Justin Clark


Favorite Games:
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
  • Silent Hill 2
  • Super Metroid

291 games reviewed
69.7 average score
70 median score
47.1% of games recommended

But, then, this Reunion clearly didn’t set out to push the Remake universe forward so much as remind us of what Remake rebelled against. FFVII and Crisis Core were ultimately stories of inevitability and tragedy, while Remake was about defiance. Even with some much-welcome extra polish, Reunion still feels like a game of the past, but it’s also a strong reminder of why FFVII fans are so immensely excited about the future, and what defying the fates might bring.

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Dec 6, 2022

The game’s dedication to graphical fidelity feels like a blinder to thinking outside the box in every other regard. It can’t help but feel like intensive overcompensation for inconsistent, tension-less stealth, one-note combat, level design that doesn’t reward exploration, generically fleshy enemies, upgrades that don’t reward experimentation, and ineffective jump scares, from enemies that get cheap hits in on Jacob every single time, regardless of how well-prepared the player is. Much has been made of the fact that this was meant as the heir apparent to beloved survival horror series Dead Space, a game that, 12 years later, can still induce goosebumps just from its terrifying attract sequence. By contrast, if not for its graphics, The Callisto Protocol feels like a relic from 1998, undone creatively even by the decaying likes of Shadow Man.

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Nov 29, 2022

Somerville does at least stick the landing with a third act that largely pushes the puzzles to the side in favor of an alien mind game that plays with one’s perception of what came before, and some surprisingly effective emotional payoff in the multiple endings. These moments represent the game at its best: scary, strange, wondrous, and enthralling. Thankfully, there are just enough of those riveting moments to forgive the ones where Somerville feels more than a little rote.

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Nov 16, 2022

Ragnarok works the kind of narrative miracles that the medium has no excuse not to follow suit on. This is the kind of love and care that’s not only possible for a big budget game, but deeply necessary.

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Nov 5, 2022

The only real objective problem this time around is that Queen Bay may be a little too much woman for the Switch. We’ve forgiven Nintendo’s little system that could for being underpowered compared to even the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One for years now, but Bayonetta 3 running into such frequent stretches of slowdown, visual muddiness, and low-fidelity textures feels like Platinum Games hitting the outer limits of how conceptually complex a game can be on the system without sacrificing something big. And make no mistake, this is a game where entire cities are ripped from the ground and twisted into metropolitan Twizzlers in the first three hours. Even with the stakes being what they are, this is still a massive game, brimming with spectacle, begging for the horsepower to run free that the Switch is incapable of providing.

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Oct 24, 2022

Requiem is still a rough experience, especially for anyone who’s seen young loved ones fade away in the last few years, but it’s an allegorical experience that has value and power, especially in light of that. In the end, the eponymous requiem in question is a quite literal violent scream, giving way to sorrow, but ultimately acceptance and thanks for the time given.

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Sep 20, 2022

But even that remains a step down from the obsessively fun vertical scrolling platform game you could play while waiting for a full game of eight players in the original Splatoon. It feels strange to complain about simply getting more of a good thing, but Splatoon is still a young and creatively fertile series that can do even more, and should. At present, Splatoon 3 is a good game that could very easily evolve into a great one. The single-player campaign is, largely, proof of that. But it’s far too soon for a series this unique to feel like it’s already in “ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mode. Splatoon is one of the coolest things to happen on Nintendo’s platforms in the 21st century. The least it could do is follow its own advice and try to stay fresh.

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Sep 14, 2022

This could’ve been an easy high concept to get wrong. The gunplay could’ve been stale and repetitive, but the way you increase damage, points, and unlock perks during combat relies on hitting targets in streaks, choosing a loadout that plans for any and every type of threat and hitting them reliably on beat. The environments aren’t quite as varied as we’ve seen in recent FPSes, or even something like Devil May Cry, which plays around in a similar aesthetic sandbox. But they’re utilized well, and they’re designed to keep the player moving and dancing even with obstacles in their road, a harder conceptual ask than it seems, and one that certainly asks the player to shoulder their weight. Metal: Hellsinger isn’t an easy game by any stretch, but one that’s short enough and forgiving enough to encourage bashing your head against the wall multiple times to get it right or score higher, and smiling a bloody grin at even meager progress.

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May 25, 2022

Elden Ring is FromSoftware taming the monster they created, not by filing down its teeth and claws, but by giving players the weapons and armor to endure it. It’s the first of their games to not feel like a brick wall but a doorway, with allies in every direction all reaching out to help you tread carefully to the other side. The result is a paradigm shift, a seemingly once-in-a-generation recalibration of old ideas and taking them to the next level.

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6 / 10 - Weird West
Mar 31, 2022

Weird West slings a few effective yarns, but fumbles when it comes to dealing in lead.

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Mar 12, 2022

It’s been a long-standing complaint that WWE doesn’t know how to make new stars. WWE 2K22 is still a fine wrestling game, but the most frustratingly realistic thing about it is just how hard it is to make new stars here too.

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There are dozens of stories across Horizon Forbidden West that are every bit as cool, engaging, and thoughtful as that one. That makes it somewhat disappointing that the main story doesn’t quite hit the same heights in the end, as there’s a sagging middle that takes a little of the wind out of the finale. But it’s not something that’s worth sweating over, as the company that Aloy keeps consistently makes the trek work taking every step of the way.

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Dec 15, 2021

Infinite wants so badly to feel like a fresh start—to deliver onto players a familiar setting that they can revel in but with a host of new tools. But that fresh start comes at the expense of all the big, beautiful, and ambitious ways in which the last few titles in the series made us want to take part in the Covenant War.

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Dec 3, 2021

When The Circle comes calling again, encroaching on Nara’s meager existence, she also needs Forsa to stand a chance of fighting the cult, and even the ship has a deep recognition that it’s the product of reprehensible crimes. Their bonding over shared pain should be ridiculous, but in practice, it’s absolutely enthralling. All this runs parallel to the Lovecraftian cosmic horrors at the game’s heart, but even as unnerving as that material gets, it’s all the more effective thanks to the very human and understandable reasons they’ve been allowed to exist. There are dozens of space shooters that will take up more of your time, and very few of them are dedicated to making this much of an impact as an engrossing, thoughtful adventure.

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Rockstar's remastered trilogy is, appropriately, an absolute car wreck of creative neglect.

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Nov 11, 2021

There are excellent RPG gameplay ideas powering Shin Megami Tensei V, but they’re left stranded in search of a worthwhile role to play.

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That, though, isn’t to denigrate the power of a good blaster. The addition of a Sekiro-like stagger meter makes some enemies more bullet spongy than normal, but otherwise there’s something very old-school about the gunplay here. Success means constant movement, matching elemental weaknesses, and carefully employing the other Guardians as support characters. The battlefields are chaotic, but once there’s enough special moves at play to combine, the game is blissfully freeing in a way that not many shooters are these days.

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Oct 15, 2021

Which isn’t to say that you’re locked into a path getting to your destination. Indeed, the game’s minor tonal shortcomings are eclipsed by all the ways that it perfects the 2D trappings of Metroid’s mechanics and hands players so much freedom when it comes to exploring its environments. All the while, the game is deliberate and quite devilish about taking that freedom away and picking the right time to dare you to fight to regain it.

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Oct 11, 2021

Eastward wouldn’t be this frustrating if it didn’t get so much right when the narrative stays on target. There are numerous moments here that are truly alive to the strangeness of this world that might have truly inspired our awe, even our empathy for the characters, if we weren’t also being saddled with the frustration of wondering when the game is going to get on with the program. The payoff for the player’s patience isn’t without its power, but it’s also a bit of a missed opportunity. There are riches aplenty scattered across its protracted campaign, but you may remember Eastward most for its disrespect for the player’s time.

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Oct 2, 2021

It’s worth noting that the main mechanical difference between Deathloop and Dishonored is that you can kill without moral consequence here. That’s liberating, but while it’s nice, and hilarious, that kicking enemies into the ocean is such a key part of Deathloop’s gameplay, there isn’t a whole lot that’s interesting about that. For a stealthy FPS that prides itself on the steady accumulation of power and understanding, the game also rarely makes either one feel particularly exhilarating. But, in the end, Deathloop’s almost perversely ironic saving grace is that it’s populated with charismatic weirdos who are just as irked about that as you are.

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