Video Games by the Numbers

 

Like many of my readers, I have been playing games for over 3 decades now. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of hours spent playing games like Super Mario Kart and Donkey Kong Country on my SNES with my friends, or time spent immersing in the stories of RPG classics back in the 16 and 32 bit era such as Lunar on the Sega CD or Zelda on the SNES and N64.

Video games have a long history and continue to entertain new generations of kids who are growing up gaming, just like they did back in the 80s and 90s.

To celebrate video games, the team at The Monitor Monitor has put together this infographic of consoles, the number of games produced for each console, and sales numbers for the top selling games on each console.

Please note that the graphic is sorted by manufacturer, then number of games produced, not chronological order.

Enjoy!

(Infographic published with consent from The Monitor Monitor)

Video games by the numbers

Video Games by the Numbers was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

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5 Best Anime Games of 2016

5 Best Anime Games of 2016

Continuing the long standing tradition of converting shows and comics into video games (or vice versa), 2016 has delivered us a slew of very decent games. Compared to their predecessors, these games have come a long way from the old days when Bandai meant a relatively short and generic gameplay experience.

But enough stalling; you came here for a list of great games, and here it is! Just be sure you’ve got the right console to play on.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4

If you’re into fighting games and follow the Naruto universe, this one is definitely for you. Continuing the visually flamboyant style of the previous Ninja Storm games (as well as the absurdly long title conventions), Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 offers a vast selection of characters from the series and a quick way to catch up on the story if you haven’t been following.

As with the last installments, the gameplay takes place in a 3D arena using a fighter style system. The controls are relatively basic, being nearly identical between each of the characters, but with differences more pronounced in character speed and in visual showoffs.

Much like Marvel vs. Capcom titles, you can choose more than one hero at a time and pair their attacks together for varying combinations. Overall, it’s a satisfying title and one you won’t want to miss if you enjoy fighters, Naruto, or both.

Digimon: Cyber Sleuth

We never expected to see another Digimon game, but here it is in all its shining glory. Digimon: Cyber Sleuth is an RPG that features turned based team combat and mixes elements of mystery solving and monster collecting.

While it may not be breaking into any new territory, what seems to really set this Digimon installment apart is the plot. Despite some of the usual oddities in translation, the story is genuinely well put together with lots of laughs and an unexpectedly adult-oriented depiction of moral ambiguity.

Unlike other monster collectors, adding Digimon to your collection is as simple as just battling. There aren’t any involved capture mechanics, so if you’re looking for something a little simpler, this should do the trick.

We recommend this one for anyone that enjoys sitting down to a good old JRPG plot. Just don’t be surprised if you find it a cut above the usual in the story department.

One Piece: Burning Blood

If it seems like a lot of anime games are fighting games, that’s because it’s largely true. One Piece: Burning Blood is no exception to that rule, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. Faithful to the show’s plot (particularly in the visuals), the game incorporates mechanics into battle not seen in most arena style fighters.

Perhaps one of the most unique game elements is the introduction of Logia type devil fruit powers and Haki. Characters can access their special abilities with a button press and just like in the show, they’ll gain the benefits (for instance Logia types being immune to regular attacks or being able to physically pass through characters).

Although the controls could stand to be a tad more responsive, the game is gorgeous. And for what it’s worth, the lack of game balance seems to fit the character of the show fairly well, considering how characters such as Nami are compared to Doflamingo. Give this one a try if you’re a One Piece fan.

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2

After the success of the first Dragon Ball Xenoverse and in company with the ongoing Dragon Ball Super series, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 takes what made the first title good and runs with it by introducing new types of character customization and abilities and just generally looking nicer.

For those who don’t know, Xenoverse incorporates certain elements of MMO-type games, so expect to do a lot of your play online. Maybe consider picking yourself up a Virtual Private Network service if you’re looking to feel a bit more secure, as it can keep your internet connection safe and encrypted.

Otherwise, it’s an interesting mix of fighting game and RPG. Battles consist of arena style fights, but there’s also world exploration, questing, and character development to keep you busy. In the meantime, there’s also a plot going on that focuses on time travel and allows you to relive some of the more memorable moments from the show.

While we don’t expect Xenoverse will have the same staying power as some of the larger MMOs, that isn’t the goal; online play is largely supplemental to the main game and serves more to give you an opportunity to play with other people without the effort of calling friends over to sit down and play.

Pokémon Sun/Moon

We may be cheating a little with this one considering that the Pokémon anime is based on the games and not the other way around, but how could we not mention such a great game!? Pokémon Sun and Moon add to the franchise what so many of us have been hoping for since 3D started to become a part of the franchise: a nicer looking game.

While building on many of the series’ classic elements by adding new Pokémon and moves, Sun/Moon also adds regional variations to already existing Pokémon, such as the Ice/Steel version of Sandshrew or the Grass/Dragon version of Exeggutor.

Online play has also changed quite a bit with the introduction of the Plaza, where you can meet other players and challenge them to battles or ask for trades. In true Nintendo tradition, it’s also a bit slower and less convenient than we’d like, but it’s functional enough for what it tries to do.

Fortunately for new players, the game’s main story continues to be relatively easy, but thankfully Nintendo has also seen fit to add a considerably harder postgame. Did we mention that Pokémon Snap elements have returned? Get ready to snap some photos!

And stay tuned—rumor has it that the third game version of the Sun/Moon series will be released for Nintendo’s new console, the Switch. We’re waiting with anticipation!

About the Author: Faith has a personal interest in all things anime, particularly when it comes together with video games. She’s also an cybersecurity blogger, focusing her writing on helping users and businesses avoid hackers and malware.

5 Best Anime Games of 2016 was originally published on

Everything We Know About Nintendo Switch – Nintendo’s New Gaming Console and Handheld – Release Date March 2017

UPDATE: 1/18/2017: We now know the launch date is March 3rd, Price is $299.99. Preorders have already begun and appear to be nearly sold out at most retailers. There will be two versions of the console, each identical except for the color of controllers. In one version they are grey like the console itself, and in another version they are neon red and neon blue. Interesting to note, you can purchase additional/new/replacement joycon sticks for example, the neon red and blue, ones separately from retailers such as Gamestop. So even if you can’t preorder the exact color console you want (For example, I was hoping for the neon one, but had to get grey, and honestly, feel happy/lucky to have even been able to preorder the Switch at all), you can simply buy these new Joycon sticks and swap them out for whatever ones you got with your console.  Or if say, you don’t like the mix-matching colors and want all red, or all blue Joycons, you can do that too. Kinda a neat touch to customize your console. I wonder if they will release pink controllers at some point? lol!  We also now know that online play will be available free at first, but going to a paid monthly subscription model sometime in fall of 2017. No price has been announced yet for the online service.

Also please check out my list of the Top 10 2017 Nintendo Switch Games for Girls! So many good Games are coming out this year! Are you as excited as I am?

UPDATE: 1/12/2017: Nintendo Price, Launch Titles, and System Specs Revealed in Live Stream Event Tonight. Preorders Begin at the Nintendo Store in NYC tomorrow morning with more Live Events. Read more details and learn where to watch the live events.

UPDATE 3: 10/25/2016 11:00am EST: No hardware specs to report, but NVIDIA offers up a closer explanation of what’s exactly going on from a technical standpoint inside the Nintendo Switch. In a blog post last week, NVIDIA revealed that “Nintendo Switch is powered by the performance of the custom Tegra processor. The high-efficiency scalable processor includes an NVIDIA GPU based on the same architecture as the world’s top-performing GeForce gaming graphics cards. The Nintendo Switch’s gaming experience is also supported by fully custom software, including a revamped physics engine, new libraries, advanced game tools and libraries. NVIDIA additionally created new gaming APIs to fully harness this performance. The newest API, NVN, was built specifically to bring lightweight, fast gaming to the masses. Gameplay is further enhanced by hardware-accelerated video playback and custom software for audio effects and rendering. We’ve optimized the full suite of hardware and software for gaming and mobile use cases. This includes custom operating system integration with the GPU to increase both performance and efficiency. NVIDIA gaming technology is integrated into all aspects of the new Nintendo Switch home gaming system, which promises to deliver a great experience to gamers.” (Source: https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2016/10/20/nintendo-switch/)

A price rumor is also floating around several UK sites which pins the price around $350 GBP which translates to a whopping $424 usd – Techradar is speculating a price around $300 to $350 for US Gamers. (Source: http://www.techradar.com/news/nintendo-nx-price)

The Wii U price at launch was $299 for the standalone console, or $349 for a bundle with a game. Given the “beefier” tech insides of the Nintendo Switch compared to the low end, Wii U, I could see this price speculation put forth by techradar as being fairly accurate — However, most gamers are going to naturally want to compare the Nintendo Switch to the Nintendo DS / Nintendo 3DS and not perhaps make the logical association with the Wii U and increased tech prowess of the new system — The 3DS launched at a price of just $249 — Meaning, if Tech Radar’s rumors are true, the Nintendo Switch is going to be nearly double the cost. Nintendo’s fiercest competitors, Sony, and Microsoft, debuted their new gaming consoles at $399 and $499 when they first came out — However, since the technology has been on the market for several years, both consoles are now under the $300 mark, making Nintendo’s Switch a late arrival to the party. — Will Nintendo Switch’s specs and exclusive games be enough to justify such a large price? Or is it a price that the market can no longer bear? Nintendo has its work cut out for it to win back fans who have felt neglected by Nintendo in recent years. If they price the system too high it may be doomed to failure before it even launches.

I think it’s going to come down to what titles Nintendo has available and how they choose to handle localization of these titles – Nintendo of America especially has come under fire for strict censorship which has pushed away droves of fans. Nintendo’s glory days are far behind them — but that doesn’t mean they can’t make a come back with the right games that fans want. The Switch will either give rebirth to the once great gaming company, or become the final nail in the coffin.

To that end, Nintendo has been very transparent about who they have onboard currently developing titles for the new system. A full list of developers is now appearing on the Gamestop sign up page at http://www.gamestop.com/switch which at time of this writing includes the following companies:

  • 05 Games
  • Activision Publishing, Inc.
  • ARC SYSTEM WORKS Co., Ltd.
  • ATLUS CO., LTD.
  • Audiokinetic Inc.
  • Autodesk, Inc.
  • BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc.
  • Bethesda
  • CAPCOM CO., LTD.
  • Codemasters®
  • CRI Middleware Co., Ltd.
  • DeNA Co., Ltd.
  • Electronic Arts
  • Epic Games Inc.
  • Firelight Technologies
  • FromSoftware, Inc.
  • Frozenbyte
  • GameTrust
  • GRASSHOPPER MANUFACTURE INC.
  • Gungho Online Entertainment, Inc.
  • HAMSTER Corporation
  • Havok
  • INTI CREATES CO., LTD.
  • KOEI TECMO GAMES CO., LTD.
  • Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd.
  • LEVEL-5 Inc.
  • Marvelous Inc.
  • Maximum Games, LLC
  • Nippon Ichi Software, Inc.
  • Parity Bit Inc.
  • PlatinumGames Inc.
  • RAD Game Tools, Inc.
  • RecoChoku Co., Ltd.
  • SEGA Games Co., Ltd.
  • Silicon Studio Corporation
  • Spike Chunsoft Co., Ltd.
  • SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD.
  • Starbreeze Studios
  • Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
  • Telltale Games
  • THQ Nordic
  • Tokyo RPG Factory Co., Ltd.
  • TT Games
  • UBISOFT
  • Ubitus Inc.
  • Unity Technologies, Inc.
  • Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
  • Web Technology Corp

UPDATE 2: 10/21/16 1:30pm EST: Arstechnica has reported several confirmed tidbits regarding the Nintendo Switch, such as the fact that it will use Amiibo Figures, will not be compatible with physical copies of wii u or 3DS games, and that it comes with 2 joy-con controllers (which is pretty obvious in the trailer lol), and that the docking station will not house “much in the way of” additional hardware (meaning performance on the big screen, or on the go, will be relatively equal gaming experiences). Sources and more updates can be found over on the Arstechnica blog.

UPDATE 10/20/16 3:00pm EST: Amazon Has Added the Nintendo Switch – but no pricing is listed. They have enabled email alerts to notify you when pricing is available. You can sign up to be notified at this link: https://www.amazon.com/Nintendo-Switch… They also have some nice more brightly lit HD images since the trailer teaser is fairly dark and hard to see exactly what the system will look like. I’ve added these new images to the end of our article.

In a live event today, Nintendo announced their new console, the Nintendo Switch. Not much is known about the new console just yet, but Nintendo teased us with a new trailer showing basically how the system will work.

Key Highlights:

Detachable Controllers Enable Multi-Player with One Console and One Disc – Or with kickstand allow play without holding console

Docking Station Enables Play On TV

Wireless Controllers and Accessories will be available

Launch titles may include Zelda, Splatoon, and Mario Kart which are all featured in the trailer

The Nintendo Switch is a handheld console that can be hooked up to a TV when placed in a special docking station.

The console has two wireless controllers that snap onto each side of the screen, or snap into a “gamepad” shape for play on the big screen.

While on the go, these controllers can be removed so you do not have to hold the unit while playing, even when on the go ! YAY — because I dunno about you, but my 3DS gets really heavy after awhile.

It has a built in kickstand that pops out so if you are (as the trailer shows for example, on an airplane), or perhaps sitting in a cafe (starbucks or whatever) you can put the console on a table, unsnap the controllers, and play in comfort.

The detachable controllers also allow you to do local co-op and multi-player with just one Nintendo Switch and one copy of the games.

But even if these controllers are a bit too weird to you, have no fear, as you can also buy regular gamepad style controllers (you know, the kind that take two hands) which work wirelessly with the Nintendo Switch as well.

It appears to have a stylus and thus I assume, a touch screen interface.

The trailer shows Zelda and Mario Kart (among others) – can we expect these two fan favorites to be launch titles?

No specific specs or pricing are known just yet – but once more information is released we will update the site.

The new Nintendo Switch will be available in March 2017 – less than 6 months away.

I’m hoping to get one 🙂 How about you? Is Nintendo’s Switch a hit, or a miss? — I think the true test of caliber will be simply in what exclusive titles Nintendo decides to release for the system. I’ve read numerous articles from developers in the industry who are excited to be working on the new system so this sounds promising and exciting.

 

 

nitendo switch gameplay
nitendo switch gameplay
Nintendo Switch Detachable Controllers
Nintendo Switch Detachable Controllers
Nintendo Switch Docking Station
Nintendo Switch Docking Station

Everything We Know About Nintendo Switch – Nintendo’s New Gaming Console and Handheld – Release Date March 2017 was originally published on Geeky and Kawaii | Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews and News

MappyLand – 8bit Nintendo – Retro Game Review – 1986

MappyLand was one of my favorite games as a little kid. And I must’ve been super little – since I would have only been 5 years old at the release of this game.

It plays a lot like Mario Bros. in that you run, jump, and climb your way through the levels. You play as a cute mouse collecting items in each level to give to his girlfriend while avoiding and distracting all of the cats. – Although simple, it is a cute concept, which is maybe why it appealed to me so much when I was little.

Title: MappyLand

Genre: Platformer / Mascot Game

Release Date: 1986

Publisher: Taxan

Developer: Namco

Platform: 8Bit NES (Also now available on the Wii U E-store)

Where to Buy: You can still find plenty of copies on Amazon, where Mappyland sales for $6-12 bucks depending on the condition of the game, case, and booklets. Or you can get Mappyland in the Wii-U E-shop for $4.99

Geeky: 3/5 

Sweetie: 4/5 

56 / 80 70% C- “Good Game for Girls”

Concept: 8/10 As mentioned, I loved the concept of playing as a cartoon-style mouse collecting items for his girlfriend and tricking cats. It played very similar to Mario, except you can’t jump on the enemies. It’s been awhile, but I also (think that I) remember a password feature that was used to track the progress of the levels instead of a save feature. (It’s been years since my last visit to Mappyland, so maybe I’m wrong there.) It’s a cute and colorful family friendly game with adorable characters and gameplay that’s simple enough to just pick up and play at any time.

Gameplay: 9/10 Mappyland has some interesting game mechanics. Most notably, it has a story, however, the story is randomized and not told in a specific order. There’s also way fewer “stories” than there are game levels, which means you’ll see the same stories multiple times. (Just how many times is he going to marry his girlfriend, and how many fricken birthdays is she going to have? LOL).

But aside from that quirk, there are about 8 different “power ups” that Mappy can equip and then fire off at the cats, each with varying degrees of success. You can also just run and jump to avoid their attacks. It’s an item-centric game – just like Sonic collects gold rings, or mario collects coins, each “story” has a different item that you’re trying to collect. You’re required to collect all of the designated items to proceed to the next level.

There are also numerous traps that can hurt you – however, you can lure the cats over the traps as well which will help you to slow them down.

The level designs themselves were not that challenging – I beat this game when I was probably 7 years old lol. But the level designs were fun. The level I most distinctively remember had Mappy riding aboard a run-away train. You’re also being timed which can add an extra layer of difficulty to some of the levels. Similar to NiGHTS (which I reviewed the Christmas version of here), once your time is up you will be chased by an invincible enemy who you will need to avoid if you want to pass to the next level.

Story: 5/10 The story that is present is cute – but they could have done more – like write enough stories to match the number of different levels so you don’t see the same 3 or 4 stories over and over. The story is adorable but very childlike and simplistic – but hey, most games were that way back then, because of the target audience, but also because of limitations of the hardware at the time, only able to hold small amounts of text, etc.

Characters: 8/10 – It’s true there’s no back story, no real character interaction, no real character development — but still, the characters, and enemies are incredibly cute and charming. If you like cute and kawaii games, this game is worth playing just for cute overload alone.

Graphics: 6/10  Mappy’s character and level designs are cute – however, it’s an 8 bit game; there’s just not much detail that can go into them. Also I feel like the character sprites are too “large” and look a bit out of place. I also feel that similar games, such as the original Mario Bros was more “clean” and less “blocky” looking – once again I know that’s the nature of most  8 bit games, but the proportion and color palette used were maybe to blame for the game looking a bit “muddy” and not quite as crisp and clean as Mario and other 8 bit platformer games. However, when you look at games like Donkey Kong, Pac Man, Burger Time, and etc, which mostly just had black blank backgrounds, the level of attention given to creating unique and fun environments for each level of Mappyland is pretty good!

Music: 5/10 Not memorable, and of course limited by the technology available in 1986. However, it is catchy, although repetitive, and if you like retro games and retro music you may like this. Most of the music is fast/cheerful which fits well with the cute graphics.

Replay Value: 8/10 – Due to the random story/level pairings, new items to find each time you play, and just overall fun factor, I would say this is a game you probably will replay a few times, even if for nothing else other than nostalgia or cute factor. The simplistic gameplay mechanics make it easy to jump in and pick up at any time. It could also be interesting for speed runs, if you’re into that sort of thing due to each level being timed.

56 / 80 70% C- “Good Game for Girls”

Also I just learned that this was originally an arcade game in Japan – and even more interesting, there’s a 13 episode 2012 anime series (Mappy: The Beat) based on Mappy Land. It is a comedic anime which features other lovable Namco characters but stars Mappy in the spotlight. And there’s numerous Mappy Land games – sadly never translated to English, including “Mappy Land Kids” which is a sequel to Mappy Land. — I wish we had more Mappy in North America!

MappyLand – 8bit Nintendo – Retro Game Review – 1986 was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Will You Miss The Skinship Feature in Fire Emblem Fates?

By now you’ve already heard that Fire Emblem Fates is getting censored for it’s American release due to suggestive themes such as Gay Conversion, Rape, and Heavy Petting. The Petting feature is the latest in a long list of features and scenes to be removed for a Western release later next month. Nintendo of America stands by their decision to cut such items, stating that it was necessary to do so for localization.

Regardless on where you stand on this issue, my question is, will this significantly impact your decision to purchase this game? The fan translation begun nearly a year ago and from what I understand, the translation is complete and available (with a little effort and searching and digging) for those who seek to play the game as the creators intended, without censorship. How you go about getting said fan translation – I will leave that to your imagination. You could for example, support the game creators by buying the original Japanese language Nintendo cartridge for your 3DS and patching it with the translation — or you could use less ethical means which I won’t discuss here, and never indicated that I support. – It’s not just as simple as buying the English version and applying the patch to that version to restore the lost content, as the patch will only work on the Japanese version. However, if you choose to import the Japanese version you may be locked out of DLC content available only in the Eshop.

So you’re missing out either way. In the end, if you really like the franchise and wish to support Nintendo you could even buy both versions of the game. But ultimately, for most western gamers, the changes are small enough that they likely won’t be missed. Still for a small but vocal group of core fans, or Otaku (anime obsessed fans – such as myself) these changes are enough to be upset over. Many Otaku buy Fire Emblem solely because of the relationship aspects which differentiate the series from the slew of other strategy games available. By censoring and “Westernizing” the series, Nintendo runs the risk of deterring the fans who would want to buy such a game in the first place. Perhaps they are not satisfied with such a small market share and strategically removing the content to make it “less” Japanese and more appealing to “mainstream” gamers.

While I will miss the Skinship, I will probably still buy the western release. I don’t feel it’s enough of a significant change to boycott the series or Nintendo over. I am disappointed by Nintendo’s decision and wonder if anything will be added in replace of the Petting minigame, such as perhaps talking to, or giving gifts to your comrades, etc, as the Petting game offered bonuses and made a significant difference in the upcoming battles. It will be a shame to lose those stat bonuses just because of some controversial undertones within the minigame.

Skinship (or Petting as all of the media outlets are calling it) is not a new concept, not if you’re familiar with dating sim games – and Fire Emblem definitely has a strong Dating Sim component tied into each game. Skinship exists in other games in this genre – While the mainstream media outlets are loving to compare it to Pokemon Amie (possibly because it’s one of the only examples of Skinship in a Western Release) – and saying that it would be “creepy” or “odd” to pet a “human” character – this is nothing new for these types of games despite how “weird” or “sexualized” the media is portraying this mini game to be. For example, Tokimeki Memorial also has a Skinship feature, as does Ensemble Stars both are Otome Dating Sim games. Princess Maker 4 also comes to mind as having Skinship. The problem is, none of these games ever got “localized” – perhaps the Skinship feature is partly to blame as America is so up tight about anything with even a hint of sexuality – Meanwhile it’s fine for their kids to play games with blood, gore, violence, or foul language, but if anything is even slightly perverse, it riles up a frenzy in the media.

As other media outlets have pointed out, Nintendo’s entire marketing strategy has been on providing family entertainment for small children. While Fire Emblem is likely to be rated T for Teen, that won’t stop parents from buying it for their young kids anyways. So I do understand just why Nintendo has made so many changes. I may not like it, but I get it, it’s all about business at the end of the day and Nintendo’s business is all about very small children.

I am pretty concerned for what the future will held for SMT X FE #, another Nintendo release in the Fire Emblem franchise. While Atlus is focusing on the localization of that title, it’s even more “Japanese” than Fire Emblem Fates since SMT X FE # deals with the Idol Singing Subculture that proliferates Japanese pop culture. I worry that Nintendo of America may “Strong-arm” Atlus into making changes which will dumb down all the “Otaku Pandering” elements from the final release.

In case you haven’t heard news of these recent changes check out some of the major media outlets covering the story below for more info.

Fire Emblem Fates‘ Changes: The Censorship Is America’s Fault  iDigitalTimes.comJan 31, 2016

Nintendo Speaks on Fire Emblem Fates Censorship Nintendo EnthusiastJan 22, 2016

And then weigh in with a comment below and let us know which version you’ll be buying, or maybe you won’t be buying any of them. Do you feel Nintendo is making a smart business move to capture more audiences, or hurting themselves by isolating current fans of the Fire Emblem franchise?

Will You Miss The Skinship Feature in Fire Emblem Fates? was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Breath of Fire II – SNES Retro Game Review

Title: Breath of Fire II

Platform: SNES

Release Date: 1994

Publisher: Capcom

Where to Buy: Your best bet is Nintendo’s Eshop for $7.99 assuming you have a Wii or Wii U. You can go to the Store Page Here. However if you don’t have a Wii or Wii U or you want to have the original SNES version for your collection you can find it on Amazon with prices ranging from $199 to $329 depending on the condition of the item. You can browse what’s available on Amazon right here.

Geeky: 

Sweetie: 

Overall: 63/80 79% C+ “Good Game for Girls”

Concept: 10/10 Breath of Fire II is another one of my all-time favorite games. I loved the cute and colorful graphics, interesting characters who are mostly anthromorphic or furrie in nature, and especially enjoyed the city building aspects of the game. It also had a very touching story; and one that was quite bold and unprecedented especially for a western release at that time as it takes a very negative view of religion. Combat is typical 90s RPG turnbased style and there are random encounters every few steps with unseen enemies. While this style of gameplay is dated today, it was pretty standard fare back in the early-mid 90s.

Gameplay: 8/10 There are numerous characters to recruit, while not as numerous, as say, Suikoden, it still offered a half dozen or more playable characters who could join your party, each with unique skills and abilities. You had a max party size of 4, but could freely rotate characters in and out of your group. As mentioned above, aside from the ability to build your own town, including choosing colors and styles of buildings, and selecting who to move into your city, aside from that aspect, it’s very typical of gameplay found in other 90s era RPGs, especially in terms of combat. While it doesn’t innovate, it’s definitely a tried and true gameplay mechanic with millions of fans of these games. Some people may find the gameplay a bit tedious if not used to games from this era. Combat is fun though since you have many different abilities to choose from with each character, and how many other games are there where you actually become a dragon :).

Story: 10/10 The story of Breath of Fire II follows a young boy, Ryu, who returns home from an adventure one day to find his family missing and other townsfolk acting oddly. It’s as if Ryu’s family, and Ryu himself, have never existed. No one has any memory of them and Ryu finds himself all alone in the world. He is taken in by a priest and meets another orphan dog-like boy named Bow. The two decide to escape the foster home together and flee for the city where they plan to live as Mercenaries for Hire. While taking an assignment from the palace, Bow is accused of being a thief. And thus Ryu’s adventures begin in an effort to track down the real thief and help clear Bow’s name. The journey begins with our cast of characters as light-hearted “scamp” precocious like children, and then it evolves into a very mature mystery as we witness the characters’ growth throughout their journey and we learn more about the evil demons and possessed citizens who have fallen victim to a false religion. We also learn what happened to Ryu’s parents.

Characters: 10/10 Throughout the journey, you meet many people who are possessed by a strange power. You also encounter dragons, beasts, demons, and learn that Ryu is in fact the last remaining member of the dragon clan with a latent ability to transform himself into a dragon and kick some ass in combat. You encounter a full cast of interesting, unique, non-human like comrades who will join your party, including Nina, a winged woman; a tiger girl named Katt; a bull or horse like character named Rand; Sten, a monkey like creature; Jean the frog; Spar, a plant like creature; and Bleu the Naga serpentine like creature. I really enjoyed such a unique character lineup. I also feel there’s significant character depth. While the game largely is light hearted and suitable for all ages, there’s some touching and even “heavy” moments such as the scene with Nina’s sister (if you’ve played the game, then you know the one). I found the entire cast to be likable and found myself caring for them and responding to their emotions.

Graphics: 8/10 The graphics are extremely colorful in this game, more so than other rpgs released around the same time such as phantasy star, final fantasy, illusion of gaia, and etc. The character designs are out of this world and unique (though admittedly, Jean does remind me of Frog from chrono trigger with the cape design and everything being very similar). The special effects in combat were also exciting and fit well with the expectations of one who can shape shift into a big bad dragon. However, clearly, the game is old, and its graphics don’t stand up to today’s standards. Also unlike other games of its time such as Lunar, Popful Mail, Vay, Y’s, etc It suffers from a lack of cinematic scenes which could have really brought this game to life. I’m assuming it’s because it was a cartridge based game and had to make due with less space than other games of its time, but I think it would have been awesome with some anime cutscenes.

Music: 5/10 The music didn’t really make any lasting impressions on me. It’s been about 3 years since my last playthrough; and I can’t really recall any particular tracks. I am sure the music was “good” but when I compare it to say Lunar, Chrono Trigger, or Final Fantasy 6… It just doesn’t “stand the test of time”. While other 90s RPGs have such “iconic” music that I can still almost “hear” in my head years after last playing them; Breath of Fire 2’s music just falls by the wayside.

Replay value: 4/10 The game is linear in terms of story, like so many 90s JRPGs were back then. But I still find myself replaying it, not necessarily for story or branching plot or anything of that nature, but instead, simply because, it’s a very enjoyable game with unique and lovable characters. It also offers a little bit of variety with its city building aspects.

Overall: 63/80 79% C+ “Good Game for Girls”

Breath of Fire II – SNES Retro Game Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News