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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Appreciating distinctive Monster Hunter-likes

Thanks to Monster Hunter World, the series has exploded in popularity. People might experience it, go through its Iceborne expansion, then wonder what’s next. While moving on to another entry in that series is a possibility, it isn’t the only option. The series is so popular, it has inspired a whole collection of contemporaries who do similar things. Best of all, some of them explore the space to try and improve on areas Monster Hunter doesn’t touch.

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Review: The unlikely Sega Ages Ichidant-R is a welcome surprise

In most instances, a retro re-release project is about capitalizing on nostalgia. It’s about letting players revisit old favorites on new platforms, and the comfort of the known being preserved for future play. And Sega’s no stranger to that, both with this Sega Ages series and its compilation efforts in general. At least for those of us in the West, though, Sega Ages Ichidant-R is different. It’s an unknown artifact delivered to an audience to let them learn more, and it’s exactly the sort of effort that fans of Japanese games should applaud.

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Review: Sega Ages: Columns II keeps the pressure on players

Each console has its own sort of puzzle series connected to them. When someone thinks of a Nintendo system, Picross or Tetris could come to mind. After all, both have made their home there for years. With Sega, another sort was its identifying IP: Columns. Until the Nintendo Switch came along, the worldwide library has been rather incomplete. Columns II never appeared outside of Japan. With Sega Ages: Columns II, people’s library is finally complete.

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Review: The student has become the teacher in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III

Nihon Falcom’s The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III is both a continuation and a new chapter. It’s not a fresh start for Rean Schwarzer and company, but it’s a clear inflection point, with a shifting status quo and a new cast of characters. At its core, though, it’s still very much the games that came before it. And for longtime fans of the franchise, a new coat of paint over the same structures is probably just fine.

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The Alliance Alive’s story constantly deals with topical issues

Games can be used as a means to address important issues. While players may not be able to directly influence the real world they inhabit, they can make a virtual world a better place. Some games can be a bit heavy-handed with messages, such as Final Fantasy VII and the fight to preserve the planet. With The Alliance Alive, things are slightly more subtle. Issues relevant to the ones facing the world today constantly appear, giving people a chance to deal with inequality among different races and climate change in a game that shows things in black, white, and shades of grey.

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What can you expect from Tokimeki Memorial: Girl’s Side 4th Heart?

One of the finest otome series is about to return. Konami is preparing Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side 4th Heart. But, very little is known about it at the moment. People are aware of the six classmates the heroine will be able to date and have learned who her homeroom teacher is, but that’s it. Fortunately, the Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side games are rather predictable. While lots of things remain a secret, there are certain elements we can count on to appear!

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The Alliance Alive HD Remastered is a cleaner and clearer experience

The Alliance Alive HD Remastered is upon us. Soon, people will have a chance to go through one of the better Furyu JRPGs released recently. While the obvious perk is having an HD version of the game available on more platforms, there are a lot of other things that have been adjusted to make the experience a little more pleasant on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PC. In fact, while some minor things have changed, it’s definitely a good way to play.

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