‘Ancients: Death Watch’ was originally a shareware title for DOS in 1991 that served as an extended demo and proof of concept for its paid sequel, ‘Ancients II: Approaching Evil’ in 1994. Developed by Farr-Ware, a three-man team consisting of programmer Mark Lewis, and graphic art duo Jason Struck and Matthew McEwan, both were published by Epic MegaGames.
If any game has been a long time coming it’s Kingdom Hearts III, which has seen its life as a series extended through a variety of handheld entries that have been as vitally important to its plot as the main series’ numbered entries. Kingdom Hearts III is the cumulation of not a trilogy, but over 10 games in the current plot thread that all need to be paid off in this instalment. But does Kingdom Hearts stick the landing?
At one time the name Langrisser was a serious competitor with Fire Emblem and Shining Force in Japan. Five solid entries spanning from the Mega Drive (where it was renamed as ‘Warsong’ for western release) to the Sega Saturn era abruptly ended for the series to go dormant only to make an unexpected appearance on mobile devices in 2019.
The mighty Dragon Quest series releases infrequently when compared to other franchises, but when a new game does appear they are usually something special within the RPG community. Dragon Quest XI comes triumphantly back to consoles on the heels of Dragon Quest X’s lack of western release on last gen systems and after the successful handheld entry that was Dragon Quest IX on Nintendo DS. Having missed out on playing X, the new game can’t help but make a solid impression as the west’s first HD Dragon Quest offering.
After three relatively solid entries into the Onimusha series of adventure/horror titles (arguably Action RPGs with their levelling system for weapons) that closed off a tight trilogy in 2003, Capcom started to experiment with the IP. This gave us smash-clone ‘Onimusha: Blade Warriors’, ‘Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams’ the fourth entry into the series, and ‘Onimusha Tactics’ a fully-fledged tactical RPG for the Game Boy Advance.
It’s surprising that more games haven’t tried to ride the wave of interest that ‘Pokemon GO’ generated in geo-tagging games. To date there have been few serious attempts to do something new with the idea, which has remained largely unchanged since the launch of ‘Ingress’. Orna is a small, Indie team that’s taken on this challenge and for the most part they have risen to it spectacularly, adding some novel concepts that bring a lot of interest to the game. There’s precious little in the way of hand-holding too, with players effectively dropped into the world and given the onus to get on with things one turn-based battle at a time.
There are two schools of thought to Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness; there are those who think it’s a triumphant example of a traditional JRPG from Square Enix and those who derive the lack of significant process for the series and shallow story. Neither viewpoint is wrong, and that’s what seems to have led to this title being something of a black sheep of the 2017 games line-up.