3746 Published Reviews
Like Owlboy and Iconoclasts before it, CrossCode is the latest in a long line of longer-gestating labors of love that emerge with varying degrees of cohesion. The best thing that can be said about CrossCode is it doesn't feel at all dated or clunky on the other end of a prolonged development time. The biggest knock against it is that CrossCode can and often does wind up feeling both bloated and inspired simultaneously.
Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in DisguiseSwitch
If you can get past its performance, there are glimpses of a good story here, and moments that make it a worthy installment in the Francis Zach Morgan saga. But, ultimately, Deadly Premonition 2 lacks the emotional resonance found in the first game. It's a different brew of coffee from your favorite roaster, but one that's more bitter than you probably hoped for.
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral TownSwitch
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town feels closer to a remaster than a remake, with the majority of in-game mechanics feeling antiquated by modern standards. Shallow systems combined with inflated upgrade prices makes progress a slow trudge, with the rewards rarely feeling worth it. Interacting with the people of Mineral Town offers a nice, romantic look at small-town farm life, but the rest of the game fails to sell it.
Death Come TrueSwitch
Death Come True is an enjoyable but all-too-brief trip into a disturbing live-action mystery world that is a blast while it lasts. Unfortunately, when everything ends and the credits roll, you're left longing to spend more time with the characters and world you just experienced. Death Come True's throwback gameplay definitely scratches an itch, but it ultimately leaves you wanting for more.
Marvel's Iron Man VRPS4
It’s clear that the act of flying is Iron Man VR's driving force. Every story mission ends with a score and ranking, pushing you to replay and improve, and each map has multiple types of optional time trials for anyone who just wants to spend more time in the armor. Unfortunately, there aren't that many ways to take advantage of those unique controls.
Those limitations mean there isn't much to do in Ninjala, and what content is present almost requires a battle pass to be fully enjoyed. But what we have so far is a solid foundation. The battle fundamentals are well-designed and unique, and the visual flair is absolutely bursting with personality.
Mr. DRILLER DrillLandSwitch
Mr. Driller Drill Land is the kind of game you can play for 10 minutes on a lunch break or for an entire afternoon. It's the sort of game where you'll be in a groove… only to screw up a section catastrophically and ruin a run. But you'll only be bitter about it for a minute before eagerly diving back in to try again. If you've never played Mr. Driller--or if it's been a while since you and Susumu went excavating together--Mr. Driller Drill Land is one relic that deserves a spot in your gaming museum.
West of DeadPC
The game's NPCs say the same exact lines at the start of every run. It becomes a drag to re-run facsimiles of the same levels again and again: They're similar enough that it feels like you have them memorized, even if the details change. When you spend too long in Purgatory, it starts to look a lot like hell.
The Isle of ArmorSwitch
DLC is new to the main-series Pokemon games, and it's certainly a great alternative to replaying the same game a year or two later when the souped-up rerelease comes out. But like the traditional third or "Ultra" version, The Isle of Armor does refine much of the experience we had in vanilla Sword and Shield, with a more interesting Wild Area to explore and some small quality-of-life tweaks that further the progress Gen 8 has made in that regard.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - RehydratedPS4
It lost sight of the basic elements that make a collectible platformer enjoyable. This game doesn’t promote curious or keen gameplay, the movement isn't smooth, and gathering collectibles never feels rewarding. Ultimately, the game winds up being an unpleasant nostalgia trip that nobody should pack their bags for.
Overall, Valorant has a strong foundation in its gameplay, and of course, that's the most significant part for an FPS of this style to succeed. Although it doesn't break new ground, the dynamic of sharp gunplay and Agent abilities would make Counter-Strike and Overwatch proud. Valorant easily captures the competitive highs of a good, intense match at the risk of pigeonholing you in a bad one.
Skelattack has flashes of excitement and delight, and there's no denying that it feels good in motion, but lackluster level design and inconsequential combat let its sound platforming down. Unlike the inhabitants of Aftervale, Skelattack lacks soul. Leave Blank Back
When I look back on '90s FPS games, there are things unique to each series that immediately come to mind. It's easy to remember Doom's Martian landscape desecrated with Satanic symbols and the distant snarls beckoning me closer. I remember feeling like an all-powerful wizard in Hexen, burning orcs and sorcerers alive with the fire I conjured from my hands.
The Last of Us: Part IIPS4
By the time I finished The Last of Us Part II, I wasn't sure if I liked it. It's a hard game to stomach, in part because so much of who Ellie is and what she does is beyond your control. She is deeply complicated and flawed, and her selfishness hurts a lot of people. At times, the pain you inflict feels so senseless that it can leave you numb. It's all messy and bleak and made me profoundly sad for myriad reasons, but the more I reflect on it, the more I appreciate the story and characters at its core. I wanted almost none of it to happen the way it did, and that's what's both beautiful and devastating about it.
When Disintegration works, it really works. You're shooting guns, you're calling advances and retreats, ordering missile strikes. You really get the sense that you're in the thick of it, the heart of a battle. Both the excitement and stress it induces are testaments to how thoroughly the gameplay draws you in.
XCOM 2 CollectionSwitch
XCOM 2 Collection forces you to strategize on a tactical battlefield skewed in favor of your opponents, and that handicap is what makes it so enjoyable. However, the performance limitations on the Switch add an artificial challenge to your encounters that frustrates in a different, unwelcome way. It's lovely to be able to play one of the strategy genre's highlights on the go, but it's going to take a fair bit more work for this port to be as great as its legacy deserves.
The Outer WorldsSwitch
The game's layered, branching, and interweaving questlines are still intact, and are a fascinating thing to slowly pull apart as you continue your journey. The beauty of The Outer Worlds is that you don't need to be the galaxy's most competent gunslinger in order to get the most out of it. If you have the means to play it on another platform, do so. But if you don't, there's still a great, modern RPG underneath the exterior.
Sea of ThievesPC
Since the game's launch over two years ago, Rare has worked continuously to build on Sea of Thieves' strong framework, and the countless features and systems they've added have all enhanced that core, undeniable truth. They still have work to do, and for some players, it will never be enough. But there are open seas and clear skies ahead.
The best parts of Liberated are the character beats in the comic panels, and the worst are the moments when you have to shoot a bunch of dopey, stilted bad guys in order to get back to more comics. It's nice to look at, but Liberated's uninspired levels and often-frustrating design make it feel more like a cage.
Mortal Kombat 11: AftermathPS4
Mortal Kombat 11 remains one of the best fighting games of this console generation, and the recent free update makes it better. Aftermath introduces a couple of great characters, and the expanded story definitely has its highs, but it's not essential to your enjoyment of an already superb game.
Most of all, Crucible just doesn't play host to the coordinated teamwork it demands for balanced matches, forcing you to look elsewhere or gamble with the chance of being matched with players that complement your character choices. It's a game that fights itself at every turn, and ultimately is little more than a curious distraction from other players in this space rather than a true competitor for your attention.
There are some really cool ideas at the heart of Resolutiion. You can sense the thought and care put into transposing philosophical thought into something that’s both playable and insightful. Unfortunately, the portion of the game that engages with those ideas is far too obscured and distant from the core story most players will see. It is still an interesting visual and, to a point, intellectual piece--wrestling with those ideas and their meaning can be its own reward.
Those Who RemainPC
Edward's physical reaction to the dangers around him may feel tangible, but the game's often befuddling and illogical scenarios means that you can hardly resonate with his fears in these moments. Even though Those Who Remain may awash you in good old-fashioned terror and ingenuity for a few brief periods, these are mostly lost in a sea of frustration and generic horror metaphors.
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive EditionSwitch
Although not every aspect of Xenoblade Chronicles has aged as well as others, Definitive Edition proves that Xenoblade Chronicles is still a fantastic JRPG with an immense amount of strategic depth that's still impressive in 2020. Its bevy of improvements and additions, as well as its fantastic epilogue, make this an adventure worth embarking on a decade later.
As you trek toward the conclusion, Kasio's mental health is tested in a swirl of panic. But ever since the start, what she's really been yearning for is acceptance and empathy, which might just be what saves us from denying ourselves happiness, and possibly even our own lives. And when we find both, only then are we able to take full control and begin writing our story for ourselves.