Tag Archives: RPG

Magical Diary: Wolf Hall – A Wolf in Wizard’s Clothing

Those of you who have been following my work for a while may recall a good few years back now I was rather enthusiastic about a game called Magical Diary: Horse Hall.

This unusual game, developed by Hanako Games and Spiky Caterpillar, blended elements of visual novel, life sim and first-person dungeon crawler to create something very interesting indeed — and something that was clearly intended to be the start of a series.

That was back in 2012. Now, in 2019, we’re finally getting a follow-up — so let’s take a first look at what the sequel, Magical Diary: Wolf Hall, has to offer, and how Hanako Games and Spiky Caterpillar will be making use of crowdfunding to realise their goals.

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Atelier Rorona: Arland’s New Beginning

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!

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Atelier Arland: Introduction and History

Atelier is one of the more long-running, prolific series in the canon of Japanese gaming.

First launching in 1997, the franchise has seen 19 mainline releases since its inception (with a 20th on the way at the time of writing), plus a variety of spin-offs, side stories, ports, expanded adaptations and guest appearances from its characters in various other games over the years. Although we didn’t see our first Western localisation of the series until its sixth mainline game (Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana for PlayStation 2) in 2005, it is, by this point, firmly established as a mainstay of Japanese role-playing games — and, in the nicest possible way, developer Gust’s cash cow.

With that in mind, before we delve into the Arland trilogy in detail, let’s take a look at the history of the series as a whole up until Atelier Rorona’s initial release in 2009. Join me on a trip into totally-not-Renaissance-Germany, and let’s get crafting!

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The MoeGamer Awards 2018: Game of the Year 2018

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 here, but you’re out of time to leave suggestions, I’m afraid!

Well, here we are once again on the last day of the old year, awaiting the arrival of the new. And, of course, that means one thing for anyone interested in games: the completely arbitrary declaration of “Game of the Year”.

Everyone has different criteria for selecting their own personal Game of the Year. For some, it’s simply the game they enjoyed the most or which took over their life to the greatest degree. For others, it’s to do with technical or artistic achievement. For others still, it’s all about sales figures.

For me, it’s quite simply the game I played this year that I feel was… “best”, across all its various aspects. A game that is a real showcase of just what is out there today, and which I feel is a shining example of what being interested in video games really “means”.

And the winner is…

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The MoeGamer Awards 2018: Character I Learned to Love

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 AK.

A really interesting aspect of characterisation is when creators are able to put together a character who might initially seem obnoxious or odious in some way, then gradually bring the player to sympathise with them — or at least vaguely understand them –over the course of the complete narrative.

It’s a difficult thing to pull off, for sure; the most common approach taken to create this effect is to have an “anti-hero” main character, but in those instances it’s very easy to go overboard on the edginess and just create someone who is an unrelatable sociopath or psychopath.

But when it’s done right, it can make for some really interesting storytelling. So who fell into that category for me this year…?

And the winner is…

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The MoeGamer Awards 2018: The “This Game Has An Excellent Female Lead And Is About Being A Girl, Stop Whingeing There Aren’t Any Games About Such Things” Award

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 inspired by a conversation on Twitter started by someone who is apparently unable to look beyond the big-budget triple-A mainstream — specifically that as depicted by the annual Game Awards — for representation in video games.

I am not a girl. However, for a good few years now, I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to play as female characters in games. As I recall, the first time I ever did it was in Baldur’s Gate on PC (which is also where I dreamed up the name I give every female character where the option to customise exists: Amarysse) and it felt strange and exciting at the time.

Now, it’s a much more normal part of today’s gaming landscape, but some people appear to not recognise this fact. So today’s award rather passive-aggressively celebrates a game I covered this year that particularly emphasises the fact it tells an interesting story with its female lead — a story that is very much about femininity.

And the winner is…

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Waifu Wednesday: Kathryn Lapucelle

Well, we’ve covered all the other “main” waifus Ramius, Riche and Gurigura from Evenicle so far, so it’s only fair we give Kathryn some love too!

Kathryn is the last playable character to join protagonist Aster’s family, and she is, for sure, an interesting one — both from a narrative and a mechanical perspective.

Let’s just say that you should probably approach with a certain degree of caution.

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