Kirby and the Forgotten Land is another great platforming epic from Nintendo that will constantly challenge the player. There’s a good balance between combat and platforming that keeps the game fresh and compelling throughout. There are tons of secrets and replay value that will keep players coming back for a long time.
Aside from the new additions to gameplay, I feel the title still played it too safe as there wasn’t too much to separate its overall experience from past titles. The familiarity and reuse of certain gaming mechanics may be fully welcomed by fans who have waited so long but I feel more is needed to differentiate the overall experience.
Dawn of the Monsters is the Kaiju beat 'em up we’ve been waiting for with the developers doing a grand job to create a unique experience whilst celebrating the genre. I would love to see some new characters and levels in the form of DLC or even some online PVP worked in there to ensure its longevity.
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin is basically the best of both worlds with the combination of Square Enix’s RPG elements merging with Team Ninja’s fighting mechanics to create a whole new experience for the series. Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin is still very much a Final Fantasy game, but it's great to see Square Enix take a risk with this title which has been fantastically executed.
Young Souls is a breath of fresh air for the genre, the developers have done a fantastic job at merging so many different elements into one. Jenn and Tristan are some of the most memorable characters to ever grace the genre. Although playing on the Nintendo Switch I did experience some slow loading times and a bit of dropped frames during those frantic moments, but this wasn’t enough to sully a stellar title that is sure to be a new classic.
Aztech Forgotten Gods packs a lot in its relatively short playtime, with the boss battles and engaging story being the biggest highlights. The game just could’ve done with a few more extra features to boost its longevity and warrant a second playthrough.
Babylon's Fall is a mixed bag with combat mechanics and customisation standing at the forefront of the positives. But the majority of the game just doesn't flow as well as it could’ve with dated graphics, shockingly repetitive gaming loop and expensive microtransactions, Babylon's Fall is a bit of a letdown.
The Cruel King and the Great Hero is a delightfully innocent game that looks to bring in newcomers to the JRPG genre with its simplistic controls. However, I feel veterans of the genre will simply find this game way too easy with its linear and basic approach. There just isn’t enough depth within its core gameplay and becomes repetitive real quick.
The Atelier series just keeps getting better and better as the years go on. Koei Tecmo has done a fantastic job at crafting charming games that feel much more accessible than before, to welcome new players, whilst also offering a new experience for fans of the series. Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream is a great way to celebrate the series anniversary.
Elden Ring is a beautiful but brutal game that stays true to its Souls roots, I will say that it's not for the faint-hearted as completing quests is equally as difficult as the dungeons and combat sequences. However, FromSoftware has added another great game to their already impressive catalogue. Elden Ring is certainly one of this years must-have titles as it's an experience like nothing else.
Monark has a solid combat system that combines great tactical elements with turned-based action. There is way too much grinding throughout the game that may turn off players who aren’t fans of the genre. But as a whole Monark does present some great ideas that will intrigue newcomers to the genre but nothing groundbreaking for JRPG veterans.
River City Girls Zero is a charming prequel that fans of the series should add to their collection. However, as the game is almost thirty years old players shouldn’t expect the fast pace action from the more recent games. But nevertheless River City Girls Zero is a fun but tough port that deserves your attention after taking so long to be released outside of Japan.
Dynasty Warriors 9: Empires is clearly aimed at the Musou fans who want more to experience more strategy, however, all of the strategic elements can become really convoluted and if not a tad repetitive. It feels like there is a lot of missed potential here with bland maps and an experience that feels pretty bare at times, it's still fun but it's defiantly not one of the best titles in the series.
GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon is an intense follow up with an addictive gaming loop, although once you’ve beaten the game there is little to warrant a return. Yes, there are additional difficulty settings to unlock and one extra secret, but other than that there isn't anything groundbreaking to urge players back after that first run through. Hopefully, Konami can add some extra DLC in the form of levels or extra bosses.
Horizon Forbidden West is an amazing sequel that fulfils most of the missing elements from the first game. Its immersive adventure is easily one of the best experiences on offer on the Playstation 5. Guerrilla Games should really take a bow for crafting not only a brilliant action game but manages to do the seemingly impossible by improving on Horizon’s already fantastic lore, adding stunning new locations and stellar characters.