Mollie L Patterson
Gnosia takes the classic social game of Werewolf and transforms it into a single-player graphical adventure experience. Arguing against the computer in an attempt to determine who is the human-killing alien in your group is far more dynamic and exciting than you'd ever expect this type of game to be. Unfortunately, its compelling gameplay gets tarnished somewhat by the requirement to go through those searches so many times that their charm can wear off. Still, Gnosia's engrossing story and fantastic cast of characters make the game's duller moments worth getting through in the end.
Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection marks the return of Capcom's brutally challenging action platformer series after a 14-year hiatus, and it's a game that hasn't forgotten the teachings or techniques of its ancestors. While it's more of a "best of" for the series than a fresh new chapter, Resurrection is both a trip down memory lane, and a new experience that'll test both longtime fans and players alike. It probably won't resurrect the Ghosts 'n Goblins franchise for a new era, but at least it reminds us that both Arthur and his enemies aren't ready for the grave quite yet.
The Medium builds upon a lot of gameplay gimmicks and ideas that aren't always used to their full potential, but when they do work, they work incredibly well. Controlling main character Marianne as she jumps between worlds is both engrossing and exciting in practice, and the game's main location serves its job as a setting for horror masterfully most of the time. This is a game that definitely could have been better-but which is also better than a lot of other horror games that don't take such daring risks.
While the idea of a Western studio completely reworking what is arguably FromSoftware's most important title ever was initially worrying for many fans, what Bluepoint Games has accomplished with Demon's Souls is something special. This is a game that honors its origins without being afraid to also modernize them, and though it might not offer enough modernization for some, this is probably the best balance between keeping what works and upgrading what didn't that we could have gotten.
While many may initially see it as a throwaway free demo for the features of the next-generation console it comes installed on, Astro's Playroom is a wonderful surprise whose price does not speak to its quality. Though it certainly does showcase what the PlayStation 5's new DualSense can do, the game actually has far more value being just that: a game.
Still, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is a project on a level of scope and ambition that Vanillaware was crazy to try to pull off. While the team continually pushes the complexity of the story to the breaking point all of the way through, there’s something oddly satisfying about a game that always feels like it should be falling apart yet never does. And, when you brush aside all of the narrative craziness, there are thirteen personal stories that at times can have a surprising level of emotional depth.
Samurai Shodown NeoGeo Collection has most of what it takes to be a definitive collection of SNK's legendary fight game series, but just misses the mark in the end. All of the games thankfully play and feel as they should, and there's a tremendous wealth of quality bonus features included. Unfortunately, its basic approach to online versus means it'll be harder to find matches among the smaller playerbase. Still, for both older franchise fans, and fighting game players looking to finally dig into the series, this is probably the best Samurai Shodown collection we've ever gotten.
Ghost of Tsushima falls short of the kind of gameplay we expect from developer Sucker Punch at this point, but then excels all other expectations in its storytelling and world building. Protagonist Jin Sakai and the rest of the cast are all fantastic characters, and the tale they tell is one worth experiencing—even in those moments where the gameplay may falter.
Project Warlock is a first-person shooter created by a tiny indie team that punches way above its weight. While its reason for existence may initially seem to be for paying homage to its genre's forefathers, Project Warlock quickly grows into a game all its own, providing an enthralling shooter experience all the way to the end.