Preview: Project Sakura Wars focuses on establishing characters

Project Sakura Wars, known as Shin Sakura Taisen in Japan, is an opportunity. The series has been dormant for years and is being revived with a new developer (Sega CS2 R&D), a new character designer (Bleach’s Tite Kubo) and entirely new gameplay that abandons its strategic roots. It is a lot of change all at once. As a means of showing how what is old fuses with something new, the Shin Sakura Taisen demo does its best to try and introduce everything this installment attempts in a short amount of time.

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A beginner’s guide to Star Ocean

Star Ocean is one of those series that did, and still does, things that others don’t. Think of it as a JRPG for fans of series like Star Trek. The casts regularly involve people from more advanced civilizations getting involved with those who are still growing, even though there are various measures in place to allegedly stop that sort of interference. As a result, we get energy weapons, cyborgs, magic and people who can turn into cats. It is a lot to take in, and Michibiku is here to help you on your way into this ocean of stars.

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Dragon Quest Builders 2 can help make playing Dragon Quest II feel more worthwhile

Dragon Quest II has a reputation, but it has nothing to do with its positive attributes. The game helped the series take a step forward, what with it having a more detailed storyline, including more playable characters, offering more enemies to fight and having additional travel options. Unfortunately, it is also known for being incredibly difficult. That difficulty has proved rather daunting. Fortunately, Dragon Quest Builders 2 feels like it redeems Dragon Quest II.

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Atelier Ryza feels like an alchemist who could successfully lead multiple games

In Dengeki PlayStation, an interesting tidbit came up. Gust’s Junzo Hosoi, who produced Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness and the Secret Hideout, noted that the developer could bring Ryza back to be the lead for the next game in this possible series. To be specific, Hosoi compared it to maybe being like the Harry Potter series. While it might be an unfamiliar idea for Atelier, it would work rather well for a possible Atelier Ryza trilogy.

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A beginner’s guide to Persona

Atlus’ Persona series has exploded in popularity. This means there are not only mainline installments, but also ports, updated releases, reimaginings and spin-offs. There are all interesting games that do cool things with elements from the series, but it is also a series where you probably shouldn’t go and begin with the very first game. Fortunately, it isn’t difficult to find a good starting point.

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Atelier Ryza’s item synthesis system is incredibly intuitive

Gust is always changing how alchemy works in Atelier games. The synthesis system is in flux, with different means of piecing things together appearing almost every time. Sometimes, you’ll have more puzzling moments. The Mysterious series has entries with grids and ingredients having different colors and shapes to fill boxes. The Arland trilogy tended to have you picking items from lists. Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout changes up everything in the best sort of way, and the result is an entry where it is easier to become an invested alchemist.

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Review: Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD tries to reshape a Wii launch game’s legacy

By any given measure, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD is a reclamation project of sorts. Banana Blitz wasn’t a particularly well-received entry at the time, and the intervening years have not seen a late fandom grow around it. So why is it, of all the Super Monkey Ball games, getting a remaster? One potential reason is that decision-makers at Sega thought it had an undiscovered appeal buried under its early motion controls and lack of development focus.

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Review: Atelier Ryza shows the series is growing up

Most of Gust’s Atelier games feel alike. A young woman decides she wants to become an alchemist and goes about honing her skills, proving herself and solving some major problem along the way. Every entry seems to have a priority, be it the exploration elements, item creation, relationships or story, but none of the installments released since Atelier Rorona feel like a step forward. Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout is a great big jump in almost every way.

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