555 Published Reviews
Tools Up!Xbox One
With a similar cadence of chaos and a better-tuned scoring system, Tools Up is, without question, a game co-op party gamers will enjoy. It's just not the one you'd want to start with in what is fast becoming a crowded genre. Tools Up successfully reimagines the games that inspired it in the most front-facing, important ways, even as it doesn't manage to bring quite all of the tools for the job.
Ancestors: the Humankind OdysseyXbox One
As fascinating as it is to read about our early hominids or watch a documentary about them, the interactivity of games seems to mean the concept won't travel well for most players. Among those who are up for Ancestors' relentlessness, many will find their favorite game of the year. And if that's a small portion of the overall players who try to evolve through this game, then so be it, says Panache. I tend to agree.
Phoenix Point does a lot right to nail the nuts and bolts of what makes these sorts of games tick and is certainly a quality, challenging adventure for genre aficionados. But it never fully escapes the big alien-shaped shadow from whence it came. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Phoenix Point just wrote a love letter to XCOM, for better and for worse.
The Beast InsidePC
When The Beast Inside shines, it does so brilliantly. But just as a candle in the dark can only burn so bright, this is a game surrounded by encroaching darkness. The Beast Inside is an uneven horror experience, even if it does have some truly bone-chilling moments.
Shifting genres doesn't always work out for popular game franchises, but Darksiders has proven itself to be adaptable and deep enough to evoke the best of whichever game style it finds itself in. Darksiders Genesis is an incredibly solid adaptation of the IP that brings both War and Strife into a new genre without losing the heart of the franchise.
Despite its few flaws, Heroland is one of my surprise favorites of the year. It's a blast to play through, even if it drags at times, and the scenario, characters, and writing are just excellent. If you're looking for a unique take on RPGs that is more than willing to poke fun at itself, the genre, and life in general, this is definitely the game for you.
Black Future '88Switch
Black Future '88 isn't going to redefine what it means to be a roguelike, but it does a great job at selling itself with bold colors, pumping music, and frantic gameplay. It's the type of game that gives you exactly what you expect based on trailers and screenshots, even if that might mean a really well-made roguelike that's a bit shallow but packs plenty of replayability and fun.
It's true that Shenmue 3 doesn't exactly hold up by today's standards. But I'm not sure it's a game meant to be measured by today's standards. Decidedly old-school in almost every single way, Shenmue 3 is hard to judge in any other way. For better or worse, Shenmue 3 is a blast from the past. It's a beautiful world marred only by its insistence to stay the same.
SD GUNDAM G GENERATION CROSS RAYSPC
SD Gundam G Generation Cross RaysÂ is one of those games that is very much for a specific audience, but for those fans, it will be a lot of what they want from a strategy game. It's complex, has a huge amount to do, and is good fun. On top of that, you could easily lose a day just customizing and creating your own perfect groups of troops. It could certainly do with more tutorials, but if you're willing to put in the time, you'll probably end up hooked.
Age of Empires II: Definitive EditionPC
While this is a pro for many who enjoy a more thoughtful pace, this can also make Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition feel slow or sluggish, especially when you're strapped for time. Combined with jittery multiplayer performance, this can make it difficult to find an online game that lasts from start to finish.
Interrogation: You will be deceivedPC
It flits between feeling genuinely meaningful and edgelord, and the whiplash you get between the two really takes away from the experience. There's definitely a game here for some people, but there are better visual novels out there for most. A beautiful looking Noir visual novel that occasionally fumbles some big issues. It has lofty aims, but a less than flawless execution.
Arise: A simple storyXbox One
While its platforming problems are inarguable and unavoidable, Arise: A Simple Story remains worth its time investment because of clever symbolism and a clear and moving story by which it is just as impossible not to get swept up. Arise calls itself a simple story, but in that simplicity, there is something universally beautiful and I'm glad I am present for it.
Despite some technical and pacing issues, the final product is still the best Star Wars game we’ve seen for years. It’s particularly impressive, given the current gaming landscape, where live service titles are more prevalent than ever, and real singleplayer epics are falling by the wayside.
Pokemon Sword and Shield breathe a joyous breath of life back into the series, with great improvements and a stellar batch of new 'mon.
Sniper Ghost Warrior ContractsXbox One
Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts is a bit rough around the edges, but at its center, it is a game genre fans will undoubtedly appreciate. By reimagining the series in this light, CI Games has crafted the best game in the series. It's bogged down by some issues that can't easily be overlooked, but Contracts ultimately rises above those problems with great level design and deep player agency and exploration that welcomes you back each time.
Age of Wonders: Planetfall - RevelationsPC
Since the new anomalous site and essence mechanics are added to the base game as well, you are getting potentially dozens of hours of extra content between the campaign and randomized scenarios. If this is what we're getting in the first, smallest DLC of a planned three-part arc, I can't wait to see what comes to Planetfall in the next part of the season pass. [Note: A copy of the Revelations DLC for Age of Wonders: Planetfall was provided by Paradox Interactive for this review.]
We Happy Few - We All Fall DownPC
Unfortunately, with the developers choosing to so radically depart from the game's primary open-world survival mechanics for the DLC, the end result is quite uneven, and the gameplay itself just isn't that compelling. If you need to know how We Happy Few ends, then We All Fall Down is worth the price of admission, although the gameplay itself isn't that stellar.
Need for Speed HeatPS4
Though it still can't match the scope of Forza Horizon 4, Need for Speed: Heat is a great racing game in its own right.
GYLT won't creep out most genre veterans, but kids deserve quality horror stories too, and there's no better starting place in games than GYLT.
Sparklite doesn't try to hide what it is and immediately draws you in from the very start. It's a tightly-crafted, well-designed, and snappy top-down adventure game that shuffles just enough around to keep things fresh even after a dozen hours of play. And if you're still not sold on the idea, go ahead and download the demo from Steam and try it for yourself first — free of charge.
Red Dead Redemption 2PC
If you've never played Red Dead Redemption 2, the PC version is the way to go. The extra options and content are nice, but it's the graphical upgrades and the ability to swap in a mouse and keyboard that really put it over the top. RDR2 is one of the best open-world games ever made, and definitely a defining game of this decade.
DRAGON QUEST III: The Seeds of SalvationSwitch
In an age where games are often ported, upgraded, or remade after just a few years, it's refreshing to see a revamp of a truly old game that needed the facelift. Dragon Quest 3 first released over 30 years ago and despite the fact that it certainly shows its age with some of its stiffer designs and outdated principles, it remains a testament to an era of timeless ideas and forward-thinking creativity.
Planet Zoo is the best way to build a park with animals. It looks great. It's utterly charming. And it just makes you happy, which is ultimately, the point. Planet Zoo isn't perfect, and it's definitely not a game to play in short spurts considering how one must learn the game's systems. However, there is a deep level of immersion here. If you want to take the time to do it, you can set up the zoo of your dreams, complete with lions, tiger, and bears. In many ways, this is one of the best management sims Frontier Developments has ever made.
Luigi's Mansion 3Switch
Luigi's Mansion 3 is just pure fun to play. There is always something to do, something new to see, or some puzzle to solve. Even if the rewards aren't always quite as rewarding as they could be, the cleverness of the design and fast pacing don't let the stale feeling linger for very long.
GWENT: The Witcher Card GameiOS
A condensed and cluttered interface mar an otherwise great game. But if you've always wanted to play Gwent on mobile, you probably won't care.