Looking back at the games I loved most since the NES era, every single one had their imperfections. If I were to rate those few select titles just based on the pure joy I felt while playing them, however, I'd give those games a 10. Just like those beloved titles, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is not a perfect game. Ask me just how much I enjoyed playing it, though, and I would say it deserves the highest rating I could give it. In the end, that's all that truly matters.
The game could have easily done what’s safe and made minor improvements to a tried-and-true formula. Instead of going for the easy cash grab, however, Monster Hunter World takes a big risk creatively and financially by going for broke and making the most ambitious entry in the series to date. Is it perfect? No, it’s not. Is it a 10? In the eyes of this Monster Hunter veteran, absolutely. This is the best mainline Monster Hunter game I’ve played. Ever. It’s also one of the best games I’ve ever played, period.
After a long absence, Kratos manages to beat his toughest opponent yet: loss of relevance. Kratos' latest adventure takes risks by re-imagining what a God of War game is supposed to be, ultimately rewarding players with a wonderfully, refreshing take on the longstanding franchise. The changes in combat and perspective will admittedly be polarizing to series purists. If you get beyond that, though, God of War is not just the best game in the series, it's one of the best games ever made, period.
Overall, though, Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U is an excellent addition to the series. It's solid when played by your lonesome but really shines when played against other people whether it be online or on your couch. Personally, I recommend gathering up as many people as you can and squeezing them in your living room for the best Smash experience. Just be warned that they might not want to leave so get ready to kick them out.
Wait, isn't turn-based role-playing game combat supposed to be obsolete? Persona 5 proves that the classic JRPG formula can still work in today's world given the right amount of love and attention. Add a compelling story, stylish production and a healthy dose of modern cool and you've got today's standard-bearer for the traditional JRPG formula.
Monster Hunter Generations does an excellent job in honoring the past while welcoming the new, thanks to a slew of new hunting styles and mechanics as well as a wealth of content that will keep players occupied for hours and hours upon hours. Folks who don’t get the hang of its technical combat will likely continue to wonder what the fuss is all about. For those who give its monsters the attention and respect they demand in order to do well, however, Monster Hunter Generations’ newly polished gameplay hits it out of the ballpark once more.
There's no sophomore slump here. Playdead delivers an excellent followup to Limbo with INSIDE, a puzzle platformer that turns up its predecessor’s concepts to 11 thanks to well-designed mechanics and a compelling setting that elegantly drifts between light and shadow. Add an engaging “show, don’t tell” story that is seamlessly integrated into the gameplay and you’ve got one of the best titles of the year.
Mario is back with a bigger sandbox and a new mechanic for bringing familiar foes to the mustachioed side. The addition of open world-style elements adds freshness to the classic formula while charming touches make Super Mario Odyssey ooze with fun. You do get a bit more dead space and traditional controls feel gimped compared to the extra options you have from separated Joycons. If you love Mario and platformers in general, however, it would practically be criminal to not have this game in your library.
Given the Dragon Quest series’ long and storied history, it almost feels sacrilegious to say that the latest entry is the best of that whole lot. But that’s exactly what Dragon Quest XI feels to me. As a fan of classic turn-based JRPGs, DQXI is a full-throated, unapologetic rendition of the genre I know and love so well. Yes, it’s not perfect, but it’s about as close to perfection that a Dragon Quest game can get.
Monster Hunter World Iceborne builds on its excellent predecessor with a plethora of new and returning monsters as well as some fun new mechanics to boot. The Clutch Claw is an especially fun addition to the game while Guiding Lands helps flesh out the endgame for folks who felt World didn't do quite as good a job in that department. Admittedly, certain endgame aspects can be a bit too grindy and some of the side stuff like Lynian picture taking can be wonky at times. Overall, however, Iceborne proves to be a better Monster Hunter World for fans of the series.