Fish and chips. Bread and butter. Cheese and macaroni. Peanut butter and jelly. Dragon Ball and fighting games. These are things that have gone together for what seems like an eternity, and they all compliment each other perfectly.
Dragon Ball has had a long history of ups and downs when it comes to its video game entries. I’m pretty familiar with this series, from the excellent Budokai and Budokai Tenkaichi games, to the forgettable run of titles on the last-gen systems, and the enjoyable Xenoverse games. FighterZ is kind of a breath of fresh air, in that it dials things back from the fully 3D Xenoverse and gives us a great classic-style 2.5D, side-view fighter.
For as long as I have followed Monster Hunter, it was always apparent that this series is following a clear trajectory. With each entry, the developers have been improving the games, slowly refining the core mechanics in their quest to make the perfect monster-killing sim. Up to this point, each main entry in the series has been better than the last, so a game as spectacular as Monster Hunter: World was only an inevitability.
This is a game that blew me away at almost every moment. It wowed me whether I was barely surviving through a fight with a massive monster, teaming up with other hunters to collect parts for that greatsword I really wanted, or just exploring its hauntingly beautiful world while picking bugs and flowers. With the improvements that have been made in World, in addition to everything it inherits from the previous games, it just feels like Monster Hunter has finally hit the critical mass to allow them to cross the threshold from ” good” to “amazing.”
Furi is an action game by developers The Game Bakers. It came out on other systems in 2016, but just recently hit the Switch in January. I picked it up purely because I’m a sucker for stylish games like this. To my surprise, there is an engaging, hardcore experience to match the gorgeous visual presentation.
Furi is a weird mix of bullet hell and hack-and-slash. This is, in its core, a boss rush game, where you tackle a succession of difficult bosses one after another. The mechanics are actually very simplistic, and don’t change throughout the course of the game. Everything revolves around a simple set of core actions: you can shoot enemies with your gun twin-stick style, attack them with your sword, dodge and parry attacks.
A quick glance at this blog will tell you that I’m a pretty big Zelda fan. I am especially a fan of the 2D Zeldas, such as Link’s Awakening and A Link to the Past. That’s why Blossom Tales jumped out at me. While many games try to replicate aspects of Zelda, not many try to capture the feeling of playing one as Blossom Tales does. The game is self aware and confident enough to even make a tongue in cheek reference to Zelda in its opening moments, but can it really back it up with its gameplay?
Well, yeah. This is a great Zelda clone. It doesn’t quite hit the same highs as any of the classic 2D Zelda games of the SNES, Game Boy and Game Boy Advance, but for a $15 indie game, it doesn’t have to. It’s good enough to be more than worth the money, and mechanically, it hits all the boxes to give anyone a crazy nostalgia rush.
I started replaying Monolith Soft’s Xenoblade Chronicles at the same time I was playing Xenoblade Chronicles 2, in order to better understand the differences between the two games. Naturally, I had an itch to keep playing this fantastic game after beating its sequel. Xenoblade Chronicles is an RPG developed by Monolith Soft for Nintendo’s Wii system. It first caught my eye back in the day due to the fan outcry that finally brought it over to North America in 2012.
Xenoblade was a spectacular game for many reasons. As a JRPG that was developed for a system that was very underpowered by 2012 standards, Xenoblade shattered expectations by being a humongous and expansive experience. The world of the Xenoblade managed to be one of the most visually unique and beautiful settings I’ve ever seen in an RPG, despite the hardware limitations of the Wii.
Welcome to the last major Switch game of 2017! Just when I thought we were out of the woods, we get yet another gargantuan experience to add to this year’s tally. This time, it’s Xenoblade Chronicles 2, the latest game from RPG developer Monolith Soft. While I unfortunately never got around to playing Xenoblade Chronicles X on the Wii U, I loved the hell out of the original Xenoblade Chronicles, and I was looking forward to this game.
Like the original, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a JRPG with a twist. It has all of the traditional narrative-driven progression the genre is known for, and throws in aspects more commonly found in MMORPGs and western RPGs. That includes large, open environments and lots of side quests to fulfill for gear and cash. The first game was excellent, thanks to its visually memorable and unique zones, as well as the well fantastic characters and mature, refined story. The sequel really wants to catch that lightning in a bottle a second time, and while it doesn’t quite reach the same level as the first game, it still managed to be well worth the time I put into it.
This review is going to be a little unique. We have two new versions of Skyrim, and being the Elder Scrolls fan that I am, I couldn’t stop myself from nabbing both. (Yeah, call me crazy!) Both ports were compelling to me for different reasons, and they are both great in their own ways. Still, they are the same game, so I decided to combine both reviews into one. I will write briefly about the game as a whole, and then I will dive into each version.
Skyrim should be a game that requires no introduction. Even if you’ve never played it, it’s impossible to miss the lasting impression this game left in the collective psyche of gamers everywhere. It was an enchanting experience, carried by the strength of its dense game world and interesting lore. Today, its DNA lives on in many modern games, but there’s still nothing quite like exploring the cold, desolate and wondrous landscape of Skyrim.