Jason Hidalgo Avatar Image

Jason Hidalgo


Favorite Games:
  • Ninja Ryukenden 2
  • Monster Hunter
  • Final Fantasy VI & Sakura Wars

530 games reviewed
77.2 average score
80 median score
58.4% of games recommended

Jason Hidalgo's Reviews

Jason Hidalgo covers business, technology and key topics for the Reno Gazette-Journal newspaper and website. He has won multiple journalism awards for his reporting and also spent time as a Fulbright scholar in Japan, where one of his friends declared him to be a hopeless "otaku." Can't really dispute that.
9 / 10.0 - Diablo IV
Jun 11, 2023

Diablo 4 marks a great return for the franchise, delivering a fun and compelling experience for fans across the board. The game is especially great for casuals or longtime players who might no longer have the time to go ham like they used to. It’s perfect for unwinding after a long day at work and getting a couple of hours in before you call it a day. Admittedly, more hardcore players might get bored more quickly once they reach the long endgame grind. Several new features and quality-of-life adjustments combined with fun combat, however, make Diablo 4 a blast for players of all skill levels.

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9 / 10.0 - Street Fighter 6
Jun 5, 2023

The Street Fighter team has really gone the extra mile with Street Fighter 6 and it shows. Its new World Tour campaign provides hours of fun single-player content while also teaching newcomers to the game. The new modern controls, meanwhile, provide a fresh and more accessible alternative to Street Fighter’s classic control scheme while the new Drive mechanics add more depth to the psychology of fights — including the cat-and-mouse game between players. It’s a must-have whether you’re a Street Fighter veteran or a newcomer to the franchise.

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Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom takes the incredible blueprint of Breath of the Wild and further hones it to craft a better, more polished rendition. The crafting and building can honestly be its own game and its open world continues to be a treat that encourages exploration. The action also remains top notch and the game overall is a testament to what can still be possible on the Nintendo Switch. Granted, it has its share of issues and won’t feel as new or groundbreaking for folks who already played BOTW. That being said, other games coming out this year definitely have their work cut out for them to supplant Tears of the Kingdom as the best game of 2023.

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Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon is a totally different take on the Bayonetta formula, eschewing the series’ kinetic action for a story-driven game that’s part action adventure and dungeon puzzler. Fans expecting good, old Bayonetta action might feel disappointed with it. Folks who aren’t married to classic Bayonetta, however, will find a great experience with a compelling story and surprisingly solid tandem action between Cereza and her rambunctious demon summon Cheshire. It’s certainly one of the best gaming surprises of 2023.

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May 11, 2023

Hot Wheels: Rift Rally is a fun take on augmented reality gaming that turns your own house into an exciting race course. The price for entry is admittedly high and you’ll need a large space with hard floors to truly enjoy what it has to offer. If the idea of controlling a car in your house and having that translate into a virtual game with all sorts of bells and whistles sounds like fun to you, however, then Hot Wheels: Rift Rally will provide some nice, clean family-friendly fun.

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Apr 20, 2023

GrimGrimoire OnceMore is a great example of a remake done right. Instead of doing the bare minimum with a simple upscale and calling it a day, the game throws in several new mechanics such as Great Magic spells and a skill tree plus several quality of life additions. The RTS gameplay might be a bit too simple for hardcore fans of the genre. Its solid mechanics combined with an excellent story and beautiful hand-drawn visuals, however, make it a unique experience that’s certainly worth checking out.

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Apr 17, 2023

The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure is like a time capsule for fans of classic JRPGs. From its retro aesthetic to its turn-based combat, it harkens to a time that some might consider the golden age of the genre. Granted, some might consider it dated. That would be a mistake, however, as The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure is one of the best renditions of old-school JRPGs at their finest. If you like classic JRPGs, you certainly can’t miss this one.

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Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key marks the end of the wonderful journey of Reisalin Stout and friends, and what a fitting send-off it is. From its larger maps to its new key-based mechanics, Atelier Ryza 3 certainly goes big for its last hurrah. Combat, while fun, can use a bit of balancing and ally AI could be more consistent. Overall, though, Atelier Ryza 3 neatly ties up the series’ narrative into a nice bow and will especially make longtime fans look back fondly on their adventures.

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Mar 13, 2023

Idea Factory and Compile Heart serve up another dose of Nep-Nep in Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters, complete with the kooky and offbeat storytelling that Neptunia fans know and love. The use of a new action-based combat system can be potentially polarizing, especially since it feels uneven and could use more polish. If you love the narrative of Neptunia games and its characters, however, the story alone makes this worth playing.

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Kirby’s Return to Dreamland Deluxe goes the extra mile in giving new life to an older game, going beyond the standard remaster route by remaking its visuals, adding a new minigame mode and also throwing in a post-game adventure starring Magolor to boot. At the same time, the campaign remains fun especially when you have other players joining in. Non-Kirby fans might find the action a bit too simple. For folks who want a polished action game with multiplayer co-op that’s also family-friendly, the game represents a welcome return indeed.

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Mar 8, 2023

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty adds to the growing list of “tough love” games that mercilessly tear players down before building them back up. To its credit, Wo Long introduces a lot of quality of life improvements that make its journey a lot more accessible and every death not quite as harrowing as it is in other similar games. At the same time, level design and storytelling could also be better. That being said, the combat in Wo Long is among the best and feels quite rewarding once you get the hang of it. It’s a no-brainer for action masochists and folks who love a good challenge.

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Mar 6, 2023

It’s been a long time coming but Like a Dragon: Ishin! is finally out for western audiences in remade form. While the game is starting to show some of its age mechanically, the redone visuals and quality-of-life changes also give it new life. The storytelling is also solid, especially for newcomers but can feel a bit too similar to past games for longtime players. Add a plethora of quirky mini-games and Like a Dragon: Ishin! is still worth the long wait.

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8.5 / 10.0 - Wild Hearts
Feb 20, 2023

The monster hunting genre has always been big enough to support more games besides Monster Hunter. It’s just that previous games haven’t quite scratched that itch the same way that Monster Hunter does. Wild Hearts is the first one to come pretty close. That’s good news if you’re a Monster Hunter fan because it means you now have one more good hunting game to play. It’s honestly good for a first crack at the genre — the Koei Tecmo’s solid Toukiden series notwithstanding — and I look forward to seeing how it further evolves in the future.

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Labyrinth of Galleria is an excellent take on classic, first-person dungeon crawlers of old, boasting a fun class-based combat system and solid floor design. The game can suffer from some pacing issues and could do a better job in making your objectives more clear. But its great dungeon-crawling mechanics combined with one of the better told and voiced stories in the genre make this worthy to dive into.

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Feb 8, 2023

Dead Space is a perfect example of how a classic game can get new life with the right treatment. Not only does it polish up the game for modern audiences with remade and vastly improved visuals, it also throws in new gameplay additions while keeping the feel that made the original so special. The changes are not only great for newcomers who never played the original, they’re also great for Dead Space veterans who want to experience the game again in a new way. Now bring on the remake of Dead Space 2.

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Feb 8, 2023

Raiden IV x MIKADO Remix is a great example of the classic shmup. From its solid shooting mechanics to the extra bells and whistles from the MIKADO Remix, the game hits almost all the checkboxes for what a great shmup should be. It doesn’t quite have the pulse-pounding action or unique mechanics of the upper echelon of classic shooters. It’s also missing a key feature from the Switch version. For folks looking for an old-school shooter, however, Raiden IV x MIKADO Remix remains a worthy representation of the genre.

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7 / 10.0 - Forspoken
Feb 7, 2023

Ultimately, Forspoken is a game that is just like its main character. At first glance, it appears flawed and suffers from several issues. Dig deeper and give it some time, however, and it just might grow on you thanks to a compelling story that tackles some tough issues and a really good combat system that dishes out some serious fun. It’s certainly far from perfect. But it’s also not the horrible game that some make it out to be. I only wish the pacing was better as it starts out really slow and takes a while for it to really get going.

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8.5 / 10.0 - Fire Emblem Engage
Feb 1, 2023

Fire Emblem Engage represents a return to the more singular storytelling of past games prior to Fire Emblem Fates. Gone are the multiple stories experienced through various factions. Instead, you have one main story to go through that's more centered on the protagonist. The streamlined experience is a common theme that pervades other aspects of the game. The new Somniel hub gets rid of extracurricular activities such as teaching and serves more as a base for services, unit training and development, and PVP. Combat, meanwhile, while still rock solid, also gets a rewind mechanic so players no longer have to waste time reloading saves. Some might decry the changes as a watering down of the game as well as features from Three Houses. Others will see them as much needed quality-of life additions that strip out the fluff and allow players to concentrate on battles. As such, your mileage and enjoyment of Fire Emblem Engage depends on which side of this debate you fall under.

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Jan 25, 2023

Nearly seven years after first releasing on Vita, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana holds up incredibly well even today. Despite its old-school aesthetics, the game looks nice and runs especially well on the PS5, thanks to its high and consistent frame rate. Granted, the old-school gameplay might not float the boat of folks who want something more modern. For fans of classic JRPGs, however, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana’s interesting characters combined with its fun action combat and base-building and crafting mechanics make it one of the best games I’ve ever played in the genre.

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Jan 24, 2023

While One Piece Odyssey doesn’t revolutionize the genre, it does provide a pretty good JRPG experience that proved to be better than I expected. Add the hilarious hijinks of the Straw Hat crew and what you have is an entertaining romp overall. It might not quite satiate the appetites of folks who don’t particularly care about One Piece. If you love Luffy and the gang as well as JRPGs to boot, however, One Piece Odyssey is like hitting two South Birds with one stone.

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