2849 Published Reviews
Dragon Ball Z: KakarotPS4
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is not the anime game to end all anime games. It's not going to convert any non-believers or onboard them into this decades-old classic universe. Even as someone who still re-watches DBZ, it can be grating at times — but the juice is mostly worth the squeeze.
SD Gundam G Generation Cross RaysPS4
At the end of the day, Cross Rays still has room to improve for both presentation and gameplay elements, but the new changes result in a better game. In an era where many Gundam games are failing to improve over their predecessor, seeing Cross Rays try and succeed to be a better game is a much-needed sight. Hopefully the team at Tom Create keeps the trend going with the next one, because they have the foundation needed to create something special, especially if they make it a crossover entry.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: Rise of the PhoenixSwitch
Earlier this year Team Ninja and Nintendo spoke about "story scenario" content. Where is it? The new characters are great for the most part, but we need more zones to actually use them in. Having an extended campaign with some really out-there storylines would have been a fantastic use of paid DLC, but for now you're stuck just doing the same errands over and over or restarting once again.
Moxxi's Heist of the Handsome JackpotPC
Borderlands 3's first DLC is quirky and action-packed, but I was decidedly left wanting more. Hopefully the other campaigns will take more risks, but in the meantime Moxxi's Heist of the Handsome Jackpot is more Borderlands, which is typically a good thing.
Unfortunately, SuperMash is a game where the concept is better than the execution. While the spritework and chiptunes are nice, the gameplay holds the whole thing back; a big problem when the gameplay is supposed to be the main feature. Ironically, the mashed-up games usually end up being less than the sum of their parts.
I'm not sure if Takahashi will ever be able to top Katamari Damacy – for my money, it's one of the greatest video games ever made – but Wattam captures that sense of whimsy and magic in its own way. The care-free music and gosh-darn-huggable character designs make this a must-play for fans.
MechWarrior 5: MercenariesPC
It takes time to really get into MechWarrior 5, which is to be expected. At first, things go by at a plodding pace and your customization options are slim. But once you assemble your crew, jump into mechs you want to play as, and the story picks up, it starts to feel like old MechWarrior again. Mercenaries still might not satisfy everyone, but I enjoyed my reintroduction to the action-oriented BattleTech world.
The actual act of playing Tools Up – while very simplistic – is enjoyable in the moment, and it's particularity well-suited to families with a range of video game expertise. But it's hard not to want more unique challenges, either with physical obstacles or more creatively demanding interior designs. Tools Up doesn't make the most of its clever co-op gaming concept, but I still had a decent enough time. I'll be there day one if a sequel ever takes this home-renovation hook and runs wild with it.
Frog Detective 2: The Case of the Invisible WizardPC
All in all, The Case of the Invisible Wizard is a fantastic way to spend an evening, and it improves and builds on the strengths of the original in iterative but meaningful ways. Whatever happens next, I’m fully invested in this series. The price is more than fair, and it’s a unique passion project that’s so dang wholesome and smile-inducing. It’ll montage dance its way into your heart and prove that ground pies, picked up and cleaned off, can still be delicious, perfectly sanitary sources of nourishment.
Shovel Knight: King of CardsPC
This is a historic moment for Shovel Knight: half a decade later, I can recommend picking up anything and everything Shovel Knight related, which is easy to do with the Treasure Trove compilation. Yacht Club Games has a lot to be proud of and has accomplished a lot in their short run, and I can't wait to see what they come up with next.
Ancestors: the Humankind OdysseyPS4
Ancestors is a large, fussy, and at times uneven survival experience, but it's also deeply gratifying once you sink your teeth in. Make it through the wringer, and you'll come out wanting to share stories about your run-of-the-mill open-world exploits to anyone who will listen – no small feat in 2019. The console versions are smoother than their original PC counterpart, so if you've been curious, now's the time.
Life is Strange 2 - Episode 5Xbox One
Life is Strange 2 represents a sophistication of Dontnod's storytelling capabilities because it effectively adds up and weighs moral decisions to truly influence the narrative outcome. Every ending comes with some degree of complication -- that much was to be expected -- but it's satisfying because they're all befitting of the characters you molded. Whichever direction you took Sean and Daniel's lives, chances are you'll feel responsible for their fates. It's personal. Because it's personal, it's memorable. That's about the utmost positive quality for this style of story.
I came into Darksiders Genesis expecting nothing and got a fun little co-op dungeon crawler in return. Although the concept of a "Diablo spinoff for the Darksiders series" had the potential to just be a big bowl of wrong, the mad men and women at Airship Syndicate pulled it off. Long live Darksiders.
Even when it's not sounding like an improv group at a Bernie Sanders rally, Heroland is a gem. It's incredibly funny, the characters are some of the most charming I met all year, and its unique take on turn-based battles made a strategist out of me. I just wish I didn't need to do so much grinding to see the game through to the end.
Arise: A simple storyPS4
Arise: A Simple Story is true to its name and offers both function and form, which is why I'm so anxious to see what Piccolo Studio has next in the pipeline. It's a pleasant surprise to help cap off a great year.
If I were subject to an endless series of cut-scenes where characters prattle through the exposition, I wouldn't have walked away from The Touryst as intrigued as I am. Mind you, it's not an amazing experience or something I'm going to remember several months from now like other, more dynamic indie games. But, as a small, self-contained adventure with gorgeous style and a playful sense of freedom, I was more than satisfied when the credits rolled.
I was torn writing this review as I went back and forth multiple times on whether or not Shenmue III's adherence to the past was worth the squeeze. In spurts, it's not. But as I walked back to Shenhua's cottage to turn in for the night after a hard day's work, earning back the money I had gambled away, it hit me: people just aren't making many games like this anymore. We may never even get something like this again if Shenmue IV isn't greenlit, which would be a shame.
Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret HideoutPS4
It’s a refreshing change of pace from moody protagonists saving the world from unambiguously evil villains. While I like to poke fun at fashion issues like Ryza’s butt hungrily devouring her shorts, I had fun with Atelier Ryza. It’s not quite enough to get me to run out and pick up the rest of the series, but if I’m ever in the mood for some more anime crafting hijinks, I’ll probably give them a look.
Pokémon has always literally been give and take since the second generation. Some give more than others, and Sword and Shield has taken away quite a bit. But in the end, I was smiling on most of my journey throughout the Galar region, and 21 years later, I still have a desire to catch them all. "All of the Galar region" will do nicely for the time being, even if it feels more fleeting than past generations.
When everything comes together, Golem has some of the best PlayStation VR combat I've played, and a story worth hearing. When it's off, even a little, frustration follows. If you can tolerate backtracking and don't mind dealing with occasional VR tech idiosyncrasies, you're gonna have a grand time.
If that doesn't sound fun to you, you're probably not going to like Pokémon Sword. If you were hoping for a massive shake-up in how Game Freak approaches Pokémon games the same way other series on the Nintendo Switch have experimented with new directions, you may need to wait for Generation IX. Pokémon Sword is very much built with the tried-and-true franchise blueprint, resulting in an enjoyable if innocuous title, which makes it a difficult game to score.
For a title set far into the future, Terminator: Resistance remains disappointingly locked into the past. With lackluster design, story, dialogue, AI, and combat, Terminator: Resistance is a genre example generations out of time. A full-price game offering a budget-price experience just makes it harder to recommend. No one can accuse Resistance of lacking potential, even ambition, but even the most dedicated Terminator fan should wait on a discount, or perhaps say Hasta la Vista altogether.
Indie atmospheric adventure games are like candy to me, and I suspect some people are going to get a lot more out of Gylt than others. It's very much in the same spirit as Concrete Genie in that it's a short but mostly engaging romp that's best enjoyed by the right kind of audience.
You're going to occasionally roll your eyes at a cheesy moment or groan at a technical issue, but Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order stands alone as an action game devoid of its Star Wars influence. If you grin at the mere mention of the phrase "kyber crystals," you'll get even more out of it.
It’s a beautiful story about caring and being there for the people who matter most. It’s also really gosh darn funny, and I love it.