Adol Christin, the long-running amnesiac protagonist of the Ys series, is back for another adventure. In Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, you quickly find yourself stranded on the mysterious, uncharted ‘Isle of Seiren’. As none have ever landed on the Isle and escaped, and ships that come too close have a tendency to disappear, never to be seen again, the Isle is surrounded in little more than legends and warnings.
Unlike previous Ys games, in Lacrimosa of Dana your exploration is fueled primarily by the desire to survive, and the survivors of the ill-fated Lombardia – the ship Adol’s journey begins on – must band together in order to not perish at the hands of this strange island full of creatures thought extinct millennia ago. And, if that wasn’t enough, one night, Adol begins having strange dreams of an advanced, majestic civilization and a lovely young lady he’s never met named Dana.
Nights of Azure flew completely under the radar when it came out last year, but it was one of the most charming JRPGs I’ve ever played. It featured an approachable tale of two women desperate to save each other from an unfortunate fate: the Knight protecting her beloved – the woman chosen by their leaders to be sacrificed to the great evil. Naturally, I was more than a little excited when I heard a sequel was being made, carrying the same themes forward.
In Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon, we’re again asked to take on the mantle of a knight of the Curia, this time a young lady named Aluche, tasked to protect her childhood friend Liliana who has been chosen to be sacrificed to a demon known as the ‘Moon Queen’. As you can see, the game carries forward many of the same story elements… including the fact that things are not always what they seem.
Guerilla Games, known primarily for the Killzone series of fps games, decided they wanted to do something different for a change of pace. So they decided to make a third person open world shooter with rpg elements in a post-apocalyptic world full of robot dinosaurs. You know, the usual suspects.
Our protagonist Aloy is an orphaned child being raised by a man named Rost. The two both live within the boundaries of the Nora tribe’s ‘sacred lands’, but are branded as exiles and are forbidden from entering Nora settlements or communicating with those of the tribe. Horizon begins by showing Aloy’s discovery of a strange relic of the ancient world while still a child, a trinket that will shape her future.
When I saw Children of Zodiarcs on Kickstarter, I was intrigued. Their descriptions brought to mind classic RPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics and Ogre Battle, evoking memories of the Strategy RPGs that so many of us loved as kids. They then mixed that with promises of incorporating the dice and deck style mechanics that board game aficionados are so familiar with, bringing together two seemingly disparate playstyles to create a happy family.
An ambitious goal. Not only in taking two completely different genres and tying them together, but also breaking into an already-niche genre dominated by well-established heavy hitters like Final Fantasy, Disgaea, and Fire Emblem as an indy game. Could a small studio pull this off? Could they live up to the Kickstarter promises or would this be just another example of a Kickstarter promising more than they could deliver?
The Persona series’ Velvet Room has always defined each game. In Persona 3, the room appeared as an elevator representing one of the game’s core story themes. In Persona 4, it is a limousine shrouded in fog signifying our protagonist’s current transient state. Persona 5 ups the symbolism a notch by making the Velvet Room the prison that is meant to be a window into the lead character’s current peril.
Within the first hour of your time with Persona 5, you’ll come to the realization that the story here is not light-hearted. For all that the music is extremely up-beat, what we’re dealing with her is a story of misfits ground down by the world and trying to strike back – to reclaim some sense of life for their lives. In Persona 5, our protagonist – known by the code name Joker – forms a group of thieves known as the Phantom Thieves of Hearts and seeks to right the wrongs of the society that has failed him by stealing the twisted hearts of the wicked who are preying upon the innocent. Sounds simple, right?