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A good Dungeon Master makes the player part of the world. Not only by telling a good story, but by showcasing interactions with other characters and describing actions and the effects. In Baldur’s Gate III, Larian Studios makes the Dungeon Master almost a character in themselves, adding an extra level on what is already incredible dialogue. Every conversation, with your fellow troupe of parasite-infested companions or with just a random non playable character in town, is a treat. It never feels dull or out of place.
While the narrator paints a picture of emotions and ambiance, the writing of each and every character ensures a whole host of memorable interactions and encounters, especially those with the player’s own party members as their experiences impact their own personal stories. Baldur’s Gate III offers some of the most incredibly emotional dialogue many players have experienced, but also knows when to bring in levity and snark. The party’s journey and experiences would not be the same without the expertly crafted moment-to-moment writing.
The full cast is back together once more in The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie. The Trails series has always done a phenomenal job bringing characters to life with numerous ways to interact and flesh out each individual. The familiarity that the cast exudes is refreshing and brings the player back to all the adventures they have experienced with each and every character you run into. Nihon Falcom, and NIS America’s localization team, made sure this game had that same polish that makes all the Trails games’ conversations feel like real people talking. Trails into Reverie brings the cast back for one last romp, and players are rewarded with excellent performances backed by a wonderful script.
Meg’s Monster’s brevity belies its gargantuan heart. Odencat’s script brings together Roy, a gruff monster with a heart of gold; Meg, a lost child; and Golan, their streetwise pal who’s along for the ride. In less skilled hands, this developing family dynamic would read as unbearably sweet. However, the trio’s relationship blossoms naturally over a scant few hours of playtime, with the characters’ unique voices mirroring the subtle-yet-potent gestures of a short story. Each scene of everyday life in and around Roy’s garbage pit adds to the messy, homey knot of emotions that builds around the crew, while hinting at the outside forces that mean them harm. When other monsters and shadowy interlopers intrude, they communicate their motives with an effective blend of dark humor, menace, and all-to-familiar xenophobia. “Short and sweet” is an old saw, but Meg’s Monster proves it still has teeth.
by Erik van Asselt, Ryan Radcliff, and Zach Welhouse