865 Published Reviews
Akiba's Trip: Hellbound & DebriefedPS4
I can really only recommend Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed to diehard fans of the series. It doesn’t have any gameplay or quality-of-life improvements that its 2014 sequel introduced, and as a result, it feels like a relic of the past. While there are some emotional moments in the game’s story and the cast of characters can be fun, the gameplay is a chore to get through. It's just disappointing that this is such a barebones remaster.
Last Stop feels like a more palatable follow-up to Variable State's ponderous premiere, but one that is made without sacrificing all of the burgeoningly signature weirdness of the small team.
Where the Heart LeadsPS4
While far from flawless, the story's endlessly branching narrative stays true to the characters you've come to know. As you shape your own version of Whit, you in turn shape those around you, leading to one of several dozen endings. Like our own lives, you can't see where it's going even with the best intentions, but across decades of Whit's life, you'll appreciate the time you spend in his shoes.
Sniper Elite VRPS4
Sniper Elite VR is not a great game. It is fun from time to time, especially at the beginning, before the novelty of exploding a Nazi spleen in VR wears off. But this is not an experience I can recommend to anyone other than serious fans of the Sniper Elite series, or someone hungry for a PSVR shooter. Even then, any endorsement would come with major caveats. This is an admirable effort, but this game misses the target.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of RuinSwitch
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is a worthy sequel to the Nintendo 3DS game. With more powerful hardware, this new adventure is fully realized.
Watch Dogs: Legion - BloodlinePC
Bloodline trades Legion's standout feature in favor of reviving the series' polarizing original anti-hero. It sounds like the oddest creative choice of the year, and maybe it will be, but the dare nonetheless works thanks to writing that feels authentic — when Wrench isn't getting in the way. I maybe enjoyed Aiden more than most in 2015, but his transatlantic trip remains time well spent for the series' biggest fans.
Mario Golf: Super RushSwitch
Mario Golf: Super Rush is visually impressive with locations that vary enough to be unique, while not really being full enough to keep your attention off the task at hand. The upbeat soundtrack adds to the arcade experience, keeping you moving forward as fast as you can. The game does lack slowdown thankfully, and overall things are pretty snappy. Overall you should have an experience that will not test your patience outside of getting caught in a sand trap or behind a tree.
Legend of ManaPS4
Legend of Mana is vibrant and flexible in all the right ways for my preferences today, and I certainly fancy the game personally. The sheer slowness and obtuse nature of it may be too much for some players. There's a lot to see in Legend of Mana, but the experience never feels fleshed out.
Disgaea 6: Defiance of DestinySwitch
Disgaea 6 is focused more on improving what's already here, and it more than succeeds in that task. Yes, NIS will have to add some more substantial changes to the series beyond just some tweaks here and there one day. With Defiance of Destiny, I'm happy to wait a while longer for that day.
Scarlet Nexus might not pull off some of its auxiliary components with as much style as it does the main storyline, but the core package makes up for that. Combat is still a blast, even if it could be less restrained, and the main story handles its themes and characters well enough that I don't mind too much that the side content is lacking.
Dungeons & Dragons: Dark AlliancePS5
Dungeons & Dragons Dark Alliance is not, by any means, a good game in the traditional sense, but still proves that multiplayer and great visuals can go a long way to making something fun anyway. In the same way that a bad B-movie is still entertaining, Dark Alliance somehow feels a bit more charming because of some of its glaringly bad AI and design issues.
NINJA GAIDEN: Master CollectionSwitch
Overall, the Ninja Gaiden Master Collection is a sloppy remaster on the Nintendo Switch at least. While it runs at 60 frames per second most of the time, the textures look truly old. The lack of quality of life features like auto-save and a better map is also disappointing in Sigma. Koei Tecmo could have improved the platforming too.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift ApartPS5
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a masterful game in every right. It pulls out every stop to deliver a memorable and deeply enjoyable experience from start to finish, featuring dynamic and diverse combat, exhilarating platforming, an emotive and relatable cast of characters with tons of chemistry, and some of the wildest level design I've ever seen in a game.
Players write the story, and thus far, the story is as fun as it is absurd. It’s a story where one moment you are living out your hero fantasies, a one-man army smiting the foes of your kingdom, then the next you're apologizing profusely for crushing your friend with a church bell, as you bleed out from your severed arm. A few technical hitches and minor gripes do little to detract from a masterpiece in the art of fun.
Prison Architect - Second ChancesPC
If you are on the market for a single paid Prison Architect DLC, this is probably the one to get. It's the cheapest by default, the bugs can be.. accepted.. and it adds enough to make it more than worth its small price compared to what we got with Island Bound and Going Green.
Final Fantasy VII Remake IntergradePS5
Take the cons above with a grain of salt. As I mentioned before, this is DLC, so expecting it to do anything radically different is just setting yourself up for disappointment. What Episode Yuffie lacks in substance or new areas to explore it makes up for in creating a stronger world, setting up the rest of the story, and assuring us it's a story worth sticking with.
Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate ShowdownPS4
Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown is a welcome addition to the PS4 and PS5, especially since there hasn’t been a VF game in years. Mostly, this remastered release serves to whet our appetites for the prospect of an actual full-on sequel in Virtua Fighter 6, but it’s well worth playing for its pure, responsive fighting.
GUILTY GEAR -STRIVE-PS5
Guilty Gear Strive is the perfect time to get into this amazing series. It’s more accessible than ever and absolutely stunning to watch. There’s still room for improvement in terms of the single-player modes, and the whole retro online matching setup is quaint but just adds unnecessary complication to the multiplayer. Otherwise, this is a solid fighting game worth playing.
Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2Xbox Series X
Sniper Ghost Warrior Contract 2 is so much fun to play. The action is dynamic, the levels are well crafted, and the progression system is compelling. This is a very good game, built on a strong execution of good ideas. It is separated from games like Hitman and Metal Gear Solid 5 by more modest ambition and mediocre polish but should be at the top of the list for fans of those franchises as the next best thing.
Combining the environmental realism with unforgiving yet eventually approachable survival mechanics makes Green Hell an incredibly immersive experience. There were times when the constantly depleting health and stamina bars urged me to restart a save, but perseverance felt as integral to the experience as the mechanics causing my pain.
Alba: A Wildlife AdventureXbox Series X
Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is blatantly and immediately adorable, but as the brief story unfolds, it reveals a much greater purpose: a call to action from its players. The people of Pinar Del Mar don't patronize Alba, they support her earnestly, lift her up as she, in return, lifts them up.
Song of HorrorXbox Series X
Song of Horror was once set to launch last October in time for the Halloween season, a time which drives many players to invest more money and time into horror. Hopefully, releasing in the late spring doesn't mean it goes unnoticed. This is a very good addition to the genre, which stands closer to the greats of generations past than the never-ending train of horror-lite adventure games.
Necromunda: Hired GunPC
It's a shame then that the rest is quite limp at times. It's not awful, but it misses the mark in enough ways that make the experience somewhat unsatisfying. Fights quickly devolve into autopilot shooting galleries, and repetitious barks and oblivious AI stop you from feeling like a skilled bounty hunter, making it ultimately feel like you're shooting sump rats in a barrel.
Earth Defense Force: World BrothersPS4
Earth Defense Force: World Brothers manages to mix adorable block graphics with surprisingly rigorous and intense shooting action. While there are some areas where it feels a little too dumbed down, the overall game is a fun and frantic arcade shoot fest.
Wonder Boy Asha in Monster WorldSwitch
There’s a bit too much doggedly vintage design at work here, but this is a remake of an old game. We hope Asha returns in something decidedly more expansive and modern though. With a bit more refinement, she could give Shantae a real challenge.