Author: Colin Buchanan

Colin is a queer, neurodivergent media critic who joined Noisy Pixel in 2021. You can also find him writing with AniTAY at https://www.anitay.org, or his own personal musings about anime at arcaneranger.tumblr.com.

As has been tradition for this promotion cycle, Tokyo’s Final Fantasy XIV Fan Fest event kicked off with an expanded trailer for Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail that prominently showed off both of the biggest reveals for this event: the new Pictomancer job, demonstrated by Krile, and female Hrothgar. https://youtu.be/kgiuQwzB6aU?si=BhUXQd1vx-vC8hQ8 Director and Producer Naoki Yoshida announced that the development team is deliberately holding off on announcing a release date to prevent the chance of a delay, as Endwalker was delayed by several weeks a short time before its launch. A job trailer for the Pictomancer job was shown. Pictomancer will be…

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Lorenzo Redaelli’s psychedelic-psychological-thriller visual novel Mediterranea Inferno has announced a launch and release date for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and 5, and Xbox Series X and S versions of the game. The PC version was released on Steam in August of this year and revolves around three friends in Italy who had been inseparable before the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and have not seen each other since, reuniting for a weekend in a small beach-side village. The story quickly proves itself to be less than straightforward as the main characters are thrust into a series of sacrilegious hallucinations, twisting and turning…

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You definitely don’t need me to tell you that 2023 was a ridiculously good year for gaming unless you literally live under a rock (which, I’m not judging; I bet the rent is affordable!). Where last year, I struggled to name five titles and ended up putting Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, of all things on the list, I could probably name a top fifteen this year without breaking a sweat. But, in the interest of fairness, everyone else gets five, so I do, too. Lots of games got cut, such as Final Fantasy XVI, Street Fighter 6, Hi-Fi Rush, and Like…

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Don’t Nod’s new Montreal studio, the staff of which is best known for developing the Life is Strange series and published by Square Enix, announced a new project called Lost Records: Bloom & Rage at the 2023 Game Awards. The game follows four characters, Swann, Nora, Autumn, and Kat, who experience an unforgettable summer in 1995 and then do not speak to each other again for twenty-seven years. They’re forced to reunite in order to face the secret that caused them never to want to speak again, in a story-driven adventure through time. The Lost Records universe is a new…

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The previously-announced New Game+ Mode for Alan Wake 2, titled “Final Draft”, will launch on December 11th, per the team’s acceptance speech for Best Direction at the 2023 Game Awards. The mode will feature a new difficulty setting, allow the player to carry over all their weapons and upgrades from the previous playthroughs, and the team has teased some additional story content. This includes six new manuscript pages, more live-action sequences that play on the in-game tvs, and an “alternative narrative”, the exact nature of which has yet to be determined. In our review of Alan Wake 2, we said,…

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Bethesda-owned studio Arkane Lyon announced a new Blade title at The Game Awards, in partnership with Marvel Comics, to celebrate the character’s fiftieth anniversary. The game will be set in Paris and be a third-person action game, though the only thing shown was a cinematic teaser trailer. The character of Blade was previously played by Wesley Snipes in an early-2000’s film series, and Mahershala Ali will portray him in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film currently slated to be released in 2025. The actor in Arkane Lyon’s title has yet to be announced, and there is currently no release window or…

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Kojima Productions’ upcoming Xbox exclusive Overdose received a cryptic new teaser trailer at The Game Awards, starring and announcing actress Hunter Schaefer (The Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes), actress Sophia Lillis (Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves), and actor Udo Kier (Downsizing) as part of the project. The game was revealed to be a mixed-media project that was described as being part game, part movie, and part “new kind of media”, which evokes comparison to project like Remedy Entertainment’s Quantum Break. Additionally, director/actor Jordan Peele stepped out onto the stage to announce his own involvement, saying he was…

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At The Game Awards tonight, House House, developer of indie darling Untitled Goose Game, announced their next project, Big Walk. Big Walk seems to be heavily leaning on the developer’s Australian culture. It will task the player and their friends with exploring and puzzle-solving as they improve their ability to communicate as a group. The island featured in the game is inspired by Wilsons Promontory National Park, the southernmost part of Australia. The developer’s goal is to create a relaxed experience that enables the player and their friends to grow closer, with the game’s core themes being “teamwork and talking.”…

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One of the first titles announced at The Game Awards 2023 was a surprise sequel to Pony Island, the breakout title from Canadian indie dev Daniel Mullins. Pony Island was a deceptive game centering around playing what looks to be an old arcade cabinet game of the same name, only to soon learn that the Devil himself has corrupted the game and is trying to claim their soul. The new sequel appears centered around a similar cabinet with a similar game-within-a-game, though this one looks significantly more involved and the game has an ordinary third-person experience included as well. This…

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It’s always exciting to play a game with a well-planned Early Access period. Sure, it might start with a few hundred bugs to be squashed, but getting frequent expansions as more and more content rolls in for the thing you already bought is fun and keeps most of the player base on an even progress level. Of course, the real test comes when it’s time for that big, full 1.0 release, as that’s when players are going to expect something resembling a finished product. So, with over a year in Early Access and a much-publicized patch cycle, is the full-fat…

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To celebrate the retail launch of the Ultimate Edition of Cyberpunk 2077 (which includes the base game, the Phantom Liberty expansion, and this patch), CD Projekt Red has announced Patch 2.1 for the base Cyberpunk 2077 game, which is free for all current owners. The patch includes several additions to the game, most notably the inclusion of the fully simulated subway system that was seen in the game’s first trailer. There are five Metro lines in Night City and nineteen stations, which can either be fast-traveled between or actually ridden, a neat touch. Other improvements include a carryable in-game radio…

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Jumping Into Yakuza in 2023 When it comes to a video game franchise that has spanned nearly two decades, such as Yakuza, it can be challenging to keep track of, especially considering the series has undergone a name change in the West and abandoned the numbering system. There’s a new Gaiden game on the horizon featuring zombies, samurai, Kenshiro, and questions arising from the renaming of recent entries. But fear not, for someone who has played all of them is here to help. If you’re eagerly anticipating the upcoming Infinite Wealth but are uncertain about what you need to do…

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Introduction to the Yakuza Franchise The Yakuza (or, as it’s called now, Like a Dragon) franchise holds a pretty unique position in the landscape of games. There really aren’t many story-heavy franchises out there that get nine, soon to be ten, games in and still focus on the same hero, even if he’s not the only protagonist anymore. Kazuma Kiryu is so legendary in the medium that, when it appeared his story was “finished” at the end of Yakuza 6, the fandom treated it like the death of Superman – obviously, it wouldn’t last forever, right? Like a Dragon: The…

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Introduction to Infinite Wealth: A New Frontier for Like a Dragon Fans It’s pretty unbelievable that we only learned about Infinite Wealth, the eighth (or ninth, depending on how you count) mainline entry in the storied Like a Dragon franchise, just a few months ago. It’s even wilder that part of it is already in my hands, in preparation for a release just two months away. After getting this short taste, I’m more hyped for whatever Ryu Ga Gotoku is cooking up than ever. [perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]A Bold Departure: Infinite Wealth Breaks New Ground, Revitalizing…

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After announcing it almost a year ago, fan-translation collective HilltopWorks have released their full English translation patch for Boku no Natsuyasumi 2, the 2002 entry of the long-running cozy game franchise that originally launched on the PlayStation 2. The Boku no Natsuyasumi (“My Summer Vacation”) titles follow a young boy being sent to live with his aunt and uncle in rural Japan over summer break and all of the low-stakes situations he might find himself in over his relaxing trip. They’ve been widely acclaimed in Japan for accurately capturing the feeling of childhood adventure and positive nostalgia, but the series…

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Lost in Translation: The Localization Labyrinth Have you ever played a game that had the potential to be great if it weren’t for a single element dragging the entire experience down to an almost unplayable level? Even within the realm of mobile gaming, I can recall a few personal examples: the excessively randomized upgrades in War of the Visions, the daunting grind for character progression in Love Live! All Stars, and the overwhelming number of characters to manage in Ensemble Stars, to name a few. However, in all of those games, I could at least manage to play them for…

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With October finally out of the way, the video game industry is finally giving us some breathing room in November. The lead-up to the holiday season always includes a few annual releases dropping just in time for Black Friday, but after last month, I’m just glad I have the attention span to keep track of everything this month! That was nice of them. Or everyone is just getting way out of the way of Call of Duty. Either way, a win for the tired gamers. Let’s go over ten games I’m thankful for coming this November. Star Ocean: The Second…

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PC

Gameloft’s popular DIsney Dreamlight Valley life-sim, which has been in Early Access since its launch last year, has been announced for a full release on December 5th, but there is a catch for players who were waiting for the game’s promised free-to-play debut. The game was released in Early Access last year, either for a $30 paid player (more if you wanted to also purchase Moonstones, the game’s premium currency, at a discounted rate) or included in Xbox Game Pass. It has since seen several substantial updates that added the full first arc of the game’s story, and over a…

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“It’s not a lake. It’s an ocean.” These are the cryptic final lines of Alan Wake, Remedy Entertainment’s 2010 cult-hit action-horror title that has left players hanging for thirteen years. While American Nightmare, the game’s mini-sequel, gestured at answers to what this meant, and 2019’s Control established a much deeper shared universe for the studio, we’ve been waiting for two whole console generations to finally get a full explanation. And I’m so happy to tell you that Alan Wake 2 is here to deliver that and much, much more. Diving Back into the Shadows: The Alan Wake Saga Continues The…

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The recent launch of Cities: Skylines II has been met with a highly polarized response mainly due to the game’s extremely demanding system requirements, coupled with consistently poor performance if the game is pushed to maximum settings, even on the best gaming PCs currently possible. When we reviewed it, I had a computer that was just over the “recommended” level, and I was able to maintain 30-45fps on Medium settings. Still, many gamers with significantly better computers have been frustrated that the game isn’t optimized for those higher-end machines. Developer Colossal Order has, in an official forum post, acknowledged and…

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