Mollie L Patterson
The true test for The King of Fighters XV is going to come in the days ahead, as the game gets into the hands of the general public and we see how everything fares both online and in far larger pools of player-vs.-player matches. For now, I’m excited for KOF XV. Its gameplay feels solid, its roster is satisfying, and its overall visual design once again does the series justice. I just hope all of those things hold up once the real fight begins.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash takes Nintendo's adorable mini helper robot and throws him into a mediocre side-scrolling platformer that's too easy, too frustrating, and too below the standards of either its hero or its publisher. There's some good here, but it's not enough to raise this one above being an average experience.
Atari's Recharged series has produced some fantastic remakes of classic arcade hits, but that series' latest entry, Breakout Recharged, is definitely its weakest so far. That's less the fault of the dev teams or the work they've put into these releases, and more the core game itself, as the original Breakout could only receive so much modernization before becoming a totally different game. The result is that Breakout Recharged will satisfy a specific segment of players who can enjoy its more simplistic gameplay, while leaving most everyone else wishing there'd be more to see and break here.
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.
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.
Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings is another solid chapter in the current era of Gust's franchise about heroines drawn to alchemy—and that's said in both a good and a bad way. If you've enjoyed previous Atelier games for what they've been, then twins Lydie and Suelle are ready to take you on another adventure of crafting items, fighting monsters, and uncovering the secrets that hang over their homeland. However, if you've been hoping for some real progress or change in the Atelier formula, that recipe, sadly, remains undiscovered.
Whispering Willows offers up some interesting gameplay ideas behind its tale of a young girl communicating with spirits as she desperately searches for her father. It's unfortunate, then, that Night Light Interactive wasn't able to flesh out most of them, leaving its side-scrolling adventure feeling unfinished for most of the way through.
Jump Force is the kind of game that would usually just come and go due to how unimpressive and flawed of an effort it is, and it's more than likely that that's exactly what it is going to do. And yet, buried beneath all of the bad is some honest amount of good. It's almost a shame that Jump Force wasn't more of a mess in everything other than its 3-vs-3 fights, because the game would be a whole lot more enjoyable if we were able to laugh at its terribleness more often.
It's easy for me to understand how Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner captured the attention of players back in the PlayStation 2 era, as it offered, and continues to offer, some gameplay ideas and experiences that still don't exist in abundance to this day. Even back then, however, some of what it does would have been inexcusable to me—and playing the remastered Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner – M∀RS in our modern era, those weaknesses are just too hard to ignore.
I walked away from Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers surprised at how much fun I could still find in the game, even when playing on the less-than-adequate controls the Switch offers by default. Still, that enjoyment doesn't change the fact that Capcom was off the mark on this release—we either should have received the game as a cheaper digital download, or as a more expansive collection.
I Am Setsuna is a mixture of beautiful, heartfelt, and depressing moments, one whose depth is unfortunately overshadowed by its over-abundant moments of shallowness. The worth in Setsuna may end up being not in what it did on its own, but the groundwork it provides for future projects.
While I'm still not a fan of Killer Instinct's dial-a-combo mentality nor its eclectic cast of characters, Double Helix's efforts to bring the series back from the dead are commendable—and while some mistakes were made along the way, this is probably the most interesting and enjoyable the franchise has ever been.