If you have the time to dig in this 3DS remake should easily become the definitive version of Dragon Quest VII.
Back when the original Dragon Quest VII (called Dragon Warrior VII in the US) was released for the Sony PlayStation in 2000, it was already dated. The old-school 2D sprites were a big step backward compared to Final Fantasy VII’s fully 3D polygons. This new 3DS remake brings a much-needed graphical facelift, improved translations, and streamlined additions to entice turn-based JRPG fans to one of the genre’s forgotten gems.
Dragon Quest VII is all about time travel. Your hero and some childhood friends open an ancient shrine on your home island – the only island in the world. The shrine contains portals to other islands in the past. Each new island brings new characters, quests, monsters, and dungeons. The islands then appear in the present for even more monster-slaying content.
Time-travel requires assembling the tablet portals from fragments you find scattered throughout these islands. The main story focuses on exploring new islands, righting the wrongs of the past, and defeating Dragon Quest’s colorful array of enemies.
Underlying the promise of exciting exploration is a dull grind for the same few resources within a shockingly limited universe.
In space, no one can hear you scream. In No Man’s Sky, they can’t hear you at all. They can only read the names of planets and species you’ve discovered. An infinite universe of randomly generated planets is an intriguing premise. But underlying the promise of exciting exploration is a dull grind for the same few resources within a shockingly limited universe.
No Man’s Sky isn’t a grand massively multiplayer space game nor an action-packed space flight sim. It’s a survival-crafting game.
You begin on a random, undiscovered planet with a broken down spaceship. Using your laser multi-tool you can break down whatever counts for trees and rocks on your planet for basic resources. Resources are limited to a handful of categories, which helps prevent you from ever getting stuck on any one planet. But limitations like that peel back the layers of clever game design to reveal the not-so-clever base components.
There are plenty of fun sci-fi and space-themed games out there. But precious few are grounded in realistic physics. Kerbal Space Program is as much a full on NASA-simulator as a game. It nicely uses the scientific method to keep you tweaking your journey toward galactic discovery.
Kerbal Space Program is a deceptively dense game hiding behind the cute green Kerbals that populate this space-age world. In Career mode you’re given a basic NASA-like facility. Buildings include Vehicle Assembly, Tracking Station, Mission Control, and a launch site that’s little more than a slab of concrete.
The underwater portions of old 2D side-scrolling games were often the bane of every gamer’s existence. Thankfully we’ve reached a point where not only can maneuvering underwater feel right, but we can play entire games set within a vast underwater wonderland.
Song of the Deep obeys the time-tested Metroidvania playbook to create a worthy adventure with a heart-warming story.
Skylanders Battlecast shamelessly rips its core gameplay from Hearthstone to create a solid and enjoyable digital card game.
Skylanders has dipped its toes into mobile apps before, from the Collection Vault to Lost Islands. Skylanders Battlecast represents a full spin-off that effectively uses gameplay heavily borrowed from Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft to create a fun and easy to play digital card game.
Skylanders Battlecast is a free to play digital card game. Cards come in several different types, with the titular Skylanders cards being the most important. Every deck must contain exactly three Skylanders. Each Skylander has attack and health numbers, and gains levels throughout a match. One frontline figure can be used to attack or swap to another on the sidelines. Choosing when to swap and which cards to use is a fun dilemma in every game.
Stellaris captures the craziness and fun of sci-fi in an engaging, infinitely replayable strategy game.
Grand Strategy games have been around for awhile – a genre coined and perfected by Swedish developers Paradox Interactive. Previous Paradox titles dove headfirst into Medieval and World War history, and Stellaris finally takes us to the stars.
Managing European provinces is trite compared to large-scale galactic conquest, allied federations, and playing god to lesser beings. Stellaris isn’t just Paradox’s most accessible title; it’s also the best space empire management game I’ve ever played.
When everything in Battleborn clicks together it’s a beautiful mess, but too many frustrations drag the experience down.
Battleborn is a tale of two games. Borderlands developer Gearbox took the main elements of the MOBA genre – waves of NPCs, multiple hero classes with unique abilities, leveling, towers, etc, and injected them into a first person shooter.
The other half is a series of cooperative missions involving the unique story and characters of their insane universe. Both feel like they should’ve been expanded into their own games. When everything clicks together it’s a beautiful mess, but too many frustrations drag the experience down.
Gearbox has leveraged their funny comic art style into some truly awesome character designs. The 25 heroes are a motley crew divided into five different backgrounds, from the fantasy-inspired Eldrid to the space pirate Rogues.
There’s Oscar Mike, your typical Call of Duty/Halo soldier. But then there’s Miko the sentient mushroom healer and Toby the penguin in a giant mech suit. The Shayne and Aurox duo have a teenage girl possessed by a giant guardian demon thing. Battleborn has some of the most unique hero designs I’ve seen in a hero brawler.