Having never played a Grandia game, I came in not knowing much about the series and what makes it great. Walking away, I'm left in awe of not only the battle system, but also how you power up your party. The port is a bit rough when it comes to slow down, particularly in battles, but it's worth dealing with the inconvenience to experience this classic.
Devil May Cry was the pioneer for character action games and despite being released 18 years ago, it still manages to stand tall among more contemporary counterparts. It certainly shows its age, most specifically in the dated platforming and at times jarring camera changes. Yet, when it comes down to pulling off combos and looking cool as hell, it hits the mark, still feeling fresh all these years later.
It's systems are robust and plentiful, but frankly many are downright confusing. The developers decided to do the player no favors, leaving much of the complexities a mystery without searching online. That is enough to scare some away, but if it isn't a dealbreaker, there's more than enough here to keep you busy for hours on end.
Level design and variety are wonderful, continuing to stay fresh throughout. However in contrast, the enemy design was a let down due to a small pool of enemies. Fun boss battles and the cutest protagonist ever do help to mitigate the shortcomings resulting in a brisk and enjoyable experience.
undefined.Loot-driven action RPGs can find themselves in a pattern of being repetitive, relying on the desire for the next shiny piece of armor to keep players engaged. Lapis x Labyrinth certainly falls into that category, but unfortunately despite the huge number of items you earn, many tend to be downgrades. However, the diversity in each character type works to its advantage, promoting mixing and matching party members to help reduce the feeling of grinding in this outrageously stylistic 2D Action RPG.
Featuring two characters for a majority of the adventure adds some interesting puzzle design, but also takes away from the feeling of isolation and dread. Fortunately the frightening and off-putting atmosphere helps to counteract that. While it isn't the best of the classics, Resident Evil Zero still manages to deliver an authentic survival horror experience.
That said, Hell is Other Demons separates itself not only with stunning visuals, but with its wonderfully designed campaign mode. I prefer how upgrades work within the campaign more than the arcade mode, but the fast-paced arcade action is still a blast to play. My chief complaints have been addressed in a post launch patch, making this a strong experience front to back.
It's not articulated particularly well and can lead to some confusion at first, but once fully understood it proves to be a lot of fun. The pace of the game tends to be a bit slow, especially on early floors which don't present as much of a challenge as later floors. However, branching paths, local co-op, multiple difficulties, and even online leaderboards help round out the overall package.
It runs flawlessly in both handheld and docked modes, the pixel art looks great with interesting character and enemy design, offers co-op play, and the amount of variation between each run keeps it fresh as you slam your head against the wall again and again on the way to the throne. The difficulty is absolutely harsh and is sure to turn some off, but feels completely fair, outside of the rare fake chest which can quickly destroy an otherwise promising run. However, no matter how frustrating a death can be, I constantly found myself right back into it without a second thought.
This easygoing platformer gives the flexibility of selecting any level regardless of order and is forgiving when facing obstacles within each stage. The difficulty doesn't cap out too high, so players looking for a real challenge might be disappointed, but the fun mechanics and combining powers were enough to capture my attention. The entire adventure only lasts a few hours but manages to stay fresh from beginning to end.
The humor, dialogue, and characters all add up to a zany adventure that is sure to have you laugh out loud on more than one occasion. The remake stays faithful to the game released nearly a decade ago but gives a facelift to the visuals and music, putting fresh paint on a classic. Bowser Jr's Journey is a nice addition, but might prove to be a bit too passive and at times too uninspired for many to see it the entire way through.
Instead of relying on fast-paced bullet hell antics, it presents a more methodical and thoughtful approach to level and enemy design. This does become frustrating, however, as some stages can have difficulty spikes towards the end, making it a chore to go through the motions just to get back to where you were. Fortunately, this isn't the norm and more often than not I found the clever level design to be a true treat.
When Guacamelee 2 does so many things right, from the wonderfully tight and responsible gameplay to the downright gorgeous look and feel of the Mexiverse, it's hard to not talk about it without gushing. But it's earned that right, delivering a top-tier experience across the board. It captures the essence of multiple genres and blends them brilliantly within a visually stunning world that's equally as fun to explore as it is to stare at.
Every action you take, whether it be in the dungeons collecting materials or in your shop earning gold to spend on upgrades, helps to move you further along towards your end goal. There were a few technical hiccups that cropped up from time to time and the last few upgrades needed a bit of grinding to unlock. But despite that, I constantly found myself falling victim to the classic “just one more run”.
At first glance you might expect something much more family friendly, but will instantly be welcomed by a sinister set of events. Behind the cuteness of the main protagonists are a pair of creepy games filled with grotesque and downright strange monsters. With the focal point of exploration in lieu of combat, the pace of each game is on the slower side, but it helps to build the feeling of isolation and helplessness as you wander the dark streets aiming to uncover their mysteries.
Unfortunately oOo: Ascension falls into the category of ramping it up to the point that it drains the fun out of some clever level design. Early stages hit a nice balance of tough but rewarding, however later stages stack too many different ideas to the point of being downright infuriating. I'm sure there are some masochists out there that will find enjoyment in the brutal difficulty, but those looking for a more approachable challenge, you may want to look elsewhere.
Mario Party has seen its fair share of good and bad over the years, but Super Mario Party swings the pendulum back in the right direction. The return of the classic style is a welcome one, and the plethora of different minigames hit the mark more often than not. It would have been nice to see another board or two, but the assortment of other fully-fledged modes helps to mitigate that feeling.