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.
A special mention should also go to Planescape: Torment & Icewind Dale Enhanced Edition, 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 if you can't get enough of Infinity Engine classics on Switch.
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.
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Nearly two years on from its initial release, The Alliance Alive HD Remastered proves to be a perfectly competent port of an already fantastic handheld game. A well-written story, a smartly interwoven and complex system of gameplay mechanics, and a distinctive visual style makes this a no-brainer for anybody looking for a consistently high-quality RPG experience on their Switch. It may feel a little simple, given its origins on the 3DS, but don’t make the mistake of passing up on The Alliance Alive HD Remastered, it’s well worth your time.
There’s something here for everyone in Rune Factory 4 Special, but its greatest strength is how it ties together everything into one thoroughly enjoyable package. Varied gameplay, strong writing, and an emphasis on progressing at your own pace make this one of the best farm sim games available on the Switch to date. We’d give this one a high recommendation to anyone looking for an engaging yet undemanding game for their Switch. the new features do little to justify the cost of entry for those who have already played it on the 3DS, but on Switch Rune Factory 4 Special proves itself to be a modern classic that melds farming and combat into a beautiful RPG experience.
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 how many titles Konami is packing into its Anniversary Collection packages – and that their retail price is almost half what Square Enix is demanding for the three games included here – it's impossible to not question the value of Collection of Mana. However, 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 appetiser 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.
A 3D remake of the Super Famicom title included in the collection above, Trials of Mana proves itself to be a successful revival of a lost classic, smartly infusing new design and content where necessary while still maintaining the spirit of the original. Multi-threaded storylines, an enjoyable combat system and flexible character progression combine to make this one a fantastic experience from start to finish, even if occasional performance problems hinder the experience somewhat. We’d give Trials of Mana a high recommendation to RPG fans and newcomers alike; there’s plenty here to love for both camps, and we hope that this release could act as a blueprint for future entries in the Mana series.
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.