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Gained 100+ total review likes

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Played 250+ games

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Participated in the 2014 Replay Event

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Favorite Games

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
Undertale
Undertale
NieR: Automata
NieR: Automata
Persona 5
Persona 5

365

Total Games Played

000

Played in 2024

173

Games Backloggd


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The Professor Layton series is a consistently solid series of brain teaser puzzle games, and also one of the most out there visual novels I've played. Those are the two axis by which all Layton games are judged: Puzzle quality and story quality.

Luckily, the original is one of the best in both departments. The brainteasers are consistently clever and thoughtful, and importantly diverse. It could maybe be argued that it's too diverse, but I think the variety keeps it interesting. The story is great and memorable too, the mystery is well paced and concludes satisfyingly, it's hard to predict its twists but they never feel too out there or unearned.

The Layton games are classic puzzlers, and the original is one of the best. A genre highlight for sure.

One of the best games I totally suck at, I just don't have the reflexes for its rhythm action gameplay. That never really bothered me much though, struggling through the gameplay was absolutely worth one of the best looking games I've ever played.

That's not to say the gameplay isn't fun! It absolutely is. Over it's short runtime, the game manages to play with its central rhythm action gameplay loop in plenty of new and interesting ways. The game is more of a high score chaser than anything, but the ideas are so fresh that playing it over again feels worth it.

The real hook is the visual aesthetic though, full of colour and vibrancy, choreography so arresting that it's hypnotic. And the music, always key for any rhythm based game, is consistently excellent throughout the game.

Sayonara Wild Hearts is a short game, but a great experience for any rhythm game fan. Highly recommended to any fans of the genre.

I've tried to keep this review as spoiler free as possible. Though I think I've avoided spoilers as best I can, your mileage may vary, so read with caution.

My preferred style of Fire Emblem game is a story heavy approach. My favorite in the series as of time of writing is Three Houses, primarily because for whatever it lacks in gameplay variety, it makes up for in story ambition. Ambition is worth more to me than competency, give me something interesting.

It's because of its ambition that I'm being kinder to Radiant Dawn than I think it really deserves. The story is ambitious for sure, I don't even necessarily think it's too ambitious, it's just working with a plot too rotten to really be salvaged. I will keep this review spoiler free, but I really can't stress how much I hate the game's third act. Fantasy racism is a complicated thing to handle, and even the game's predecessor didn't handle it perfectly, but even by those standards Radiant Dawn is a bad attempt.

Radiant Dawn is in some ways, a first stab at a type of Fire Emblem story that would be continued in Fates and Three Houses, the attempt to tell a war story where each side of the war is equally sympathetic. Three Houses pulling that off so well is a big part of why I liked it, it gave the story much more weight and emotion than any generic bad guy could give it. Again, staying spoiler free, all I'll say is that Radiant Dawn fails at that. These two sides are not equally sympathetic, there is no heartbreak in seeing the two sides fight each other. It's a dramatic failure in a conflict that is supposed to be the backbone of the story.

The removal of support conversations hammers that home even further. Though returning characters often get a chance to refamiliarize themselves as part of the story (though certainly not always), new characters are uniformly underdeveloped and often totally side-lined as the story progresses. You don't get chance to feel for these characters because unless you already knew them from Path of Radiance, you won't get a chance to learn about them again. For what it's worth, what little we get of most characters is almost unchanged from Path of Radiance, to the point of walking back any previous development they may have had, so you shouldn't be too lost in that case.

Ultimately story is where I find the meat of Fire Emblem, so I can't comment too much on whether the gameplay is solid. From my experience, I found myself frustrated by underleveled units in certain armies than made an irritating difficulty curve, but this could easily be a plus for a more strategy focused fan. Your mileage may vary, all I can say for sure is it's a much harder game than its predecessor, even without factoring in the mislabelling of the game's normal/hard modes.

I love the characters of the Tellius saga, this is maybe my favorite cast across all the games, and it upsets me to no end that I can't love this game more, but I can't. Maybe in a remake, they could iron out some of the weaker plot points and adjust character motivations for a better narrative. I can't really recommend this one as is though.