Atelier Lina learned from every DS entry’s mistakes

A common lament here, if you haven’t noticed, is that many of the games that remained unlocalized deserved better. Maybe they deserve a larger audience. Perhaps their gameplay is fascinating. In the case of Atelier Lina: The Alchemist of Strahl, the issue comes down to righting wrongs. The third Nintendo DS Atelier game, it is the first one that righted the wrongs of Atelier Lise and Atelier Annie. Unfortunately, the decision not to localize it means people didn’t get a chance to see everything it got right.

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Kawaii Pet Shop Monogatari 3 goes beyond simple critter care

When you hear a name like Kawaii Pet Shop Monogatari, it might be easy to develop some preconceived notions about what such a game might entail. The words “cute” and “pet shop” might lead people to think it is an attempt to usher people into some sort of pet caretaking simulation. Especially since later installments turned into the My Pet Shop line. But the truth is something far different. Instead, these early games could feel more like pet acquiring RPGs.

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Review: Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Mega Mix is a convenient compilation

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva games tend to fall into one of two different categories. There are the titles that attempt to offer a little extra context and a wider environment to the experience, like Project Mirai DX with its little room and Puyo Puyo game or Project Diva X Live Quest mode, where you attempt to complete certain quests. Then, there are ones that serve as a convenient means of accumulating a library of popular songs and giving people enough options to properly enjoy them. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Mega Mix falls into that latter category.

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Review: Sakura Wars is at its best when it’s being theatrical

Fifteen years ago, in 2005, the last “real” Sakura Wars game was released. Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love introduced Japan to a New York Combat Revue and the promise of new characters for the series, then five years later introduced the rest of the world to the series as a whole. It was a great game that blended visual novel elements, relationship building and thoughtful strategic endeavors into one experience. With Sakura Wars, the reboot set two years after the fifth installment, it at least gets two out of three right.

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Some of the biggest takeaways from Final Fantasy VII games that aren’t Final Fantasy VII

When it comes to Final Fantasy games, one that has become among the most notorious and far-reaching is Final Fantasy VII. In addition to the original PlayStation game, there is a whole ecosystem involving additional books, games and movies. They aren’t all essential, of course. Some are even impossible to easily access, such as Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII never receiving an official worldwide release. However, each one does have important information that can help with building characterizations and understanding the world.

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Preview: Bravely Default II is a comforting proof of concept

The Bravely series and its precursor, Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, cemented themselves as comforting JRPGs for Nintendo handhelds. People could count on their fanciful stories that called back to a time where Square Enix games were all about crystals and gameplay that involved finding a good combination of job classes to propel you to success. With the Nintendo 3DS’ demise and the Nintendo Switch’s skyrocketing success, people might have wondered what was next. Well, 2019 revealed Bravely Default II would bring the IP to the console in 2020, and the March Nintendo Direct Mini brought with it a demo.

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How to pick the right virtual pet for you

2020 is a year that is going to have people spending more time inside than usual. Which means folks might be looking for more things to do indoors. A virtual pet is always an option. But, which one should people consider getting? There are a surprising array of options worldwide. It really ends up coming down to how involved you want to get with your new buddy.

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Five years later, Code Name S.T.E.A.M. still holds up

Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. is a game that is divisive, to say the least. It’s an underappreciated classic that regularly appears on clearance racks. Which is a shame, given the involvement of Advance Wars and Fire Emblem developer Intelligent Systems and the sorcery it works to get an XCOM-like experience onto the Nintendo 3DS. Especially since now, as it turns five years old, it holds up so well.

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