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Renan Fontes

RenanXIII

Favorite Games:
  • Devil May Cry 3
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
  • Mother 3

217 games reviewed
64.9 average score
70 median score
46.1% of games recommended
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Dec 5, 2021

Exit the Gungeon does a charming job at taking the original's core gameplay loop, and flipping it on its head, but the follow up is more glorified mini-game than it is spin-off. The controls are mechanically tight, and the emphasis on dodge rolling compliments the vertical level design well, but losing the dungeon crawling that defined Enter the Gungeon (and subsequently the thrill of finding secrets) is a tremendous loss. An emphasis on RNG also makes it difficult to enjoy the gunplay, as most weapons gone as soon as they appear. Exit the Gungeon may have Enter the Gungeon's chaos, but it lacks its soul.

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8 / 10 - Strangeland
Aug 19, 2021

Moody, thought provoking, and chillingly beautiful at times, Strangeland, is a bizarre take on the point-and-click genre that will stick with players long after the credits roll. The story itself is dense with a script layered in symbolism, but never so obtuse where the uninformed can't get by. Thematically, much of the plot centres around the self - self-acceptance, self-doubt, self-destruction, and self-actualization - along with the pursuit of identity. Puzzles lean into the hostile aesthetic to provide a fair degree of challenge, while hints are always available. It all makes for a well-paced, well realized journey that doesn't outstay its welcome. Strangeland is a short adventure, but one of the finest entries in the genre.

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It's as shocking as it is baffling that Nicalis blocked Galati's patch considering just how much better Save me Mr Tako: Definitive Edition is over the original release. A host of quality of life additions shine a spotlight on what was always a compelling adventure, albeit one bogged down in out of place design philosophies. The revamped difficulty curve makes stages far more engaging - lending them a flow that was previously missing - and the new hint system keeps progress moving at a steady pace. Save me Mr Tako may style itself like a typical Game Boy platformer, but it goes beyond mere homage and reaches genuine greatness.

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Jul 27, 2021

NEO: The World Ends with You is a good RPG in its own right, but it does not live up to its predecessor's legacy. Combat eventually opens up to become chaotically fun and the series' sense of style is as fresh as ever, but the story leaves a lot to be desired. Beyond spotty pacing at times, the script lacks the strong character focus that defined the original. There's too much focus on world building and epic plotting instead of the intimacy that made TWEWY compelling to begin with. The fact that Final Remix's A New Day epilogue plays such a foundational role in the narrative doesn't exactly help matters either. NEO: The World Ends with You has a frantic battle system that only gets better, but the story is sure to disappoint.

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Between the steep difficulty curve and unconventional story, Shin Megami Tensei III won't appeal to everyone - but those who can stomach strategizing through even random battles while reading between the script's lines will be rewarded with an outstanding RPG. Tokyo's warped state post-Conception leads to a hostile atmosphere that's carried all the way to the credits, and dungeons are elaborately designed and make use of consistently fresh gimmicks. Multiple endings keep the story replayable, with Hard Mode offering series veterans even more challenge. There's nuance to every aspect of gameplay, from the Press Turn battle system to Demon fusion and recruitment. As true in 2021 as it was in 2003, Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne HD Remaster is nothing short of a must-play RPG.

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NieR Replicant 1.22 is an outstanding remake and an excellent action RPG in its own right. Combat is fast paced, focused, and well varied between three distinct weapon types and eight magic spells. Dungeons appear simple but their design is deceptively clever, and they carry a Legend of Zelda-esque charm to them. The visuals are greatly improved from the original, from character models to background details. Bosses are downright bombastic, masterfully juggling tense battles with visceral set pieces. The story is simply beautiful, making brilliant use of music to amplify already deeply emotional storytelling. Above all else, Replicant plays into concepts only possible in a video game - leading to a genuinely unforgettable experience. If you only play one game this year, make it NieR Replicant 1.22.

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Apr 13, 2021

Newcomers risk drowning in a sea of references, while franchise veterans are bound to be put off by more cut-scenes than the series is known for, but Ys IX: Monstrum Nox is an astonishingly addictive action-RPG that just gets better as it goes on. A rough opening and choppy plotting undersell a genuinely gripping mystery that reflects on Adol's history as an adventure, culminating in an incredible last act. Falcom's dungeon design is the best it's been in years and the numerous gameplay additions made to combat bring the Seven Engine close to capturing the same highs that defined the Napishtim era. Monstrum Nox may not live up to its narrative potential, but Ys IX's gameplay only leaves one thing to be desired: more.

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Mar 31, 2021

Featuring a total of 32 games across three downloadable packs and separate downloads, Capcom Arcade Stadium is a fantastic way of diving into the studio's gameography. Roughly 30 years of video game history are on display here, featuring a wide variety of titles that highlight Capcom's eclectic and often forward-thinking approach to game design. The implementation of rewind & save states makes virtually any entry accessible, and the ability to speed up gameplay helps the more sluggish inclusions get much needed play time. Not every game in Capcom Arcade Stadium is a classic that's stood the test of the time, but most surprisingly have, and that alone makes the collection worth picking up.

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Mar 2, 2021

Juggling sub-par game design with a host of technical issues on the Switch, Gods Will Fall is a painfully disappointing roguelike that plays more like a proof of concept than anything else. Fashioning gameplay around eight distinct playable characters who can all permanently die is certainly interesting and adds an inherent tension to the experience, but stiff controls, laughable enemy AI, and shallow combat do nothing but remind audiences that they can be playing something better. The fact DeepSilver would publish a title so blatantly unready for public consumption - let alone purchase - is frankly baffling. Gods Will Fall is as much a waste of time as it is money.

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A fantastic rally sim for newcomers and veterans alike, WRC 9 has only gotten better in its transition to the PlayStation 5. The next-gen console brings with it obvious visual and performance enhancements - pushing gameplay anywhere between 60 & 120 fps - but the real star here is haptic feedback. WRC 9 use of the DualSense controller is outstanding, utilizing sensations and vibrations to add another layer of immersion to racing. Players will feel the road underneath them, the weight of their brakes, and the subtlest shifts in terrain. A mix of addictive arcade gameplay and deeply immersive feedback, WRC 9 exceeds expectations.

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4 / 10 - Georifters
Feb 11, 2021

Georifters isn't the worst platformer, but an ugly aesthetic and repetitive level design make for a generally unpleasant playthrough. What's especially disappointing is how creative the core mechanics are. Players are encouraged to manipulate the world around them, but stages are so basically built that even the most engaging puzzles barely offer enough stimulation. Georifters does have a fairly decent multiplayer mode, but mainly due to circumstance rather than thought provoking game design.

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5 / 10 - PGA Tour 2K21
Feb 11, 2021

PGA Tour 2K21 is a fluid take on golf with incredibly tight mechanics that would be perfect for newcomers were it not for 2K's aggressive microtransactions. All sense of progression is held back by an in-game shop that demands hours of grinding on the player's part or real-life money. What is worse is that this practice makes it difficult to enjoy everything the title has to offer. Player customisation moves too slow and career mode simply offers too few rewards to feel rewarding. There is a good game in PGA Tour 2K21 somewhere, but it will never be found so long as microtransactions hold back actual game design.

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One of the most addictive rogue-lites on the Nintendo Switch, Heroes of Hammerwatch blends classic action RPG progression with a hostile world design that'll have heroes second guessing every turn they make, and whether or not their next foe will be their last. Procedurally generated level design can never match up to thoughtful handcrafted stages, but HoH is able to cut the difference thanks to its easy to pick up gameplay loop, and an understanding that even the smallest bit of progress is meaningful. Between experimenting with classes, upgrading your town, and dungeon-eering with a trusted group of friends, Heroes of Hammerwatch is a must-play.

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Dec 7, 2020

Monster Sanctuary is a charming take on the monster raising formula, albeit not without its faults. In spite of this, Monster Sanctuary is an addictive RPG that is hard to put down. Monster hatching is an incredibly simple process, every single monster has its own skill tree, and combat has been balanced enough so that just about any team can get through the main game in the hands of savvy players. Monster Sanctuary is a diamond in the rough if there ever was one.

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4 / 10 - Worms Rumble
Dec 5, 2020

A distinct lack of game modes, no means of playing offline, and even the inability to make a private game with friends overshadows all of Rumble's innovations. Faster paced gameplay centred around a single worm is a breath of fresh air - and implemented quite well - but it's held back by a stripping away of Worms' most identifiable qualities: turn-based gameplay that emphasised strategy, destructible environments that continually redefined stages, and a never-ending stream of charm that kept matches as entertaining as they were engaging. Worms Rumble resembles its predecessors superficially, while failing to carve out a clear identity by recycling what little content there is in-game ad nauseum. Rumble will almost certainly be updated with new modes over time, but franchise veterans are bound to be disappointed and newcomers are better off waiting until then.

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Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition is arguably the game Capcom should have always released. While the original was a powerhouse in every sense of the word, its pristine quality simply meant any imperfections were all the more noticeable. Vergil's return rounds out an already tight cast of characters playable with some of the most in-depth combat in the franchise. Turbo mode picks up the pace to challenge a player's physical and mental reflexes on every level. Legendary Dark Knight pushes the power of the PlayStation 5 by rendering large swarms of enemies on-screen, all for the player to kill. Devil May Cry 5 was already one of Capcom's best titles in years, and this Special Edition only elevates it.

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Oct 31, 2020

This is the Zodiac Speaking sets itself up as a moody and mature take on a series of still unsolved murders, but the game in practice lacks a considerable amount of finesse. Beyond running poorly on the Nintendo Switch - to the point where anyone who exclusively plays undocked should avoid a purchase outright - the script is as overindulgent as it is clunky and what few attempts there are at building tension are downright comical. This is the Zodiac Speaking might have been worth suffering through the flaws if the game had tighter controls and ran better, but the Switch release simply isn't worth the money.

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5 / 10 - Ever Forward
Aug 26, 2020

It's quite telling that Ever Forward's demo (released independently with the subtitle Prologue) isn't that much shorter than an actual full play-through. Despite the title's tense stealth sections, and fairly involved puzzle-solving, the fact of the matter is that the final product plays out like the tutorial to a much longer adventure that never starts. By the time Maya's story starts to breathe, and the core gameplay begins introducing complex and layered puzzles, the journey is more or less over. The atmosphere is commendable, as are the puzzles actually present, but the is sure to leave genre veterans disappointed, and newcomers desperate for some meat to chew on.

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4 / 10 - Creepy Tale
Aug 12, 2020

Creepy Tale certainly lives up to its namesake, courtesy of superb sound design and art heavily inspired by the works of John Kenn Mortensen, but it's a title which falls apart under scrutiny. A completely silent narrative is ambitious, as is designing puzzles exclusively around visual cues, but there's barely an hour of actual content in-game. Any puzzle-solving veterans are basically guaranteed to roll credits within 45 minutes. What's worse is that while the atmosphere is palatable (with enough mild scares that feel earned), Mortensen's "influence" borders on plagiarism. He's mentioned in the staff roll for what it's worth, but under a very specific "Inspired By" credit. Regardless of any involvement Mortensen may or may not have had, the fact the game is dripping in his style does it no favours - if only because it's a blatant imitation lacking artistic integrity. Creepy Tale is fine enough on the cheap, but it won't satisfy competent gamers, nor is it a suitable introduction to newcomers given its emphasis on gore.

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Aug 7, 2020

The genuinely thought-provoking Ring Battle system, engaging puzzle design, and care given to Olivia's characterisation all make The Origami King the best Paper Mario since the series' Wii outing, but that wasn't a high bar to begin with and the series is still struggling to come up with an engaging gameplay loop in light of the lessened RPG elements. Without experience or levelling, random battles lose their lustre fast. Likewise, Accessories don't make up for a lack of Badges or traditional equipment, keeping combat relatively static and offering little in the way of non-Toad rewards for uncovering secrets. Worse is Intelligent Systems' love affair with bloated pacing holding back otherwise well-designed dungeons and set pieces. The Origami King is an overall step in the right direction, but it's emblematic of the fact that Paper Mario has no interest in honouring its legacy or living up to its potential. If nothing else, a direct sequel could easily unfold Origami King's many creases.

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