As a brand-new mainline entry that follows the previous iteration after over five years, The King of Fighters XV feels a little "by the numbers" in a similar way to how Dead or Alive 6 didn't push on from DOA5. Everything is too familiar, too safe, and lacking those key elements that truly give the impression of the next proper game in the series. The 3D character models still look a bit out of place, the story mode is awful, and there isn't enough done to ease newcomers in. Solid online modes and a large roster, with the addition of cross-play to look forward to, mean there is plenty to like for series fans, though.
A conflicting compilation of Sonic games that does plenty right in remastering some of the blue hedgehog's classic Mega Drive hits, but lets everyone down with unnecessary money-grabbing DLC, while not offering anywhere near the amount of content that really should be here in terms of the Sonic series' vast history. Still with bugs to fix, time will tell if Sonic Origins becomes a respectable overall package, but it will suffice for the more casual fan after a bigger price drop.
While perhaps not deserving of the "Definitive Edition" moniker, the long overdue Steam edition of Warriors Orochi 3 has got everything a franchise fan needs. Characters, missions, modes, weapons, levels, costumes, crossovers, meaty story - it's all here, minus online play and a few pieces of minor DLC. Ignore its aged looks and this is some of the best hacking and slashing in the franchise, the likes of which only the licensed Legend of Zelda entries come close to.
Capcom Fighting Collection presents a slightly bemusing package, given that half of the content is Darkstalkers and seven of these titles are in the two Capcom Arcade Stadium games. Cyberbots feels oddly out of place with its mecha-style gameplay, as does Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, but that's hardly a complaint; it just feels like the overall product could have been bolstered by more of Capcom's rich fighting game history, of which there is plenty to choose from. This is a great way to dive into the fan favourite Darkstalkers franchise, in particular, though, and seeing games previously exclusive to arcades, like Red Earth, make their way to consoles for the first time is a pleasure.
Good, fun games are good, fun games, and even with glitches and the numerous issues this trilogy brings, that's what these still are. However, seeing the state of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition, there just isn't any way to let Rockstar off lightly here. This is one of the most successful video game companies in the world, with goodness knows how much raked in from GTA Online, so there can be no excuses to have loaned out these iconic games to a small team with a poor track record and showing absolutely no respect for their own creations. Fifty pounds is a big ask for such old games that have been what one might say "demastered", and even with numerous future patches, these may never be the upgrades they should have been, but Switch owners new to this trilogy can find plenty of entertainment - and not just because of the glitches. This is still a hard sell, though, with the advice being to hold off for a major sale.
Just as with the previous Fighters Pass, it is necessary to be a fan of more than a handful of the characters included in Vol. 2, but if that is the case, there is no denying the value here, with six diverse characters coming with a stage each, a huge selection of music tracks, and many Spirits to challenge. There are some excellent additions and surprises, and it brings to an end a rollercoaster few years with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that may not quite happen the same again. This will keep dedicated players going for many more years until the next game arrives, but Nintendo really should have included the Mii Fighter costumes, because to unlock everything there is in this game is now an even more expensive endeavour.
Quake's remastered port to Nintendo Switch is proof that big video game companies don't need to treat their fans with disrespect when it comes to bringing back old classics. The level of content for such a small price is unmatched, and that is forgetting a whole new expansion pack was created for this release, too. The fact that everything can be completed cooperatively in multiplayer means less skilled players can enjoy getting through with the help of others, and then there are deathmatches for some of the best arena FPS action around. Well done to all involved in this.
Bare minimum ports with performance issues they may be, but Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection is a most welcome release that hopefully fuels the flame for a fourth in the 3D series. The lack of polish or any real noteworthy adjustments or additional content, as well as the third game losing its way following the first two great entries, put a dampener on the package, but there is still good value for money here that fans of challenging games will do well to check out.
Is Tekken 7: Ultimate Edition worth getting into? Absolutely, but only when it hits that sweet discount price it's been consistently reduced to this year. Beginners may have to do some online reading and watching to learn the fundamentals and beyond, but since the online scene is still strong, it's worth the effort if that's what you're looking for in a fighter right now. Otherwise, there is little offline to keep many entertained unless you have a local sparring partner.
The Mass Effect trilogy is a personal all-time favourite of this here reviewer, and Legendary Edition comes highly recommended to anyone that enjoys sci-fi narratives, regardless of preferred genres or experience. As games, each has its faults and glitches that can't be glossed over today, but this package as a whole is a gripping adventure that takes players all over the Milky Way galaxy, meeting fascinating characters and alien races, of whom many will stick long in the memory. The lore will always be the absolute reason for anyone to give this a try, and it's highly likely that no matter the issues, the story and crew will be more than enough to keep you going to see this grand adventure right to the end. Unfortunately, one too many complaints are difficult to ignore and hold it back from being the remaster this deserved to be.
Two Point Hospital naturally plays better with a keyboard and mouse, but the Switch suits this Theme Hospital successor wonderfully well. It might be difficult to read or see particular texts in handheld mode, and the controls can take a little adjustment time, but any management sim fan owes it to themselves to check out this game. Technical issues, a degree of tedium in base game content, and the fact this supposed all-in-one edition is still missing some recent expansions aside, the variety of stages thanks to the included DLC and wealth of silly humour deliver a fun twist on what is otherwise a difficult field to work in.
Anyone that enjoyed the original Life is Strange and opted not to give a chance to this sequel should reconsider right away. The story may not deliver the same impact or suspense, but this is a poignant narrative that many should find a degree of relatability to, with extremely likeable characters in the form of Sean and Daniel. With the full season discounted often and a new game on the horizon, this is a great time to journey south with the Diaz brothers.
Crash Bandicoot 4 is a raving success when it comes to producing a sequel worthy of the franchise's original trilogy. Any fan should have no hesitations in picking this up. The content on offer is huge, with tons to collect and aim for in every stage, costumes to unlock, different characters to play as, fresh gameplay that compliments the familiar, and bundles of humour and charm. This is not an easy game, however. Getting to the end is one thing, but be prepared for one of the toughest tasks in modern games if attempting to 100% every level. Despite the performance cutbacks on Switch, it runs and looks well enough, but if portable play doesn't matter to you, it might be wiser to opt for one of the other versions.
Super Mario 3D World may not have had much added to it aside from an online function that is limited to only saving progress for the host, but it didn't necessarily need much else. Nintendo successfully found a way to evolve the 2D classics without going open world, and the result is one of the most consistently fresh and enjoyable games around, which, despite lacking the challenge of the NES games, has something for just about everyone. The bonus Bowser's Fury solo adventure is an absolute delight with a brilliant core idea that adds a crazy tension to Mario platforming, but it is hard to present a case for purchasing this pack just to play it. Whilst full of great content, it is too short-lived to feel worth the asking price, and really needs a standalone purchase option. When taking both games into account for those that have not played the original Wii U title, though, this is a cracking bundle of Mario goodness that encapsulates what everyone knows and still loves about the moustachioed hero after an enduring thirty-five years.
It pains to criticise this remaster so harshly, because there was a great fondness for the original title that sprang to life if local multiplayer with friends was taken advantage of. Square Enix has shown little desire to give Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles the makeover it deserved, however, and its many dated issues only become more apparent next to the removal of local multiplayer and region-locked online play. There is still a case for chancing it for friends that enjoy dungeon crawlers and can deal with the limitations, but beware of the strange control schemes and tedious gameplay.
Tennis fans are so limited these days, and Tennis World Tour 2 does not deliver enough to consider it a great game. Too many graphical glitches, inconsistencies across the board in terms of gameplay and the wider matchday details, copy-pasted player physiques and complete lack of personalised shots, a shoehorned mid-match card feature that only distracts - oh, and locking major tournaments and courts behind day one DLC are just some of the reasons Big Ant Studios double faults with this one. With more time, care, and no doubt a bigger budget, something decent could arise, because the makings are there, but patches might not be enough, and focus now might be better spent on a hopeful third game.
Smoots World Cup Tennis tries to be this whacky and hilarious arcade sports game, plastered with all manner of customisation options and silly characters that parody real life people, but the bugs, the constant replays after every point, the awful visuals and voice clips, the boring gameplay, and just the obvious lack of care to optimise for Switch make this an easy pass.
A commendable attempt to bring Samurai Shodown to an old portable format, even though the limited nature of the Neo Geo Pocket Color at the time does hinder Samurai Shodown! 2's chances of being able to hold much attention today. One for the diehard fans that will appreciate the effort of what was achieved with the hardware.
None of this is to say Shantae and the Seven Sirens is a bad game. In fact, it's a decent game for the younger audience, newcomers, and anyone that isn't expecting Shantae to evolve. Strictly from the perspective of someone that has played many games in the series and is eager for something different, though, this disappoints on many fronts. Uninspiring and rarely ever surprising, with little to make the player feel like they've earned anything, what is left is a generic Shantae game that is like any other before it, crying out for change and originality.