301 Published Reviews
The Last of Us: Part IIPS4
I said that the original game is the very best of what video games can be on the PlayStation 3. And this game...also represents the very best of what video games can be. It is right up there with awesome titles like God of War and Red Dead Redemption 2 that make narrative storytelling the highest form of video game art, in my humble opinion.
Kingdom Hearts IIIPS4
The Disney side is still the best side of Kingdom Hearts, and Kingdom Hearts III nails that part. But even it’s story, as ridiculous as it is, gives fans emotional moments and satisfaction. I wouldn’t say it’s better than Kingdom Hearts or Kingdom Hearts II, but Kingdom Hearts III is magical enough to resonate with this big Disney geek.
Finally, Capcom has put a lot of game into Resident Evil 2. It has four remixed campaigns — two each for the playable characters Leon and Claire. But Capcom has also revealed plans to add even more. That includes a mode that randomizes where items are as well as new player characters.
Travis Strikes Again: No More HeroesSwitch
In a game where everything is a metaphor, I don’t understand what the point was with designing the central gameplay element in this way. It feels so disconnected compared to everything else. The artist/developer in me wants to believe that it’s symbolic, and I’m refusing to (or I am too dumb to) “get it”. Everything else inside me is saying that I am just trying to make up an excuse for a crucial misfire of an otherwise wonderfully wild ride.
Super Smash Bros. UltimateSwitch
The online features drag the experience down a bit. If you’re someone hoping for a good online multiplayer experience with Ultimate, you’ll be disappointed. But if you’re looking for a fun fighting games to play with friends on a couch, nothing serves you better than Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Spyro Reignited TrilogyPS4
I missed out on these games when they first came out, but I’m glad Reignited Trilogy gave me a chance to appreciate them. All three of these titles are fun and responsive 3D platformers. But Reignited Trilogy isn’t content with celebrating the past. The new, vibrant graphics make Spyro a playable fantasy cartoon. It’s one of the most attractive kid-friendly games you’ll find.
I consider myself lucky that I got to play this game. It’s special. If I could go back in time to show a video game to artists from the last century, I would choose this. God, I know that sounds hyperbolic, but I mean it. It is such an effortless and mesmerizing marriage of perfect game design and powerful imagery and audio. And it is an interactive lesson in why those things matter to games.
That’s the heart of Hitman: giving players the power to create their own stories. And that’s as big and powerful as ever in Hitman 2. So I don’t care if it’s not the newest thing in the world. It’s still one of the most solid and rewarding games you can get. And it’s an ideal antidote to games that are more obsessed with looking immersive than playing great.
Diablo III: Eternal CollectionSwitch
Diablo III on the Switch is my new favorite way to play the game. If you ignore the lame campaign, this is a engaging and rewarding action RPG experience that you can play for minutes or hours. And you’ll enjoy it alone or with friends. If you’ve ever been a fan of Diablo III and own the Switch, you’ll have a great time with this port. If you’re a Switch owner that’s into action RPGs but haven’t tried Diablo III yet, this is the perfect excuse to give the demon-slaying adventure a go.
Soulcalibur VIXbox One
Despite going back to the beginning, Soulcalibur VI isn’t a reboot. It doesn’t add any substantial mechanical changes. If I was a more cynical and lazy person, I could have written this review in one sentence: Yup, it’s Soulcalibur. But I also happen to like Soulcalibur, so I won’t complain too much.
I hope that Treyarch and Activision see this as a new jumping off point, with frequent updates to add new experiences and maps to Blackout and the other modes. But we’ll see just how much the Call of Duty community appreciates what Treyarch has done.
Mega Man 11PS4
Mega Man 11 shows that the franchise doesn’t need to just be a nostalgia act. Beyond the new gameplay features, the 3D visuals help enrich the experience. It’s a beautiful game with background and character animation that — while I do love that retro look — you couldn’t do with 8-bit sprites. The new look still captures the simple, cartoon-like feel of the original Mega Man, but the colors are richer and the shapes are softer.
I have to believe more Tomb Raider games will come, but the Lara Croft character in those releases will likely be very different from the one we’ve seen transform from neophyte to master in this series. This Lara Croft memoir ends in a good way, and I’ll miss this version of Lara more than any of them.
Marvel’s Spider-Man is the best superhero game since Batman: Arkham Asylum. The swinging, combat, and New York City itself come together to create a Spider-Man experience that is exciting and faithful to the character. If you’ve ever been a fan of Spidey, you need to check out his newest digital adventure.
If you’re a fan of classic action-platformers, The Messenger is another indie game that you need to own. It’s much more than a tribute to Ninja Gaiden. This Switch and PC game cuts its own path with some inventive abilities and fun gameplay twists.
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive AgePS4
And judging from my children’s reactions, Dragon Quest XI is rightly positioned to bring in new fans as well as tighten its embrace on folks like me, who have loved the series for years. The kiddos are ready to take the PS4 over and play now that my review is over. And I’m fine with that. Just as long as they watch out for those buttslams.
I wished the story was longer and the game had more things to do besides capturing things in a hole. But the story was lighthearted and the gameplay was fun. If you don’t have high expectations, I think you’ll find Donut County is a nice diversion.
Destination Primus Vita - Episode 1: AustinPC
I wish that we got to know Austin a little more, but this is only the first chapter. It will be interesting to see how she comes across in the other chapters as we get to know her from their perspectives. Overall, this is a strong start to the series that shows a lot of promise depending on how it weaves together all the characters’ stories.
Dead Cells is a masterpiece. It is the marriage and apotheosis of decades of Metroidvania design and the surging popularity of difficult Roguelike games. It is exquisite in all ways. It looks phenomenal. It plays like a dream. It makes you want to keep coming back even when you fail.
Semblance is a unique take on the puzzle-platformer. Its wobbly environment reminded me a little of Ian Snyder’s colorful The Floor Is Jelly, but instead of ricocheting around a bowl of Jell-O, you have to be precise. If you create a hill and launch yourself off of it a little too much to the left, then you’ll die. When you nail the landing, it feels like a victory.
At no point in Vampyr did I have fun following trails of blood, mixing antiquated remedies out of opium, or bludgeoning some Crucifix wielding goon in a mask for the 50th time. But I was constantly compelled forward to find out what next grim choice it would give me, anxious to spend yet another night in one of its safehouses to see if my efforts to keep London’s souls alive another day had worked.
It’s filled with poetry, like descriptions of a vial of Greydawn Oil that’s “the precise color of the hours when one cannot sleep,” and it makes you want to explore and unravel its mysteries. And it makes you work for it, reading between the lines and imagining a realm unseen. Though I have some minor quibbles about the game’s interface, I find myself returning to its world again and again.
The most serious issue for me is the loading time between screens and how slowly Harper walks. Although these issues took me out of the game, I did find myself getting pulled back in by the mystery of the deadly Yelltown Fever outbreak. I wanted to know who was responsible for it. And I was really motivated to not have Harper’s voice be the last thing I hear before keeling over from the plague.
Detroit: Become HumanPS4
It’s becoming as common a storyline as the zombie apocalypse or superhero fantasies. In each case, the story is only as good as its execution. If the characters are believable and engaging, if the story is well told, if the context and environment broadens the story, if the acting is superb, and if the actions and choices are consequential, then it is a job well done. And that’s how I feel about Detroit: Become Human.
If you’re looking for really precise platforming, this probably isn’t the game for you. But if you’re looking for a narrative adventure with some light puzzle-solving and a lot of eye candy, then you should join Anne on her journey through the Forgotten Realm.