Attack of the Fanboy
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch RemasteredPS4
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered doesn’t reinvent the original, but that wasn’t really needed anyway. What you get here is a visually enhanced port of what was already an amazing JRPG full of charm, wit, and character. Studio Ghibli’s amazing art comes to life in new ways with either the 4K or 60fps options available. Beyond that there’s not much that’s “remastered” here, but fans or newcomers won’t find much to complain about once they dive into one of the best adventures of the PS3 era.
NHL 20Xbox One
The NHL series has remained steady for most of the generation, with just enough improvements each year to justify picking up the latest iteration in the series. While game mode improvements are definitely minimal this year, the new gameplay mechanics definitely tip the scale towards making NHL 20 one that you probably will not want to skip.
Final Fantasy VIII RemasteredPS4
Final Fantasy VIII may not be getting the full remake treatment like its predecessor, but Square Enix definitely proves they haven’t forgotten about the game with the graphically improved and definitive Final Fantasy VIII Remastered. As long as you can get the hang of the unique and intricate combat system, Final Fantasy VIII Remastered delivers one of the most enthralling narratives in the long running franchise that still holds up 20 years later.
The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive SeriesPC
The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series combines some of the best stories that video games have to offer all in one enhanced and improved package. This massive collection of all things Telltale’s The Walking Dead is the perfect place to start your journey with Clementine and the universe that she inhabits. Longtime fans have a tougher decision on their hands, but the added content and updated visual style should help assuage any doubts. While the series may not have maintained the near-perfection of the first season, this is one of gaming’s greatest narrative adventures.
NBA 2K20Xbox One
Still, despite the microtransaction-fueled nature of My Player it’s hard not to admire the sheer amount of stuff to do in NBA 2K20. That, and just how detailed and realistic the game is on the court. Casual NBA fans and hardcore 2K players have many different ways to play. That ranges from casual friendly matches to serious money tournaments that you’ll find in My Team if you’re good enough. With NBA 2K20 there’s once again ton of game modes to sink your teeth into, even if they all taste a bit like 2k19.
Monster Hunter: World - IcebornePS4
More monsters, more gear, more content. Iceborne remedies most complaints players raised with World and then some. I’m still not sure if this can be considered definitive Monster Hunter title, but if it wasn’t in the running before, it certainly is now.
GEARS 5Xbox One
Gears 5 once again feels like a safe bet by The Coalition. You can start to see the developer thinking about new ideas and potential directions that the series can go, but Gears 5 feels largely familiar. The additions of some new features and a new mode added to the fan-favorites that return make for a robust package though. If you liked Gears of War 4, it’s hard to imagine you won’t like Gears 5.
Catherine: Full BodyPS4
Catherine: Full Body didn’t really change my opinion on Catherine all that much. I’m still as conflicted as I was in 2011 with a love for the art style and weirdness of the game. The uninspired puzzles that make up the rest of it wear out their welcome too quickly though.
Blair WitchXbox One
The Blair Witch franchise has never been able to capture the magic of the original movie in the years since, but this may be the closest attempt yet thanks to the effective use of a psychological focused story and gameplay that feels fairly fresh within the horror genre.
With fun presentation and a well designed co-op platforming mechanic Heave Ho is certainly a great new addition to the party game genre. It’s a unique experience, to say the least, and people who have the almost requisite three additional players will come away very pleased with their purchase. There’s room to grow on the concept though, and the base game would reach much higher levels if it had embraced them right out of the gate. For the price though, this is worth adding to any local co-op fan’s library.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of MedanPS4
As only the first entry in Supermassive Games’ new anthology series, The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan offers a very replayable experience that is a lot of fun both in single player and with friends, leaving us very excited to see what they have in store for future entries yet to come.
Control is definitely Remedy’s best game since Alan Wake. The sheer variety in the gameplay and fantastic presentation go a long way in making this an enjoyable experience. The weird story and setting does a great job of setting the hook at the onset, but the payoff was a little underwhelming.
Oninaki is undoubtedly a very different type of experience from Tokyo RPG Factory’s other two games, offering a much more contemporary style this time around. The story feels unique and manages to feature some very emotional moments without feeling too dour. Beyond the incredibly lengthy load times and stray performances issues on Nintendo Switch, Oninaki is another standout game from Tokyo RPG Factory that need not be overlooked.
Remnant: From the AshesPC
Remnant does a lot right here. The game is incredibly streamlined, which makes it somewhat of a breeze to get through. There’s just the right amount of obscurity and mystery in the world to keep you guessing, but this mysteriousness can be a little frustrating at times as well. At times, Remnant: From the Ashes feels incredibly honed, and at others, rough around the edges.
Vicious Circle is a bold leap into the shooter genre for fledgling developer Rooster Teeth Games, but the risks didn’t really pay off. The game feels like a big ball of differing ideas rather than a coherent whole. There’s a solid foundation to build off of, but it’s tough to see a truly strong future if things aren’t worked out quickly. Balancing between the factions is key, but the game currently has too many mechanics, especially of the “gotcha” variety. If all you want to do is gather five friends together for some random shooter fun, this will fit that bill somewhat, but there’s better options out there.
Metal Wolf Chaos XDPC
Metal Wolf Chaos XD is a totally unique experience that is worthwhile for anyone who’s a fan of early 2000’s action, or satirical and off-the-wall humor. The over-the-top feel of both the gameplay and story makes for a truly enjoyable experience, though it won’t last long and isn’t excellent for repeat plays. If you’ve been dying for this to make its way to the West this is a totally serviceable release, but those seeking a more robust remaster might be disappointed.
Wolfenstein: YoungbloodXbox One
It’s incredibly hard to recommend Youngblood to the player who only wants to play this solo. This is a game that was clearly designed to be played with others. When playing solo the A.I. is bad enough to infuriate you and the rules in place only exacerbate these issues. The problems you’ll encounter here are numerous, enough to lower your enjoyment of the game. If you are, however, looking for a straight forward co-op shooter with plenty of customization and collectibles, you might enjoy the game with friends or random online players.
MARVEL ULTIMATE ALLIANCE 3: The Black OrderSwitch
The thing that I kept saying to myself when playing Ultimate Alliance 3 is that if this wasn’t a Marvel game with such beloved characters and familiar story lines it would be a bad game. A great coat of paint does raise the average for Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, but its roots are a rote beat ’em up that shows off all its tricks in the first couple of hours and wears out its welcome well before the credits roll.
Simply put, GORN is among the very best VR games out there. Its style is unique, its gameplay is engaging, and it delivers experiences you simply won’t get from other games. Its focus on simplicity crafts something that’s both accessible and entertaining while keeping a layer of gameplay depth that will keep you coming back for months or years to come. If you have a VR headset, this should be on your to-buy list already.
Sea of SolitudePS4
While Kay’s emotional journey of self-discovery does not pull punches as she learns why she has become a lonely monster, Sea of Solitude struggles to stay afloat at times due to unimaginative gameplay that struggles to evolve beyond the opening moments of the game.