Leo Faierman


108 games reviewed
70.3 average score
70 median score
62.0% of games recommended
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Feb 23, 2022

Anyone discouraged from those popular concerns of free-to-play MMOs will find that Lost Ark is gentle in its pay-to-win leanings. There are predictably seductive premium purchases to be had, but most of them revolve around time-savers and special mounts/skins, and hopefully there's some more free Lost Ark content to come. The architecture of the game seems geared towards dutiful endgamers with decent daily rewards that won’t require dozens of hours a week to maintain. Past that, the early stages of its arrival look promising and there’s considerable content to devour at launch, all for free. Lost Ark is easily worth the download and feels remarkably fully-formed, but it should really thrive with new world events and additional endgame content.

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Feb 14, 2022

It’s hard to imagine how a Zero Dawn fan could be at all dissatisfied with Guerilla Games’ choices here - the studio has delivered exactly what they were waiting for.

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- Sifu
Feb 6, 2022

Earlier impressions on Sifu’s camera issues have not been resolved either, and getting cornered by enemies would be less punishing with a more sensibly directed viewable angle. For beat ’em up fans starved for new games to play, Sifu remains an obvious recommendation. Even those taken by its copious charms will want for more after they’ve seen it all, however.

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It’s a comparison born of Dead Cells’ tradition of fond inclusions and references to other games in the past, all spun through its irreverence and charm. The persistent attention to detail seen through each of its iterative updates is present in The Queen and the Sea; for instance, eagle-eyed players may spot allusions to The Queen’s protectors in a late-stage level of the main game. The Lighthouse fight is absolutely the centerpiece of this DLC - and one of the most thrilling engagements in the wider game itself - but it all boils down to must-own material for longtime fans.

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Dec 7, 2021

In its lesser moments, it comes off as a singular presentation looking for a more involved game underneath, better combat and better bosses which could more effectively serve these assets. It still remains a worthwhile quest to see through to the end, but games like Solar Ash are frustrating in that they could have been so much more.

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Dec 1, 2021

There’s some merit in spending an hour or so dodging projectiles and dinging away at a half-dozen moving health bars, but Archvale would be immeasurably improved with more depth of content and character customization. A pure shoot ‘em up may not necessarily require those ingredients to flourish, but an action-heavy RPG definitely does, even one with such a pint-sized cute presentation. As it stands, Archvale poses some entertaining distractions for compulsive bullet-dodgers, but it could have been so much more.

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Oct 22, 2021

This chase-and-reprieve dynamic makes for a well-paced campaign which should take most players 12 hours or so to complete. The Eternal Cylinder makes for a tricky game to conveniently classify, and the mix of survival, exploration, platforming, puzzle, and action elements does sometimes collide with its clumsy and slippery controls. Adjustable difficulty settings are welcoming, but even on default mode there’s a generosity of checkpointing and saves, and rarely is an attempt punished too harshly; plus, when the permanent mutation system is later unlocked, it feels practically game-breaking. Warts and all, The Eternal Cylinder remains an accessible oddball adventure of one-of-a-kind sights.

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Oct 18, 2021

On top of all of that, Inscryption’s arrival in mid-October makes for a perfect Halloween game. What seems most vital for the game's success will be to casually get it to people who won’t know what to expect, like fans of deckbuilders just looking for another to add to their pile. Still, even if players go into Inscryption expecting the unexpected, there’s entertaining depth to its mechanics and narrative, a form of storytelling that could only exist in a video game.

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Oct 16, 2021

When everything is flowing in The Good Life, it feels like a touch of Animal Crossing with alternatingly quaint and irreverent British pastoral television, all with a burgeoning murder mystery underneath. Unfortunately, some of its rougher edges seem possibly related to the Switch itself and, although loading times are usually on the shorter side, their frequent appearance interrupts the flow even more. The Rainy Woods residents are charming and strange and there’s a numbingly pleasant feel to smalltown life and chores, but stiff controls and muddled design make it hard to find a good rhythm in The Good Life.

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Sep 28, 2021

That just scratches the surface - there’s also crafting, a chip slot equipment system, companions to help in battle, some simple item fishing a la Hades, unique weapons to divine, and many more secrets we haven’t even touched upon. For Brazilian developer Studio Pixel Punk, Unsighted is an accessible and content-rich debut with a compelling sci-fi drama at its core, and certainly in the argument for one of the best metroidvanias of the year.

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Sep 14, 2021

Match all of the above with a mesmerizing soundtrack of hummable motifs, from cheerily playful ditties to dramatic dirges, and everything in between, and Eastward distinguishes itself handily within its heavily populated genre. While it's not without its shortcomings - in particular, a bit less variety in combat and puzzles than the genre often typifies - where it shines, it does so brightly. For RPG fans, Eastward is the real deal, and it’s an unmissable and impressive feat of indie design that deserves plenty of recognition amongst a sea of bigger releases in 2021.

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Sep 13, 2021

For fans of the modern Hitman series, Arkane's outstanding catalog, and great-feeling FPS games in general, Deathloop is highly recommended; just go into the wild narrative with tempered expectations for self-directed play.

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Sep 8, 2021

For such a visually boisterous experience, The Artful Escape feels more like a chilly museum after closing hours.

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Aug 26, 2021

Lamentum is a fine debut that happens to serve a very specific fanbase, the same players who will celebrate its lack of trusty modern gameplay conveniences.

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Aug 6, 2021

Min-maxers can prioritize equipment and stat upgrades to further sabotage any challenge, but everyone else can just jump into Dodgeball Academia’s matches and glide through the snappy story. By the end, a full roster of characters unlock for use in a versus mode pack-in, albeit with no online multiplayer available. Super Dodge Ball fans will immediately respond to what Pocket Trap is up to here, but Dodgeball Academia should also prove an easygoing delight to anyone looking to sink into a very specific type of sports RPG.

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Jul 29, 2021

There are some problems in Eldest Souls, though, including weird pathing to certain bosses that require trap-dodging, which just feel out of place. Additionally, the lack of a true pause means re-speccing may require a return to a previous checkpoint. These are ultimately small gripes for what is a wonderful experience overall, as Eldest Souls is a challenging but fair boss-rush with great pixel art and some smart New Game+ content. The Souls community is sure to enjoy this, but the build experimentation and shard system add an appealing sense of growth that makes Eldest Souls feel like it has even broader appeal than its niche.

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Jul 20, 2021

If Death’s Door is not mentioned in a list of the year’s best indies, it will only be due to its finer focus and lack of complexity or significant depth, which also speaks to the game's utter lack of bloat. Those who are looking for the cavernous biomes of Hollow Knight or the lore-rich epistolatory storytelling in a Souls game may feel shorted by the 10 or so breezy hours on offer here, but Death’s Door is a precisely engineered and immersive adventure which will fully satisfy anyone seeking that exact experience. Isometric action RPGs are a dime a dozen, but rarely are they polished to such a brilliant sheen.

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Ages ago, when Castle Crashers hit Xbox Live, fans were happy to just pay out for a few new character and weapon skins, but the Mr. X Nightmare DLC appears to have been treated with the same level of care as the original game. Anyone who’s been looking for a better reason to go back to Streets of Rage 4 than just crawling up the leaderboards should jump on this DLC release, and the Survival mode’s 2-player online capability provides a great excuse to bring a friend along for the ride.

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Jul 14, 2021

Unlike Wildfire, though, Within the Blade works marvelously on the Switch and seems perfectly optimized for the platform, although the speed of the game does make more sense when docked on a nice TV. Little control and camera niggles - inputs to activate skills are constantly stumbled on Joy-Cons, and orienting the camera during stealth attempts is a pitiful chore - don’t compromise what is a weirdly deep, potentially satisfying low-rez action ninja sim. Elaborate and overflowing with optional content and a snappy narrative, Within the Blade should be a hit with the Sengoku set.

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Jun 11, 2021

A spoonful of VR would help the medicine go down.

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