Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth is a great series, with an enjoyable first act, a profoundly good second, and a rather disappointing third. While it's still a good story, Book Three just doesn't know what to give time to. Stories that should have been wrapped up quicker get much more time, and moments that should have been given more weight are rushed. It doesn't tarnish the first two books all that much, but it is sad to see this story go out on such a low note. Still, the time spent with the series is definitely a treat and, overall, the entire series is one of the best adventure games to come out in some time.
Lost Sphear may be the homage factory it was intended to be, but thanks to mixing elements of yesteryear together in such a smart way, it ends up feeling like its own, unique beast. Inevitably, it falls victim to the age-old argument of "Is it fair to compare this to other games," and because it is designed to imitate those games, it obviously is. Truth be told, while some of it sags, Lost Sphear is one of the best games to come out imitating those highly revered titles, and any fan of those '90s RPGs would be a fool not to give it a chance.
While dying in the same place over and over gets frustrating after awhile, Son of Scoregasm does a great job pushing the player to try one more time. Bite-sized levels are so chaotic that it feels like each one was a major achievement, even if the next level is patiently waiting to show you what the real definition of difficult is. Any twin-stick fan would be remiss not to pick up Son of Scoregasm, as it's just a delightful entry to the Vita catalogue, through and through.
Super Hydorah is a great spaceship shooter with plenty to explore and see. Realistically, though, its difficulty can come across as a bit too much early on, and first time players of the shooter genre are unlikely to enjoy the game as much. The smaller screen of the Vita also makes the game slightly more difficult to play, so if you can, be sure to try it on a bigger screen. It can all be a bit overwhelming, but fans of the genre are very likely to view this as one of the better modern takes on the classic shooter.
36 Fragments of Midnight is over far too quickly, and the limited number of traps means players will likely see everything there is too see before an hour has passed. Perhaps for a child or a new gamer, this would be an enjoyable introduction. However, gamers have become used to platformers offering a wealth of content, and that's not what will be found here. Instead, this is the trimmings, the parts of the turkey thrown from the table to the dog without much care. The worst part? It sets up this awful joke. Ready? 36 Fragments of Midnight? More like 36 Minutes of Game! No, that won't do at all…
Star Ocean: The Last Hope is a massive game with plenty to do and see. While the acting might be very poor and the character models weird and unnerving, the rest of the game is littered with things for the player to do, regardless of if they are adventurous or just want to rush to the end. It terms of good RPGs, this isn't the best, or even the best in the series, but it's still an excellent title that only holds itself back enough to notice. Thankfully, it's not back far enough that you won't care.
All in all, anticipation is high for Book Three. Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth: Book Two is a superbly made point-and-click adventure that finds smart ways to advance the story, and makes the player feel good for having spent time with it. While larger maps are irritating to navigate, there's so much to love about this experience that it's hard to really care. Thankfully, with the added replay value, you can start the series and finish it a couple times in anticipation for the final book, and it should hold up just fine.
Both titles come with some drawbacks, but both are extremely important RPGs. Being important isn't always enough to say something is good, though, and, fortunately, both FFX and FFX-2 are superb. For fans new and old, there's likely something you've never gotten see before. Even if you've seen it all, though, why not journey back in. It's just as lovely as you remember it being.
It's a bold claim, but Final Fantasy IX is the best PS1 era Final Fantasy, and easily one of the best the series has ever produced. With it being on PS4 and PC, even if you don't want to visit a garage sale or local game shop to grab a PS1, you can now play one of the best RPGs ever created. While it manages to only just fall short of greatness, it does so with a level of grace so memorizing, it's hard to believe sometimes. If you still aren't convinced, just play to the final cutscene. That should convince you just fine.
Elite: Dangerous feels a bit like a lifestyle choice, honestly. Getting good at piloting and traversing this universe takes almost as long as a full length game in and of itself. For those who endure, there's some exciting things happening in space, but for the rest, the price might be too high. This is clearly an example of a niche game, a remarkably thorough space sim that requires patience and tenacity to unearth its many secrets.
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood has great level design that squanders its puzzles, beautiful artwork that wastes its characters, and gameplay that ranges from boring to being a bit broken. Truth be told, though, it does manage to pull you back in just as you were getting ready to leave. Sadly, it's unlikely anyone will have the patience to see it all the way through, as so much of the game is spent fighting the bad puzzle design and the atrocious platforming.
8-Bit Adventure Anthology: Volume 1 is an enjoyable experience, but it feels more like an exhibit than anything else. While collection style games are always going to be a mixed bag, 8-Bit Adventure Anthology doesn't really have a weak spot so much as it has a dip with Uninvited. Fortunately, the whole package is one point-and-click fans would be downright silly to miss out on, though perhaps they'd be better off playing it somewhere else. The controls here suck a lot of the fun out of the experience, and if the games weren't as solid as they are, it would make this entire experience a lot less enjoyable.
Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut is as good as you heard it was. Thanks to a great wealth of content, not all of which is as exciting as others, it would be easy to get lost in the seemingly endless list of new levels and character unlocks, without feeling overwhelmed. Really, the game's biggest strength is how smart the puzzles are and how it balances a lot of content without feeling like there's too much. Unfortunately, some of that content feels underwhelming, almost like the game is ripping itself off.
DreamBreak fails to offer much because it's just so dull. Sure, the controls are bad for the most part, but that's made up for by some enjoyable, yet again, mostly boring gameplay. It never aims to be much more than a typical adventure game, and fails to even get that right thanks to its myriad of issues. Due to that, it really can't be recommended to anyone other than genre diehards, and that cousin of yours you're trying to trick out of his birthday money. "Bet you can't beat this game without throwing the controller." Don't take that bet!
Thanks to half the game not utilizing the Godheads, that half is relegated into a standard couch experience. Even when the gimmick is brought in full force, it has a tendency to feel more obnoxious than fun. Fans of arena style titles, but not those who like a lot of depth, will probably find something of value in Oh My Godheads' digital battlefields. However, this feels more like a base game, for which the developer can build upon later. It feels surprisingly empty, and in the hallowed halls of local multiplayer, like it's just too plain and bland overall - which is sad, because the first couple of hours are actually pretty fun.
Twin Robots takes a fairly unique idea, some rather bland window trimming, and then pelts the player with a lot of bad decisions. This is the videogame equivalent of "Why are you punching yourself?" Worse yet, it feels unpolished, with its poor ledge collision and the robots' ability to fling boxes, and each other, just by running into them. In an already crowded sub-genre of an already crowded main genre, Twin Robots is just too short on its execution to be memorable for very long at all.