never saw the light of day.
Thankfully, Rance 5D did, however, and it’s nothing if not a memorable experience, both from a narrative and mechanical perspective — and from the perspective of its rather troubled development history, too.
Continue reading Rance 5D: Roulette, Role-Playing and RNG
Typically, when we talk about gaming franchises that have been around since the early days of the medium, the same names tend to come up all the time.
There’s Final Fantasy, of course, which first appeared in 1987. Super Mario Bros., which hails from 1985. The Legend of Zelda from 1986. All classic series that are still going strong and have been highly prolific over the years, not just with their mainline installments but with numerous spinoffs, too.
What we’re going to explore this month is a series of games from Japan that has been going as long as these established classics, but which remains relatively unknown in the West so far due to 1) its status as an eroge and 2) the fact it only got its first localised release in December of 2016 thanks to MangaGamer.
I am, of course, talking about Rance. Tooooohhhh!
Continue reading Rance: Introduction and History
Dungeon Travelers 2 is one of the best dungeon-crawlers of all time — I’d even go so far as to say it’s one of my favourite RPGs I’ve ever played.
A significant part of the reason for why I regard it so fondly is its large cast of memorable female characters, each of whom offer something unique both in mechanical terms and in how they contribute to the overall “party dynamic” with their characterisation.
It’s hard to pick a favourite from such a consistently loveable cast, but somewhere near the top of the list for me is Ist.
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Ist
Another recent release and a recent acquisition is Idea Factory’s Mary Skelter: Nightmares, an intriguing-sounding dungeon crawler featuring interpretations of numerous fairy tale characters and some cool mechanics.
Once again, this is a game I’d like to spend a full month giving the full Cover Game treatment, so today we’re primarily focused on what’s in the limited edition box. Idea Factory’s limited editions have typically been some of my favourite to date — helped along rather by the fact I’m yet to play a game by them that I haven’t enjoyed immensely — and so I was excited to get my hands on this one.
So without further ado, let’s take a look inside.
Continue reading What’s in the Box: Mary Skelter: Nightmares
“Video games aren’t movies.” That’s a line of criticism that those who prioritise mechanics over narrative like to level at cutscene-heavy games, particularly those by creators such as Hideo Kojima and David Cage.
And while it’s true that making effective use of games as a form of interactive media tends to emphasise actual interaction over passively watching cutscenes, one can hardly deny the spectacle offered by strongly movie-inspired titles, and the flexibility that entirely computer-generated scenes and characters can provide creators.
Which makes it all the more unusual that so many games focus on movies as their primary inspiration rather than other forms of media. Sure, some role-playing games might be rather operatic in tone, visual novels are effectively “Books Plus” and rhythm games provide a new way of experiencing pieces of music, but video games have never embraced the idea, of, say, musical theatre.
Or so you thought…
This article is also a video! Hit the jump to watch it, or catch it on YouTube.
Continue reading Stormblood: The MMO as Musical Theatre
We’re enjoying a bit of a puzzle game renaissance at the moment.
While we’re not quite at the same level as we were in the 8-, 16- and 32-bit eras, where puzzle games would happily share retail shelf space with 100+ hour RPG epics (Puyo Puyo Tetris aside), we are at least starting to see more and more puzzle games that aren’t free-to-play mobile titles primarily designed to repeatedly part you from your cash rather than providing a well-balanced, fun experience.
One interesting game that may well have passed you by owing to its low price and seemingly low production values is Hell Girls from Taiwanese circle SakuraGame. And you should most definitely give it a look!
Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Hell Girls