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.
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.
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.
It’s that time of the year again, the season of exchanging presents and spending time with family. With school out, it’s a wonderful time to catch up on some of the best games of the year. You might notice that I haven’t really been keeping up with updating the site in recent months. I’ve been pretty busy with training (I’m still serving in the Singapore Armed Forces) so I haven’t gotten much time to play. In 2015 I beat a whopping 34 games whereas in 2016 I only beat six: Three Fourths Home, Her Story, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, Valkyria Chronicles Remastered, Dark Souls III, and Life Is Strange. Before I talk about Kantaloupe’s Game of the Year 2016, I want to give a couple honourable mentions.
Well, if you saw our post from a couple of weeks ago, you’ll know that The Witcher 3 was one of the five contenders for Kantaloupe’s Game of the Year 2015 award. It was a tough decision between The Witcher and Bloodborne, but ultimately the sheer scope of CD Projekt Red’s take on the Western RPG trumped the focused tightness of From Software’s Japanese one. I spent more time in The Witcher 3 than I have in probably any other single playthrough of a game, and though there were some slumps in the action, there was a certain satisfaction I got from the gameplay that kept me going. The world of The Witcher is so fleshed-out that it’s never a chore to poke your nose around corners and sniff out some lore. And though the main quest in interesting enough, it’s really the sidequests that make you feel like a part of that world. There’s just an abundance of things to do in The Witcher 3, and if you’re at all interested in fantasy or action RPGs, The Witcher 3 should be at the top of your to-play list.
I haven’t gotten to playing much recently, what with army training (I’m currently in NCO school) and Netflix, which just came to Singapore two weeks ago. But I just got the Banner Saga, Bastion, and Three Fourths Home, so I might review one of those if/when I finish them.
In the meantime, check out the rest of our videogame-related stuff right here!