Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland proves to be a great entry in Gust’s long-running series, and much like the many concoctions made by Lulua, this is a refined final product that reflects several of the best traits of the predecessors that came before. If you can get past the ho-hum storytelling and learn to master the intimidating crafting system, you’ll find that it has plenty to offer in its surprisingly involved combat system, gorgeous locales, and rewarding gameplay loops. We'd give this game a strong recommendation to both longtime fans of the series and to those looking to see what it’s all about; Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland is one of the best entries in the franchise and a wonderful RPG that’s certainly worth your time.
Final Fantasy X was a watershed moment for the storied franchise, rightfully gaining widespread acclaim while also ushering the series into the new generation, and while Final Fantasy X-2 hasn’t quite reached the same level of influence, it stands as a fantastic adventure in its own right with a level of quality that surpasses most of the competition in the Switch library. Having both of these incredible games in one package, with all the international content thrown in, and with prettied up graphics and audio makes picking up this release a no-brainer. Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster successfully does justice to these two RPG classics as it brings them to a new age of players; we can’t recommend it highly enough.
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There's no denying the fact that Secret of Mana is one of the finest console RPGs of all time, and even though it's readily available elsewhere, playing it on Switch is like wrapping yourself up in a warm and familiar blanket; it's just right somehow. We could argue that Secret of Mana is merely the appetizer for the real star of this collection: Trials of Mana. It's nothing short of a masterpiece and finally getting the chance to play it officially in English is a landmark moment for SNES and RPG fans alike. Sure, there's the temptation to wait for the upcoming 3D remake – also confirmed for Switch – but if you're serious about this genre then it shouldn't take our recommendation to convince you to part with your hard-earned cash. What you've got here are two of the finest examples of the genre, accompanied by a third likeable entry which is also well worth a look. When you consider the many hours of top-notch entertainment on offer, this collection is a steal.
During the sixty to seventy hours it takes to make your way through the main story and DLC on offer in Pillars Of Eternity (much more should you choose, quite rightly, to meander), you’ll meet a cast of unforgettable travelling companions, fight your way through labyrinthine dungeons, explore deserted Dwarven fortresses, become Lord of your very own stronghold and undertake quests as varied as they are beautifully-written and acted. Obsidian has created a heartfelt tribute to the classic 'Infinity Engine' RPGs of old; one that takes the best of those games, delicately updates them and – in the process – becomes something of a classic itself. For RPG fans, this is a must-buy.
From its opening moments upon a prison ship bound for Fort Joy to non-stop adventures that take you across the high seas to the Reaper’s Coast, Nameless Isle and beyond, Divinity: Original Sin 2 simply dazzles. In its seemingly endless parade of well-written characters, hilarious narration, deep and rewarding physics-based combat and the myriad ways in which it allows to you to engage and toy and with its systems, this is a truly epic RPG that revels in choice more than any other that’s come before it. It takes the old-school isometric style of Baldur’s Gate, layers it with an unparalleled level of attention to detail and fuses it with a thoroughly modern take on meaningful player decisions, resulting in one of the greatest role-playing games available on any platform; and it’s all here, present and correct on a portable console.
Baldur’s Gate and Baldur’s Gate 2: Enhanced Editions aren't magical ground-up reworkings or spectacular remasters; these are games that are showing their age in many ways and there’s no doubt that some of the more recent tributes to the glory days of the Infinity Engine – games such as Divinity: Original Sin 2 or Pillars of Eternity – are, in many ways, more readily accessible and appealing to modern audiences. However, these are still classics of the genre that are absolutely worth persisting with. Once you get to grips with some of their more antiquated ways you’ll be handsomely rewarded with some of the deepest combat, best writing, voice-acting and characters you’re likely to find in the genre.
This is another strong showing from Beamdog that sees a real odd couple of classics in the best shape they've maybe ever been, coupled with a control system designed for consoles that makes them as effortless to play on the move as they are sat at a keyboard and mouse. Icewind Dale is probably as good as old-school combat ever got and is still an absolute gem for fans of epic dungeon-crawling who don't mind the brutal difficulty involved in getting the hang of its action. Planescape: Torment, on the other hand, is a narrative masterclass which still feels fresh as a daisy and is as bizarre, funny and endlessly replayable as it's ever been. Together, these two make for a pretty essential addition to your Switch's RPG library.
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is an experience unlike any other on the Switch, expertly blending standard RPG tropes with a heartwarming story, innovative art style, and an immersive soundtrack composed by some of the best in the business. In more ways than one, this is a ‘dream project’ that’s very existence is a gift to fans of the genre the world over. That said, it also notably falls short of being an undisputed masterpiece, as pacing issues and shoddy AI drag down an otherwise pitch perfect experience. Those issues aside, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch still proves to be lightyears ahead of many other RPGs. If you consider yourself a fan of the genre – or even if you’re just looking to get your feet wet – you owe it to yourself to give Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch a shot.
Pokémon Sword and Shield succeed in bringing some new ideas to the table, although there are areas where it could be pushed further. What’s done right is done right, but there are also elements that feel like they've come from a decade-old design document. There are moments contained within that are the best the series has ever been, but this joy is ocasionally spoiled by contrasting moments that left us disappointed. It's an experience full of highs and lows, from the unadulterated wonder and joy of seeing a brand-new Pokémon in a stadium full of cheering crowds, to the monotonous and dragged-out dialogue we just wanted to skip. The wonders of exploring the Wild Area feel like the true evolution of the series.
On the whole, Pokémon Sword and Shield are a very solid start to the HD generation of Pokémon games, although there's some room for improvement with the next outing, too.
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition is an achievement that Square should be proud of; this is one of the best games they’ve put out in years. A heartwarming, well-paced narrative supported by a cast of fantastic characters, a dense and interesting overworld packed with dozens of hours of content, and one of the finest soundtracks we’ve heard in a JRPG combine to make this an unforgettable modern classic. Whether you’re a newcomer to the JRPG genre or a returning vet, do yourself a favour and buy Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age as soon as you’re able. This is the epitome of a gift that keeps on giving, and it more than deserves a spot in your Switch library.
Not a bad ol' collection, is it? Think there's something missing? As always, share your thoughts in the comments.