The beautiful thing about Weird West is also what makes it critically impenetrable. At least for me, my enjoyment of the game is tied to my particular playstyle. If you’re more ruthless with NPCs, if you’re more stealth-focused, or if you’re more patient, this is a very different game. So my frustration with the stealth is a sign to sneak around less. If I’m unhappy with the story, I can always change how it ends. Conversely, the movement and aiming controls are a tangible way of making your platforming choice. If you’re looking for a western RPG with this sort of blissful, overwhelming freedom, you’ve come to the right place. For better or for worse, Weird West has that freedom.
tERRORbane is goofy and great. Throughout, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the swerve balls in gameplay and plot. It’s genuinely funny with a bunch of laugh-out-loud memorable moments. Unfortunately, this enthralling adventure is over a little soon but you can revisit areas to discover all the secrets. Packed with ingenuity, BitNine Studios have really put itself on the map with this gem.
Criticisms aside, this was the studio’s first crack at the survival game genre. I can see their talent in making good-looking environments, especially in cities and building interiors. It’s hard trying to do something unfamiliar and I respect them for trying something so different. Dead Man’s Diary feels like a learning step possibly leading to something greater in the future.
I can’t really know what the AAA version of No Place Like Home even looks like. I think I wish the controls felt a little tighter, and that it looked a little bit nicer. It’s great to get all the garbage off the grass, but I wish the grass was a bit more textured. Maybe it would have been nice to see it shine in the sunlight. But that’s not where No Place Like Home places its focus. The developers clearly put time into balance and rhythm. If you are a gamer who peacefully likes carving out a digital home for yourself, there is a peace to be found in No Place Like Home.
A Memoir Blue has a beautiful, varied visual style, emotionally resonant music, and a sincere — if not terribly deep — narrative. The changing and mysterious relationship of parents and children is relatable. It’s a wonderful story to experience, told via haunting, surreal images. Where A Memoir Blue collapses is in its arbitrary and often unnecessary game mechanics. I get that the main character is trying to make sense of her puzzle-like memories. Pixel hunting and awkward object manipulation don’t make me feel invested or immersed. I’d argue they work against it. A Memoir Blue could and should have been a touching short animated film.
RPG Time: The Legend of Wright is unassailably clever. There is nothing remotely like it, at least visually. Many elements work really well, from the hand-crafted animations to the idea of the game springing from the imagination of a precocious, game-loving kid. I wish the story had been a bit more layered, and I wish actually playing the game matched the fun and panache of its presentation. Still, RPG Time: The Legend of Wright deserves praise for the audacity of its ideas and their generally successful implementation.
Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 5 should please fans of the series. The additions make the game more accessible than ever and is more fleshed out thanks to the new content. The main drawback is the lack of haptic feedback in relation to the track surface.
Given the open world craze sweeping the industry, I expected something along those lines with Forgotten Land. Instead, I got a charming new adventure taking measured steps outside the franchise’s usual boundaries. This game proves you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, so long as you’re adding some sweet rims. While the new mechanics are cool, I also appreciate the way old systems have been refreshed. And while the challenge level felt toothless at first, things managed to heat up in the end. In fact, the game is as tough as you need it to be, from start to finish. If you’ve been looking for something fresh from Kirby, you’re in luck. Kirby and the Forgotten Land has some delightful surprises in store.
Although it uses the Borderlands 3 engine and reprises several characters from earlier games in the franchise, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands does a great job of separating itself from its brethren. With a focus on high fantasy and cheeky humor that constantly pokes fun at RPG traditions, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands also doesn’t stray far from them, at least mechanically. Great writing, pitch perfect acting and frenetic action dominate the game, but exploring the nooks and crannies of the colorful overworld and detailed dungeons is equally satisfying. I had a blast in the Wonderlands and can’t wait to see what else the irrepressible Tiny Tina has in store for us.
Tunic is a great game for a specific audience. The target gamer is someone who has patience, loves puzzles and isn’t bothered by dead ends and roadblocks. For those folks, Tunic is a delightful Zelda-inspired ARPG that unfolds into something bigger than its style suggests. Knowing the shorthand of Soulslikes mechanics will cut through some of the game’s opacity. For some, though, the game’s obstinate refusal to easily give up its secrets may be a barrier to enjoyment, no matter how lovely and inviting the game seems to be.
Look, I feel like I’ve been spending a lot of time here bashing Rune Factory 5, and maybe I have. But let me emphasize that I still had a lot of fun with it, and I think other players will too. I might be even a bit addicted to it, honestly. There’s just too much here to not like on many levels. But it’s just missing some finish to its technical aspects, especially the visuals and menus. And it needs some follow-through on all its great ideas to make it coalesce into one great experience. Yes, Rune Factory 5 is many games in one, for better or worse. And if you’re ok with that, you’ll have a lot of fun with it. Now, let’s just hope they fix that menu.
Where Ghostwire: Tokyo loses some love is in the overall imprecision of its movement and mechanics, and a few elements that seem arbitrary or unexplained. Ghostwire: Tokyo’s combat is engaging and its environments are impressive, but that same combat can also frustrate and the environments are balanced against less impressive character models. As a new IP or franchise, Ghostwire: Tokyo is a great, but rough-around-the-edges step in a really interesting new direction.
Wunderling DX isn’t the kind of game-changing platformer that’s going to draw in all kinds of crowds. That said, the story adds a fun punch to the gameplay while its mechanical twist is worth checking out for fans of the genre. If you love platformers, Wunderling DX is a well-designed, inventive one of those. If you don’t, it’s not going to change your mind.
Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual is a textbook case that proves not all games are easy to transition from a traditional to virtual presentation. Dialog heavy games can work in VR if you are an active participant. Not so much when you are a mere observer. This problem is further exacerbated by the lack of polish of the game’s controls. What still works is the banter between Sam and Max. The writing is good as is the soundtrack. If you are a fan of these characters, you’ll probably be able to deal with the game’s shortcomings. For the rest, your time is better spent elsewhere.
ANNO: Mutationem is an audacious title that successfully merges genres. While the 3D segments aren’t as tight as its 2D counterpart, the originality shines through making this a fresh adventure. The gorgeous environment is full of character and is a joy to inhabit. However, the delivery of the narrative lacks the nuances to fully immerse. With its solid action gameplay and exciting bosses, fans of the genre will have a blast in this futuristic, cyberpunk escapade.
If you’re not familiar with Destiny, it all probably sounds pretty overwhelming. That’s because it is. Destiny 2 has a dumptruck full of mechanics, concepts, and items, and it will take you a long time to figure everything out. What’s important is that getting to the light level cap, or doing the raid, or maxing out faction rep isn’t necessary to have a good time. The game still plays phenomenally, and the balance the new activities strike make The Witch Queen an ideal place to give Destiny 2 another shot. It worked for me, and well, if you knew exactly how much I’d grown to despise helium coils and faction rep, you’d be shocked I came back at all. But come back I did, and I won’t be putting Destiny 2 down for a very, very long time.
Thanks to its new weapons, excellent characters and nuanced narrative, Dawn Of Ragnarök comes closer than ever before to breaking free of AC Valhalla’s template. Though it can’t entirely escape some over-familiar mission types, Dawn Of Ragnarök does a great job of pulling together several strands from the main game and prior expansions. Svartalfheim and Odin’s quest give AC Valhalla renewed energy and should please both fans and maybe entice some newcomers to dip into the franchise. Dawn Of Ragnarök is a substantial and overall impressive addition to the series.
There’s a lot to like and very little to dislike about République. The tank controls can take some time to get used to. And the auto-switching of the camera angle can be a pain among some other small annoyances. But quite honestly for an old IOS game, this title is surprisingly packed with content and replayability. It also offers an interesting and unique way to play stealth games. If you’re a fan of these kinds of games, I would certainly recommend giving République a go!
Phantom Breaker is an interesting fighter that finds a niche in a somewhat crowded genre. The use of character styles and chain-based combat gives the game its own identity and provides an additional layer of strategy in fights. The omission of a tutorial and move list is baffling and is a barrier to mastering mechanics. Characters are well crafted and their personalities are shared in the game’s story, however, the roster itself lacks variety. Despite its originality on the stage, some design issues halt Phantom Breaker: Omnia from competing with its competition.