Mollie L Patterson
Danganronpa Decadence finally brings Spike Chunsoft's amazing murder mystery series to the Nintendo Switch, accompanied by an all-new bonus game, Danganronpa S: Ultimate Summer Camp. While the latter is fun on a shallower level, the Danganronpa games remain engrossing and engaging experiences that are just as good today as they were back when they originally saw release on the Vita. Well, almost as good, as the ports we get here see reduced visuals or performance at times due to (seemingly) being based on the previous mobile releases.
At its basics, Date Night Bowling provides some decent bowling gameplay mixed in with the twist of trying to win over a date before the end of the 10th frame. As a concept, however, the game totally fails to capitalize on the thrill of trying to get strikes on the lane while not striking out romantically. There's so much more that could and should have been done with the game at every level, leaving an experience that'll keep you entertained in short bursts but wanting more in the long run.
Blue Reflection: Second Light is a perfect example of judging a game on what it tried to be, and not what it isn't. While it pales in comparison to other blockbuster Japanese role-playing games, and remains constrained by the long-standing limitations of its developer, it is an enjoyable and engrossing adventure when taken for what it is: a mid-tier RPG that brings together a group of fleshed-out characters who are trying to improve both their lives and their world. Coming off the original Blue Reflection, Second Light genuinely advances the franchise both in terms of storytelling and gameplay, offering an even better experience to those looking for this sort of game.
Shin Megami Tensei V is the Japanese RPG equivalent of mid-century modern design, as the classic style and attitude of the series gets enhanced by—but never replaced with—simpler and sleeker refinements and modernizations. In a moment when Atlus could have given Persona’s sibling series a more market-friendly makeover, the company has instead given us a game that’s as weird, punishing, and mysterious as any previous SMT release that came before. As a longtime fan who wasn’t sure if the team at Atlus still had games like this in them, Shin Megami Tensei V is shockingly satisfying—well, as long as you don’t ask too much of its characters or story.
Metroid Dread is a superb mix of action and exploration that brings Nintendo's classic series into the modern era in a way that feels like a new beginning even as it positions itself as an end to a 35-year saga. Samus, her abilities, and the challenges she faces have changed and expanded over time, but the excitement and satisfaction her adventures provide continue to this day.
Bandai Namco promised that "now is the time for change," and Tales of Arise legitimately feels like a game that's trying to bring change to Japanese RPGs. It's strong characters, epic story, engrossing battle system, and lush visuals are only marred by a disappointing final act, and those areas of the game where the team refused to let go of outdated ideas and conventions. If the Tales team can find it in themselves to push things just a little further, then this might truly be the spark that sets off a revolution in a genre that's needed a regime change for so long now.
Space Invaders Invincible Collection certainly isn't the collection it could have been, and definitely isn't a collection for everyone, but it is still a great look back at the Space Invaders franchise for those interested in such a thing.
I don’t think I’m being unfair at all to Microsoft Flight Simulator to say that suggesting a purchase for those outside of the flight sim fanatic crowd is complicated. If you’re an Xbox Game Pass subscriber, however, this is one of the easiest recommendations I can make, even if I’m still a ways out from being able to formulate any sort of final opinion. This is an exciting and enthralling video game experience the likes of which rarely come around, and if you’re already paying Microsoft a subscription fee, there should be nothing stopping you from giving it a try.
I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving Game Builder Garage a score or full evaluation until I’ve made a game of my own that I consider to be complete and finished, but I’m still far from having any clue what that actually means. One of my personal goals is to make a multiplayer party game that my friends will legitimately enjoy, but I still need to come up with a concept and plan out its design, let alone start building it to see if it’ll all come together. How do I put a timeframe on that, when the very first step is reliant on creativity and inspiration? And then, how much time will I need for coding, testing, bug fixing, focus testing, and so on?
Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster brings back one of the most celebrated and beloved entries from the Megami Tensei franchise nearly 20 years after its original debut. The original Nocturne was a heck of a JRPG in its time, and Atlus has now upgraded it with higher-resolution widescreen visuals, richer vocal tracks, and some much-appreciated quality of life upgrades. Unfortunately, it also misses some areas of the game that equally needed touching up (such as the controls and camera), and it's hard not to feel like the game deserved a full remake rather than just a remaster.
Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir is a captivating window not only into Nintendo's past, but also into the past of adventure games as a whole. While it retains some of the gameplay frustrations that plagued the genre back in its earlier days, The Missing Heir offers a gripping murder mystery at its core, wrapped in video and audio upgrades that freshen up the experience for a whole new generation of would-be detectives.
NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487129… remakes an under-appreciated action RPG for a new era of consoles and players, giving us another look into the beautifully bizarre mind of creator Yoko Taro. Replicant isn't the most impressive remake on a technical or visual level, but it's received some very welcome upgrades, such as an improved combat system. More importantly, the thing that didn't need fixing wasn't broken: the original's captivating storyline and cast of characters. Everything in that regard is still here as it should be, just told through the eyes of the initially intended protagonist, and with a few pieces of originally cut content restored.
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.