Brian Shea


121 games reviewed
79.1 average score
83 median score
59.5% of games recommended
8.8 / 10.0 - Persona 3 Reload
Jan 30, 2024

Even after nearly 100 hours, I was sad to part ways with my team, feeling as though I had formed bonds with them that transcend any kind of in-game Social Link metric. Even with some outdated and repetitive elements inherited through the 18-year-old structure of the original, Persona 3 Reload is one of the best entries in one of the most acclaimed modern role-playing franchises in video games.

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8.3 / 10.0 - WarioWare: Move It!
Nov 1, 2023

Following Get It Together and Game & Wario, Move It is the WarioWare game I’ve been waiting for over the last 15 years, and it mostly delivers. The motion-controlled madness gives you plenty of fun and novel experiences, even if a few stinkers are in the mix. Regardless of those, WarioWare: Move It’s catalog is full of microgames I look forward to revisiting for months to come.

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8 / 10.0 - EA Sports UFC 5
Oct 27, 2023

Even with its shortcomings, EA Sports UFC 5 delivers an exciting MMA experience regardless of the mode in which you compete. Fighting your favorite UFC stars never gets old, and the adrenaline rush that comes with knocking your opponent out in a fierce back-and-forth battle makes it hard to resist the allure of stepping back into the Octagon for one more fight.

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Oct 19, 2023

Super Mario Bros. Wonder surprises and delights from the moment you turn on the game. Though the gameplay feels familiar, Nintendo’s ability to iterate on the established formula in unique ways kept me on my toes throughout the journey all the way up to the memorable final battle. After all this time, I thought I had a grasp on the breadth of the tricks the 2D Mario series had up its sleeve, but that Super Mario Bros. Wonder so consistently surprised me speaks to just how much gas is left in the iconic franchise’s tank.

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8.8 / 10.0 - Forza Motorsport
Oct 4, 2023

Forza Motorsport may not have the most in-depth career mode, but it executes nearly every aspect of the package exceptionally well. Though some of the progression and dynamic visual elements fall short of the realism the rest of the title achieves, Forza Motorsport currently vies for the pole position in the sim-racer field.

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9 / 10.0 - Mortal Kombat 1
Sep 15, 2023

When the first Mortal Kombat debuted more than 30 years ago, the series quickly became known for its trademark blood, gore, and violence. While that is still at the forefront thanks to Mortal Kombat 1’s Fatal Blows, Brutalities, and, of course, Fatalities, the longer the series has gone on, the longer it has rightfully become just as known for its genre-leading approach to single-player content and incredibly tight fighting mechanics. In making strides in both areas, Mortal Kombat 1 moves the series forward to continue what has already been a terrific year for the genre.

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8.8 / 10.0 - Blasphemous 2
Aug 17, 2023

At several points in my lengthy journey through the Gothic delight that is Blasphemous 2, I worried the monstrous foe in front of me would spell an end to my journey. But without these frequent frustrations, the triumphs wouldn’t be as great. Blasphemous 2 takes inspiration from those that came before it, but by intertwining a gorgeous art style, enticing exploration, and rewarding combat, it rises above the horde of Castlevania-inspired action titles.

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8 / 10.0 - Mr. Run and Jump
Jul 24, 2023

Mr. Run and Jump may look unassuming on the surface, but the challenges that await will have you screaming in frustration until they have you shouting in triumph. Though the trial-and-error style of each difficult room sometimes wore on me, after each success, I couldn’t wait to see what hurdles I needed to clear next.

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Jun 6, 2023

Despite some disappointing options and feature exclusions, Super Mega Baseball 4 is a strong alternative to the annualized sim-facing MLB game from Sony. Fans of retro-style arcade baseball games will find a lot to love, and roster customization enthusiasts have their new gold standard.

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7.5 / 10.0 - Terra Nil
Apr 17, 2023

What is on offer at release is worthwhile, both in gameplay and message. In focusing on environmental expansion instead of human expansion, Terra Nil delivers something wholly unique. While the peaceful nature and serene tone are sometimes interrupted by uneven mechanics, Terra Nil is a worthwhile experience for those looking for a new twist on the sim genre.

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8.8 / 10.0 - MLB The Show 23
Apr 12, 2023

Real-life Major League Baseball continues to evolve in ways to encourage faster play in hopes of appealing to a broader audience, but MLB The Show 23 feels somehow ahead of the game. At the same time, the new Storylines mode shows the past is just as important as the future, providing players with the best of both worlds. Myriad options and modes allow you to engage with America’s Pastime precisely how you want, and in the process, MLB The Show 23 delivers one of the best baseball games in years.

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8.3 / 10.0 - OUTLANDERS
Mar 7, 2023

Though the unforgiving moments where I watched my followers drop like flies wore on me at times, I loved how each scenario challenged me to balance all of these factors to accomplish a set of goals. Outlanders can be challenging and frustrating, but I rarely felt overwhelmed. Outlanders doesn't deliver on the grand scale of the large city simulations many associate with the genre, but its small-scale approach appeals to the task-oriented part of your brain, creating an immensely satisfying experience that brought me back time and time again.

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Feb 22, 2023

Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe is still an enhanced remaster of a 12-year-old Wii game, but it effectively brings forward one of the pink puffball's best outings, complete with meaningful additions. The result is a game worthy of sitting in the Switch catalog next to last year's superb Kirby and the Forgotten Land.

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Feb 20, 2023

Metroid Prime Remastered is more than meets the eye, serving as a testament to how spectacular and timeless the original design was. The visual and performance improvements go a long way to making it more approachable, but paramount to those upgrades is the fact that it controls as well as nearly any other shooter on the Switch today. Metroid Prime was a masterpiece in 2002, and that assessment still rings true in 2023.

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8.5 / 10.0 - Lil Gator Game
Jan 18, 2023

Lil Gator Game is as short as it is sweet, with the main story lasting just under five hours, but that's all it needs to be. I loved exploring each nook and cranny of the world during that time for new friends, loot, and memories. By the time the story wrapped up, the game had delivered a poignant and touching message about balancing the important parts of our lives. Lil Gator Game isn't the best Zelda-like I've played, but it's probably the one that will stick with me for the longest.

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6.5 / 10.0 - Sports Story
Jan 16, 2023

Even if Sports Story was polished and bug-free, it would still fall strikingly short of the first title in the series. The new sports don’t play well, the fetch quests are tiresome, and the story is tedious and less charming than that of Golf Story. What remains of the retro golf experience is fun, but the whole game feels like a textbook example of being unable to deliver on lofty ambitions.

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Dec 12, 2022

Need for Speed Unbound feels like a foundational entry for where the series could go from here. Competing across the title’s many events is a blast, and I love the juxtaposed visual aesthetics. Though some elements left me wanting, Unbound is as much fun as I’ve had with a Need for Speed title in years.

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Nov 21, 2022

Despite technical shortcomings and some filler content, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are chock-full of meaningful additions to one of gaming’s most popular franchises. At worst, these games are steps towards the Pokémon games for which players have clamored, but more often, they serve as effective thesis statements for where the series goes from here. Either way, I can’t wait to see where Game Freak evolves the experience from this point.

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7.8 / 10.0 - Sonic Frontiers
Nov 7, 2022

Though it’s rough around the edges, Sonic Frontiers is the best 3D Sonic game in years.

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9 / 10.0 - Overwatch 2
Oct 4, 2022

Overwatch 2 doesn’t flip the formula the way you might expect a long-awaited, numbered sequel would. But through various clever tweaks, it’s a well-rounded evolution of the experience into which I’ve poured more than a thousand hours since 2016. I may never recreate the magic of those first few years in Overwatch, but Overwatch 2 is a big step towards restoring the faith in the franchise and has me thinking it’s time to pour a few more hundred hours into my favorite team-based shooter.

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