I really wanted to like Madden NFL 22. After a hiatus from the franchise, however, I find myself facing the very same issues that made me stop playing the game in the first place after trying out this year’s iteration. These include a lack of significant changes to the gameplay as well as a host of game-breaking bugs and glitches. All in all, Madden NFL 22 probably isn’t as bad as some of the game’s more vociferous critics make it out to be. But “not as bad” isn’t exactly something to aspire to when you’re the only football game in town — or for any game for that matter. As a longtime player since the 16-bit days, seeing Madden stuck in neutral once again is a heartbreaker. Here’s hoping things get better as no one would like to see Madden make a comeback more than longtime fans such as myself.
Ys IX: Monstrum Nox seems to harken back to a time when JRPGs started to hit their stride with 3D worlds and broke free of the classic 2D presentation. It might look and feel old for some. Others, however, will appreciate its dogged dedication to more old-school JRPG conventions. The game’s dated visuals are especially obvious on the Switch but the ability to play it on the go makes the issue a bit of a wash. If you’re looking for some JRPG comfort food with solid action, exploration and storytelling, Ys IX could whet your appetite for hours upon hours.
Once in a while, you come across a game that surprises you in the most pleasant ways. Monster Hunter Stories 2 went above and beyond my expectations for the sequel with its wonderful visuals as well as a story with plenty of heart, poignancy as well as some good old fun thrown in between. It’s obvious that a great amount of effort was put in this game and it shows. Given how the first game underperformed, Monster Hunter Stories 2 is a game that shouldn’t have been made. Thank goodness that it was.
New Pokemon Snap is a worthy follow-up to the N64 original that oozes charm and good vibes. From its lush and colorful visuals to its simple yet addicting photography-based gameplay, there’s certainly a lot to like in this creative “shooter.” Parts of it can feel repetitive and some side quests can feel like a grind. The lack of co-op play is also a bummer. While it isn’t picture-perfect, however, New Pokemon Snap remains a wonderful addition to the franchise.
R-Type Final 2 is a solid attempt at bringing back the classic series to more modern times. The R9 itself plays very well and boss fights can be hot and hectic. The level design, however, can be hit or miss and the lack of adequate separation from the background and foreground can lead to some unexpected deaths. That being said, R-Type 2 feels like an R-Type game, even if it might not necessarily look like one at times. If you’re looking for an old-school style shmup that provides a tough challenge, you’ll want to pick this one up.
Neptunia Virtual Stars serves up the same zany storytelling that you’ve come to expect from the series mixed with third-person shooting and hack-and-slash action. While the gameplay shows flashes of promise, the overall experience is stymied by the game’s basic level design, uneven difficulty and poor AI for whichever partner you are not controlling. While the game might be a pass for most, it might still be worth getting for hardcore Neptunia fans for the dialogue alone, which remains hilariously on point.
Persona 5 Strikers can be a bit complicated to rate, particularly for folks who love Warriors games but don’t like Persona games or folks who love Persona games but don’t like Warriors games. I can honestly see its fusion of mechanics from both franchises either pleasing or alienating either fan base, whether it be its chunky story or the addition of sneaking mechanics in a Warriors game. If you happen to like Warriors games and Persona 5, however, Persona 5 Strikers is the kind of game that just might steal your heart.
Capcom could have easily just mailed it in when it came to creating a new Monster Hunter game for the Switch. Monster Hunter Rise, however, goes above and beyond expectations by serving up a visual and technical masterpiece on Nintendo’s hybrid portable console. Rise builds on the new gameplay foundation introduced by Monster Hunter World while adding even more features and quality-of-life improvements. My only wish was that it had more content as the game felt a bit short.
Bowser’s Fury is a short but sweet addition to the classic Wii U title that adds one angry Koopa king and a more open-world approach to the game. Whether it’s worth re-buying 3D World once again depends on how much you value four extra hours of new gameplay — perhaps a few more extra if you try to get every hidden collectible. For Mario fans who have never experienced the original Wii U game, however, getting Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury is pretty much a no-brainer.