I share the panel’s take on Voice of Cards: I really tried to like the first one, put about half a dozen hours into it between late ‘21 and early ‘22, and it just is not good. It’s beyond me why they went to all the trouble to make TTRPG/card game elements such a central part of the aesthetics and UI only to do jack-all with it mechanically - and I like card games in my video games! I loved Metal Gear Acid and Baten Kaitos!! I still play Magic: The Gathering or even Yu-Gi-Oh! on occasion! Voice of Cards just completely squanders its premise, which is the only interesting thing about it! Apart from having a nice overworld soundtrack there really is no way in which it compares favorably to Dungeon Encounters, which came out around the same time and has a similar premise. (The conceit of having a virtual DM who reads out every little thing to you also gets old incredibly fast.)
Never liked Crisis Core either but I can sort of appreciate Tim’s semi-ironic enjoyment of _Kingdom Hearts_ian Nomura-slathered SquEnix trash. It is certainly a distinct brand of trash which at this point is inextricable from 00s nostalgia, and every once in a while I get a hankering for it myself despite having hated it when it was “in”.
Also agree with the general sentiment that the Mana series is consistently, before anything else, very pretty and not actually good. I played a little bit of SD3 in both the emulated and 3D remake versions and it’s just an aggressively mediocre game with endearingly kitschy aesthetics. I have yet to play Evermore because SquEnix is determined to pretend it never existed and I’m too lazy to emulate on PC, but I’ll take Tim’s word that it’s an improvement on the games that inspired it.
I have very little love for “HD-2D” and I think specifically in Live A Live’s case the modernized aesthetic clashes somewhat hilariously with how primitive and roughly experimental-as-of-1994 the core game is. I ranted about it a lot in the games general thread when I played it last year but imo those are the same qualities which make it both interesting and not quite good as a game remade for the 2020s. Its freeness of experimentation with the JRPG template is still formally compelling in the era of indie games it helped inspire, but it also just doesn’t quite go deep enough on any of its generous grab bag of ideas to really cohere as a great game. I think the “pixel remaster” approach is far and away the artistically superior method for repainting 16-bit games, but LAL did convince me its art style would be uniquely appropriate for remaking Xenogears.