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Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom | Review

Posted on May 30, 2018 by Meghan Kass

In 2011, developer Level- 5 along with Studio Ghibli created something beautiful and unique; it was the game Ni No Kuni. With all the charm of a Studio Ghibli film and a unique gameplay, it was no wonder why a sequel would happen. This time around, Level-5 is on its own without the help of Ghibli. This could have either meant a recipe for disaster or a way for Level-5 to prove itself a champion among RPG developers. Could Level-5 continue the charm of the first Ni No Kuni? Let’s take a closer look at Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom.

This time around, we connect our world and the “other world” via main character from (presumably) our world. The character this time around is name Roland. He is the president of some unnamed country and due to a bomb going off, he is transported to the other world of Ding Dong Dell. Roland is then thrown into the position of assisting a young  and enthusiastic king, Evan, to save his life and kingdom from a usurper and even starting a new kingdom to promote the uniting of all kingdoms and end all war instead of seeking revenge on the usurper who threatened Evan and more. That is the basic bare bones of the story, but of course there is much more story to discover in this story and many more characters to meet. Overall, this story is not some dark and gritty tale but one that promotes more optimism and child like wonder.  Some might be turned off and call the story saccharine and too sweet, but I for one enjoy a happy story once in a while. Some might also be turned off the personalities of the main characters. Roland isn’t  a terrible character, but can be bland and Evan might be seen as annoying and insufferable. While Evan was not as appealing to me as Oliver from the first game, I didn’t find him to be a deal breaker for the game for me.

The gameplay is significantly improved, in my opinion from the first game. Revenant Kingdom has done away with the familiar system and the combination of real time and turn based combat. This time the gameplay is all real time and you don’t have familiars, but creatures called Higgledys that assist you. You can command them to perform tasks or you can let them do their own attacks and movements.  This is a much more simple, but effective gameplay system that definitely makes the game flow better and fluidly. It feels less cumbersome and leaves room for another fun game mechanic.

The second change to Revenant Kingdom is the addition of the kingdom building system. Part way through the game, you will be introduced to a kingdom building system in which you will employ people to run various shops or services and recruit others to become one of your citizens. While this is almost optional, I quickly became very enamored with improving and building up my little kingdom to give me very helpful tools and bonuses.

Of course, you must also have defense for your kingdom. Ni No Kuni II also introduces an army mechanic of sorts. There are times you will need to fight off hordes of enemies, for example, bandits. You will control your forces and lead them by commanding them, to take on your enemies. There are special attacks and special units to employ. You will have to keep track of your military might and budget your special attacks. Hopefully, they are strong enough and plentiful enough to fend them off and defend or claim your territory.


Overall, Ni No Kuni II is a sweet game with addicting gameplay. You can easily invest 40+ hours into the game and not feel like you are just padding time.  The story may be too sweet and simplistic for some, but if you have a love for child like wonder and adventure, solid gameplay and JRPGs, this game is not to be missed. I haven’t found myself in love with a new JRPG like this for some time and didn’t think I would love it almost as much as the original. To me, it was worth the full price to play, but maybe wait for a sale if the story concept or characters don’t seem to appeal to you.



Xenoblade Chronicles 2 | Review

Posted on January 23, 2018 by Meghan Kass

The original Xenoblade Chronicles was released for the Wii back in 2010 and then surprisingly re-released for the 3DS in 2015. A side game in the franchise, Xenoblade Chronicles X (prounouced Cross, not X) was released for the Wii-U also in 2015.  Now, in 2017, a sequel to the first title has been released and thus we have Xenoblade Chronicles 2 for the Nintendo Switch. Developed by series creators Monolith Soft and published of course, by Nintendo.

For longtime fans this game may have a whole new cast of characters to get acquainted with but what matters is how well those characters are developed and how well written the story is, as well as presented. Does this sequel give us a satisfying return to this world of Alrest or does it leave the player disappointed?

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 takes us back to the Xenoblade world of Alrest, full of titans and god like creatures, only with a fresh set of characters. Shulk is replaced by Rex – a scavenger turned Driver – this go around. As a driver, he is accompanied by his blade, Prya. Prya is very similar to Shulk’s blade Monado, only with a lot more personality, given that she is a fully realized character and not just a weapon. Still, both Pyra’s weapon from and the Monado contain extraordinary power and also grant their drivers the ability to wield extraordinary abilities.

The major difference between the two is that  Prya becomes a character with an artificial human appearance and goes through her own story arc, while the Monado was more a standard weapon. I feel this adds an interesting layer to the game and makes the game more immersive. Prya’s journey to find Elysium with Rex is interesting because finding Elysium is essential to saving humanity from extinction. The Titans who have protected humanity are dying off and Elysium, or Paradise, is their last hope. It’s more than just Prya wanting to “go home”.

The only fault I find with Xenoblade Chronicles II is a slight repetition that happens throughout Rex/Pyra’s journey. I say journey, because saying “story” doesn’t seem right. There isn’t much more story than Rex and Prya exploring the world, searching for Elysium, meeting people along the way and saving the world from various evils. There is a pattern of you continuing on your journey, a roadblock stopping you from continuing and you needing to get past it and usually fight a boss battle. While this normally would bore me, I found the gameplay quite addicting and the characters enchanting and fun to get to know. There is also an interesting history to the world and blades you get to learn along the way which became some of my favorite story moments for me. Exploring the world also helps when everything looks as pretty as this game does – this game has stunning scenery and beautiful character / monster animation.










Even though there are interesting story elements, it really was the gameplay that impressed me the most with Xenoblade Chronicles 2. I enjoyed finding out which blades (weapons) were best against which enemy ty[es, which skills I should use at which time and what items I need to collect to unlock an upgrade for my blade. Blade upgrades are obtained using an item called an aux core. You can also provide buffs to individual party members such as ATK Up or DEF up by equipping certain items in their personal pouch, to help out during fights.

I couldn’t wait to level up and see what my blades would learn next  – I loved finding new chips and aux cores and seeing what skills or buffs they gave my blades. While other JRPGs have similar elements, there is something a bit different about Xenoblade Chronicles 2 in its execution of character progression. It seemed more than just upgrading my weapon, it felt like I was helping to develop a character. Because I was invested in the characters, I had much more of a desire to see them grow and become stronger. It also helped that everything seemed very fluid and easy to figure out.

Now that I had these powerful characters, it was time to dive right into Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s vast combat system. Similar to the original Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii, Rex & Co will automatically perform a basic auto-attack at a set interval. Players are able to equip up to four special arts to augment their damage, provide healing or do massive amounts of damage by partnering up with their blade. Basic arts will only require an individual charge and can be woven into auto attacks seamlessly. As your character progress through their Arts tree they are able to unlock ‘special arts’ which require a bit more time to build via auto-attack. These devastating moves have the Driver and Blade combine their abilities by asking players to perform a quick time event. Successfully pull off the QTE and you’ll be treated to a special arts animation. If one of your A.I party members uses a special art, Rex can follow it up with a supplementary special art based upon one of the elements displayed on the HUD. Chain together 3 complimentary special arts together and you’ve got yourself a Blade Combo, one of the most powerful but complicated maneuvers in Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

Overall, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a satisfying contribution to the series. While the story I don’t feel is as strong as the first one, the characters are fun and interesting and the game is stunning to explore and look at and has well executed gameplay. If you liked the first game and have a Switch, give it a try to get immersed in this world again.



What Is The Upcoming Steam JRPG Trillion Anyway?

Posted on August 15, 2016 by Les Major

Trillion is an Idea Factory title in which you power up to take on Trillion, the god of destruction! Sounds nice, happy and to the point doesn’t it? Trillion seemingly gets his name from the 1,000,000,000,000 hit points he has. Hopefully he’s max level so he doesn’t need to change his name. It must have been weird for Trillion growing up. “Who are you?” “I’m Twenty-Four!” “Oh, that’s a shame because my sword has a DPS of twenty five!” We don’t need to worry about that though since Trillion has all those juicy hit points at level 1. Ahem, joking aside, what IS this game? Let’s find out!

First off it should be noted that unlike some Vita ports, which is what Trillion is, the game contains both English and Japanese voiced dialogue. So any of you out there who enjoy dubbed audio in your JRPG’s, you should still have that here. I can’t imagine that not surviving the port to Steam.

Trillion at level 1

Unlike the cute Moe girls you’re used to from Idea Factory, Trillion takes on quite a Disgaea vibe which is something that stood out to me from the start. Instead of being like Hyperdimension Neptunia however, there seems to be a more tile based combat system in Trillion. When you move the enemies get to move. I’ve only looked at YouTube videos so far, but we do hope to get some hands on experience closer to the Steam release. As you can see in the image below, this specific combat focuses on Mokujin, a Trillion training dummy. He’s able to summon monsters and do some pretty devastating area of attack moves that show up both on your map in the upper left and on the actual level display as well. So you do have some warning of these big moves as well as time to avoid them. You can fight Mokujin every cycle, which works out to a week. In your main menu you’ll see the next coming of Trillion which the game counts down to in weeks.

Trillion battle setup

That isn’t the only way to power up. A mode called Valley of Swords gives players a rogue-like dungeon to explore and fight enemies in. If anything it reminds me quite a bit of NIS’ game The Guided Fate Ultimatum. With Trillion baring down on the world however, you’re probably not going to be able to stop him the first time. Cool thing is, after your game over new game plus carries over your character progression. So it is really a neat concept. Grind away, fight back against Trillion, rinse, repeat.

We’ll be taking a further look into Trillion soon, but for now take a look at the trailer below.

Also, some of the screens in this article are from BlueMaxima’s Vita Channel. If you’d like to look deeper into Trillion right now, feel free to watch his video here:


Xenoblade Chronicles X Offers A Lot To Explore

Posted on January 4, 2016 by Les Major

Xenoblade Chronicles X First Impressions

Traveling across planet Mira in Nintendo’s latest Xenoblade game may seem incredibly daunting at first. You’re given a lot of missions to keep you close to home and some pretty big, scary, aliens roam the plains around the city of New LA. Are they aliens if you’re on their home planet? I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. Today we’re taking a look at what it’s like to play Nintendo’s latest exploration JRPG!

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Posted on December 23, 2015 by Fionna Schweit

New Standalone Entry in Acclaimed “Trails” RPG Franchise Features Vast Improvements on Series’ Formula, Cross-Save Compatibility Between PS3 and “PSVita” System Versions; Makes Western Debut with Limited “Lionheart Edition”

 XSEED Games, the independent-minded console publishing brand of Marvelous USA, Inc., today announced that the rich, standalone entry in developer Nihon Falcom’s acclaimed Trails series of roleplaying games, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, is now available in North America for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system. Taking place on the same continent as the fan-favorite Trails in the Sky, Trails of Cold Steel delivers a bounty of new features and series firsts as well as an expertly told storyline that both newcomers and longtime Trails veterans alike will equally enjoy.


Alongside the standard edition, the limited “Lionheart Edition” is also available in stores, containing an art book comprised of 140 pages of art from both this game and its upcoming 2016 sequel, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II, plus a 1.5” emblem pin representing the Erebonian Empire, all packaged in a custom collectible box designed to house both titles.

Known in Japan as Eiyuu Densetsu: Sen no Kiseki, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel builds on the beloved Trails franchise by improving on the series’ formula while delivering the same sort of well-crafted narrative that series fans have come to expect. Assuming the roles of specially-elected elite military students, players will unravel the enigma that is the Erebonian Empire’s inner political quagmire as they delve deep into the expansive lore that has become synonymous with the series. Best of all, players can enjoy the game’s masterfully told tale on both the “PSVita” and PS3™ systems simultaneously with Cross-Save functionality, allowing for play at home or on the go should a player own both versions.

As the central characters bond with fellow initiates and enjoy life at Thors Military Academy, they earn new abilities in battle via the game’s tactical turn-based Combat Link System, netting benefits such as healing and guarding bonuses. In between skirmishes, players can upgrade their party members with the newly-developed “ARCUS” system – a streamlined version of the classic “Orbment” magic system from previous titles – allowing for greater access to abilities and quicker customization.

Published by XSEED Games in North America, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is now available in North America for PS3™ and “PSVita” systems. The limited “Lionheart Edition” has a suggested retail price of $49.99, and the standard edition of the game is available in stores for $39.99, as well as digitally via the PlayStation®Store. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel has been rated “T for Teen” by the ESRB. NIS America is publishing the PAL region version of the game.

For more information on The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, please visit the official website at www.trailsofcoldsteel.com .


Impressions: Why I Stopped Playing Omega Quintet

Posted on May 6, 2015 by Rae Michelle Richards

I absolutely love a lot of Idea Factory International’s gaming properties and have been a fan of their work for the past 5 years ever since I imported a copy of the original Hyperdimension Neptunia for the PS3 back in 2009 due to the North American print of the game being quite limited. Unfortunately their latest title Omega Quintet left such a bad taste in my mouth that I had to put the game down and I haven’t picked it up since.Read More


New Hundred Knight Screens Rise From The Swamp

Posted on January 3, 2014 by Les Major

Back to news about our friends over at NIS America, there are some new screens out today for the English version of The Witch and the Hundred Knight. The game itself, due out this March on PS3, is focused on the Hundred Knight, your character. You’re as a servant to the swamp witch Metallia. It’s your job to help her expand her swamp all over the world of Medea by destroying pillars that are holding it back.

The latest press release that came with these screens brings up the questions: “What prevents Metallia from leaving the swamp? Why do the other witches shun her, and how can she survive in a swamp that is notorious for how poisonous its fumes are? Is Metallia really a witch to respect, or is she one to fear?” Read More


Nicalis to Bring JRPG to Nintendo 3DS eShop

Posted on August 18, 2013 by Jason Nason

It seems that a JRPG may be coming to the 3DS.

On August 6th @nicalis hinted at something coming with the tweet “JRPG+SNES style music+3DS.” That tweet was preceded by one asking their twitter followers where they could find a good SNES style composer.

Tyrone Rodriguez from Nicalis also remarked in Twitter, “I really enjoy playing a good eShop JRPG on my 3DS.”

According to a posting on Destructoid, Nicalis, the developer behind NightSky, will publish the former 16-bit style RPG Android title Grinsia for the Nintendo 3DS.

The game was originally released by Kemco.

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Pandora’s Tower Dated for April 16th

Posted on April 3, 2013 by Jason Nason

Nearly two years after hitting Wiis in Japan, Pandora’s Tower will hit North American Wii systems in just a few weeks. XSEED Games has finsihed localizing the game and the Wii-exclusive JRPG will hit store shelves on April 16.

Developed in Japan by Ganbarion together with Nintendo, Pandora’s Tower takes the familiar maiden in distress theme and turns it on its head, asking the protagonist to slay over a dozen giant monsters and collect their flesh in order to lift a curse that has befallen his lover.Read More


Mugen Souls Is Shipping Out To Retailers

Posted on October 19, 2012 by Les Major

It seems like there may have been a slow down with Canadian orders since both EBGames.ca and Amazon.ca still list Mugen Souls as unavailable or on pre-order, but the latest NIS game is finding its way into the hands of gamers! We’ve heard news of a production issue that slowed down the process but thankfully it looks like everything is cleared up now.

Some reviews havn’t been sparkling for the game, however if you’re a hardcore NIS fan like myself I’m sure you’ll hardly notice as you grind through the game and enjoy it’s storyline. I still have yet to get my copy but I do plan to review the game as soon as possible from an NIS fanboy perspective. That’s not to say I’m biased, just that I enjoy their content and have a history of playing many of their titles.

Be sure to check out our other Mugen Souls Articles and decide for yourself. To me this one looks like another classic, in a new direction that works. I guess I’ll see as I write the Broken Joysticks review in the coming weeks.


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