Developer Imageepoch has never received much recognition in its ten years. With a number of hit-or-miss RPGs like the Luminous Arc series, Arc Rise Fantasia, and Time and Eternity, it's perhaps not surprising that its final game, Stella Glow, flew under many people's radars. Stella Glow is both Imageepoch's tenth anniversary game and a spiritual successor to its first title, Luminous Arc. Whether it was also intended to be its swan song is uncertain, but with what is arguably one of the developer's best games, Stella Glow makes for a sadly fitting final RPG.
Stella Glow is neither original nor all that noteworthy, but it's a solid tactical RPG with few major flaws. The combat is fast for a TRPG, and battles are well-balanced with several characters having their own unique fighting ability. The characters themselves are not all that deep, but they are characterized in ways that make them likable and endearing. The story is mostly predictable, but the dialogue is well-written and often funny. The last fourth of the game's story is also rather interesting. The music is excellent as well, including instrumental pieces and many vocal songs important to the story and battle system. Stella Glow has much of the charm and humor of its spiritual predecessor and eliminates or minimizes its weak points. It's a shame that it has been overlooked by many.
Timing is not necessarily everything, but it certainly helps. Second Chapter came along after years of waiting, and it hit suddenly. While the word is slowly getting out about its quality, a lot of people are still surprised to hear that it's finally out. They cost millions of dollars and annoy people across the media world, but those huge advertising campaigns on behalf of massive titles do succeed in making people aware that a game exists. Such is probably the reason Second Chapter hasn't been found by all the people who would be interested, at least not yet.
Story of Seasons is our favorite farming-sim game to date. While it has a very slow start, it's one of those games that gradually gives you new content, and allows you to play at a leisurely pace. It is also one of the first titles in the series to offer different difficulty modes, tons of customization features, and the most well-defined farming system to date. Top this off with XSEED's fantastic localization, and you have a relaxing, overlooked gem worth playing.
by Cassandra Ramos, Mike Moehnke, Sam Wachter