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.
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.
A Final Fantasy for Fans and First-timers
This is the line you’re greeted with immediately upon starting Final Fantasy 15. It’s a good line, and it says a lot. It tells you, right as you start, that you don’t need any previous experience to appreciate this. It tells you that the game wasn’t just designed as a love letter to past fans, like some recent SquareEnix ventures have been.
And it tells you that long time fans are going to be in for a surprise, since they are not this game’s primary audience. The question, of course, becomes: Will this be a pleasant surprise?
Square Enix has decided to release another nostalgia trip. World of Final Fantasy is a strange JRPG focused around a pair of partially amnesiac siblings, Lann and Reynn. The two of them wake up one day and go about their normal business, but are surprised to find that there’s nobody else in their town. No one except a strange silver haired woman who calls herself Enna Kros.
Enna tells them that they were once great ‘Mirage Keepers’ who commanded an army of monsters known as mirages. She then sends them to a world called Grymoire and tells them that, if they wish to remember their family, they must reclaim their lost mirages. Finally, she points out that Lann has a creepy fox thing on his head that he has somehow completely failed to notice all day, who turns out to be their first mirage, Tama.