Mollie L Patterson
With the game finally completed and released to the world after nine long years, Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories marks the return of Granzella's cult classic series about surviving natural disasters. This time around, the team has traded action set pieces in for a more personal look at the human toll of horrific events—but they've done so without injecting enough humanity into that new direction to make it truly work.
It was always a long shot that a new take on Resident Evil 3 was going to be able to live up to the expectations set by 2019's Resident Evil 2 remake, and that's exactly the case here. Still, beyond a few examples of missed potential, this is another stellar attempt by Capcom to bring its survival horror series into the modern era, and retains a sense of individuality and personality that make it stand out from its peers.
For now, Animal Crossing: New Horizons feels like a no-brainer for fans of the franchise, and a perfect place to start for newcomers—with the exception of ruining every other previous Animal Crossing game, should you ever want to go back to them.
Nioh 2 takes the ideas of its predecessor and greatly expands on them, bringing a greater sense of depth to everything from gameplay, to stage design, to your ability to have a main character customized to your particular play style (and visual preferences). Admittedly, some of the simpler elegance of the original Nioh has been lost in the progress, but the result is still a game that'll terrorize and thrill those looking for a real challenge.
It’s not a game I can necessarily recommend to a lot of players in any age group, as it’s definitely not as good as it could or should have been in nearly any category. And yet, I have to give it credit for daring to be different in a market of sameness, asking me to play a bee trying to save her world from destruction by heading out into the wilderness, collecting and delivering materials while a story filled with unusual characters unfolds.
In the end, Death Stranding's biggest mystery isn't any of the elements we've had teased in three-plus years of trailers—it's what people are going to think of it. Even from a man known for making love-them-or-hate-them projects, this may end up being one of the most divisive games ever created. For me, it was an experience that I can truly say was unlike any other I remember. And, if nothing else, Death Stranding makes me respect Hideo Kojima for convincing Sony to invest millions into a game that's about a man delivering packages to holograms.
There was a lot of potential for Code Vein to end up little more than a mediocre Dark Souls clone dressed in anime clothing, and yet, it's actually kinda, sorta, pretty good. The game mixes some long-established gameplay qualities with a totally engrossing class system and a story that's more enjoyable than it has any right to be. Code Vein won't be for everyone, even if you're a Souls fan, but if the overall idea sounds appealing, the execution might surprise you.
While it feels like a not insignificant step down from the breakout hit Until Dawn, Supermassive Games' latest attempt at interactive horror still serves up some compelling thrills and chills. The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan definitely gets better the deeper you get into its story, but traveling that path is fraught with technical issues and questionable narrative direction more often than it should be.
Bucking the trend of "bigger, badder, louder, faster," Samurai Shodown is a return to the glory days of SNK's beloved sword-slashing fighting franchise. The slower, more thoughtful combat style the franchise is known for is on full display here, challenging players not just to be better at fighting games, but also smarter. Wrapped in a beautiful overall package and given some interesting new roster additions, Samurai Shodown is probably the best new chapter we could have ever hoped for.