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‘Overwatch 2’ Gameplay Trailer: A Shot-By-Shot Analysis

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BlizzCon 2019 is well underway and one of the biggest announcements that came with it was that Overwatch was indeed getting a sequel aptly named Overwatch 2. This didn’t really come as a surprise due to the recent leaks (all of which turned out to be true) but we got a brand new cinematic as well as a gameplay trailer and a demo that attendants of the convention got the opportunity to play through.  While the gameplay trailer doesn’t actually show a huge amount of gameplay, it seems like a good place to start with a shot for shot analysis to see what information we can garner about the upcoming title.

So as Lucio would say, let’s break it down!

The Omnics Are Coming

The trailer starts with Lucio speaking to the rest of the Overwatch team through comms to say that he is being overrun by Null Sector, the omnic threat that ignited the war between humans and omnics within the lore of the game. He says he will hold them as long as he can as we see him looking out at a huge aerial ship later said to be the omnic command centre. Lucio’s home country of Rio de Janerio is one of the new maps being introduced to the game and we get a pretty clear look at it here. We also see some of Lucio’s new look, but more on the character updates later.

Ironclad

Next we see Ironclad Industries, sure to be associated with Torbjörn and Brigitte due to their affiliation with The Ironclad Guild. Ironclad Industries looks like it will be a part of the new map based in Gothenburg, Sweden, the home land of Torbjörn and his daughter. We hear Torbjörn ask Reinhardt why he is there and Reinhardt responds with, “It’s happening again” in reference to the Null Sector attacks.

Uprising

Brigitte narrates that Null Sector threat was clearly not just a one off occurrence, but instead a fully fledged invasion on a global scale.

Battlefield Banter

The best look at some of the new character designs comes in the next moment of the trailer when Lucio and Tracer share a few words whilst  on the battlefield. There is certainly a crisper feel to their new look. More on that later when we see some of the other heroes.

Story Missions

The next element of Overwatch 2 that we get to see is the incorporation of story missions. These look to be similar to the Archives events from the current Overwatch but on a larger scale. A feature often asked for in Overwatch was a story mode of sorts. The lore of Overwatch is vast but very little of it is actually included in the game, so this may well be the narrative element that we have been waiting for. We also get a look at Reinhardt, Mei and Tracer as they prepare to take on a mission.

There is also another look at the mission set in Gothenburg. Two more heroes make an appearance here, Bastion and Torbjörn, as they fight alongside Brigitte and Reinhardt. The story missions are going to be introducing an item system which allows for certain items to be equipped for the duration of the mission such as barriers, grenades and healing systems.

Student and Teacher

One of the characters who is spectacularly lacking in narrative involvement is Zenyatta. There is a little bit that can be gathered about his background as a Shambali monk who acted as Genji’s mentor but not much else is known. We get a shot of Genji and Zenyatta here, suggesting that Genji will get a story mission involving his former mentor. Here’s hoping that Zenyatta finally gets the attention and lore that he deserves.

Talon Trouble

Terrorist organisation Talon has had a major role in Overwatch history, with several of the games playable characters being current or former members. In the “Retribution” Overwatch event, the player must fight against several elite Talon soldiers and we see them here in the trailer (including that damn irritating sniper). We then see Doomfist declaring that “Nobody will stop us”. Doomfist is the leader of Talon and is sure to be a viable threat to Overwatch. On the official Play Overwatch website, Talon is described as an “enemy faction” alongside the omnics of Null Sector so they may have multiple missions based around them that include the Talon characters (Widowmaker, Reaper etc) in interesting ways.

Headquarters

A quick look at some kind of base for the Overwatch team and some of the new designs for the members. We see Mei, Lucio, Genji, Reinhardt, Winston, Mercy, and the newest addition, Sojourn. As I previously said, their designs definitely look a little more polished than their Overwatch designs.

World Map

The team gather around a world map with several key areas highlighted. Overwatch fans will already be familiar with most of the pinpointed areas as they already have maps in game. There are only two locations that are new but they will be getting new maps in Overwatch 2: Toronto and Rio De Janeiro.

Hero Missions

Another feature in the sequel will be Hero Missions. These will be more specific missions set for certain characters. The trailer boasts that Hero Missions will have “highly replayable co-op” as we see another father and daughter team up with Torbjörn and Brigitte. There is then a shot of Winston and Mercy in the well known Route 66 map (I think I spotted Ashe in the background too) fighting against Null Sector. This is followed by a mission between Tracer, Lucio and Hanzo and this is where we see one of the more interesting additions to the sequel .

Level Up

The Hero Missions will include a level up system and a range of new abilities for the heroes. The example we get is Tracer. We see the two abilities that she has at level one — Adaptive Reload and Hindsight — and the player gets to choose between one that will be usable in the mission. As the character becomes a higher level, more abilities become available to choose from. It is an RPG element at its most basic, which is a little disappointing to me as I would assume that a whole new game could warrant a vaster skill tree. However, during the Overwatch 2 panel at Blizzcon, Jeff Kaplan stated that this was a feature in early development and could be changed during production. It is still an interesting addition to the formula that separates hero missions from story missions.

Abilities and Combos


Customisable abilities are shown off further in the next few shots which show Genji throwing his blade into a group of enemies to take out several at once.

The next hero whose new ability we see is Mei as she encases herself within her ice block and then releases a blast which freezes those around her. It looks similar to her current ultimate ability but looks a little less cumbersome in that she doesn’t have to throw Snowball out first.

An example of a combination of abilities is shown next as Reinhardt smashes the enemies that Mei had frozen with an ability called “Hammer Strike”. Combinations of ultimates is possible now so it is no surprise that combining abilities would be introduced in the new system.

Push It Real Good

A new PVP game mode is the next feature to be shown in the trailer: Push. The game mode will feature teams fighting to escort a giant robot into enemy territories. The team that pushes the robot furthest wins. This does sound like a fun new addition, but it seems like a game mode that could have been added to the current Overwatch. I do worry that there won’t be enough new material to actually warrant a full sequel but hopefully these worries will be alleviated. The Push robot, however, is one of the best parts of the whole trailer. I would die for him and I probably will repeatedly.

New Maps

A few new maps have been announced for Overwatch 2 as well: Toronto, Rio de Janerio and Gothenburg. Again, I do wonder whether this material warrants a full game rather than just an expansion of the original. Perhaps a whole new host of maps will be announced closer to the release date. The maps, new characters and the Push PVP mode will also be available to play on the original Overwatch with both Overwatch and Overwatch 2 players able to join in and play together. This is just one of the few crossover features from the original game. Players will also be able to access their skins and all the characters from Overwatch in Overwatch 2.

Makeover

The trailer then shows the new looks of the core characters being used in the marketing for Overwatch 2: Tracer, Reinhardt, Mei, Lucio and Mercy. Reinhardt’s man bun is magnificent. Lucio’s green locks are glorious. Mercy has had a haircut, possibly to avoid desperate players yanking her ponytail while screaming for healing. Mei has a cool new outfit and hair style (see what I did there?) and Tracer looks a little more hi-tech than she originally did. She also seems to have had a change in body shape, looking more realistic and curvier than she did before. As a woman who constantly struggles with body image issues (who doesn’t in this day and age?) it is nice to see a design change to make a female character look more real.

Artwork from development also shows a new style for Torbjörn and Bastion. Bastion has a hat and that makes me so very happy.

Sojourn

The trailer then announces new heroes for the game but the only one currently confirmed is Soujorn, a cybernetically enhanced Canadian member of the original Overwatch team who has been teased since the very first animated short. Sojourn clearly has a strong link to the main narrative of Overwatch so her involvement is no surprise. Another character that we saw in the new “Zero Hour” cinematic is Echo, a robot who was introduced in the “Reunion” animated short and whose concept art is used in the original trailer for Overwatch.  It is possible that she could be introduced as a hero at some point, though there is no confirmation yet.

Actual Gameplay!

The last few shots of the trailer seem to be the actual gameplay. You can tell that the HUD has been changed somewhat, more so for the story and hero missions than PVP.  There is some Lucio, Widowmaker, Reaper, Reinhardt and Tracer gameplay.

The story/hero gameplay shows an extra ability icon on the bottom right hand side for each character that takes longer to refresh than normal. This is likely the ability that the player gets to choose in the hero missions.


There isn’t a huge amount changed in terms of gameplay that can be seen in this small segment but again everything looks a little crisper, clearer and more fluid.

Shoot Em Up

We get a small glimpse of Sojourn’s weapon in the next shot as we see what looks a highlight intro for her. She has a rather large gun but the best part is when she leaps into the air and her other arm turns into a different gun. A hero with cybernetic abilities — such as the whole turning limbs into weaponry things — could be really fun to play and could combine with other heroes quite well.

Overwatch 2

As I said, I’m not sure as to whether a full game is entirely necessary for the additional features that will be included. The story and the hero missions all look very similar to the events in Overwatch but it is possible that they could have more substance. I should certainly hope so for the price tag of a full game. The crossover between Overwatch and Overwatch 2 is also promising but it makes me wonder as to whether the original Overwatch will eventually be rendered redundant by the sequel. I am a massive Overwatch fan (if you couldn’t already tell) so I was super excited when I saw the announcement. I try to be realistic though, hence the skepticism. I am really hoping that Overwatch 2 will offer a strong narrative experience that will be worth the price of admission.

Overwatch 2 does not yet have a release date. Stay tuned for more info. Check out the latest animated short “Zero Hour” below.

Antonia Haynes resides in a small seaside town in England where she has lived her whole life. She's a simple girl with a passion for zombies, writing, film, television, drawing, superheroes, Disney and, of course, video games. Her ideal day would consist of junk food, fluffy pyjamas and video games because quite frankly going outside is overrated. Follow her on Twitter on @RainbowMachete

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  1. Brigitte

    November 23, 2019 at 7:45 am

    Quality articles is the crucial to interest the people to go to see the site,
    that’s what this website is providing.

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PAX South Hands-On: ‘Streets of Rage 4’ Balances Legacy and Innovation

Streets of Rage 4 embodies the original series’ elegant, action-packed design and revives it for a new generation.

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Streets of Rage 4

From the moment I began my demo with Streets of Rage 4 at PAX South, it felt like coming home. It might have been more than two decades since the first three games in the Streets of Rage series perfected the beat ‘em up formula on the Sega Genesis, but courtesy of developers Lizardcube, DotEmu, and Guard Crush, this legendary series is back and in good hands. This brand new entry aims to recapture all the style and balance of the originals, while introducing innovations of its own. If my demo is any indication, the game is set to achieve that.

Streets of Rage 4 uses the same elegant level design that set the original trilogy apart back on the Genesis. The gameplay is simple: keep walking to the right, taking out every enemy in front of you with all the jabs, kicks, jumps, and special moves at your disposal. If anything, the controls feel better than ever before, with an added level of precision and fluidity that simply wasn’t possible on older hardware.

Streets of Rage 4

That’s not to mention the new move sets. Beat ’em ups might not be the most complex genre around, but Streets of Rage 4 adds the perfect level of depth to the combat. It has the same simple jabs and kicks found in the original games, but spiced up with the potential for new combos and even a handful of extravagant new special moves. With new and old fighting mechanics, this new entry features plenty of room to experiment with combat but never loses the simple, arcade-like charm of the originals.

Streets of Rage 4 revives the series’ rage-filled and action-packed style for the twenty-first century

The demo included series staple characters like Axel and Blaze, yet I opted to play as an all-new character: Cherry Hunter, a guitar-wielding fighter whose move set felt very distinct from classic characters. Her movement is speedy, certainly faster than Axel but slower than Blaze, and her guitar provided for some unique melee moves. Like the new mechanics, her addition to the character roster helps shake up the Streets of Rage formula just enough, while maintaining the core beat ’em up simplicity that made the series special in the first place.

Streets of Rage 4

Streets of Rage 4 might innovate in a few areas, but one thing that’s clearly remained true to form is the difficulty. It boasts of the same old school difficulty that characterized the original games. The classic and brand new enemies are just as ruthless as ever, mercilessly crowding in around you and can easily overwhelm you if you’re not careful. However, just like the originals, the fighting feels so satisfying that it’s easy to keep coming back for more action.

Amid all these changes and additions, perhaps the most obvious (and controversial) change is the visual style. While the original series used detailed pixel art, Streets of Rage 4 instead boasts of an extremely detailed handcrafted art style, in which every frame of character animation is painstakingly drawn by hand and environments are colorful and painterly. Thousands of frames of animation go into each character, and the effort certainly shows, making every punch, kick, and other acts of violence a breathtaking sight to behold.

Streets of Rage 4 reimagines this classic series for a new generation, reintroducing the best of the beat ’em up genre for players of all backgrounds and experiences.

Some fans have complained that the game loses the series’ spirit without pixel art, but DotEmu marketing director Arnaud De Sousa insisted to me that this simply isn’t the case. Pixel art wasn’t an artistic choice back then – it was a matter of necessity. If the developers could have designed the game to look exactly as they wanted, regardless of technical limitations, then it likely would have looked just like the luscious hand-drawn visuals of the current Streets of Rage 4.

That’s not to mention that, as De Sousa emphasized, the Streets of Rage games are defined by looking different from one another. The third game looks different from the second, which looked different from the first – and now this new entry has twenty years of change to catch up on. Thus, it only makes sense for this new entry to adopt a radically new graphical style after all this time.

Streets of Rage 4

Streets of Rage 4 reimagines this classic series for a new generation, reintroducing the best of the beat ’em up genre for players of all backgrounds and experiences. The difference between De Sousa and myself is perfect evidence of that. He grew up playing the games in the 90s, whereas I wasn’t even born when the original trilogy became such a phenomenon and only played them years later in subsequent re-releases. Yet here we were, standing in the middle of a crowded convention and gushing about decades-old games. We might have had extremely different experiences with the series, but that didn’t stop us from appreciating the joys of stylish beat ’em up action.

“A good game is a good game,” De Sousa told me, “no matter how old.” That’s the attitude that Streets of Rage 4 exemplifies. It revives the series’ rage-filled and action-packed design for the twenty-first century. And with a release on all modern platforms, more players than ever will be able to rediscover the simple pleasure of wielding your bare knuckles against thugs of all types. Between the new art style and the solid gameplay, Streets of Rage 4 is looking like an incredibly welcome return for this iconic franchise.

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An In-Depth Analysis of FIFA’s Career Mode

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Fifa’s Career Mode

It’s a well-known fact that career mode on FIFA has been a long-neglected element of the best selling sports games series of all time. But for soccer fans who want to pretend to be a football manager, but also want to personally play the game, FIFA is currently the main option.

The problem is: for a 60 dollar game, almost nothing about FIFA career mode works properly. 

Two of the most game-breaking bugs in FIFA career mode are so bad that it fundamentally makes the game unplayable for those who want to feel any sort of immersion. 

The first is a bug that makes it so that top teams will sign many more players for a position than they could possibly need. 

For example, Bayern might end up signing 6 or 7 great center backs, and then only play three or four of them, while what they really need to sign might be a winger or a fullback. 

This leads into the second huge issue: even when a team like Bayern HAS 6 or 7 great center-backs, they will STILL often choose to start second or third-string center backs! This often leads to top teams languishing at 12th or 13th in the tables by the end of the season, which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Everything about this image is wrong. Everything. The top three teams in this table shouldn’t finish higher than 7th more than once every ten seasons between them, and teams that should finish first and second aren’t even in the top eight. 64 points near the end of the season for first place is also a very low number. 

There’s been plenty of other issues as well. Even on the highest difficulties, AI on both defense and ESPECIALLY offense ranges from poor to horrible, with the AI on offense rarely actually running at the defense (making defending boring and unrewarding), leaving players like Messi or Hazard to not even try to use their incredible dribbling ability and speed and instead pass away the ball as soon as they get it. 

Instead, the most common way the AI scores are by performing a janky, unrealistic and clearly scripted pinball, with impossibly precise passes between 4 or 5 players before the ball ends up in the back of the net. 

Another major problem with the game (though some might call it simply a feature in presenting a more arcade-like, less realistic take on soccer) is your ability (if you’re a big club) to buy multiple huge players and bring them to your club easily in your first season, making the game an absolute cakewalk. 

After years of incompetence and the ignoring of career mode’s many issues, however, EA finally faced serious backlash with the release of FIFA 20–the most broken iteration in the series yet. 

For a while, #fixcareermode was trending on twitter, and reviews blasted FIFA for its litany of issues, like players going on precipitous declines in stats right when they reach the age of 30.

Yet these bugs were treated by some in the media as a first time thing, issues that had only appeared in the latest iteration. They weren’t.

As one Reddit user noted to Eurogamer: “In the last few years, every FIFA game released has had bugs that ruin the immersion. Teams not starting their strongest lineups and unrealistic tables have been an issue not just for FIFA 20 but earlier editions. Our cries for patches and change have fallen on deaf ears. The community has been grossly neglected.”

The linked article by the Independent above wasn’t accurate in other ways, either. It claims that only simulated matches suffered from the bug of teams not playing their best players, and other articles have claimed that this bug only occurs when a big team plays against a small team. 

But neither of these claims is accurate. 

Fifa’s Career Mode

You could play against a top team like Barcelona, and you could also be a top team like Real Madrid, and Barcelona would still consistently field third or fourth-string players over the likes of Messi against your team. 

This wasn’t an occasional thing, either. At least three or four top players were benched for players 20 or more points below them every game. Every. Single. Game. 

I haven’t even mentioned the commentary in FIFA, which is so buggy and so immersion-breaking in its disconnection from reality that it’s more immersive to just turn it off entirely. 

What is so infuriating is that that many of the bugs seem like fairly minor fixes (commentary issues aside), something that seems like it would take no more than a few hours of rooting around in the code to figure out whatever misplaced number value was causing the issue.

The fact that these major issues have existed for at least no less than SIX years (FIFA 14 was the first game I played) indicates definitively how little EA cares about its products, and how little the designers care about actual football or delivering an enjoyable experience out of Ultimate Team. 

Of course, Ultimate Team alone in 2017 accounted for almost a third of all of EA’s revenue from sports titles, so it’s somewhat understandable why Ea focuses most of its attention on that element of FIFA.

FIFA

But with the amount of effort put into the new “futsal” mode in FIFA 2020, or the three campaign-like “Journey” modes from FIFA 17 to FIFA 19, one wonders why the developers couldn’t have spent just a little more effort to fix a mode that was in many ways fundamentally broken.

FIFA have made certain changes to career mode over this period, so it’s not like they’ve ignored it entirely. But the changes made to career mode in the six years I’ve played it have all either made the game much worse, slightly worse or had no great effect. 

The major changes over this period have included: 

A slightly updated youth system, which has suffered from its own serious bugs over the years, such as youth prospects never gaining stats in sprint speed or acceleration so that you end up getting stuck with players with 50 to 70 speed for eternity; a widely disliked training system for players that is utterly broken and unfair, allowing you to train players to abilities well beyond what is even vaguely realistic within a matter of a year or two; a new display screen for your team; the removal of form; the slight modification of morale; adding the ability to talk with your players; and, last but not least, transfer cut scenes which are the most incredibly pointless wastes of time in any sports game, both for the player and for the developers–at least they’re skippable. There is the ability to customize your manager–perhaps the most positive change made in this six-year period. But that’s still stunningly sad given that you will very rarely actually see your manager at all. 

None of these modifications, you may have noticed, go any way towards fixing the fundamental issues with the game, issues which have been pointed out to EA year after year.

It’s fair to say that one of the main reasons that FIFA got away with what it did for so long was not thanks to the players, but the media. 

Year after year, reviews for FIFA received solid scores (hovering around the low to mid 80’s), whereas user reviews were usually much lower. It was only this year that media reviews seriously pointed out issues with the career mode. 

The fact that FIFA received so much better reviews from reviewers as compared to players is easily explained away by the fact that the former usually play the game for comparatively shorter times, and therefore tends to miss a lot of the details. 

In response to the recent outrage which had finally reached a degree of publicity that EA could no longer ignore, EA finally patched some of FIFA’s issues, like the problem of teams not fielding their strongest lineups at least semi-frequently. This was a huge step towards making career mode not fundamentally broken, but whether or not the other most glaring issue of teams like Juventus signing 9 80+rated strikers (yes, that happened in my game once) has been solved remains to be seen. Given that I mostly gave up on the series after FIFA19 continued the same problems of its predecessors, I don’t think it’ll be me that finds out.

  • Evan Lindeman
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‘Atelier Ryza’ Warms the Heart No Matter the Season

Atelier Ryza excels at creating a sense of warmth and familiarity, and could be just what you need during the winter months.

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atelier ryza

The Atelier series is something of a unicorn in the JRPG genre. It isn’t known for its world-ending calamities or continent-spanning journeys; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. The small-town feel and more intimate storytelling of Atelier games has made them some of the most consistently cozy experiences in gaming, and Ryza is no exception. No matter if it’s this winter or next, here’s why Atelier Ryza is the perfect type of RPG to warm your heart this winter.

Ryza starting her alchemy journey.

Like a Warm Blanket

Unlike protagonists from other entries in the franchise, Reisalin Stout (or Ryza for short) has never stepped foot in an atelier or even heard of alchemy at the start of her game. Instead, she’s just a fun-loving and mischevious girl from the country who spends her days in search of adventure with her childhood pals Lent and Tao. It’s this thrill-seeking that eventually leads the trio to meet a mysterious wandering alchemist and learn the tricks of the trade.

The entirety of Atelier Ryza takes place during summer, and it’s clear that the visual design team at Gust had a field day with this theme. In-game mornings are brought to life through warm reds, yellows, and oranges, while the bright summer sun beams down incessantly in the afternoon and gives way to cool evenings flooded by shades of blue and the soft glow of lanterns. Ryza’s visual prowess is perhaps most noticeable in the lighting on its character models, which are often given a warm glow dependent on the time of day.

The cozy sensibilities of the countryside can be felt elsewhere as well. The farm Ryza’s family lives on aside, the majority of environments are lush with all manner of plant life, dirt roads, and rustic architecture. Menus feature lovely wooden and papercraft finishes that simulate notepads or photos on a desk. Townspeople will even stop Ryza to remark on how much she’s grown and ask about buying some of her father’s crops. Everything just excels at feeling down-to-earth homey.

The titular Atelier Ryza.

An Intimate Take on Storytelling

Kurken Island and the surrounding mainland feel expansive as a whole but intimate in their design. This is partially due to the readily-accessible fast travel system that Atelier Ryza employs; instead of a seamless open world, most players will find themselves jumping from location to location to carry out quests and harvest ingredients for alchemy. However, there’s still strong incentive to explore the nearby town thanks to tons of random side quests and little cutscenes that trigger as players progress through the main story.

It’s an interesting way to tackle world-building. Instead of relying on intricate dialogue like The Outer Worlds or massive cinematic cutscenes like Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Atelier Ryza lets players get a feel for its world rather naturally through everyday conversations. These scenes run the gamut from Ryza’s parents yelling at her to help more around the farm to running into and catching up with old friends who’d moved overseas. They’re unobtrusive and brief, but the sheer number of them gradually establishes a cast that feels alive and familiar.

The town drunk and Lent's father, Samuel.

Of course, post-holidays winter is also the season for more somber tales. The relationship between Lent and his alcoholic father is striking in its realistic depiction of how strained some father-son relationships can become.

The narrative escalates subtly: An early cutscene shows Mr. Marslink stumbling onto Ryza’s front lawn thinking it’s his. Then an event triggers where the neighborhood jerks tease Lent about being the son of the town drunk. Lent’s house is a small shack pulled back from the rest of the town, and visiting it triggers one of the few scenes where Ryza can actually talk to Mr. Marslink himself. The situation eventually reveals itself to be so bad that it completely explains why Lent is gung-ho about being out of the house whenever he can.

Though Lent’s general character motivation is wanting to get stronger and protect the town, it’s the heartfelt insights like these that make him much more relatable as a party member. Atelier Ryza features no grand theatrics or endless bits of exposition, but instead favors highlighting interpersonal conversations as Ryza continues to learn more about the people and world around her.

Atelier Ryza

Cozy games rarely get enough credit. Just like the Animal Crossing series or Pokemon: Let’s Go provides players with a warmth that can stave off the harshest of winters, Atelier Ryza succeeds in being the lighthearted, touching JRPG fans wanted. It’s both aesthetically pleasing and heartwarming in the way it builds out its world and cast of characters, and seeing Ryza gradually grow more confident and capable is a joy unto itself. If you’re in need of a blanket until Animal Crossing: New Horizons comes out in March, you can’t go wrong here.

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