Early last year, I wrote a review for a digital card game who had just made their official ‘release’ called Hex. I rarely do these sorts of review updates… but sometimes it proves necessary. My initial review cautioned people to not get suckered in by their promises as the game’s non-standard elements were still very much lacking, while offering strong praise for the game’s competitive elements – the more traditional things that make a ‘TCG’ run.
Almost a year has passed since then, and Hex Entertainment has been busy. They have released a plethora of new cards, and are on the verge of releasing another set as we speak. They have revamped their tournament structure, taking strong advantage of the digital framework they’ve built to explore new territory. They have expanded their free to play offering, revamped the difficulty curve, and significantly enhanced the reward structure. So, given all of the above… how does the game look now?
This review will utilize some TCG jargon without explanation. If you’re unsure what the terminology means, I recommend looking here as the definitions are fairly good.
The world is suddenly invaded by a strange species of aliens. These ‘Neuroi’ appear out of nowhere and start taking over parts of the world, and humanity’s primitive 1940s technology is insufficient to do them harm. Fortunately, young girls with magical power called Witches appear to combat this threat!
Yep, you heard me… 1940s alternate history. Witches. Again. Don’t worry though, it’s not the same show. Or maybe you should worry, since Izetta was quite good. Will Brave Witches be able to live up to the bar set by this season’s other World War 2 witch show?
Izetta: The Last Witch is an alternate Earth anime that takes place in the fictional alpine country of Eylstadt at the dawn of World War 2. Our titular character is the last surviving member of a clan of witches who swore to not intervene in mankind’s fate in any way after one of their numbers turned the course of a similar war long in the past. This witch came to be known as the White Witch of Eylstadt, and has become a legend and a symbol to the country.
Fast forward to the current era, and Izetta is the last of her people, and the last descendent of that legendary witch. When war threatens Eylstadt, and nobody else seems willing or able to help Eylstadt against Germania, Finé – Crown Princess Ortfiné Fredericka von Eylstadt to be specific – is reunited with Izetta, who she met and befriended at a young age… and Izetta faces a difficult situation. Does she respect her late Grandmother’s wishes and honour what her clan long ago swore, or does she protect her dear friend and enter into what will later become known as a World War.
When Crystal Dynamics rebooted Tomb Raider a few years back, there was some fear and skepticism on whether this new origin story for such an iconic character would possibly work. And while I absolutely loved the game, there was some fear in my mind about how they could follow it up.
After all, a lot of the success of the 2013 Tomb Raider rode on the character development of the ‘new’ Lara Croft. A sequel would surely build on that, but you can’t recapture that ‘new’ feeling you get in an origin story. So I stepped into Rise of the Tomb Raider excited, but with a bit of worry about whether it would live up to the very high expectations set by 2013’s Tomb Raider.
Tomb Raider’s story picks up a year after the end of the first, with Lara trying to understand what she saw in her first encounter with the supernatural. She is drawn to her father’s research – the research that led to him being ridiculed and his subsequent death – about an ancient Prophet who managed to overcome death. This research leads her to Syria, which is where the game’s story begins.
Well, the day has come. A day many thought would never come. The Last Guardian has arrived, and many of us have now gotten to explore this strange and unique experience. The Last Guardian comes to us from Fumito Ueda, one of gaming’s most revered names and the creator of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. It has been in development for somewhere in the range of a decade, and has persisted through several rumours of it being nothing but vaporware… but it’s finally here. And right after another game that was oft seen as vaporware’s arrival, no less.
The Last Guardian is the tale of a small, unnamed child’s journey to escape a strange set of ruins alongside a giant beast he calls ‘Trico’. Upon awakening in a mysterious place next to Trico, he helps free him from his bindings and then tries to befriend the wounded creature.