808 Published Reviews
Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book DXSwitch
Atelier Sophie plays it safe, and for the most part, that’s okay. It might not excel in a given area like Escha & Logy, and it doesn't push the series forward like Ryza. However, aside from the bugs and framerate issues, Atelier Sophie is fun, comfortable, and cozy, and at the end of the day, that’s enough for me.
MLB The Show 21PS5
MLB The Show 21 isn't as flashy as its cover star. Lacking many overhauls to its modes, this year's game focuses on a decent laissez-faire story mode, a cool new Stadium Creator, and more of the superb baseball sim gameplay that has earned the series its reputation as one of the best Sony exclusives. MLB The Show isn't exclusive anymore, but that just means many more people are about to learn firsthand how lifelike a sports game's on-field gameplay can be.
Pac-Man 99 is absolutely worth the download. It melds intense online competition with classic single-player gameplay to create a wholly new, yet utterly familiar experience. The extra content is superb, if overpriced. Just the same, whether you opt for the free version or spend for the extra content, there’s no shortage of fun to be had.
In Forgotten Fields, I see a few things. Primarily, I see a game very well-written with some bittersweet moments that can be almost tear-jerking at times. I also see gameplay ambitions that outmatch the team's resources, leaving it all feeling quite uneven by the time credits roll.
The Binding of Isaac: RepentancePC
That said, The Binding of Isaac: Repentance is more of a good thing, and we all know that's generally what we want from a roguelike. It's a no-brainer if you're already a fan. If you've already moved on from Isaac, your mileage may vary.
As a free PS Plus game, Oddworld: Soulstorm warrants some curiosity, but little beyond that. The regular checkpoints make it easy to play in quick chunks that lessen the likelihood of encountering something glitchy. Longer sessions tend to be frustrating. It's a pity Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus is only on PS3, for the time-being, as this does make a revisit appealing. At least those Sligs are less prone to malfunction.
The game suggests it's commendable, sometimes even brave, to not lose sight of altruism in a world that forgives and rewards selfishness. From its bleak, monochromatic world to one of our own that can be just as unkind to the downtrodden, Ashwalkers leaves a memorable message to take away from this ambitious game.
BRAVELY DEFAULT IISwitch
I still recommend BD2 but with qualifiers. Don’t pick it up unless you’re willing to make it a lifestyle choice for a month or so, and you have to be at or near the maximum possible biological tolerance for classic-style JRPGs. Bravely Default 2 is the absolute Platonic ideal of the form, with upsides and downsides that are both traditional for the genre and unique to it.
Before Your EyesPC
Before Your Eyes is the kind of game that only comes around once or twice a decade. Its novel approach to the narrative adventure genre is genius and yet unlikely to ever be duplicated. It fits perfectly, but only really here, in Ben's story.
In short, Outriders is not going to dethrone the likes of Destiny from its throne, but it is a welcome distraction that’s fun for being fun, even if there are parts of it that shine less brightly.
There’s no major earthmoving or huge home construction, true, but instead, players are given an island sandbox where the gameplay is tied far more heavily into a personally meaningful narrative.
MONSTER HUNTER RISESwitch
Monster Hunter Rise as it stands might be one of the easiest games in the series, but it's also one of the most flexible and ultimately satisfying in each and every regard, and for that, it deserves full marks.
Disco Elysium: The Final CutPS5
What lies within is a dark, politically driven, and utterly hilarious story, one that never punishes you for failure. By offering The Final Cut as a free upgrade for PC players, too, anyone who previously visited Revachol has nothing to lose by making a second trip, and this is a game that actively encourages replayability. Though I'm (currently) let down by a few minor issues on consoles, Disco Elysium is just as essential in 2021 as it was in 2019.
Don't be fooled into thinking this is like Kingdom Hearts, Banjo-Kazooie, Crash Bandicoot, or any other nostalgic, colorful action-platformer. Balan Wonderworld is a game that even patches and fixes won't be able to mold into something you'll want to play. Its flaws run far too deep.
Tennis World Tour 2 - Complete EditionPS5
If you weren’t sold on Tennis World Tour 2 previously, Nacon’s next-gen upgrade won’t change your mind, but there’s an enjoyable simulator here and the Complete Edition is the best way to play. If you’re a serious tennis fan, this one comes recommended.
NEOGEO POCKET COLOR SELECTION Vol.1Switch
A very retro collection of games from an obscure portable system of the past is probably a hard sell for most gamers. For those with an affection for the Neo Geo Pocket, this is a fine bit of nostalgia. The fighting and Metal Slug games included are still remarkably fun and show off the precise controls of the system.
STORY OF SEASONS: Pioneers of Olive TownSwitch
It’s not what you expect from a pedigreed developer who pioneered the genre, whether this is the director’s first SoS game or not. Future patches might improve some of PoOT’s rougher edges, but if you’re looking for a good farm-sim game on Nintendo Switch, you’re better off playing the Friends of Mineral Town remake.
R.B.I. Baseball 21Xbox Series X
In past years, one could even coldly see why the MLB would put this game out itself as it does. MLB The Show was a one-platform game, and anyone who wanted to play their own MLB game off of PlayStation platforms had to find it in RBI. But that's not the case this year, which makes it really difficult to understand why the league would even allow this to continue.
The Outer Worlds: Murder on EridanosPC
All told, The Outer Worlds: Murder on Eridanos is probably my favorite series of quests across the entirety of The Outer Worlds. Its compelling story and interesting setting are supported by a memorable cast of characters, and outside of the vexing Discrepancy Amplifier, it puts Obsidian's space-faring RPG in its best light.
Breathedge isn’t the greatest survival-crafting game out there, but it is one of the more unique. There are genuine moments of brilliance here. You have to look to find the better aspects of its storytelling and find a way around the aggravating narration, but dig deep enough, and you will find some amazing things.
Loop Hero is a great game for an exhausting period, as much for being a compelling distraction as for its thematic core. The synergy between the interlocking mechanics is remarkable, making all the spinning plates you've to manage seem effortless by times.
If Stronghold: Warlords sees a little post-release love from the developers, it could turn into a great stepping stone for the franchise; there are some kinks that need to be ironed out, but it's got a strong base to build off of. If you're a long-term fan of the series or want something a little different with your next RTS, this might be what you're looking for.
All in all, Gnosia is a fantastic game with a riveting story and interesting characters supported by rich art and solid gameplay mechanics. If you can handle some repetitiveness — and potentially having to go through multiple rounds without seemingly making progress — the ending of Gnosia is one of the most heartfelt ones you’ll experience this year.
Curse of the Dead GodsPC
If you just want an old-school roguelike to test your mettle, you can't go wrong with Curse of the Dead Gods. It's the right mix of challenge and experimentation, providing dozens of hours of playtime before it starts to wear. After that, you may even find self-imposed challenges and the chase of perfection enough to keep you delving back in for another run.
Retrosoft clearly understands the kind of game it wanted to make in RetroMania, and aesthetically, it succeeds. Gaining the momentum in a match that's in full swing, and keeping it until victory, is exhilarating. But as of now, RetroMania perpetuates aspects of pro wrestling that are better left in the past.