Review: Collar x Malice aims at your heart

There are two kinds of otome games. The first are titles where the romance comes first, and the story exists to further the relationships. The second are ones where the tale a title tells takes priority, and the romance is an incidental that happens along the way. Amnesia: Memories is a good example of the former, while Hakuoki showcases the latter. Collar x Malice is another game where the narrative needs and gets the most attention. This doesn’t make the relationships between characters any less satisfying, but does mean the adventure might not be as appealing to some members of its audience.

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Review: Princess Maker 3 abdicates its throne

Some series don’t age well. Even if they belong to a genre that remains rather timeless, certain aspects and elements keep it from being as attractive as it once was. Couple that with an unfriendly user interface, translation that is atrocious and occasionally incomplete and issues that keep it from running properly or at all and you get Princess Maker 3: Fairy Tales Come True. It’s a dark spot on an otherwise-bright series.

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Review: RPG Maker Fes helps you tell stories

Have you ever looked at or played through a game and thought, “Maybe I can do better than this?” People who have had such thoughts may have gone on to grab one of the various programs available for their PC to make those dreams come true. But what if you want to do that, only with a handheld console? Enter RPG Maker Fes, a program published by NIS America that allows you to create your own games.

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Review: Cladun Returns: This Is Sengoku! sends players back into a world of their own making

Hey, remember Cladun? It was famous for being a roguelike dungeon crawler that told you right in the title that “This is an RPG!” Well, seven years after the original and six after the sequel, Cladun Returns: This is Sengoku! has appeared on store shelves. While it doesn’t do too much to change the formula, it is a solid game that gives more people an opportunity to speedrun through dungeons.

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Review: Oversized weapons, unrestrained ambition define Dark Rose Valkyrie

With Tales character designer Kosuke Fujishima and series veteran writer Takumi Miyajima, Dark Rose Valkyrie is clear in its aims and intended appeal. It wants to be a comfortable JRPG for existing fans of the genre, a game about relationships that, while unremarkable, are constantly building.

Of course, those games work because they’re backed by systems and expertise the development team’s been refining for decades.

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Review: Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada adds slice of life to the series’ move set

I’ve always found it interesting how periods of Japanese history and certain figures develop such rabid fanbases overseas and abroad. I imagine it would be like finding out the teenage girls of the United States suddenly had developed an Abraham Lincoln fixation, reading books based on his life and going through visual novels depicting his rise to power. It’s why Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada is so fascinating to me. This isn’t just a game for people who adore the Sengoku period of Japanese history, but who also happen to be big fans of the Sanada clan.

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Review: Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception takes a novel approach to telling its tail tale

Have you read any good games lately? Visual novels are nothing new, but their presence on consoles is often paired with something more closely following the traditional definition of gameplay. Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception is no different, augmenting a dozens-of-hours-long story with strategy-RPG skirmishes. Still, the game’s primary motivation shines through: to tell a very specific story and have you follow along.

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