With fluid gameplay, gorgeous visuals, and an incredibly inventive story mode, there's a lot to love in this unique fighting game. The limited roster may prove to be the biggest challenge this game faces in maintaining a strong community, but with so many positive changes since it's 2018 Early Access launch and the spotlight of an Evo Online tournament, there's nowhere to go but up for Them's Fightin' Herds.
Ultimately, Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition takes a Wii RPG that was years ahead of its time and gives it new life and the visuals it deserved a decade ago. This is a must-play JRPG full of iconic characters, immersive environments, and addictive combat. There may be some minor technical and visual issues with this re-release, but they're outweighed by the brilliance of the new content and the inarguable timelessness of Xenoblade Chronicles.
Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen is yet another port of Utawarerumono for Japanese fans, but it's the first time in nearly 20 years that the first chapter of this iconic hybrid visual novel trilogy is playable in English. A unique world and unforgettable characters are at the heart of this game, but they're complemented by gorgeous artwork, addictive battles, and incredible music. It drags in the middle act, but once that final act ends and the credits roll, you'll barely remember the rough edges of this otherwise fantastic experience.
Touhou Mechanical Scrollery is a mess of a game. It's obvious that there's high ambition and plenty of love for the source material, but the final product is riddled with poor controls, rough visuals, and forgettable combat mechanics that make it an absolute chore to get through.
Relic Hunters Zero: Remix takes the standard roguelike experience and shifts it into overdrive, delivering a faster and more consistently rewarding experience. I always felt like I was making progress and never felt like a run was wasted. Some technical issues and a lack of environment variety keep the game from sticking the landing, though. With more environment variety and remappable controls, Relic Hunters Zero: Remix could easily go from good to great.
Sakura Wars may be a crisp, fully 3D modern release, but every inch of the story, characters, and sound feels like it's straight out of the 90s. This soft-reboot may not revolutionise gaming as the original game did, but it still manages to deliver an expertly crafted love letter to those old-school stories and characters that will put a smile on anyone's face. The combat scenes may lack the same depth and intrigue as the story beats of the game, but they're a minor part of an otherwise unforgettable anime adventure.
Trials of Mana is an exciting new step for the Mana series, breathing new, fully 3D life into a SNES classic that was left inaccessible to English fans for decades. The inventive and memorable story of the original game blends perfectly with the flashy new real-time combat system, and while muddy textures and a lack of co-op prove to somewhat sour the experience, this is still a stellar action RPG remake that anyone can get a kick out of.
Murder By Numbers puts a narrative-heavy spin on the Picross experience and accompanies it with enough difficulty setting that even a mathematically challenged fool like me to get engrossed in the grid-filling action for hours on end. Unfortunately, so much of the story is tainted by unlikeable characters and a constant barrage of eye-rolling references that take away from the otherwise unique style of the world.
One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 is a fan's dream game, as it takes the iconic battles and moments of eight major story arcs and puts you right in the action like never before. Combat is fun and flashy while still managing to be surprisingly thoughtful, and although a few characters aren't a joy to control, a majority of the cast is an absolute delight to play as. One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 is a jolly good time.