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.
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.
Developer: Simogo | Year: 2013 | Price: $4 | Buy from the App Store
Since I was enlisted into the army, I’ve had to cut down on video games as I’m away from home for five days a week. We’re allowed to bring phones into camp, though, so to get my gaming fix I’ve had to abandon my prejudice against mobile games and pick up a few to play during breaks from training. I looked around at some ‘Best iPhone Game’ lists to help me wade through the swamp of bad games and downloaded some games that have helped me pass the time. A game that I enjoyed immensely last weekend during my 24-hour guard duty was Device 6.
Developer: Nintendo EAD | Year: 2006 | List Price: ~$25 | Buy from Amazon
Up until very recently, I’d never beaten a Mario game. Shocking, right? It’s not that I never played them; in fact, I have lots of the NES games on Virtual Console, as well as all of the Super Mario Advance games. It’s just that the NES Mario games are really hard, and I just don’t have the platforming prowess to best them just yet. New Super Mario Bros. is actually the first Mario game I ever owned, though I hadn’t played it for a while. I read that it was a lot easier than other Mario games, so I decided to give it a revisit and beat it in only two days!
Developer: From Software | Year: 2015 | List Price: $59.99 | Buy from Amazon
Just a couple months back, I played and beat my first Souls game, Dark Souls by developer From Software. It wasn’t an instant love affair, but I’ve since found myself hooked by the franchise and yesterday I beat the newest game in the series, Bloodborne. It was really nice to finally be able to play a game of this sort that ran so well, considering I played Dark Souls on an old laptop averaging a measly 15 frames-per-second! Bloodborne was a wonderful experience from start to finish that really solidified my love for this franchise. Little can top the “flawed masterpiece” that Dark Souls was upon release, but Bloodborne’s refinements to the formula really do a lot to give that landmark title a run for its money.