Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes Review - One In A Hundred

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In the years since the explosion of game crowdfunding, a stigma has emerged surrounding these titles. Yes, there have been plenty of games that enjoyed great success after their crowdfunding campaigns, but more people remember the high-profile flops: games with big names and ambitious promises attached that, for a variety of reasons, betrayed the high hopes fans held for them. Many of these were revivals--spiritual or otherwise--of beloved series from ages past. Now we have Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, a crowdfunded game designed to carry the torch of the much-beloved Suikoden series from the PS1 and PS2--and, with such a high pedigree attached, there's understandable trepidation: Will this be a glorious return to form, or another disappointment? Fortunately, for us (and all of the backers), it turned out wonderfully.

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Stellar Blade - Before You Buy

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Stellar Blade - Before You BuyStellar Blade (PS5) is a big new action game from a relatively unknown development studio. How is it? Let's talk. Subscribe for more: http://youtube.com/gameranxtv ▼ Buy Stellar Blade: https://amzn.to/3vVUS9m Watch more 'Before You Buy': https://bit.ly/2kfdxI6

Manor Lords - Before You Buy

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Manor Lords - Before You BuyManor Lords is an early access medieval strategy game with city building elements. How is it? Let's talk. Subscribe for more: http://youtube.com/gameranxtv ▼ Buy Manor Lords: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1363080/Manor_Lords/ Watch more 'Before You Buy': https://bit.ly/2kfdxI6

Ereban: Shadow Legacy Review - Way Of Shadow

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In what feels like a spiritual successor to 2016's Aragami, Ereban: Shadow Legacy transforms you into a deadly shadow that can become one with the darkness--the ultimate stealth operative. The game doesn't quite deliver the necessary challenge to make for a successful stealth game, however, as the first trick you learn will get you through the entire game without a hitch. It does far better on the platforming front, and though its cast of characters could have used some fleshing out, the futuristic sci-fi world they inhabit is cultivated with colorful sights and intriguing snippets of lore.

As its name implies, Shadow Legacy's main gimmick is its use of shadows. You play as Ayana, the last of the titular Ereban, a people who possess the innate ability to become one with and manipulate shadows. Using her shadow merge ability, Ayana can sink into shadows to creep past enemies, slink up walls, and dispose of bodies, encouraging you to stick to the shadows where your toolbelt is at its strongest. Alongside these shadow abilities, Ayana has an assortment of advanced gadgets--some are always useful like a recon pulse that marks enemies and items through walls, while others are more situational like mines that stun targets--which work regardless of the lighting situation.

Light is Ayana's enemy--you don't want to stay in it for too long.
Light is Ayana's enemy--you don't want to stay in it for too long.

I initially thought that this would present plenty of opportunities and strategies to sneak past enemies, most of whom will take out Ayana in a single hit. There's a healthy variety of foes who want to take her down--standard enemies don't pose much threat beyond the flashlight they carry to take away your darkness, but the more adept snipers can spot you from afar and the stealthy droids who can go invisible can ruin your day if you're not taking time to look for the telltale shimmer. And then there are the human enemies who present a moral quandary rather than a gameplay one--while the mechanical droid-like enemies that dominate each level can be killed with impunity, murdering the living and breathing human workers will negatively impact Ayana's morality and others' perception of her (which I'll touch on a bit more later).

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Another Crab's Treasure Review - Shellden Ring

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To stand out as a Souls-like these days, a game needs to either reach similar heights as the genre's namesake when it comes to gameplay, or have a compelling new spin on the genre. While Another Crab's Treasure gets close on the combat front, its excellent 3D platforming are what help distinguish it. Combining those gameplay elements with a genuine, if perhaps slow to start, story about a crab named Kril, who starts as a loner just wanting to get his shell back and go home, but instead finds a greater understanding of the vast ocean, makes for a fun take on the genre.

The game kicks off with Kril's shell being repossessed as a tax by a wealthy monarch, but this setup is mainly used as an excuse to send him on a treasure hunt across the ocean. Kril's story during Another Crab's Treasure is a particularly strong aspect of the game. While initially framed as a tale about Kril breaking out of his routine and finding renewed purpose, it eventually tackles the ocean's ongoing pollution problems, taking the narrative to a place that is bleak yet also genuine. Where Kril finds himself by the end isn't one of those overdone happy endings, but instead a far more complicated place that feels true to some of the game's more dour themes.

The game is broken up into large levels, filled with both enemies and platforming challenges, that you need to explore to find an objective, such as a piece of a treasure map, or reach a far-off structure. The levels are well-designed, with combat and platforming flowing together seamlessly. There are a few places where the brutality of Another Crab's Treasure does overdo it--such as during platforming sections overlooked by ranged enemies--which results in unwelcome difficulty spikes. Trying to navigate these areas while not getting blown up by ranged attacks that take away a third of your health goes from difficult to frustrating, but this only happens in a handful of instances.

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