822 Published Reviews
Final Fantasy VII RemakePS4
Final Fantasy 7 Remake sets out to fully re-imagine a classic RPG with improved combat and an expanded story. Unfortunately, it's hurt by weak side quests and a surplus of padding, and its biggest change is bound to be controversial. It's one of the most coherent and enjoyable Final Fantasy releases in years, but it's also likely to be one of the most divisive.
Bleeding Edge has some really good ideas, but not enough content or progression to back them up. It's a solid pick for a few game nights with your pals if you all have Game Pass, but it still needs some time to develop into a true competitor.
RESIDENT EVIL 3PS4
Resident Evil 3 finally repositions its place as not just a true sequel to Resident Evil 2, but as a bridge to Resident Evil 4, both in action and plot. While it streamlines the formula of Resident Evil 2 into something more linear, it's still the best way to dodge through Raccoon City with Jill and Carlos, even with Nemesis always on your tail and the occasional clunkiness here and there. With a breezy runtime, Resident Evil 3 is well worth revisiting. Just maybe not Resident Evil Resistance.
It is a full-length VR experience that both needs to be in VR, but that uses the tech to more strongly evoke the same feelings you got with a mouse and keyboard years ago. There are some small flaws that are no more annoying than over-long sewer odysseys or having to crouch jump were in past games, and its spectacle hits the hardest of any in the series. It sets Half-Life up for a compelling future—here's hoping we see it.
Most of what made Doom great is carried forward into Doom Eternal, with new mechanics like an armor-filling flamethrower and the room-clearing Blood Punch. Eternal wants to be more though, so it adds to Doom Slayer's story and adds more twisty levels to explore, which puts some bumps in the tight pacing of Doom (2016). Nevertheless, it'll still feed your need for that rip and tear.
Ori and the Will of the WispsXbox One
Ori and the Will of the Wisps serves up a balanced meal of combat and platforming that captured me immediately. I'm not a big fan of the first game, but Ori's weapon wheel and slick maneuverability turns Will of the Wisps into an irresistible ballet. Unfortunately, performance problems on the Xbox One S in particular bring down a game that is otherwise almost perfect.
MLB The Show 20PS4
MLB The Show 20 isn't a complete replacement for all those lost afternoons at the ballpark, but it's nevertheless a balm for the baseball fan's soul in these trying times. While this year's version largely rests on the excellence of last year's version, it still brings with it plenty of strong additions, including the return of online leagues. As a tip of the cap to conclude the PlayStation 4 generation, it comes highly recommended.
Animal Crossing: New HorizonsSwitch
Animal Crossing: New Leaf remains the pinnacle of the series, but New Horizons brings with it a bunch welcome quality of life changes, such as terraforming the island to your every whim. The addition of crafting isn't a burden as I worried it would be. In fact, it becomes a fun objective to work toward, effectively diversifying the usual chores of selling bugs and fish to pay your never-waning debts to that rascally raccoon.
Nioh 2 crafts its tough experience with precise, delicious Team Ninja combat. On top of that is an entire mass of additional systems that offer players a way forward if your skills aren't top-notch. When those systems come together, Nioh 2 can make you feel powerful, but it does feel like a mess of numbers and bonuses thrown your way at times.
Murder by NumbersPC
With four lengthy chapters, catchy music, and several charming characters in its cast, Murder By Numbers is an easy recommendation for anyone who likes either mysteries or picross, and you'll be eager for more of both once you're finished.
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DXSwitch
Though still imperfect, Mystery Dungeon more than makes up for its stumblings through one of the most sweet-hearted stories in the Pokemon franchise, backed by a solid dungeoneering system and a gorgeous aesthetic. If all Pokemon games were as forward-thinking and adventurous as this one, who knows what the franchise could be by now?
Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy CollectionSwitch
The original Mega Man Zero is still brutal, but difficulty options like Save Assist ease the pain. The six games are bound together by some good extras, including a sizable art gallery, a music player, and a "Z-Chaser" speedrunning challenge. If Mega Man Legacy Collection and Mega Man X Legacy Collection are already on your shelf, Mega Man Zero/ZX Collection is a no-brainer addition.
Dreams is fantastically experimentative, and it's obvious that the near-limitless creation tools provide a platform on which the community can build far into the future, but to judge this package as whole right now, it's not the wider product that leaves a lasting impression.
The swinging mechanic is the star of the show here, even if the design of your limited arsenal shows some clear thought went into making every weapon meaningful. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to figure out where you're supposed to go at times, backtracking in Kunai is a bit of a pain, and the level design doesn't offer as many branching paths as its competition. But it's worth playing through the game's short runtime and this is a great foundation for a sequel.
Kentucky Route ZeroPC
It's an adventure concerned not just with our country's endemic issues, but with the people at the center and their undying perseverance in the face of economic cruelty. As an adventure game, it is perhaps one of the finest games ever written, ebbing and flowing between the perspectives of not just other characters, but the lens we see it through. All considered as the sum of its many, equally magnificent parts, Kentucky Route Zero is a game I won't forget for a long, long time.
JOURNEY TO THE SAVAGE PLANETPS4
Journey to the Savage Planet puts you in a brilliantly colorful world, and tasks you with exploring to your heart's content. The moment-to-moment exploration is enjoyable, but the act of combat offers very little in the way of a challenge. The score and insane FMV adverts give Journey to the Savage Planet a lot of personality, but the tiresome parody nature of the writing really lets it down.
Dragon Ball Z: KakarotPC
Dragon Ball Z: Karakot distills 291 episodes of Dragon Ball Z down into a 40-hour action-RPG experience. While the pacing is a bit off, seeing the story of Goku and friends told in wide swaths mostly works. The combat also manages to capture the feel of the series in certain boss fights. Unfortunately, the RPG side of things is lacking, with muddy progression, systems that feel useless, and random enemy encounters that can grow tedious. It's a good start, but more training is needed to reach its final form.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE EncoreSwitch
Whatever you think of port-begging, it's justified with Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore. Not only does #FE Encore give us a chance to play a great game that was overlooked on the Wii U, but it also adds a new dungeon, new songs, and content that was previously DLC. A lot of new Persona fans have been minted since #FE's initial release in 2015, and this is one song they should all enjoy.
Some significant technical issues manage to do little to hold back the charm and wit of Wattam. It's a game that's great fun for both kids and adults, with slapstick humor and a sweet message of understanding people, despite your differences, at its center. It's made with today's toxic climate in mind, boiling the world's issues into something that doesn't feel cloying, but instead feels positive and welcoming. That, to me, is an achievement.
Shovel Knight: King of CardsPC
Shovel Knight: King of Cards revisits the formula one last time with new maps and bosses, as well as a brand new card game. It's ambitious, but it's also the least essential of the major Shovel Knight episodes. If you own Treasure Trove, play Shovel of Hope and Specter of Torment first, then circle back to King of Cards if you still want more.
Shovel Knight ShowdownSwitch
Shovel Knight Showdown takes the popular indie platformer series and turns it into a four-player arena battler, with great results. With a large amount of unlockable content, in-game challenges, and solo modes, it's a deceptively robust package that has the potential to be a long-term party staple. Shovel Knight Showdown is great even if you've never played the original games.
Life Is Strange 2 has a better core relationship at the heart of its game, but it fails them with the episodic adventure's at times boring, formulaic episode structure; something its predecessor did not suffer from. Some of the story beats are preachy and unearned. Where Life Is Strange 2 hits its stride is more a technical feat: in how its core relationship between brothers Sean and Daniel becomes a game mechanic in itself, and how all the choices you make shape Daniel as he grows up.
Phoenix Point fits firmly on the foundation of modern XCOM, but rethinks combat with an action point system and the ability to free aim. While the latter seems like a gimmick, it's actually a wonderful tactical option that pushes the strategy forward. It's a shame then that a reliance on procedural generation leads to a lack of variety, weapon balance isn't great, and the technical execution is rough. Phoenix Point is a great starting point for something amazing, but it's not quite there yet.
Shenmue 3 suffers from hamfisted exposition, tedious repetition, monotonous grinding, and a heap of other fundamental flaws that are inexcusable in 2019. However, its environments are so confident in their sense of place that exploration is a capable redeemer, and the game is at times, on that ground alone, worth playing.
Pokemon Sword and Shield's single-player experience is filled with neat characters and a new region that's brimming with personality, but running around the Wild Area with other players offers a special kind of fun. Quality of life improvements to the metagame, including the ability to change your Pokemon's nature and rent teams for fights, gives you good reason to stick with the game after you're crowned the new champion of the Galar region. Despite the controversy, Sword and Shield offers a great time.