Dragon Quest XI is like a sky filled with stars

Sometimes, I feel like the star of Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age isn’t the actual star of the game.

Which is silly, I know. Within the first twenty minutes of Dragon Quest XI, we learn that our avatar is the reincarnation of the Luminary, a legendary hero who once saved the world from evil and darkness. He is the center of attention throughout the adventure. There are times when he is all that we have.

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Yakuza Kiwami 2’s iconic characters give it purpose

The Yakuza series’ success is largely driven by its characters. Sure, there are big clan conflicts and heart-racing action sequences, but none of it would work if you didn’t care so much about the people involved. It would be too big, too sprawling, too hard to believe. But when you play these games, you just want to spend more time with the cast of sometimes-lovable misfits and learn a bit more about them. They reward that spent time with a surprising amount of camaraderie and heart.

Simply put, Yakuza is the Fast & Furious of video games. And Yakuza Kiwami 2 is its best entry.

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Detective Pikachu gradually builds a spark of joy

There are a lot of weird Pokemon games out there. So far, they’ve taught us how to type, convinced us to spend two or three hours a day walking around our neighborhood, aided warlords in taking control of territories, helped us become better artists and took us on photo safaris. I guess I’m saying that a 3DS spin-off starring a talking Pikachu who is also a gruff, coffee-drinking detective isn’t all that shocking. What is unexpected is the buzz this little electric mouse is generating.

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Kirby Star Allies is a charming, friendly 2018 respite

It’s well-known that there are two types of Kirby games: bold, experimental titles that stretch the idea of what a game can be… and traditional platformers. The first group is constantly lauded for going in its new, different directions, whether they be aesthetic (like Kirby’s Epic Yarn and Kirby and the Rainbow Curse) or mechanical (like Canvas Curse and Tilt ‘n’ Tumble).

That second group gets a bad rap, though.

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Tetris Effect helps you escape an unbearable reality

Sometimes the world can be truly awful.

Not all the time. Often, and possibly even usually, participating in the chaos of existence that surrounds you can be rewarding and even life-affirming. Occasionally, though, it’s not, and in those moments, it’s helpful to be able to escape. To withdraw. To distract and recuperate and wait until you’re prepared to return. There’s value in this respite, and for some, it can be the difference between getting through the day and… well, not.

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All are welcome in Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun!

The Taiko no Tatsujin series could be considered one of gaming’s best secrets. These games have appeared at a regular clip in Japan, but just never got a fair shot in other regions. Sure, Taiko: Drum Master was released in North America in 2004 and was pretty great, but it didn’t receive the proper sort of support to make a real splash. But now, the secret is out. With Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun!, everyone gets to join the party. Our gaming libraries are better and stronger for it.

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