Jon Barajas adds to the discussion of the ever-growing Tales franchise in his review of Tales of Symphonia.
Your mind is software. Program it. Your body is a shell. Change it. Death is a disease. Cure it. Extinction is approaching. Fight it. This is the tag line for the tabletop role playing game Eclipse Phase by Posthuman Studios. The team that created this game, many of which worked on Shadowrun 4th edition, have created a game that pushes at boundaries, both in the game world and in the real world.
EarthBound was the second installment of the Japanese game series Mother, following the lesser-known first release in Japan. Its release was accompanied by widespread advertising and a very baffling slogan: “This game stinks.” Seventeen years later, it remains a classic that is loved by one of the most dedicated fanbases in the gaming world.
A recent trend within the gaming community is to revisit old IPs. These usually either seek to reboot a series (such as Ninja Gaiden or Devil May Cry) or they are looking to remake a game with an updated look and feel, while maintaining that which made it great in the first place (XCOM: Enemy Unknown). Jagged Alliance: Back In Action is one of the latter, based on the classic turn based strategy game Jagged Alliance 2, originally released in 1999. In this game, players take on the role of a mercenary leader, hired to infiltrate the small island of Arluco and overthrow its despotic leader, Deidranna Reitman.
When you combine the minds of Ken Rolston (The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion), Todd McFarlane(Spawn), and acclaimed author R.A. Salvatore, you get an immersive fantasy world. Featuring rich environments, diverse cultures, and a seemingly endless amount of quests, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is the first project developed jointly between 38 Studios and Big Huge Games and is an impressive debut release.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I have been a huge Final Fantasy fanboy as long as I’ve been gaming. As a result, I’ve been one of its biggest defenders, while also being as harsh of a critic as anyone. Square Enix’s path to Final Fantasy XIII-2 has been a long and sometimes bumpy one. Fans have been especially vocal about some of these perceived missteps. The developers have, in turn, typically responded by attempting to release content that meets the high demands of their followers.