A spiritual successor to Actraiser, SolSeraph is one of those titles that goes into the file of games we really wanted to like because in theory it had all the ingredients, good ideas and influence from great games of the past, but unfortunately comes together in an uninspired way. The basic elements of Actraiser are present but SolSeraph is an homage that fails to capture the spirit of the game that made players feel like a god 28 years ago, resulting in a pale imitation.
Blazing Chrome is an modern take on classic run and gun arcade classics. It’s difficult to ignore the strong influence Contra had on the game’s development, but either because of or in spite of this it’s still a lot of fun to play, especially on co-op. Anyone who wants something new with the classic Contra or Metal Slug style gameplay can’t go wrong with Blazing Chrome, but even though it’s a good time, it doesn’t really bring anything new to the party.
FINAL FANTASY XIV: ShadowbringersPC
Shadowbringers solidifies Final Fantasy XIV as the best MMO on the market. Sure, A Realm Reborn is still a huge barrier to entry, but if players are able to overcome it, they will be treated to not only two phenomenal expansions, but another that tells a story that rivals the best Japanese role-playing games of present and past. It truly feels like a JRPG of yore. The pacing is just impeccable, with only a small section in the middle that brings things to crawl.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the NightPS4
This is a great game that does everything one would hope from the genre, but this really is a nostalgia goody bag for Castlevania fans and because of that it’s so far my personal favorite 2019 title. The developers did play it safe with Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night and drew heavily from previous Castlevanias instead of introducing some new ideas and concepts. The result is an excellent game and it would be great to see Bloodstained grow as a franchise, adding more innovations to help balance out the heavy-handed sprinkling of nostalgia.
Super Mario Maker 2Switch
Super Mario Maker 2 is still heavily about the creation process, but adds great new features that make it even more enjoyable than ever before. This makes it much more of a title built for creators and players than its predecessor, even if building is still the key element. Super Mario Maker 2 is full of tons of things to do and endless levels waiting to be made. This is a must-have for fans of Mario and all of those who may have missed out on the original.
F1 2019 Anniversary EditionPS4
I’m inclined to call F1 2019 the most complete version of Codemasters’ series to date. The Career Mode has some good ideas and the inclusion of the new classic cars and the F2 cars add a bit of variety to the series. If you pay for something, however, you shouldn’t need to wait to unlock it. The AI can be a killer and racing online will have you weeding through some jobbers until you gain some experience on the Super License.
Fans of the Yakuza series may be quick to filter out what’s genuinely new from everything else, but for a game as packed and as entertaining as this, what it may lack in pure originality, Judgment more than makes up for with a game that is as fun to engage with as it is to just sit back and watch as the now-commonly bizarre antics of Kamurocho play out to delightful and convincing effect.
Amid Evil does everything possible to let the player have a blast in the intricate landscapes of its mystical realms, tearing through a paper-thin quest to exterminate the corruption of the land while tackling the more important task battling and exploring every square inch of the map.
Citizens of SpacePS4
Citizens of Space is a well-crafted follow-up to the original that manages to keep its sense of humor intact while completely revamping its gameplay. The Earthbound approach has been swapped out for a Paper Mario style of combat — which is either a blessing or a curse depending on your preferences. If you want a more active timing-based affair, you will love what’s offered up here. If you like being able to automate combat to some degree, especially with modern games making that more of a standard, then you may not. Either way, the core game is a lot of fun even with a few rough edges.
Collection of ManaSwitch
Anyone who has never tried these titles before is now given the opportunity in easily the best way possible, and despite the remakes these titles have or are soon going to see, it’s well worth playing each one from where they began. Collection of Mana is a title every fan of JRPGs should have whether they’ve played them or not, as they are tried and true classics that stand the test of time by still being simply outstanding well over twenty years later.
Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring the Legend of ZeldaSwitch
While it does lack a bit in the replayability department, it makes up for it by just feeling like an utterly grand adventure no matter how long it takes to complete. Hyrule fits in seamlessly to this musically-obsessed overrun world, and it’s never been so fun to see enemies like bokoblins, stalfos and darknuts move to a rhythm beat as they try to take the hero on. Cadence of Hyrule is a wonderfully unique experience for anyone looking to dive into something a little different, and is a fun new way for fans of Necrodancer to try a completely different style of dancing to the beat.
The time and effort for MotoGP 19 prove that this is Milestone’s best game to date. It’s actually only $50 and has more going for it than some of its competition. The racing is enjoyable and has the ability to be mastered while the A.N.N.A. AI has some flashes but some other aspects need to be touched up. The plethora of bike classes are welcoming and the Historical Challenges will have players hooked. While the visuals take a bump, fans of the series will no doubt enjoy the updates to the game.
Assetto Corsa CompetizionePC
Without having to pay for iRacing or rFactor, Assetto Corsa Competizione is as real as it gets when getting behind the wheel. Players just need to have the proper setup to make the most of it. The Blancpain GT Series sponsorship is both a blessing and a curse. The cars and tracks from the series are all here and offer a solid variety, but that's all you get. The content in the game is bare bones even though being able to do a 24-hour race or a Sprint Race is nice. Competizione is all about the racing and that is what it does best.
Castlevania Anniversary CollectionPS4
Castlevania Anniversary Collection contains the majority of classic Castlevania titles, some of which are considered among the best games for their respective consoles. The quality of games included speak for themselves and this really is a must own for any CastlevaniaÂ fan or fan of retro action and platforming games. Now as for the actual collection as a whole, it seems that more care could have gone into it to make it more enticing since the youngest game in the collection is 25 years old.
While Gato Roboto could stand to be a more fleshed-out metroidvania game, it’s still a highly enjoyable action game overall. Kiki’s adventure is one chock full of classic NES-era action, nicely challenging combat, fun gameplay and charming visuals. It’s a short burst of action, but one you won’t forget anytime soon. So thankfully, there is more to the game to love beyond just a cat inside a mechanical suit. But come on, can you really resist Kiki’s kickass cuteness?
A Plague Tale: InnocencePS4
The game is not without its flaws, but with such a measured and considered use of visuals and sound, particularly in tandem with its narration, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a game as unexpected and thus as fascinating as A Plague Tale: Innocence. One can only look on with intrigue as to where Asobo Studio go from here.
Layers of Fear 2PC
The story takes a while to develop and it may not even be understood in the end depending on what ending the player gets based on the choices made in the game. Sure, the game is only ten hours, but it’s designed for multiple playthroughs. Besides that and some technical issues, Layers of Fear 2 is another horror masterpiece and improves on what the original accomplished.
While it could have done more with its central concept, Observation is a terrific, thrilling adventure game and a superb follow-up for No Code. The blend of the realistic workings of space exploration along with more bizarre elements is perfectly executed and creates an engrossing story with a haunting atmosphere that you’ll want to see through. It’s an epic mystery you’ll want to experience, and while it may not be the full-on video game equivalent of 2001, it’s still a killer ode that Kubrick would hopefully be proud of.
BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL!Switch
HAL Laboratory’s quadrilateral little protagonist (and co) may be dishing out the same escapades as he’s done for what is the fourth entry in the studio’s still-young puzzle-platformer series, but BoxBoy! + BoxGirl! proves the series is just as charming and as enjoyable as it’s always been.
MachineGames’ take on Wolfenstein and id Software’s Doom 2016 were fantastic games and the idea to reinvigorate additional IP is a solid idea. Rage 2 should make sense on paper, but falls flat in execution. There’s a lot of fun to be had in the minute-to-minute gameplay. The mixture of inventive guns and powerful Nanotrite abilities make for fluid and engaging combat scenarios. That excellent gameplay, however, is held back by its story, mission design and open world.
Sniper Elite V2 RemasteredSwitch
It’s fortunate that the series’ brutal kill-cam’s and strategic emphasis in gameplay persist here, as it’s clear that V2 Remastered is far from complete a package the “remastered” brand might suggest. Though there’s an air of nostalgia and goodwill towards Rebellion and their continued efforts to keep this IP as entertaining as it remains, Sniper Elite V2 Remastered seems primarily focused on touching up the most selective of visual and graphical assets, and little else outside of it.
Life is Strange 2: Episode 3 - WastelandsPS4
While the developer still has the overarching plot of the brothers returning to their father’s hometown, there are plenty of storylines that are going on and which fans will be hoping are tied together in the penultimate episode. For all of its criticism with themes, Dontnod exemplifies its fantastic approach to different issues, such as sexuality, in a respectful manner and naturally injects them into the story. If Episode 3: Wastelands is a taste of what’s to come from Life Is Strange 2, then the episodic series will continue to move from strength to strength going forward.