Dec 14, 2017 Last Updated 3:01 PM, Dec 14, 2017

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Chris Hubbard

Chris Hubbard

A fan of RPGs above other genres, Chris has been playing video games for as long as he can remember. Some of the games that had the most influence on his gaming preferences have been the Final Fantasy and the Diablo series. More recently, most of Chris' gaming time has been going toward Gems of War and Clicker Heroes (give it a try, it can be addicting), along with open-world RPGs such as Skyrim and ESO. He's also dabbled with RPG Maker software, and it is a goal of his to someday create an RPG.

Even though combat is a tad repetitive and the freedom to explore and deviate from the linear progression lacking, WORLD OF FINAL FANTASY remains enjoyable. The multitude of mirages to collect and features like "stacking" add much value to gameplay, with the Coliseum and Tearoom going a step further by providing additional battles to tackle. If you’re a fan of RPGs or of the franchise, you’ll want to get this release.

Nights of Azure 2 offers players a rich story with tension and intrigue, but there are mechanics in place, such as freezing time limits and retaining XP and loot even after death, which still protect an enjoyable playthrough. Without straying too much from the Atelier playbook, Azure 2 results in a fresh yet familiar, classic JRPG experience.

Even those who don’t normally play point-and-clicks can enjoy Darkestville Castle, but only the die-hard devotees of the genre will be able to persevere past the inevitable and frequent bouts of frustration from struggling through convoluted puzzles. An intriguing story and captivating art style round off this puzzling puzzler.

Although Pylon: Rogue provides fun, the lack of upgrades that carry over, aside from unlocking more items, may deter players. Enjoyment might diminish after so many runs, depending on what you’re looking for in a title, but that’s simply the nature of the genre. However, if you like roguelikes, such as The Binding of Isaac, and enjoy difficult titles, you’ll likely enjoy this.

Blue Reflection is an excellent release in both design and execution. The title, and what it means, run along the story and plays a prominent role in nearly every aspect. Not unlike the Persona series, this is not an RPG where your main focus is nonstop battle. Unlike that series, however, there aren’t deadlines about which you must worry. For a JRPG that balances its combat with school life and befriending classmates, while providing a relaxing time, look no further.

Accel World VS. Sword Art Online Deluxe Edition is a superb JRPG that features a wide array of characters, depth of customization and leveling, and fairly smooth combat. You might feel overwhelmed at first with all of the controls and skills this has to offer, but it’s worth it. If you’re unfamiliar with either series, you might not be able to enjoy the story as much, but the RPG mechanics offset this; if you like RPGs, or the series which this title covers, Accel World VS. Sword Art Online is a must.

As you familiarize yourself with Sine Mora  EX, difficulty declines: bosses and normal enemies have predetermined flight and attack patterns, the structure of the map doesn’t change. But avoiding a barrage of incoming missiles is nevertheless a tantalizing pursuit. One piece of advice: Know your target and its trajectory, then concentrate on your ship. Concentration and quick reflexes are a must, but if you’re up for a challenge and enjoy this genre, you’ll enjoy Sine Mora EX without a doubt.

Warriors All-Stars is a superb title, with relatively no issues whatsoever. The entire roster of playables come from a fairly wide array of Koei Tecmo titles, nearly guaranteeing you’ll find someone with whom you’re familiar, unless this is your first Koei Tecmo game — but you needn’t necessarily be familiar with the studio to enjoy this release. The RPG elements, hero cards, and regard (friendship) levels, combined with over a dozen different endings, ensure replayability and sustained play value.

Four worlds don’t seem like much to explore, but each one is packed with Golden Tape to collect, challenges to complete, and areas to investigate. Any bugs encountered were relatively minor – really, the only problems dealt with achievements and puzzles. Unbox: Newbie’s Adventure is an enjoyable 3D platforming experience, and a must-get for irreverent boxophiles and box-wannabes the world over.

For an open-world, immersive experience replete with quests, fishing, farms, and more, look no further than Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles. The design is apt to please any gamer interested in what Yonder has to offer, while nightfall and the gloominess of a heavy rain ensure that players who might otherwise avoid overly bright hues don’t feel left out -- a sure recipe on Yonder’s part for broad appeal. However, as an exploration-heavy title, especially one that does not offer combat, the allure is counteracted in part; ultimately, though, all -- save the hardcore -- can enjoy Yonder.

The smoothness of play and the multitude of fighters from which to choose provide a near excellent time. But, unless a friend’s available for a local versus match, or you’re willing to play online, the initial excitement diminishes after the fourth- or fifth-dozenth round — though this not atypical for the genre. Regardless, fighter-gamers amongst us will walk away satisfied from The King of Fighters XIV.