- Final Fantasy VII
- Persona 4
- A Link to the Past
It's easy to dismiss Immortals: Fenyx Rising as just a Breath of the Wild rip-off, or yet another Ubisoft IP built on the principles that the it has cemented its brand on, yet, there's some real magic here. It being launched so close to Assassin's Creed Valhalla has helped to differentiate the two, and to showcase just how much this feels like a breath of fresh air when compared. "Fun" is often an overused word in gaming, but it's exactly what this feels like. Ubisoft's open-world titles can invoke burnout towards their conclusion - crumbling under their own weight due to their size. Instead, this is a real palette cleanser. It feels like it hits that real sweet spot in the genre of the open-world adventure games. The world is large but enjoyable to explore, with just enough to do, and the constant commentary keeping things interesting. This combined with the genuinely funny and smart writing results in something that will be the big surprise hit for many.
Haunting, evocative, introspective, atmospheric and memorable, Shady Part of Me feels like a journey - and, a very personal one at that. It's the kind of journey that many in the audience will be able to identify with. It may only take a few hours, but it's one worth experiencing more than once. Just eight people made this title, and it's exciting to see what that little team will be able to do next.
It's the absolute perfect time for this game. Not only because Pokémon is just settling into a new renaissance and resurgence of interest not seen since the 90s, but also because of the state of the world. Games that encapsulate escapism and the ability to just chill are desperately needed. It's part of the reason Animal Crossing exploded like it did. New Pokémon Snap is enjoyable in the exact same way. A game to lose yourself in. A game to play on rainy Sundays. To play late at night. To unwind and to decompress. Best of all, it's the perfect way to reconnect with the franchise in honour of the 25th anniversary. So, settle in, sleeve those new Shining Fates, throw on season two of Pokémon Journeys and get snapping.
Piofiore is a solid and enjoyable romance story, but one that falls a little short from some of the better Otomate productions out there. One thing that does set it apart though are its bleak story paths. There's torture, murder, rape. Things get awfully dark, much more so than the majority of these types of titles, and for those who enjoy such experiences, it certainly delivers. Stay with Cubed3, as it will soon be looking at more Otomate games coming to Switch.
Despite its age and the backdrop of the tower remaining the same, Ys Origin still manages to shine. All three play-throughs are enjoyable and engaging, each with its own story, and each character feeling so very different thanks to their drastically different play styles. Better yet, even after finishing all three play-throughs, there's much more to enjoy including brand new modes like Speed Run, Time Attack, and even an Arena mode; tight, fast, controls and combat; wonderful big boss encounters. It's easy to see why it garnered its cult status, and this latest re-release is going to introduce it to even more players; players who will be eager to experience more, and there's plenty waiting in the long-running story of Adol.
Collar X Malice delivers a dark and twisted thriller, filled with some of the signature elements that have made Otomate the best in what it does. The presentation and writing are absolutely some of the company's very best. While the heavy romance elements of its other games could be inhibiting to those outside its core demographic, this feels like the most inclusive of all of their titles, and one any visual novel fans could truly enjoy. This version brings the quintessential experience too. The extra side stories, and the alternative story are solid enough additions, but it's in the epilogues that this really shines. It's always wonderful to see a "What happened next" in games; addendums to the tales that deliver satisfying conclusions for each character, and that's exactly what's on hand here.
Oceanhorn 2 has the odd moment which is really enjoyable, mostly limited to the puzzles and bosses within the dungeons. But there could be so much more here, there are glimpses of a game that could be really special, but it regularly loses the attention of its audience due to the barren open world. The presentation feels low quality and dated, the combat clunky, the world empty. This looked so promising, but is quite the disappointment.
Forget what you think you know about the history of Breath of the Wild, this takes that story and makes it its own. The result is a hugely satisfying and wondrous adventure. Outside of the main story, it's worth coming back to this again and again. Omega Force has mastered the Musou style and is fully exhibiting that in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. The missions offer up plenty of replayability thanks to their diverse range of 'win' conditions. There is an impressive roster to keep coming back to, and it's filled with some fantastic characters that are a true surprise to discover. Every little element of this game works, and it all comes together so perfectly. While gamers are understandably excited to get their hands on the next-gen, Nintendo is ensuring the Switch isn't gathering dust. This will tear attention away from those shiny new boxes, and rightly so. There is so very much to love here. Frankly, a must-buy.
Fans of the series are going to adore Assassin's Creed Valhalla. Origins and Odyssey felt like Ubisoft trying something new, stretching out and seeing what worked, and Valhalla takes what was learned there and expands upon it. Some things, like the combat, don't feel quite there yet, still, but other elements absolutely have evolved for the better. There's a lot to love here, and not just in the frankly absurd amount of content available. The story is fantastically enjoyable, with Eivor really shining throughout (play Female for what feels the canon story!) - they are truly deserving of standing alongside the icons of this long-running series. This is a legendary tale and an addition to the franchise that is good enough for the gods.
There's nothing quite like Pikmin, as it perfectly captures the same magic as Miyamoto's other masterpieces. While the Wii U itself was a sales disappointment, it hosted some absolutely wonderful titles that deserved a better home and it has been great to see them finally receive that with Nintendo's initiative to bring them to Switch. Pikmin 3 was already a superb game, and while this release is not a remaster, the extra elements added to Pikmin 3 Deluxe elevate it to something special. While the price point may be exclusionary for some, this is completely worth the asking price, even as a double-dip for those who already have it on Wii U. Perfect for families to play together, for friends to grab a Joy-Con each, or for solo play sessions to track down every badge and master the highest rank.