Role-playing games with cumbersome titles rule the roost this week, with no less than four extraordinary adventures on the agenda.
Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr is arguably the biggest – in fact, in what’s a relatively quiet month, it’s one of June’s biggest releases full stop – this time taking place in Elsweyr, home of the cat-like Khajiit. No doubt thanks to a certain TV series, it also has a stronger emphasis dragon battling – with a range of new dragon felling weapons promised – and it introduces the new Necromancer class too.
Due to the game’s scope and scale, as well as its online nature, we weren’t expecting to see reviews surface for a while. However, the first review went live today – French outlet JeuxVideo awarded it 16/20 (an 8.0).
Warhammer: Chaosbane reviews have been knocking around for a few days. Comparisons with Diablo seem inescapable, as it’s clearly created with Diablo III players in mind. Or rather, the developers are rather keen for a slice of Diablo pie. Scores are good but not great, mostly clocking in at either 6/10 or 7/10, resulting in a 65% Metacritic.
“Welcome to ‘Hold X’ Simulator. In this game, your chosen hero moves through dungeons, while you hold X. Holding X kills everything. If you stop holding X, you will take damage and may need to heal,” reads one Metacritic user review.
Then we have The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II on PS4, which isn’t a new release per see – it was first released on PS3 and PS4 Vita in 2014, before receiving a localised PC release in 2018. This is its PS4 debut, being a remaster of sorts. The consensus is that if you haven’t played it before, here’s the perfect time to get involved.
This leaves us with the very-well received Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, which may very well be the final major 3DS release. I guess we’ll know after E3 if Nintendo has any other titles planned. It’s a heck of a way to go out – if you still play your 3DS regularly, it’s pretty much essential. Collectors will no doubt have a copy pre-ordered already as it’s bound to skyrocket in value in the coming years.
Stepping away from role-playing games, we have a belated PS4/Xbox One release of Toki – an arcade game remaster which hit the Switch last December. This had something of a rough development, starting out as an XBLA game, which ultimately lead to a lukewarm reception at launch. The price tag may have also had something to do with this – it’s a whopping £29.99 on Switch. Here’s hoping this re-release is more sensibly priced.
Looking ahead to the rest of June, we can expect MotoGP 19, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, F1 2019, The Sinking City, and Mario Maker 2. A surprise stealthy E3 release (a la last year’s Unravel 2) also seems likely.
New release showcase:
7/10 – TheSixthAxis: Warhammer: Chaosbane is a good, solid dungeon crawling action RPG, but outside of a well executed Warhammer theme it’s just not doing anything new. I feel bad for underselling Chaosbane, as I did enjoy my time with it. However, it’s standing in the shadow of Diablo III, a titan that’s been doing it for a long time and that you can’t help but make comparisons with. Warhammer: Chaosbane is good and it could mature into something great, but right now it pales next to its daddy.
6.5 – PSU: Warhammer Chaosbane is a great start to a new ARPG, but it definitely feels like a “start”. The skill system feels too restrictive, the loot drops come too slow, and the environments and enemies are repetitive. That said, the game still manages to be fun to play, but more development is needed to make Chaosbane one for the ages.
6.0 – PlayStation Lifestyle: When a game takes on the action-RPG style of Diablo, I don’t expect it to be as good as Diablo, and I certainly don’t expect it to be the exact same. I enjoy seeing what other developers do with the style to make it their own. Other than the skill trees, Warhammer: Chaosbane does not have much to separate it from Diablo, and what it does have sorely lacks depth.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II
9/10 – RPG Site: Despite its unfortunate performance issues, this sequel is better than its predecessor in almost every way. Just like with its predecessor, it’s hard to think of a reason to not pick up this version of the game if you can’t play it on PC. Now that both games are available on a PS4, there hasn’t been a better time to play them if you ever had even a passing interest in them
8/10 – PSU: This is the best way to play The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II. Visuals remain relatively the same as the PS3 version, albeit upscaled to higher resolution. The biggest changes come from perfect performance and Turbo Mode. Both add the kind of quality-of-life an epic-sized RPG such as this needs in order to feel as fresh as the first time you played it.
68% – COG Connected: There’s a satisfying combat system, a halfway decent story, and a lot of weird little activities to keep you busy. I was just hoping for some more growth between the first game and the second one. There’s so little change compared to the first game. You’re working the same gameplay loop, experiencing the same story, and being guided through the same tutorials. In fact, based on how much setup I suffered through the first time, the second game invalidates the need to play the first one.
Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth
9/10 – Nintendo Life: If you consider yourself to be an RPG fan and you still haven’t sold off the old 3DS, we’d highly encourage you to look into picking this one up; as the final release on a platform that’s enjoyed a proud and successful run, what a way to go out.
8.5 – GameInformer: Whether it’s the adrenaline rush from a hard-fought boss encounter or the thrill of watching the characters bond, this is a delightful journey in and out of battle
8/10 – Destructoid: Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth hinges on a few hefty qualifiers. You have to dig JRPGs for one, and be willing to accept random battles in 2019. You also have to not be sick of Persona 5’s characters, which for some, is a tall order. For everyone else, there’s plenty of fun to be had. It also gets major points as one of the potentially final big 3DS releases from a major publisher that is best served on the 3DS platform. As stylus-based touchscreens are phased out, Persona Q2 is one last rallying battle cry.
7/10 – The Metro: A slight downgrade on the original but still a fun crossover that works as a crash course in the joys of both Persona and Etrian Odyssey.
New digital multi-format releases:
The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr
Super Blood Hockey
New on PSN:
Injection 23 ‘No name, no number’
Word Wheel by POWGI
Super Blood Hockey
HELLMUT: THE BADASS FROM HELL
DragonFangZ – The Rose & Dungeon of Time
Lapis x Labyrinth
Please, Don’t Touch Anything
Stunt Kite Party
Summer Sports Games
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II
New on Xbox One store:
Omensight: Definitive Edition
New Nintendo retail releases
Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth (3DS)
Next week: Dragon Star Varnir, Verlet Swing, Battle Worlds Kronos (Switch), Adventures of Bertram Fiddle: Episode 2: A Bleaker Predicklement (Xbox One), 2URVIVE, Hollow, and Hexologic.