3652 Published Reviews
Disco Elysium is a mad, sprawling detective story where the real case you've got to crack isn't who killed the man strung up on a tree in the middle of town--though that in itself, replete with dozens of unexpected yet intertwined mysteries and wild excursions into the ridiculous, is engrossing enough to sustain the game. Rather, it's an investigation of ideas, of the way we think, of power and privilege, and of how all of us are shaped, with varying degrees of autonomy, by the society we find ourselves in.
It's positive without ignoring pain; in fact, it argues in both its story and its gameplay that adversity itself is what makes things worth doing and life worth living. It's a game that requires patience, compassion, and love, and it's also one we really need right now.
It's flexible and easy-to-use control scheme mitigates the lack of controller support, and its celebration of the best modes and maps the Black Ops and Modern Warfare series have produced makes it a pleasure to line up game after game.
WWE 2K's annual release schedule has felt superfluous for a number of years now. This has never been more apparent than with WWE 2K20, a game that's not only riddled with frequent technical issues, but one that's notably worse than its predecessor in almost every area--whether it's the dull and unenjoyable combat, the fact half the roster look like terrifying goblin facsimiles of themselves, or MyCareer's obnoxious and tedious story. This is the moment the WWE 2K series hit Rock Bottom.
As I stood in the impossible world of the Manifold Garden, I felt tested and worthy. Its puzzles are incredibly satisfying and offer a very clever blend of step-by-step knowledge-building with increasingly challenging solutions. The environments are awe-inspiring in their endless repetition, but repetition isn't a trait reflected in the game's challenges. There is always something new, or a new way to look at something old, as you traverse through the infinite horizon. Manifold Garden is a feast for the eyes and the mind, so long as you can wrap both around what it has to offer.
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HDPS4
It's lovely to have Super Monkey Ball back, but Banana Blitz HD is not a good showcase of what made the series work. It's a remake of a game that was originally designed for a very different, specific purpose and control scheme, and the efforts made to update it for 2019 have made for a lesser game. It's a shame, because a glimmer of what made the series great remains, and it's enough to make us hope that someday we get a new entry that properly returns the series to its roots.
MediEvil does have some nostalgic charm, but due to its bevy of issues, it feels not just old, but undeniably outdated. For every part that helps us look back fondly on a time when games were made differently, there’s another that reminds us of how far we’ve come in those years since. MediEvil's delightful level and character design mostly still stands tall, but its combat and controls largely fall well short of what feels tolerable by modern standards, and it left me feeling wholly ambivalent to its existence.
Luigi's Mansion 3Switch
The game may not radically diverge from the series' formula, but it offers up another meticulously crafted set of challenges to overcome while smoothing out some of the issues that held Dark Moon back, and the sense of accomplishment you feel when you clear a particularly head-scratching obstacle is just as potent now as the first time Luigi unwillingly strapped a vacuum to his back and stepped into a haunted mansion.
Thankfully, Afterparty sticks mostly to unpacking its characters, world, moral quandaries, and how we may not always see those quandaries for how they define us. When it hits those strides, it's a novel look at what hell might look like for most of us, a vision that turns the concept of eternal damnation into something more palpable and threatening. It fumbles when it reaches outside its comfort zone, and the focus on small moments means it lacks the grandiose ones that make our lives feel more meaningful than they might otherwise be.
Realism mode is an excellent addition to the slate, and although not all the new multiplayer modes are great, Gunfight and the Night Vision playlist are refreshing standouts. And while the campaign ends up playing it safe in the end, it's still a memorable one, and it lays a strong foundation for where the Modern Warfare series could go from here.
I finished The Outer Worlds wanting more, eager to jump back into the world to see extra things. It's not a short game, but it's one packed with such a steady stream of wonderful characters to meet, interesting places to explore, and meaningful, multi-layered quests to solve, that it didn't feel like there was any room to get tired of it. I wanted to rewind the clock and do everything in a completely different way. The Outer Worlds is consistently compelling throughout, and it's a superb example of how to promote traditional RPG sensibilities in a sharp, modern experience.
Felix The ReaperSwitch
But there’s no amount of visual charm or dark humor in its violent deaths that make the effort of sticking with Felix the Reaper worth it. It’s a thoroughly enticing setting and premise that is misguided by puzzle mechanics that aren’t that aren't fun to play around with, and then fail to meaningfully build on their foundations in any way after that. Felix the Reaper might be able to drown out his surroundings with music, but that doesn't make his job any less mundane to perform.
Little Town HeroSwitch
Little Town Hero finds some success in avoiding some of the complex systems and tedious menus that can bog down other card games and RPGs, but it ends up suffering for it. Keeping your card options limited allows you to approach encounters with clever instead of relying on luck of the draw, but the deck size is too limited to break the mounting doldrum of subsequent fights. And while I did get to know this town pretty well, that's because of how small and suffocating it feels as it refuses to push outside its own boundaries.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt — Complete EditionSwitch
Although the Nintendo Switch might not be the best platform to play The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, it's still a fantastic experience that shouldn't be missed. If you are looking to replay The Witcher 3 and bask in its detail and beauty, the Switch port may not quite scratch that itch. However, what makes this game excellent isn't its graphics, but the powerful stories it tells, and those are as vivid as ever on Switch.
Killer Queen BlackSwitch
The satisfaction of spur-of-the-moment decisions, like sniping a Queen from the other side of the map with a carefully-timed laser gun blast, knocking an attacker pursuing your Queen off-kilter with a thrown berry, or eagerly shoving yourself in a snail's mouth pixels from the enemy goal in order to buy your teammates time to complete your berry hoard is consistently engaging. If you're looking for a unique, competitive multiplayer experience for online or local group play, Killer Queen Black is the bee's knees.
What the Golf is a comedy game first and foremost, and it succeeds at its primary goal. Perhaps the game's most telling feature is the 'Show To A Friend' option on the main menu, which runs you through a quick playable "best of" reel of some clever challenges the game offers up. What the Golf is an experience that can be shown off, fully understood, and effectively sold to a player in the span of about two minutes--and like all great jokes, you'll want to share it.
John Wick HexPC
It’s a disappointing thread that ties together the exceptional gameplay, which faithfully captures the feeling of being John Wick in a strategic and pulsating formula. John Wick Hex has turn-based gameplay at a pace you’ve likely not experienced before, and it intricately balances its systems to give you a sense of being an expert hitman while also making it feel earned. It’s a slick and well-oiled game that succeeds in giving you a new, engrossing way to experience John Wick and its signature brand of chaotic action.
Most of what Concrete Genie has to offer is fun and beautiful in a sort of childlike way. The game is not particularly difficult, and overcoming a puzzle or combat scenario isn't always satisfying. But it's ultimately still an endearing experience throughout. There's plenty of enjoyment to be found just from the act of exploring, and little hidden secrets along the way help make it worthwhile; I just wish Concrete Genie had more adventure waiting for me.
Shadowkeep represents a shift in the fundamentals of Destiny 2, and that has only improved the game. Returning to the moon is full of spooky fun, and while Shadowkeep might not be as huge as Forsaken, it still provides some impressive additions to the world that will take time to fully explore. More meaningful choices in Shadowkeep are pushing me to think beyond just packing my most powerful guns and shooting everything in my path. These are improvements that represent a giant leap forward for Destiny 2.
I'm happy to have a game that's distinctly Southeast Asian, giving some earnest representation to a part of the world I belong to and one I'm even more curious about now. As a whole, it sometimes doesn't come together; it's missing weight to its narrative and the challenges necessary to flex its wonderful combat system. But it stands out as an RPG that's doing something genuinely different, and it brings joy to its clever platforming with the tune of an infectious soundtrack. For all its faults, Indivisible has its heart in the right place.
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible LairSwitch
Having to backtrack through stages to eventually reach and tackle the Impossible Lair would be more tolerable if the final encounter wasn't such a steep difficulty spike, but in truth it's likely you'll tire of its routine platforming well before that disappointment sets in. The Impossible Lair is definitely a better attempt at capturing the magic of platformers than Yooka-Laylee's first crack at it, but it's still not remarkable. If you're itching to return to a bygone era, then The Impossible Lair might scratch it. Just don't expect much beyond that.
It would make sense if the addition of loot were in service of guiding people to spend real money on better guns, but even then the stats are so meaningless it would take a lot of convincing. There's some surprising fun to be had stealthily infiltrating enemy compounds and playing with friends, but Breakpoint is still a generic and distinctly sub-par game. It's essentially every Ubisoft open-world game rolled into one, failing to excel in any one area or establish its own identity. Breakpoint is a messy, confused game and a ghost of the series' former self.
Neo Cab might suffer from inconsistencies and presentation issues in some places, but as a depiction of a near-future society corrupted by tech fetishization, and an exploration of how humans are adapting to automation and the rise of the gig economy, it's got plenty to say about how important it is that we all look out for one another. This is a forward-thinking game, but the issues it explores are extremely relevant in 2019, which makes for an engaging, stimulating narrative experience, even if the central mystery of your friend's disappearance is not particularly interesting.
Sayonara Wild HeartsSwitch
On repeat playthroughs, I found myself getting more and more used to Sayonara Wild Hearts' quirks and better appreciating each level as I gained the muscle memory for them. Only a few hit me like Dead of Night did, and those levels are stellar. But the rest are either forgettable or somehow discordant, whether because of movement issues or strange timing. I wanted to get lost in the daydream it presented, but I kept getting ripped back to reality, just a bit more melancholic than when I started.
What is certain is that no matter your objective or playtime, you'll have an adventure worth writing home about. It's the stories you' uncover that makes 80 Days a joy to play. There's a constant sense of wonder in visiting these glorious cities and meeting interesting characters, and I'm eager to jump back in and see what kind of trouble I can get Passepartout into. Phileas Fogg is just going to have to damn well like it.