Review: Final Fantasy XV

Developer: Square Enix | Year: 2016 | List Price: $34.99 | Buy from Amazon

Final Fantasy XV, the latest instalment in the long-running Final Fantasy series of role-playing games, is a game that has been in development in some form or another since 2006, a whopping ten years before its final release in 2016. I’m a huge fan of Final Fantasy, having played most of the other mainline titles in the franchise, so I was excited to see the newest developments in the series, but I had definite reservations about the direction Square Enix decided to take in this instalment. Having now finished the main story, I can tell you that Final Fantasy XV is, at once, one of the most wonderful and one of the most frustrating experiences in recent memory.
Continue reading

Review: SNES Classic Mini (EU Version)

Nintendo’s second throwback console features the best of the 16-bit era while improving on some of its predecessor’s shortcomings.

Manufacturer: Nintendo | Year: 2017 | Price: $79.99 | Buy from Amazon

I got the NES Classic earlier this year and thoroughly enjoyed discovering classic games I’d never got a chance to try. But all but a couple of those games haven’t aged so well, and it was more of a historical time-capsule than a legitimate console you’d recommend to you friends. The Super Nintendo era is different. There’s a reason many modern indie games like Stardew Valley and Undertale find widespread success emulating the 16-bit style. The early nineties were a time when home video games started to distance itself from the arcade as a separate, valid entity, and as a result many of these games are lengthy, rich experiences.
Continue reading

Review: Conklin Duragraph

Manufacturer: Conklin | List Price: $55.00 | Buy from Amazon

Conklin is one of the oldest manufacturers of fountain pens in the United States, having started producing fountain pens in 1898. However, in 1955, when ballpoints had largely replaced fountain pens in widespread use, the company ceased operation. The Conklin name was revived in 2000, and in 2009 the brand and designs were purchased by Yafa Companies, who continue to make pens bearing the Conklin name.
Continue reading

7 Legal Streaming Sites to Watch Anime For Free

The best way to support the anime industry is to purchase DVD/Blu-ray copies of all the shows, but that isn’t quite financially feasible for most. The next best thing would be to purchase a subscription to a streaming service, but those come at a cost too. While some may turn to other unofficial sources on the web, it is worth considering that there are free and legal options available for those who are willing to watch some advertisements in exchange for their dose of quality Japanese animated entertainment. While this certainly will not rescue the struggling industry, the people who help create and deliver this content to you will still earn something from the ad revenue. At the very least, streaming from official sources will keep your conscience happy. Continue reading

Review: Persona 5

Developer: Atlus | Year: 2017 | Price: $59.99 | Buy from Amazon

The Persona series of Japanese role-playing games started in 1996 when Revelations: Persona was released for the PlayStation. Persona is a spin-off of the larger Megami Tensei series, whose games are often set in the present-day and feature darker themes. Persona was a pretty standard dungeon-crawler, and the well-loved Persona 2 duology was pretty similar gameplay-wise, but starting with Persona 3, released in 2006 for the PlayStation 2, the series started to incorporate certain visual novel elements, allowing the player to alternate between a high-school life simulator by day and dungeon crawler to monsters at night.

Note: This review contains early-game story spoilers as well as details of various gameplay mechanics. 
Continue reading