Atlus Confirms that Catherine Full Body Remix for PS4 and Vita Is Getting an English Release

Atlus has confirmed that their cult classic and fan favorite, Catherine will get a new makeover in 2018 – along with an English release in North America and Europe. Catherine is a visual novel and puzzle game with gorgeous breath taking cel-shaded 3D artwork sprinkled in with some equally gorgeous 2D anime cutscenes.

I reviewed the original release of Catherine here. And as of this write up, the original Catherine is currently the highest rated game on my site. Catherine is not my favorite game of all time, but it does almost EVERY-thing right! It’s hard to find any flaws at all which makes it continuously at the top of my list for the Top 10 Best Games for Girls.

It has some of the best graphics and character designs I’ve ever seen, and that includes even standing up also against newer games that have been released on newer systems and with more technology prowess than the PS3 and Xbox 360.  I still rather play a game that looks like Catherine. Give me more games that look THIS GOOD. Please!!

But not only does it LOOK good, but there is heart and substance to it too! The story, the characters, there’s drama, mystery, suspense, love, romance, comedy. It has it all. The story revolves around Vincent, a young man who currently is in a relationship with a young woman named Katherine – with a K. Katherine is much more emotionally mature than Vincent. Although Vincent does love Katherine very much, her “put a ring on it” ultimatum scares him into the arms of another woman, Catherine – with a C. But Catherine with a C has her own secrets and own agenda as well. Because when it comes to love, nothing is ever that simple. To make matters worse, people have been dying in their sleep, but with looks of horror and terror on their faces, and no one knows why. How is Catherine connected to this, and how can Vincent escape a similar fate?

The gameplay is kinda like a combination of Qbert and Visual Novels where you choose responses to fork the story down different paths, seeing different parts of the story on each new play through, with multiple endings and tons of replay value.

The music score and voice acting were also fantastic.

Gameplay, Story, Characters, Artwork, Replay Value, Fun, what more do you need? – Catherine has it all. I’m so excited about the remake!

Not only is it a remake but it brings a ton of new additions to Catherine as well, including a completely new character with her own story route(s), and how her route(s) will also effect the story branches of the other 2 characters.

That’s not all though, there’s also new online battle modes, and new difficulty settings. — I totally cheated in the first game and played it on the super easy hidden mode – because I was playing it mostly for the story(s) — I wonder if that mode will also exist in the new Catherine as well.

Take a look at the English teaser website.

Atlus Confirms that Catherine Full Body Remix for PS4 and Vita Is Getting an English Release was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

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Talos Principle Game Review

Title: Talos Principle

Release Date: 2014

Genre: Puzzle Solving

Developer: Croteam

Publisher: Devolver Digital

Platform: PC, Mac, or Linux, also available on PS4 and Android

Where to Buy:  //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=anisug-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00S6HVSV4&asins=B00S6HVSV4&linkId=020416e3c6f3b68524d6a493a265277f&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true
Geeky: 5/5 

Sweetie: 4/5 

Concept: 8/10 Many people have compared this game to Myst, but not me. In my opinion, this game is much closer to Portal than it will ever be to Myst. The nature of the puzzles, at least in the first many, many hours of the game bears a striking resemblance to the gameplay in Portal. It’s also these early hours in which I feel the game begins to fall apart, because the puzzles become so much the “same” throughout the first several “worlds” that you explore. However, looking past the often tedious gameplay, this game has a truly amazing story, especially if like myself, you’re fascinated by the philosophical and ethical questions surrounding artificial intelligence.

Gameplay: 6/10 The gameplay in Talos Principle consists of solving more than 100 puzzles. The problem is that probably more than half of those puzzles are so similar that once you’ve solved one, you can easily solve the others. It doesn’t really challenge or require much thinking, which sort of defeats the appeal of a “puzzle solving game”. For example, the first 3 or 4 worlds you will enter consist of puzzles which require you to pick up “jammers” and activate these devices in order to shut down orbs (which travel a predictable patch), or turrets which are firing at you, or use the jammers to open and close gates. Sometimes you’ll only have one or two jammers and 5 or 6 obstacles that need cleared, but it’s still not too challenging once you figure out the patterns and what to expect. Later levels tend to add a few more elements into the puzzles such as letting you climb ontop of boxes, or fling yourself across different areas. However, overall, for there being 120 puzzles, these puzzles lack variety. It wouldn’t matter if there were 50 puzzles or 500 puzzles, if they’re all similar, where’s the fun in that?

However, the game is not without merit, it does feature an extensive open world and for the most part allows you to travel freely (aside from some areas which require key items from other areas first) and solve or return to different puzzles at your own pace. This game does not hold your hand. In fact, that’s part of the charm and it works for creating immersion in this case. You awake into the world with the same knowledge as the main character (which is knowing nothing at all). You begin to piece together what is happening in the world at the same rate as the character himself. In this aspect, it almost becomes a psychological experience, and that I feel, is really the point in playing this game, and not the rather dull puzzles themselves.

Exploration is also another highlight of the gameplay as you travel through multiple worlds you will find clues left behind by other people before you and also clues about your own existence. But it’s up to you to read and explore and interact with every object, every nook and cranny, and complete every world and puzzle.

Story: 10/10 – Story is where the game shines, but it’s up to you to seek this story out. Often times, it’s not what the narrator says, but instead told through files in a corrupt computer system or found by scanning “QR codes” on walls or hidden locations throughout the world. The story itself is about the difference (or sometimes lack there-of) of man vs machine. At what point (if any) does artificial intelligence become “human” – what does it mean to be “human”? The story is told in cryptic bits and pieces and leaves you wanting to explore more and play more to figure things out. Often these are clues left behind by the creators of the AI system, and at other times, they are legends and mythos from ancient times about gods who were made of stone or metal but none the less had characteristics of man. The story also focuses on creation and how man can become a god, by creating AI and AI worlds. And then, what would happen if that AI also went on to create its own worlds and own creations. It’s a very deep and thought provoking story. I’ve always been fascinated by artificial intelligence and these questions that it brings. I would recommend playing this game, despite the slow and tedious gameplay, simply because of this story, but only if you are the type who likes exploration and uncovering these clues yourself. This game handfeeds you nothing. But for those willing to put in the effort, the game is full of rich history, lore, and an emotionally deep story.

Characters: 7/10 – Largely, you are the only character present, though other characters are hinted at from an early point and on throughout the game, including your creators, and even a “god” like figure. You can find emails and recorded messages from these characters and look up project information which details their role in the creation of the AI system. Despite there being a lot of details about these people – largely, this is a solo experience, and therefore character interaction or development is not a highlight here.

Graphics: 5/10 – I don’t see anything that special here. And as with a lot of the puzzles being similar, a lot of assets get re-used multiple times. It’s not very visually appealing or interesting in my opinion. Though there are many worlds, they all largely look the same. This game tries to be large and exciting, but just kinda falls flat in a lot of areas due to repetition.

Music: 6/10 – The soundtrack has a lot of ambient sounds and some key music pieces, but none of them are that impressive or memorable.

Voice Acting: 10/10 – The voice acting is actually really solid in this game which is a big plus. There are not many scenes which are voiced, but it is a nice touch.

Replay Value: 9/10 – There are actually three different endings in Talos Principle, but once you’ve solved most of the psychological questions and encountered most of the story elements, it makes it less enjoyable to replay this game on multiple attempts.

Overall: 70/100 70% C- “Good Game for Girls”

 

Talos Principle Game Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Ecco The Dolphin – Retro Game Review

Something a lil bit different today. RPGs and Mobile games are all well and good – but sometimes you just want something different right?

Sometimes you just want to be a dolphin and fly through the air doing barrel rolls and back flips while solving puzzles and eating fish. For that, I recommend Ecco the Dolphin.

Ecco made his first appearance on Sega Genesis. The title was a huge success and spawned many sequels and spin offs including Ecco JR, Ecco 2 – The Tides of Time, and Echo Defender of the Future. There was also another Dreamcast version in the works which never saw the light of day before Dreamcast’s untimely demise. There are also handheld versions, Sega CD versions, Playstation 2 versions, and a PC and Xbox port of the original game.

Title: Ecco The Dolphin

Genre: Platformer / Adventure / Mascot game

Platform: Originally Published On Sega Genesis but now available on PC

Publisher: Sega

Release Date: 1992

Where to Buy: $2.99 for the PC Version from Amazon They also have the original Genesis version with prices ranging from $1.99 to $69.99 for condition of the cartridge, box, manuals, etc which raise the collector’s value.

Geeky: 3/5 

Sweetie: 3/5 

Overall: 57 / 80 71% C- “Good Game for Girls”

Concept: 8/10 Ecco is a young dolphin who lives a carefree life with his family and friends in a small bay until one day a friend challenges him to a dare to see how high he can jump in the sky. Ecco jumps so high that he causes a sea storm which causes all of his friends and family to be sucked up into the sky. Now Ecco must search for clues to help save his home. To do so, he will solve puzzles, swim at high speeds, and perform aerial stunts and tricks to get across obstacles blocking his path. There will be enemies he must face, as well as new friends along the way.

Gameplay: 10/10 As mentioned above, you must solve puzzles and / or clear obstacles by jumping, flipping, skipping, flopping, or flying across them. There are glyphs in certain areas which hold clues for you to get to the next area and also provide some story and context. You need to eat fish, watch your oxygen level, and defeat enemies while exploring the underwater environment. You can also use sonar to communicate with friendly creatures or obtain a map of the area. In the end, the appeal in the gameplay comes in the form of numerous puzzles and the fun of performing aerial maneuvers or darting through the sea.

Story: 6/10 The story is presented through solving puzzles and tied closely in with the game mechanics. Some terms and game mechanics are actually true to life of the behavior of real dolphins which shows that ample research went into developing these title, as well as a good deal of imagination and fantasy elements as well. Overall, while the story is good, and does entertain, it’s mostly a solitary journey through sea and space with an emphasis on puzzle solving and immersion. Story takes a back seat to the fast, and more action oriented gameplay mechanics.

Characters: 6/10 As mentioned above, for most of this journey you are alone. Remember that cyclone that sucked up all your friends? You do occasionally come across NPCs to interact with, but it’s clearly not the focus of this series. Since most of the “characters” are Glyphs – this makes them highly impersonal and not very memorable.  But Ecco himself is a very interesting character – I don’t know of any other games in which you play as a dolphin.

Graphics: 8/10 Although dated by today’s standards, Ecco had some truly beautiful graphics for its time. The graphics really made it feel as if you were exploring a lonely, tranquil, and somewhat oppressive feeling ocean. Throughout the evolution of this series, Ecco has always pushed the limits of whatever console hardware he had available at the time. This is most evident in the dreamcast version which features extremely realistic looking character models.

Music: 8/10 The music and sound effects in Ecco also fit well with the atmosphere and mystery of the game and help build immersion.

Replay Value: 5/10 – While its a linear game, its novelty and unique gameplay, characters, and setting, make it a memorable and enjoyable experience that will be worth revisiting to play multiple times. There’s really no other similar games out there which means if you want to play a similar game you’ll have to replay the few available Ecco games over and over. However, once knowing how to solve the puzzles and ins and outs of the story, it does take a little bit of the mystery and fun away for the next play through.

Overall: 57 / 80 71% C- “Good Game for Girls”

Ecco The Dolphin – Retro Game Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

DanganRonpa Now Available on Steam

Danganronpa is a game series in which you find yourself captive by a cute but terrifyingly evil teddy bear who wants to play a game with you and the other students. The only way to graduate from his twisted school is to get away with murder. He encourages you and the others to kill each other, and once a dead body is discovered there will be a trial in which you and the other students decide who the murderer was. If you guess correctly, the murderer is punished by the death penalty, if you are incorrect however, it’s you and the other students who will be put to death and the murderer allowed to roam free.

It plays very similar to Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney games. You investigate the crime scene and talk to other NPCs, and object to their claims in the court room while putting together your own case as to who you think the culprit is.

This is the first of 3 games, plus a few side-games. At this time no announcement has been made to port over the remaining games. The 3rd and most recent game has not been released yet and was announced at the Tokyo Game Show in 2015.

I am hoping for them to port the 2nd game as it is a lot more fun because the 2nd game has multiple endings and the first game does not. I still really enjoyed my time in Danganronpa but I feel it could have benefited from a less linear style and multiple endings that depend on your actions.

http://store.steampowered.com/widget/413410/

DanganRonpa Now Available on Steam was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Broken Age – Point and Click Adventure Game for PC – Review and Giveaway

Our new alternate winner is Ccaminha – Congrats, an email will be going out shortly to inform you of your prize. Please reply to that email letting me know you’re interested and I will send over the key.

EDIT: TatsuKaji never claimed his prize, so we will hold another drawing for an alternate winner sometime this weekend (Approx 3/20/16).

We’ve gained a lot of members since announcing this contest, so anyone that posts between now and Sunday will go into the drawing. :)

EDIT: The contest is now over. Congratulations to TatsuKaji – please check your email and reply back to receive your free steam key. If you’re not interested, or already have the game, please also reply back so I can draw an alternate winner. – If I don’t hear back within a week I will draw another random winner.

 

Title: Broken Age

Genre: Point and Click Adventure Game

Platform: PC

Release Date: January 2014

Where to Buy: Steam

Geeky: 3/5

Sweetie: 5/5

Overall: 74 / 90 82% B- “Very Good Game For Girls”

Concept: 10/10 – The Point and Click genre was really popular back in the 90s, but then it just faded away. In a record breaking kickstarter, Tim Schafer, creator of other Point and Click titles such as Grim Fandango, Psyhconauts,  and the Secret of Monkey Island, successfully funded his return to gaming by reaching his kickstarter goals for Broken Age, his first new game in over 16 years.

Broken Age was hyped that it was supposed to revitalize the genre and bring it into the modern age. Most critics say that it fell short of it’s expectations – however, I really enjoyed this game.

Gameplay: 8/10 It features cute story book styled graphics and typical point and click game mechanics. Interact with your environment, solve puzzles, talk to NPCs etc. The puzzles are challenging and thought provoking and you want to keep playing because of the cute characters and story. However some of the puzzles can be frustrating at times and there will be times when you spend time just using every  item or talking to every NPC and back tracking back through places trying to find if you’ve missed something. This can sometimes take away from the fun and screw with the pacing of the game, but it’s much better and much preferred than a game in which the puzzles are too simple.

Story: 7/10 There are two games in one essentially as you switch control between the different characters freely throughout the game.  In one world you’re in a very primitive like setting where the people believe in offering tribute to monster-like “gods”. In the other world you’re in a scifi setting, in a spaceship with robots. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, so I’ll keep it brief / vague. The story is very cute, in some points it has child like innocence but it’s always tinged with a deep sad and lonely feeling. At first the story doesn’t seem connected, but the more you play, the more things fall into place. It can sometimes be annoying when the story progression is held up when you get stuck on a challenging puzzle. Also for over a year, the game was incomplete, Chapter 2 did not release until April 2015. It is provided for free and is not DLC. However, since when many of us first played the game, we were left waiting with an open-ending for what seemed like much too long. My biggest complaint with the story is simply that it can be jarring switching between worlds/stories. Still I loved solving all the mysteries and how slowly and carefully the story was revealed.

Characters: 10/10 In the primitive world you play a very strong willed African-american girl which is a refreshing choice of characters as minorities and females are often under-represented or relegated to mere sidekick status and rarely ever appear as the main hero. She challenges the beliefs and ways of her people. She dares to ask questions and be different

In the space world, you play a lonely little boy who is fed up with his mundane routine boring life. While the ship provides him with toys, food, and even a “mother” and “father” figure, it is no replacement for human interaction. It also tries too hard to protect and keep him save, never letting him “Grow up” or take risks or challenges for himself. It’s like he lives in a bubble where everything is the same, day in day out. Until one day when he finds a hidden door in the ship which leads him to new worlds.

Graphics: 10/10 The graphics are really unique and cute. Everything looks handpainted or like it came from a storybook or “pop-up” book or like “paper craft” or scrapbooking. I liked this approach because you don’t see it often in games.

Music: 10/10 The music is composed by Peter McConnell who also did the music for Psychonauts. It features a beautiful score with soft melodic harmonies which fit well the cute/childlike graphics. Critics have called this some of Peter’s best work. I really like how light and “airy” the tracks sound full of violins, flutes, clarinets, cellos, etc. It almost sounds “dreamlike” in a way, or like a fairytale. I also like how both the music and the graphics juxtapose themselves against a story which seems fairly childlike but is tinged with sadness and isolation.

Voice Acting: 10/10 – No expense was spared for the casting of this game. It features big budget hollywood actors such as Jack Black, Elijah Wood, and talented voice over artist Masasa Moyo.

Replay Value: 1/10 Given the nature of this game, I’m not saying, I’d never ever replay it… but certainly it would diminish the enjoyment of the game on multiple playthroughs since you’d know all of the answers to the puzzles and already know the plot and story. Since it’s a linear and also fairly large and lengthy game, I’d say it’s one you’d visit maybe once every 5 to 10 years for nostalgia’s sake but beyond that I don’t see much replay value here.

Overall: 74 / 90 82% B- “Very Good Game For Girls”

And we are giving away a FREE Steam key for Broken Age to one of our lucky readers. This contest begins now 2/27/2016 and will end on 3/5/2016. To enter simply leave a comment on any blog or forum post. Make sure you have a valid email tied to your username as I will be using that email to send the key to the winner. I will also post winner’s name to this post no later than 3/6/2016. Thank you and goodluck!

*By providing your email, you will also receive one email each saturday with a summary of posts. I never put ads or any garbage in the emails and only send new post summarys for that week. I also never sell your email. You can also unsubscribe at any time by clicking unsubscribe from the email.

Broken Age – Point and Click Adventure Game for PC – Review and Giveaway was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Lufia 2 Rise of the Sinistrals Retro SNES JRPG Game Review

Title: Lufia 2 Rise of the Sinistrals

Genre: RPG

Publisher: Natsume

Platform: SNES

Release Date: 1996

Geekygeekygeekygeeky

Sweetie

Overall Score: 60/80 75% C “Good Game For Girls”

Concept: 9/10 This review is for the 2nd game in the Lufia series. Although, chronologically, the events in this game take place before the events in Lufia & the Fortress of Doom. Which we reviewed by the way over here in our Lufia and the Fortress of Doom Review. The 2nd game improved upon many aspects of the original including some pacing issues with the story and enhanced graphics, more challenging puzzles to solve, and no more random encounters. The story in Lufia 2 Rise of the Sinistrals takes you back to playing as Maxim and the original heroes who helped defeat the sinistrals as shown briefly in the prologue of the first game. Like it’s predecessor, Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals also includes some dungeon crawling and adds a new monster taming mechanic, but the game is largely a traditional turn based JRPG with colorful graphics, endearing characters, and a heart warming story.

Story: 8/10 You play as Maxim, a bounty hunter, living in the town of Eclid. His childhood friend, Tia, who runs a shop where Maxim receives new orders and turns in his bounty to be paid worries about the recent increased occurrence of monster attacks near the village. Maxim soon learns from a strange woman named Iris that these attacks are no mere coincidence and that he is “fated” to save the world from evil and thus sets out on a journey to a floating citadel to defeat the sinistrals. As for “plot” this is all that is really “presented” to the player; it is bare bones at best…. but is plot really the only driving force in creating a good “story”? No, it’s not; because the characters themselves are equally as important as their settings and surroundings. There are numerous plot twists which emerge later in the game and many different playable characters who all feel very real because of the way character interaction is handled within this game. The story is less about saving the world, and more about the bonds that are formed along the way between Maxim and his comrades. It seems as if “real” relationships are formed (and sometimes cruelly ripped apart, just as love can be fleeting also in real life). There is death, there is pain, and most of all, there is love, because love is the most important thing in the world. You will experience all of the emotions that the characters are feeling and you will be surprised and shocked a few times along the way as well. Because of it’s excellent character interaction and the way in which the story builds upon the relationships of the different characters, this saves what would otherwise be a fairly run-of-the mill plot, and instead turns it into one of the most touching and memorable experiences on the SNES.

Characters: 10/10 As I mention above, the characters themselves are what keep you engaged in the game’s plot. They seem like they are as real and troubled as many people that we personally know in real life. The drama can be over-the-top at times, but I like a good drama, so for me, that’s not an issue. The characters fight amongst themselves, deal with secret feelings and desires, have conflicting emotions, objectives, and they grow and evolve throughout the game, coming to reconcile their differences and sort through their emotional struggles.

Gameplay: 8/10 If you enjoy the puzzles in games such as Zelda or Alundra which force you to think outside the box, you will also enjoy the puzzles in Lufia 2. Lufia is well known for having some of the most challenging puzzles for it’s time (I found them much more abstract and challenging than Zelda a Link to the Past which released around the same time). The ability to see monsters on the screen also gives you an element of strategy in your gameplay as you can surprise them to take the advantage or avoid combat to travel more swiftly. Though this mechanic is commonplace in RPGs today, I do believe Lufia 2 was one of the first games to shift away from the random encounters that were prevalent in most RPG back in the late 90s. Other noteable features include the capsule monster system which allows you to gain a 5th (all be it, computer-controlled) party member which you can “raise” in a virtual pet sort of way by “feeding” him items and equipment that you no longer need. The monsters would evolve in various ways and multiple times, getting increasingly stronger and aiding you further in battle. Also, as in all Lufia games, the ancient cave returns providing an (almost) endless and optional dungeon crawling experience to obtain the best loot in the game. Lufia 2 introduces an “IP” system, where as you battle, your IP gauge begins to fill, and upon filling, you can unleash powerful skills. These skills are often obtained by equipping special items (like those found in the ancient cave). The one caveat that people like to pick on is the amount of “fetch” styled quests (many of which are optional) (but some that are required to advance the story). That is, quests which are not “story” driven and merely “go here, kill x monsters, or find x items”. While these quests aren’t very innovative, they are a commonplace mechanic in most JRPGs.

Graphics: 8/10 The colors are much richer, and there is a wider range of textures and tile sets used in Lufia 2. It addresses the main critique of Lufia 1’s graphics as being reused and dungeons and towns all looking and feeling similar to one another. I enjoyed the super flashy “anime” style colors and enjoyed the large areas that were used for various towns, making them feel more alive than it’s predecessor. The character sprites although not overly detailed are cute and keep with the same anime vibe. The combat screen in Lufia 2 is much better; where as in Lufia 1, you see your characters primarily represented as stat bars, in Lufia 2, the characters are present on the battle field, as in most other RPGs of that era. Lufia 2 is definitely on equal footing with most late 90s RPGs in terms of graphics and presentation.

Music: 7/10 Lufia 2 is often complimented for it’s very large soundtrack. Aside from the first few dungeons, other tunes are seldom reused. When you enter a new area you hear new tracks; and the tracks used vary widely from upbeat peppy tunes to sweeping ballads. However, I find very few of these tracks to be very memorable when compared to other RPGs of the 90s. The music is “good” but not “great”. There are also a number of different sound effects which add an additional depth of immersion to the game world.

Replay Value: 4/10 Lufia 2 has a replay mode that allows you to earn increased XP and Gold on multiple playthroughs; however, it’s a completely linear game, so the story never changes. There are still some interesting side quests and gameplay elements that could keep people coming back to find everything this game has to offer. Replay value is minimal; although I have personally replayed this one many times, because it’s just so fun and the storyline is so touching.

Overall Score: 60/80 75% C “Good Game For Girls”

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Lufia 2 Rise of the Sinistrals Retro SNES JRPG Game Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Lufia 2 Rise of the Sinistrals Retro SNES JRPG Game Review

Title: Lufia 2 Rise of the Sinistrals

Genre: RPG

Publisher: Natsume

Platform: SNES

Release Date: 1996

Geekygeekygeekygeeky

Sweetie

Overall Score: 60/80 75% C “Good Game For Girls”

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Concept: 9/10 This review is for the 2nd game in the Lufia series. Although, chronologically, the events in this game take place before the events in Lufia & the Fortress of Doom. Which we reviewed by the way over here in our Lufia and the Fortress of Doom Review. The 2nd game improved upon many aspects of the original including some pacing issues with the story and enhanced graphics, more challenging puzzles to solve, and no more random encounters. The story in Lufia 2 Rise of the Sinistrals takes you back to playing as Maxim and the original heroes who helped defeat the sinistrals as shown briefly in the prologue of the first game. Like it’s predecessor, Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals also includes some dungeon crawling and adds a new monster taming mechanic, but the game is largely a traditional turn based JRPG with colorful graphics, endearing characters, and a heart warming story.

Story: 8/10 You play as Maxim, a bounty hunter, living in the town of Eclid. His childhood friend, Tia, who runs a shop where Maxim receives new orders and turns in his bounty to be paid worries about the recent increased occurrence of monster attacks near the village. Maxim soon learns from a strange woman named Iris that these attacks are no mere coincidence and that he is “fated” to save the world from evil and thus sets out on a journey to a floating citadel to defeat the sinistrals. As for “plot” this is all that is really “presented” to the player; it is bare bones at best…. but is plot really the only driving force in creating a good “story”? No, it’s not; because the characters themselves are equally as important as their settings and surroundings. There are numerous plot twists which emerge later in the game and many different playable characters who all feel very real because of the way character interaction is handled within this game. The story is less about saving the world, and more about the bonds that are formed along the way between Maxim and his comrades. It seems as if “real” relationships are formed (and sometimes cruelly ripped apart, just as love can be fleeting also in real life). There is death, there is pain, and most of all, there is love, because love is the most important thing in the world. You will experience all of the emotions that the characters are feeling and you will be surprised and shocked a few times along the way as well. Because of it’s excellent character interaction and the way in which the story builds upon the relationships of the different characters, this saves what would otherwise be a fairly run-of-the mill plot, and instead turns it into one of the most touching and memorable experiences on the SNES.

Characters: 10/10 As I mention above, the characters themselves are what keep you engaged in the game’s plot. They seem like they are as real and troubled as many people that we personally know in real life. The drama can be over-the-top at times, but I like a good drama, so for me, that’s not an issue. The characters fight amongst themselves, deal with secret feelings and desires, have conflicting emotions, objectives, and they grow and evolve throughout the game, coming to reconcile their differences and sort through their emotional struggles.

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Gameplay: 8/10 If you enjoy the puzzles in games such as Zelda or Alundra which force you to think outside the box, you will also enjoy the puzzles in Lufia 2. Lufia is well known for having some of the most challenging puzzles for it’s time (I found them much more abstract and challenging than Zelda a Link to the Past which released around the same time). The ability to see monsters on the screen also gives you an element of strategy in your gameplay as you can surprise them to take the advantage or avoid combat to travel more swiftly. Though this mechanic is commonplace in RPGs today, I do believe Lufia 2 was one of the first games to shift away from the random encounters that were prevalent in most RPG back in the late 90s. Other noteable features include the capsule monster system which allows you to gain a 5th (all be it, computer-controlled) party member which you can “raise” in a virtual pet sort of way by “feeding” him items and equipment that you no longer need. The monsters would evolve in various ways and multiple times, getting increasingly stronger and aiding you further in battle. Also, as in all Lufia games, the ancient cave returns providing an (almost) endless and optional dungeon crawling experience to obtain the best loot in the game. Lufia 2 introduces an “IP” system, where as you battle, your IP gauge begins to fill, and upon filling, you can unleash powerful skills. These skills are often obtained by equipping special items (like those found in the ancient cave). The one caveat that people like to pick on is the amount of “fetch” styled quests (many of which are optional) (but some that are required to advance the story). That is, quests which are not “story” driven and merely “go here, kill x monsters, or find x items”. While these quests aren’t very innovative, they are a commonplace mechanic in most JRPGs.

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Graphics: 8/10 The colors are much richer, and there is a wider range of textures and tile sets used in Lufia 2. It addresses the main critique of Lufia 1’s graphics as being reused and dungeons and towns all looking and feeling similar to one another. I enjoyed the super flashy “anime” style colors and enjoyed the large areas that were used for various towns, making them feel more alive than it’s predecessor. The character sprites although not overly detailed are cute and keep with the same anime vibe. The combat screen in Lufia 2 is much better; where as in Lufia 1, you see your characters primarily represented as stat bars, in Lufia 2, the characters are present on the battle field, as in most other RPGs of that era. Lufia 2 is definitely on equal footing with most late 90s RPGs in terms of graphics and presentation.

Music: 7/10 Lufia 2 is often complimented for it’s very large soundtrack. Aside from the first few dungeons, other tunes are seldom reused. When you enter a new area you hear new tracks; and the tracks used vary widely from upbeat peppy tunes to sweeping ballads. However, I find very few of these tracks to be very memorable when compared to other RPGs of the 90s. The music is “good” but not “great”. There are also a number of different sound effects which add an additional depth of immersion to the game world.

Replay Value: 4/10 Lufia 2 has a replay mode that allows you to earn increased XP and Gold on multiple playthroughs; however, it’s a completely linear game, so the story never changes. There are still some interesting side quests and gameplay elements that could keep people coming back to find everything this game has to offer. Replay value is minimal; although I have personally replayed this one many times, because it’s just so fun and the storyline is so touching.

Overall Score: 60/80 75% C “Good Game For Girls”

Lufia 2 Rise of the Sinistrals Retro SNES JRPG Game Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie