2362 Published Reviews
Even after I felt like I’d seen behind the curtain and knew how the machinery worked, I still moved timidly through Amnesia: Rebirth's world, which is a testament to Frictional Games’ superb environmental design and sound work. Tasi Trianon’s journey is a surprisingly emotional rollercoaster, and I’m glad I saw that story to the end.
NHL 21 is a playoff hopeful. It’s not gunning for the cup, but it’s making an effort. It’s trying to figure out if its pieces fit before an inevitable rebuild. As has been the story the last few years, the strategy and ideas are in place for EA Vancouver to take its game to the next level, but they need some work and fine tuning.
Mario Kart Live: Home CircuitSwitch
Despite its shortcomings, Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit still brings hours of fun. While firing up Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is more convenient and fully featured, Mario Kart Live’s unique take on the series is worth checking out for those looking for exciting twists on a well-worn concept.
Torchlight III is an approachable action/RPG that’s especially welcoming to newcomers, or simply players who don’t want to focus too hard on their evening’s entertainment. Repeat conquerors of heaven and hell may wish to look elsewhere, but if your desires for fantasy destruction are more about high-octane action, Torchlight III rarely disappoints.
EA SPORTS FIFA 21PS4
The graphics and gameplay of FIFA 21 deliver fun and functional football, but its ambitions don’t extend far beyond that. Over time, the grinding leads to burnout and boredom, and the gear and rewards you’re working so hard to obtain are rarely satisfying enough to make the chase worthwhile. Nailing the fundamentals is important, but it takes more than that to be a real winner.
Genshin Impact is a whimsical, wondrous land dripping with unbridled charm and appeal, combining a ridiculously compelling reward loop with unfettered, continuous discovery. In this world I felt like a child visiting theme park for the first time — dazzled, mesmerized, and completely swept away. I only wish the shimmering glow wasn’t marred by a ghoulish monetization model, but that’s something I’m willing to overlook for my ticket to this fascinating realm.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About TimePS4
At its core, Crash 4 remains rooted to the old way of doing things, but that’s not a bad thing. The visuals are cleaner now and Crash has a few new gimmicks, but if you squint, Crash 4 looks like the same old platformer you’ve always loved.
STAR WARS: SquadronsPC
Squadrons’ single-player may fizzle out frequently like a malfunctioning hyperdrive motivator, but the multiplayer continually impresses and is worth the price of entry alone. Flying in formation with a group of friends put a smile on my face, and that was just the calm before the storm.
Diving into Among Us, I see the charm despite its simplicity, and I can't help but to love the way this game makes me look at everyone as if they are super sus. Among Us is what it is, and unapologetically so. This year may be bad, but having fun experiences definitely isn't; Among Us provides a much-needed reprieve from reality without taking itself too seriously.
Mafia: Definitive EditionPS4
The original Mafia was well-received at its release, and I’m sure a lot of people remember it fondly. For me, it’s something that’s probably best seen as a foundational statement in a series that got better over time and subsequent entries. As part of the Mafia trilogy, it’s an interesting footnote on what came before. As a standalone game that can hold its own against modern titles in the open-world genre? Fugetaboutit.
As we approach a new console generation, Visual Concepts is building a version of NBA 2K21 from the ground up for the new systems. As a result, this current-gen NBA 2K21 feels left in the dust. It still offers the strong gameplay the series is known for, but compared to last year, it’s not making many leaps.
Even serious engagement doesn't ensure story completion without many hours of investment, and only the most dedicated players will see the full spread of what Hades has to offer. But Supergiant’s latest opus is a beautiful and thoughtful twist on Greek mythology, flipping these old stories on their head and transforming them into commentaries on modern relationships.
13 Sentinels: Aegis RimPS4
Vanillaware’s previous games include fantasy-inspired fare like Odin Sphere, Muramasa, and Dragon’s Crown. With 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, the studio doesn’t just dip its toes into sci-fi; it jumps into the deep end with a story that takes inspiration from the genre’s most iconic works. While that doesn’t result in the most original plot, it is still a fun and ambitious experience that combines high-school drama and huge robots in a (mostly) beautiful package.
Star Renegades looks incredible, has a solid combat system, and succeeds in beckoning you back for run after run until you eventually surpass the final foe. While you may not immediately grab your blaster for another play after you’ve surmounted the radical difficulty spike near the end of a run, there are a lot of great systems at play here.
Spelunky 2 is as addictive an experience as I’ve played this year. Two-minute-long runs stack to turn into consecutive hours of gameplay, and “just one more try” easily turns into an afternoon of exploring, dying, and trying again. Spelunky 2 is at once captivating, stressful, and exciting, and even now, I can’t wait to once again test my mettle within the cave’s ever-shifting walls.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2PS4
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 makes the experience of playing through these games again feel fresh and current. With contemporary visuals, smooth gameplay, and the iconic soundtrack you remember, the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater franchise may once again have a bright future thanks to this terrific blast from the past.
A steady drip of new stories and missions will be needed along with the announced heroes. Avengers is in great shape right now, dazzling with its story and action. I’m hooked on the end-game content that is available now, and I want to see just how powerful these heroes can become after leveling them completely. Avengers, assemble! You have a great game to play!
Madden NFL 21Xbox One
Those looking for a huge step forward in the EA Sports’ football franchise won’t find it with Madden NFL 21. However, despite its lack of major upgrades, Madden NFL 21 is still a mechanically sound and fun football game.
Tell Me WhyPC
This was only further illustrated in the ending choice, which is just absolutely awful in terms of how it’s presented and how the characters rationalize it in the scenes that follow. It doesn’t end on a strong note, and what’s in between is full of highs and lows. The highs make it worth playing, but just expect to be shaking your head when those low points hit.
Wasteland 3 is a solid CRPG, tasking you with decisions both minute and massive as you carve your legacy into Colorado. Will you serve the Patriarch for the greater good? Will you join forces with his psychotic son? His rebellious daughter? Or will you just roll around in the snow looking to pick fights with Scorpitrons? They’re all worth doing, so suit up and roll out for some wild times in the wastelands.
PGA TOUR 2K21Xbox One
PGA Tour 2K21 certainly has areas that could be improved, but the golfing – the heart and soul of the experience – is exceptional, and can make you feel like a pro when you make perfect shots. HB Studios’ expertise in this sport shines and helps this new series get off to a hell of a start.
Necrobarista tells a meaningful story about relationships and the memories we create with the people around us. It’s heartwarming, poignant, and pulls at the heart strings in all the right ways. It has some minor issues, but they aren’t what stuck with me. Instead, I’m still thinking about the wisdom this game imparts.
Simply being playable from beginning to end is a tragically low bar to clear, but it’s the main thing Battletoads has going for it. Otherwise, this baffling experience digs through decades of gaming history to unearth the Battletoads name only to drag it through the mud.
Hyper Scape is inoffensive and might be the right battle-royale choice for you, depending on your stream engagement. However, it doesn’t push hard enough on any one of its differentiators, and it ends up struggling to find a sense of itself in a genre with oodles of established choices. Toes dipped into shallow water may pay off for a deep water swim in the future, but Hyper Scape holds itself back from really trying to shake things up.
Even though you can technically keep sailing around after the credits, that feels unnecessary. The journey is complete, and I was satisfied by that sense of closure. Despite occasional rough waters in the pacing and characters, Spiritfarer is a voyage I will remember fondly.