Masquerada: Songs and Shadows doubles down hard on building a world of enlightening lore, but forgets to do the same for the combat and gameplay, giving the game more of a visual novel impression, which will leave a lot of players wanting if not a fan of the mentioned niche genre.
NightCry is an incredible experience that's only held back by its extremely poor polish. The controls need a lot of work, especially when trying to escape, and overall, the presentation needed more work in some areas, like the character animations and environment. If willing to look past the cosmetic aspects, though, NightCry is a nightmare that won't be forgotten.
Fictorum is an ambitious game that certainly needs more time and polish to really give it a strong presence in any PC library. A lot of promise is found in the utilisation of spells and magic, but the combat against foes is a complete mess in many situations. The ability to destroy nearly any structure is always an exciting act, and the story, being the strongest aspect, is easy to follow and understand. After all, vengeance is a plate best served on a magical icebolt.
Knights of Pen and Paper II: Here Be Dragons is a rather repetitive and subpar turn-based RPG, which is being held back by its own design concepts. What may seem like an amusing idea of emulating classic Sunday night style Table Top role-playing, quickly turns out to be a let-down since the actual experience only works when it's genuine. The pen was not mightier than the sword in this case, and swords slice through paper, therefore, Knights made of pen and paper may not be the most viable option.
Halo 5: Guardians tries to be similar to a lot of popular features that other shooter games have, while managing to maintain its own franchise identity. The removal of load-outs, but, at the same time, adding the ability to aim down sights, is a very noticeable example. Farming Requisition Points is exciting, since pack loot is extremely varied, and in many cases, players will always have different unlocks thanks to this. The campaign is certainly not the strong point, but the multiplayer is another solid experience for FPS fans to play and enjoy until the next shooter or Halo game is available.
Read Only Memories is a game that attempts to please and pander to a very specific audience, lacking in true diversification, and at the same time, provides a dull, and boring feel from start to finish. Visually, it takes a classic recognisable design, and makes it look as if created with software that could rival a default paint program. Being called a bigot is never entertaining, the basic procedure of pointing and clicking is executed painfully, the soundtrack, at times, is rather pleasing, but overall, this is a memory that no one will ever want to read. A finer example for those interested in a solid point-and-click adventure is Armikrog.
Knight Squad may bore many who want a solid standalone game to experience, but certainly stands on its own merits by being an enjoyable multiplayer title. The mechanics work well and don't require too much reflex, as the hit-box of other players is very large, making it so any player has a fair chance at winning. Ultimately, Knight Squad is a decent arcade multiplayer game that will be amusing for a while, but quickly becomes boring after a short amount of time. King and royalty, however, should look elsewhere for a more entertaining tournament.
Rodea the Sky Soldier is simply a game that really needed more time, and a course correction. A lot of promising concepts are seen and experienced throughout, but the flying and Sonic homing-style combat would have been executed so much better with a bit more polish. The environments and visuals are possibly the worst to be seen in 2015, but at least the lovable character Ion provides charming quips of entertainment. The drunken and confused sky soldier Rodea, however, needs to have his pilot license revoked.
Eternal Step is a strange case of having mixed concepts of very good and very lacklustre design. All things visually will hurt the eyes of many, from the unflattering and indecisive text, to the poor and flat creatures and environment. Luckily, things balance out thanks to good combat and gameplay structure. The soundtrack is memorable, and the constant struggle for equipment economy will make strategists prepare hard, as they and the many other brave heroes challenge the unforgiving Eternal Step.
Dragon Quest Heroes is the shining example of taking a stale concept and adding flavour and depth to it. The sword swinging, boomerang throwing combat, with all the traditional Dragon Quest trappings, will promise satisfaction to both Dragon Quest and Dynasty Warriors fans, alike. Minstrels will sing the praises of the charming and loving heroes and creature models and designs, while eyes will feast on a banquet of beautifully coloured visuals - from the lush green landscapes, to Jessica Albert's lovely fair skin. Few will fall in battle, finding the battle against the monsters to be monotonous and grindy, but the strong and the many will prevail and remember the excellent game that is Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below.
Armikrog is a decent game that holds great respect to the classic 90s-style cartoon humour using clay as the art form. The responsiveness of clicking interactive objects of any kind is extremely poor, and may feel like it does not work in some cases, but will work later. The puzzles are excellent and provide great use of tracking down hints and clues throughout the areas. The voice acting is pure comedic art; however, not enough is in the game to truly allow it to reach stellar results.
Jotun relies too much on its impressive face value presentation. The gameplay is far too poor on a multitude of degrees - the combat (or lack thereof), the walking distance between anything of interest, the lack of checkpoints, and the overall lacklustre game structure. The art direction is definitely an iota that will catch the interests of many, but many more will not be pleased with the game itself. Few Valkyries will be willing to recruit Thora as an einherjar, and very few players will enjoy the journey of Jotun.
Cross of the Dutchman holds true lore-wise, explaining the tale of Pier Gerlofs Donia, but as a video game, the hero falls flat on his face with crippled combat mechanics, bland gameplay progression, poor animation, and an overall lack of content and excitement. It needed a tremendous amount of extra work and polish. If this game was a sword, it would be a blacksmith's worst nightmare, or a laughingstock of poor craftsmanship. Ultimately, some stories are just better told in books.
Extreme Exorcism is a action arcade game with a creative take on battling memory and reflex. There's not a whole lot to explore after playing for a few hours - just pick a room in the house, grab the weapons, kill the crowned copycat ghost, repeat. Do not expect this to hold attention for long, given that the only substantial purpose to press on is to unlock more weapons and see different rooms of the mansion. The battle against the copycat ghost is a selfless one, but somebody's got to do it… or maybe not.