Happy New Year, readers! We hope you enjoyed a peek into what we’ve been playing, watching, and reading throughout 2013, but we’re not stopping just because the year has changed. Continue to join us every week from here on out, and jump into the comments to share what you’re into now.

Final Fantasy XIV Heavensturn
Happy Heavensturn! In Final Fantasy XIV, apparently they celebrate the new year with weird horse hats.

Jimmy Stephenson — Staff Writer
After finally battling my way through families, gift-giving, parties, and lots of food, I’ve successfully made it through to 2014. During rare bouts of downtime, I’ve started playing Tales of Xillia, which is a game I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while. I’m a fan of the Tales franchise’s fast-paced combat system and quirky skits, and Xillia has been living up to my expectations so far. I’m also slowly making my way through Ace Attorney V, which any fan will know is always a good time. You never quite know what the story is going to throw at you, from the bizarre characters to the extremely loose interpretation of Law. The extra horsepower that has been put into this game really shows, as the character animations and music are the best the series has seen. Most recently, though, I made my way through the demo for Bravely Default, and came out of it very impressed. While the aesthetic screams old-school, the interesting tweaks to the combat system give everything a refreshing twist. It’s quite a beefy demo, taking me over six hours to finish off all of the bosses. I’ve been looking forward to this game for a long time, but this little chunk of the experience really sold it for me. I would recommend it to anyone who has a 3DS.

Ebony Brown — Staff Writer
Again, my weekend consists of doing more coursework as I have a deadline next week. But that doesn’t exactly stop me playing Harvest Moon: A New Beginning on the 3DS every so often. I love Harvest Moon although I’m still in the first month of the game, and anyone who’s played it knows that it is a slow-starting game. All I do is feed my cow, water my crops and try to win the affection of Neil. Neil, why don’t you love me? Also, this weekend I am heading to London to meet my American friend. We’ve been talking online for 7 years and we’re finally meeting! We began speaking to each other due to our love of anime!

Jennifer Griffith — Managing Editor
I jumped into Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn briefly this week to get the obnoxious headgear added as a special sidequest for Heavensturn. You can see the result in today’s featured image. That’s all I really had time for recently, but I’m hoping to spend more quality time in Eorzea soon. I did manage to run through the Bravely Default demo, and I have to say, I liked what I played. The battle system is fun, the art is cute, and I really like combining abilities from different classes. The town-building aspect is interesting, though I haven’t Streetpassed anyone else playing the demo, so I haven’t been able to collect any extra workers. At least various prizes you get for playing the demo carry over into the full game, as an added incentive to check it out. In anime news, I powered through Puella Magi Madoka Magica this week because after I’d seen a few episodes, I really had no choice. I don’t remember the last time I watched nine episodes of an anime in a single sitting, but Madoka Magica was just so engrossing I couldn’t turn it off. Now excuse me while I go track down more stuff written by Gen Urobuchi… Hmm, it looks like Saya no Uta and Phantom of Inferno will have to be bumped up on the VN Club queue. (Don’t forget that we’ll be discussing Analogue: A Hate Story this month. You still have time to play and join in the chat, so stay tuned for details on the recording!)

Dan Furnas — Editor-in-Chief
I’ve been playing quite a bit of Final Fantasy XIV, and this past week, I’ve gotten gotten my main class (archer) up to 30 and picked up the Bard job. Like Jennifer, I also picked up the wonderful headgear to celebrate the new year. I’m enjoying almost everything so far, but I had my first run in with an… unpleasant player in a dungeon; hopefully that’s the last one I’ll have for a while, though. I’ve also played a little bit of Shin Megami Tensei IV, and I’ve been enjoying it, though I do prefer the Persona games to the main series titles. I’m not deep enough into the story yet to really have a good feeling for it, but so far, so good. On the anime side of things, I started up season 2 of Yuruyuri, and there should be a review forthcoming for that. If you’re not familiar with the cutesy, school-age comedy, you can check out my review of part one.

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