The events in Endling create sad emotions but they do not connect with how mankind is destroying the Earth. Events happen and we're supposed to feel something because they happened, but the emotions are diminished because there is no connection to the message or the characters. It held up in the short five hours of play thanks to intriguing survival mechanics, but even those were messed up by an unfortunate, frustrating tug of war between survival and story progression.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge feels like it's designed from an Ninja Turtles arcade beat 'em up template, which strips it of creativity and originality and makes it feel predictable and familiar. But the fluid combat continually sucks me back in, even though that also suffers from combat designs that should've been left in the past.
This is the way I want to play tower defense from now on. The Last Friend isn't a challenging first attempt at combining tower defense and beat 'em up, nor good at telling a quality story, but it has fantastic mechanics. Weak difficulty aside, each world brought imaginative enemies and bosses and surprises that made it worth seeing what came next.
Turtle Rock added interesting content in Tunnels of Terror. Ridden Hives offer a compelling challenge, new Cleaners are somewhat worth experimenting with, No Hope is undeniably challenging, and Warped Ridden make you think twice, at least for a moment. But what's missing is purpose. Heng is useless, Ridden Hives aren't worth the risk for the reward and Warped Ridden aren't any more terrifying or game-changing. It's hard to identify Turtle Rock's aim, but there's no question it was off.
Battlefield 2042 felt like an eternity away, but now it’s only a little over one week from release. After spending three days with other media types playing the next giant war game, I can finally say it’s ambitious but isn’t able to match the ambition so far. I say so far because while we did play online with our group and while we did have at least 4 hours with each mode (some of us had six with Breakthrough), that’s not enough to properly assess modes like Hazard Zone and Portal. I also don’t know if they’re going to start the battle pass during the early access period. So for now, check out my review-in-progress.
A lot of Forza Horizon 5 feels similar to Forza Horizon 4 in a way previous Horizon games haven't felt with their prequels, but Adventures bring unique storytelling and slight edutainment to the Horizon formula and if more Horizon's are in the future, particularly ones not in Europe and America, it's not a bad foundation to build on. Driving feels as good as it ever has and Playground Games absolutely succeeded in interpreting the beauty of Mexico. The seasonal model returns and it does a better job of incentivizing people to group up, but it's still not quite enough to entice people to do activities like Forza Arcade.
New World’s ideas come across as very solid, but the more I’ve engaged with it, the more I see problems. Those problems have nothing to do with the foundation of New World, however. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with New World besides the economy and lack of main missions, and only the former can destroy the game. The rest of the issues can be fixed with time and enough attention to the details.
You'll find a lot of fun in Back 4 Blood. Turtle Rock Studios managed to take something that was old and give it enough of a touch-up to make sure we recognized it but played with it differently. It's fun to hop on with your friends and blast away the zombies and compete to potentially take out the Cleaners, but you have to get past the first half of the game to get to the best parts. It doesn't help that the story gives you nothing to cling to, but once you get past those parts, the tension and excitement kick in. But sadly, playing solo hardly gives you anything like what you get playing online and with friends.
Steel Assault brings back the arcade feel with tremendous accuracy and care. Its brevity nicely contrasts with how difficult it can be, and the bosses are fun and distinct. The grappling hook is a great addition with unique uses, though it's a little unreliable at times. If Steel Assault were to cost 50¢ per play, I probably lost $20, and I don't regret it.
Hindsight 20/20: Wrath of Raakshasa tries to convince you that your choices matter and that you should feel bad about some choices and good about others, but they don't matter because you don't connect with the characters or the world they inhabit. Your choices change outcomes, but many of them feel unnatural or contrived, and most are signposted making it feel like the game is trying to tell you that choices matter rather than letting you experience the impact. Tack on an awful presentation and bland combat and you have the recipe for a game that ultimately doesn't matter.
Mr. X Nightmare is a quality addition to an already quality game. You can feel the care taken to bring in the new characters without wrecking the balance of the game, the fantastic soundtrack, and a great new mode that's positively addicting and well-made.
Tetris Effect: Connected upgrades its musical rhythms and visualizations with fun multiplayer PvP, but the new Connected mode steals the multiplayer show with an exciting, energetic way to play Tetris that's a welcome alternative to its competitive modes.
Kirby Fighters 2 achieves nearly all of its glory in Story Mode, but there's still some fun in short bursts if you have friends to play with or enjoy the time trials. Skip online unless you're playing with friends. But even that risks your sanity.
It's tough because you should play the games, but this collection is only a must-have if you've never played them or have no means of playing the copies you own. Otherwise, the included soundtracks are not enough to make this 35th anniversary package feel special enough to warrant a buy.
Shing! misses the mark of great beat 'em up by a long shot; which could have been avoided with more attention to detail. If Mass Creation put in the effort, it could have been one of the best beat 'em ups this generation. But we're stuck with something too dull to take a bigger slice of that audience.
Lethe’s story starts off as one thing and transitions into something different. It can be difficult to follow when you’re trying to figure out who’s voice you’re reading. But the atmosphere completely makes up for it in many ways, so if you choose to ignore the story, you might find the scary elements enjoyable. It’s not a revolutionary horror game and it might not scare diehard horror fans but there’s some fun to take away from this game.
Story can’t be the thing that carries a video game and story is all Eisenhorn: XENOS has. A character as powerful as Gregor Eisenhor, with a great voice actor in Mark Strong, and an epic story deserves more than a glorified version of a mobile game. But brainless combat and mechanics, crummy audio, and unacceptable bugs keep this game to no more than a book promotion.
Deputy Dangle as a whole is like a good joke told too many times. It’s another wobbly physics game that doesn’t add anything significant to the sub-genre and the creative missions it has get played out because they’re too long. Combine awful PC controls, unstable framerate, uninteresting fourth grade humor, and game-breaking bugs and it becomes another indie game that should’ve only been an internal experiment.
Mighty No. 9 went through a tough development and was rightfully scrutinized but it's a challenging game with great controls. The graphics could be better and the framerate doesn't stay at 60 but those problems don't ultimately hurt the game. What hurts Mighty No. 9 is that it's not Mega Man. So if you want Mega Man, you're better off playing Mega Man. If you want a game in the spirit of Mega Man, Mighty No. 9 will satisfy you.