The House in Fata Morgana

Mell talks to the white-haired girl in chapter one

You awaken by a fireside in an ancient mansion, a maid by yourself. You remember nothing of this place, or who you even are. The maid takes your hand and promises to help you reclaim your memories, by taking you through the history of the mansion and those who have lived there. Continue reading

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Final Fantasy 7 Remake vs Star Trek Picard: is more always better?

Cloud sees a white cat outside Seventh Heaven

You can’t pet the cats in FF7R.

A couple of months ago, I replied to a forum thread about the games I was looking forward to in 2020. After I listed said games, I realised something – everything I’d put down was a remake or remaster of a game that already existed. I consulted with my brother to see what he thought, and we came up with the following list:

  • Trials of Mana remake
  • Rune Factory 4 special
  • RE3make
  • FF7R
  • Xenoblade Definitive Edition
  • Persona 5 Royal

The only new title we could add to that was Animal Crossing New Horizons, and even that isn’t vastly different from early Animal Crossing titles.

But this isn’t meant to be a rant about the sheer number of remakes and rereleases around these days. I don’t actually mind that – if a game is languishing in obscurity on an old system that hardly anyone owns any more, by all means make it more accessible to old and new fans. And if I enjoyed a game first time round, chances are I’ll like an expanded and hopefully improved edition. Continue reading

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Baten Kaitos

Long ago, the ocean disappeared and humans became creatures of the sky, developing wings and living on floating islands. Although this world is mostly peaceful, the Empire of Alfard seeks to unseal an ancient dark power. Caught up in the struggle to stop them is Kalas, a young man out to avenge the murder of his family.

Baten Kaitos was one of those games that passed me by when it first released. I genuinely believed the people who told me it was an excellent game, I just never seemed to find time in my schedule to try it for myself. By the time I actually came to play it, I had convinced myself that it must be a true classic, a hidden gem that I would unreservedly love. Continue reading

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Ni no Kuni the movie

Yu, Haru and Kotona are best friends who are all attending high school together. When Kotona’s life is threatened by a mysterious man in black, Yu and Haru discover that the key to saving her is to travel to another world – a fantasy realm filled with magic. The two worlds are closely intertwined, and actions taken in one can have a profound effect on the other. Continue reading

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20@20: Celebrating the PS2 catalogue

The PlayStation 2 turned twenty years old recently – and for some of us, that’s an event that’s bound to make us feel old. I got my very first PS2 on its European release – an early 18th birthday present to make up for the fact that my original PlayStation and modest game catalogue had been stolen from my house a few months earlier.

That first PS2 has long since died, but I do have a shiny silver replacement that’s still going strong, not to mention US and JP PS2s gathering dust in the back of a cupboard just in case I want to play imported games. It should come as no surprise that I also have a massive catalogue of games – many of which I haven’t even got around to playing yet!

With that in mind, it only felt right to celebrate the PS2’s big anniversary with a selection of twenty(ish) games that I’ve enjoyed playing over the years. This is by no means supposed to be a list of the best games on the PS2, but rather a sample of the titles that stole away many hours of my life. Continue reading

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Final Fantasy VII Remake: Quick thoughts on the demo

For years, the Final Fantasy Remake felt like so much vaporware. Then, in more recent times, things started moving. All memories of the disappointing 2015 gameplay video were erased with newer, more vibrant trailers. Demos at gaming conventions whetted the appetite of many a gamer, but it was only this week that the average PS4 player got a chance to download and play the very first mission. Here are my thoughts.

Part One of FF7R covers the Midgar section of the original game, with the demo covering the very first reactor bombing – including the revamped Guard Scorpion battle and the subsequent timed escape from the reactor. Continue reading

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In This Corner of the World

An innocent dreamer with a love of drawing, Suzu grows up in Hiroshima in the 1930s and early 1940s. At age eighteen, she receives a marriage proposal from a man she doesn’t know, and moves across the country to live with him. As she gets to know her new family and learns to run a household, Suzu must also deal with the realities of rationing and bombing during World War II. Continue reading

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Promare

Like many other anime fans in the UK, on Tuesday 26th November, I ventured to the cinema for a screening of Promare. I had seen screenshots of the gorgeous art, and I knew that others had enjoyed it, but other than that, I really had no idea what the film was about or what I was letting myself in for. Fortunately, it turned out to be a most enjoyable experience. Continue reading

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Secret of Mana: Original versus remake

I’m late to the party on Secret of Mana. Back in the days of the Wii shop, I played past the bit where the main character gets kicked out of his village, only to fail to recruit the girl early and subsequently die in a “[CHARACTER] was never heard from again” incident. Despite resolving to move past this setback, it was only the release of both the PS4 remake and the Switch Collection of Mana that finally got me to touch the game again. Continue reading

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Penguin Highway

He may only be a fourth-grader, but Aoyama is already a budding genius with a keen interest in all things scientific – not to mention a secret crush on the lady who works at the dentist. When large numbers of penguins start showing up in his sleepy Japanese town, Aoyama decides to apply the scientific method to finding out where they came from. Continue reading

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