Be­hind the in­dus­try cur­tain, mar­ket re­search firms of­fer up best prac­tice guides, lay­ing out the fea­tures that tend to go down well with press and play­ers alike. That, we as­sume, is be­hind Yaiba’s XP lev­el­ling sys­tem, which pow­ers a skill tree packed with point­less up­grades. Things start well enough, with new combos and moves, but be­fore long you’re plough­ing skill points into re­duc­ing the im­pact of sta­tus ef­fects and mak­ing QTEs eas­ier. The box-tick­ing continues else­where with col­lectible diary en­tries (sam­ple line: “I bet you think I’m over­re­act­ing about Yaiba and the mag­ni­tude of my fucked­ness”) that are imag­i­na­tively ti­tled Story Pieces, while a medal rank­ing sys­tem is a laugh­able in­clu­sion in a game that isn’t even worth fin­ish­ing.

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