568 Published Reviews
Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea DXSwitch
All in all, Atelier Shallie is the weakest part of the Dusk trilogy. It's ambitious in doing away with the time system and trying for a more flexible approach. But there's just not enough worthwhile content to make the freedom and flexibility a satisfying trade-off for the systems it does away with, and it doesn't make good use of its own strengths.
Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky DXSwitch
All in all, Atelier Escha & Logy DX is easily the best entry in the Dusk trilogy With refined mechanics, better combat, and seriously compelling crafting systems, it even stands among the top entries in the Atelier series on whole. If you only pick up one title from this new trilogy collection, definitely consider making it Escha & Logy.
Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk DXSwitch
Overall, Atelier Ayesha DX is a great entry in the series whether you're new to it or just finding it now. It might not be the most polished, but it has an excellent atmosphere, integrates story and gameplay surprisingly well, and offers a compelling and addictive synthesis system.
Stories Untold is a unique adventure game smothered in atmosphere. Switch players will have to contend with the port's less-than-ideal UI, but provided they can get over that relatively small hump, the rest of the game is an unsettling, intelligent, fourth-wall-breaking success.
Monster Hunter: World - IcebornePC
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is a natural progression from the base game, adding even more of what has kept players hunting all this time with a deft appreciation and understanding on Capcom's part for what players really wanted and needed in an upgrade Monster Hunter World.
Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost SoulsPC
Sadly, a port from console to PC didn't bring many changes to the base game. There's no ability to change audio levels for the background music or sound effects for instance. The only improvement on that front is that you do get all of the original console DLC. But I mean, will you really want to play it?
Magic: ManaStrike is an interesting strategy game. There are enough little new things scattered around to make it stand out from the crowd, but the formula is definitely one you've seen before. There is a constant stream of rewards for those who don't want to spend money, too, so you never feel hamstrung for not wanting to buy in-game items.
AO Tennis 2Xbox One
Not without issues, AO Tennis 2 is my pick for the best tennis game on the market today. There's obvious room to grow, but this has quickly become Big Ant's best series in their ever-expanding catalog of sports titles. It looks good, plays great, and now offers all of the modes and menu options you'd expect in a sports game with a much bigger budget. Big Ant Studios has served an ace this time around, and I'm eager to see how they continue to improve the series in the future.
Vampire: The Masquerade - Coteries of New YorkPC
An overall mixed bag, Coteries Of New York is only for diehard World Of Darkness fans who enjoy visual novels. Due to the quickly impending finale, you can't do everything in one go, meaning there's obviously replay value here. However, it's entirely for seeing the side stories. The main story arc always has the same resolution, and sadly, your choices play little to no role in anything.
Cardpocalypse is a fun card game wrapped in an entertaining story. While it's not necessarily going to change your life, it will keep you hooked throughout its playtime. The combination of cute graphics, funny writing, and enjoyable gameplay combine to mean that this is one apocalypse that is a good time all around. That's a pretty rare thing.
In general, Fight’N Rage is an extensive game that successfully iterates on much of what made the ‘90s arcade beat-‘em-up such a fondly-remembered genre. Still, I could do without its emphasis on memorization to make your way through the game. It’s not a deal-breaker, particularly if you’re playing in co-op, but it’s a slight irritation. The good news is that Fight'N Rage has an extensive, flashy, easy-to-use combat system that you can hand to players of any skill level. This is easily one of the best co-op experiences of the year for the PS4.
While Earthnight looks and sounds great, the act of playing it isn't very fun, and that somewhat defeats the point of an endless runner. Without a satisfying gameplay loop to keep you coming back for more, it's highly likely that you will play a couple of runs before going off and playing something else. Also, we should probably just give our world to dragons anyway; it's not like we're treating it very well.
If you're considering buying Lost Ember, assess it on the merits of its main story. For the cost of two or three tickets to a movie, you'll be getting two or three movie runtimes worth of entertainment in the form of a beautiful and eye-catching world telling a beautiful and heart-wrenching story. If that sounds like a good deal, then make the purchase. You will not be disappointed.
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.