- Valkyria Chronicles
- Sakura Taisen 2
Serving three masters as it does, Strike Vector might not have a whole lot of mass-market appeal, but what it lacks in that field, it more than makes up for by being a gorgeous, intensely competitive experience that matches its aesthetic appeal with pure shooter satisfaction. If you happen to be looking for that, Ragequit's new baby might send you soaring.
Zordon may have wanted "teens with attitude," but Chroma Squad and its unabashed, utterly geeky love-in for all things tokusatsu shows something even harder to find: A game with heart and soul. That heart shines through the rough edges, and in some ways even turns them to its advantage. It might have taken quite a while in getting here, but fans of spandex-clad superheroic finally have the videogame to help them fill that little fantasy.
Despite the gorgeously rendered city visuals and a goodly amount of text to be found by digging through random data terminals, Satellite Reign's city feel less like a world than a cyberpunk-themed playset. You direct your little squad of action figures around and play as you like, but rarely feel lost or immersed in the setting.
Unfortunately, Lost Song stumbles hardest when trying to engage players outside that sphere of pre-existing investment, and in some ways ends up an even less suitable jumping-off point for newbies who want to get in on enjoying the franchise. My advice to those folks would be to watch the anime or try out Hollow Fragment first. If they're still jonesing for some more of this motley crew of irredeemable MMO nerds when they're done, then Lost Song will be music to their ears.
Ultimately, Sakura Santa fails to stand out from the growing crowd of visual novels on Steam and elsewhere, except in the single respect of being a Christmas-themed story, coming out just in time for the holiday. Unfortunately, one would probably have to be as lonely as the game's protagonist to find a compelling reason to play.
If what you miss most about games like Fallout is the act of rolling your character, exploring a space from that particular camera angle, allocating your AP in combat, or tweaking a build after several runs' worth of trial and error, you'll be in good hands with UnderRail. Otherwise, it may be more productive to simply play the older games again.
These were moments of mild fun in an otherwise desperate game, and none of it justifies the time or money one might spend playing it. Alekhine's Gun occasionally reminded me of the fun I had with Hitman: Blood Money, and for that it deserves some credit. Then again, I could have been replaying that game -- or for that matter, earlier, better Death to Spies games -- instead.