A few years back, one of the most unique games I’ve ever played came out… a strange gem called ‘Nier’. Nier was not a great game, but it had such charm that it was hard not to love it. It featured gameplay ideas from a wide variety of genres, numerous endings, awkward mechanics, and an amazing soundtrack. Somehow this mix of disparate ideas, awkward implementation, and amazing music created one of the most interesting and memorable RPGs I’ve played, even if the game was nowhere near perfect. And as interesting as it was… it did not sell well.
Given that, you can imagine my surprise when SquareEnix announced a sequel coming, developed in conjunction with Platinum Games, a developer notable for great, unique action games – surprise, and excitement. When thinking about the strange and wonderful ideas the Nier team had to begin with, and matching those up with the polish Platinum is known for… it really felt like the chance for Nier to shine how it deserved. The big question: Did it live up to these escalated expectations or did it disappoint?
Let’s be honest… Tales of Zestiria was a huge let down. Bandai Namco (or Namco Bandai or whatever they’re calling themselves this week) had done a fantastic job on the series recently, making some of the best JRPGs I’d ever played and then Zestiria came out with its anticlimax of a finish, awkward combat, and disappointing core protagonists, reminding us all that what goes up must come down. Then I heard about Berseria, I saw trailers of it and it looked promising.
I kept hearing tidbits about the game that seemed good. It has a darker tone? Intriguing. The protagonist is female? Nice change of pace. But my hope wilted when I found out it took place in the distant past of Zestiria. I began to fear that we were in for another let-down. I still wanted to believe it would be good, that we would be going back to the greatness the last installments had featured… but I had my doubts. Now, the question then becomes: were my doubts realized?
In the world of Bloodivores, a sudden event caused people to start displaying vampiric tendencies. Fearing a potential disaster, The BST, an organization focused on the control and research of these ‘Bloodivores’, was formed. Before long, the BST had initiated measures to protect humanity from the Bloodivore threat, primarily placing sensory collars on anyone with the symptoms that would alert authorities if someone afflicted was a potential threat to humanity.
Alongside these measures, they also began researching the condition and, as one step towards understanding it and finding a cure, they began trying to breed a Bloodivore with a human. As a result, our protagonist Mi Liu was born. Our story begins with him as a rebellious teenager trying to help his friends get a little money to save their orphanage. Okay, maybe more than a little. To do this, they rob a bank but things don’t go quite as intended…
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?