Episode 2: Suffer the Children gets off to fiery and heart-pounding start in the aftermath of the previous episode, as the various characters begin to draw their battle lines regarding their own morality of the situation.
Ironically, by trying to bring to light all the issues plaguing video games in recent times, Shadow of Loot Box is not an overall enjoyable game to play because, as the novelty wears off quickly. Luckily, this is a two-hour experience, so at least it ends quite quickly. The loot box enemies are funny at first; but they are bullet sponges that get quite annoying, especially as weapon-upgrades do little to destroy them quicker. While platform elements and open-world stages creep in, the control mechanics are still clunky enough to detract from the larger issues that Shadow of Loot Box tries to commentate on.
FarSight Studios' attempt at replicating authentic pinball tables is on show here. While the base title only contains Mary Shelley's Frankenstein table, it is worth purchasing the additional table packs to bolster the different offerings. However, don't except anything more than that - this is purely a pinball experience without all the bells and whistles, and glitz and glamour of other digital pinball offerings.
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate is an acquired taste that long-standing fans of the franchise will happily drink from. The formula for killing monsters and turning them into better gear to take on the bigger monsters is an addictive loop that is only broken up by the mindless and annoying 'egg delivery' quests, and occasional battle control limitations. Whether playing online with a group of friends or in Solo mode, this is a menu-heavy experience that may easily scare away series newcomers who are used to Monster Hunter: World. While Ultimate is not a streamlined experience, beneath the thick and scary exterior is an extremely deep system-based epic adventure.
The return to Yenching in Legend of Kay Anniversary is not the complete package as one would've hoped for. While the adventure itself stays true to the original, it unfortunately stays too true for its own good. The faults that it contained are still prevalent in here, and the whole mechanics also feel dated and are missing that revamp that other remade platformers contain, such as Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. However, when looking past the dated mechanics and annoying camera angles, Kay's journey can be a fun little treat to spend 10 to 15 hours in, though it does require a heap of patience to be able to fully enjoy it.
Unfortunately, the episode is plagued with glitches - one that can't be solved except for reloading the game - coupled with the choppy graphics and popping audio portions of the game that ruins what is otherwise the best story-driven episode of The Council yet.
The key takeaway from Episode 1: Done Running is that the murderous zombies themselves are just merely a decoy that is meant to explain the state of the world. However, they are far from being the main threats in the story, as the human survivors themselves prove to be the ultimate threat to each other's survival.
Rebellion has done a splendid job with reigniting the Battlezone franchise, and if the Gold Edition is anything to go by, then there is a great foundation upon which to build. The main crux of the game is to complete a lengthy campaign by traversing across the gameboard and completing a series of different battlezones to knock out the AI Core, who is controlling all the robotic enemies. The story just serves as a cheesy context for which Battlezone is set - but the fun gameplay and the added Nemesis difficulty does make this campaign a worthy enough experience to keep replaying for many mixed results.
Onrush does well to fill that racing void as a non-serious arcade, 'destruction-derby type of vehicular mayhem' experience. However, as enjoyable and heart-pounding as the matches can be, the novelty eventually begins to wear thin and, once that happens, there is little else that can reignite the flame in this racer.
While Race Arcade does a good job of recreating the arcade racing style of old, with the top-down fixed camera and basic vehicle and track set-ups, as well as featuring time trials and local multiplayer, it is otherwise an uninspiring experience. Three of the six vehicles are worth racing due to their ease of use, especially against the AI, while the other three, being the sportscar, tractor, and UFO, are not worth bothering with at all because of how clunky and poor-functioning they are on the track. Race Arcade will also fail to set a party alight due to how one-dimensional the mechanic of racing seems to be. While the simple gameplay lends itself well to allowing for newcomers to jump in and adapt quickly, it also robs it of an immersive experience.
Madden NFL 19 is a sublime example of what can be achieved with a sports title. The "Real Player Motions" generates that feeling of not 'controlling' players, but rather living as the players instead. Seeing how lifelike all the players are within a match, and how they communicate with each other before and during plays, and then watching them seamlessly get into the next play, is freakishly uncanny. Franchise Mode is a huge mode to undertake with a large enough scope to get lost in, whether as a player, a coach, or a team owner, while Madden Ultimate Challenge is a complete time-hog due to the addictive nature of collecting player cards to boost the team. Finally, Longshot: Homecoming continues the story of Colt and Devin, and while it offers a nice little detour, it does not offer a lot more to the experience.
Assetto Corsa: Ultimate Edition is an impressive display of technology. With a powerful graphical engine, the large assortment of vehicles sitting at the 178 figure provides plenty of racing variation. With each car feeling very different to each other, patience and paying attention to every little turn, while seeing how the car handles, is the ultimate decider between winning or losing a race. Unlike other racing titles, which have a low barrier-to-entry for newcomers for their more general sense of play, Assetto Corsa is made by professionals, for professionals who truly appreciate the display of the vehicles, while paying great respect to the tracks and the challenge ahead.
For those worried about the simple gameplay and minimal graphical aesthetics will be pleased to know that Lumines Remastered holds up quite well on Nintendo Switch. While the graphics themselves are not as beautiful as they were over a decade ago, the coloured-blocks still delivers a certain charm that is compounded by the foot-tapping background music that keeps the experience alive. While Tetris purists may shirk at this block-matching alternative that messes with the formula a little, Lumines is worth a try. Whether it's high scores on the leaderboards, completing strategic challenges, or just filling the void for a couch-multiplayer title, Lumines Remastered has something for all lovers of arcade-type puzzle games.
If a walking simulator with an exploratory story sounds like a great experience, then The Station is one worth jumping into. Exploring the desolate space station, recovering audio logs, while solving puzzles and challenges may not make this the most innovative in the genre, but it is definitely one of the more enjoyable examples.
Defenders of Ekron is a Metroidvania-esque mech game, which sounds like a certain recipe for success. While the action is fun when everything is working well, the game-breaking bugs destroy whatever enjoyment this title had going for it, and they are too great to be ignored or overlooked.