- BioShock Infinite
- Silent Hill 2
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The score, composed by Chris Detyna, Jakub Gawlina and Leszek Górniak, impresses with fresh instrumentation and variations on Brad Fiedel’s powerful theme. Of particular note is a gorgeous acoustic rendition scoring the credits and one of multiple sex scenes, calling back to the original film. But Resistance is more than just hollow fan service or wish-fulfilment for a worn-down fanbase, as it stands out as an engaging first-person action-adventure. And, with this remaster, it gets a second wind as a truly “complete” experience.
The game, at present, isn’t without its issues, such as framerate stuttering and network dropouts, all of which will hopefully be addressed in future updates. Something, though, that isn’t likely to be addressed is the lack of variety, as there are only three maps—the Sawyer residence, the slaughterhouse, and the derelict gas station—each with a day/night variant. But don’t expect locations from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, like the abandoned carnival ground and radio station, to be added, as the makers of the game only have interactive rights to the original film. At least in terms of content, this Texas Chain Saw Massacre proves that, even as it pays rock-solid tribute to a film classic, fidelity has its limitations.
It only helps that Dark Descent so ably captures the look and tone of the Alien films. While the characters here aren’t as immediately memorable as the motley crew of marines from Aliens, the voice actors humanize them with impressive details, thus sealing our investment in their fates. The environments are appropriately menacing, with clever fog effects that make each excursion into the “hived” areas an intense experience. And the familiar tick, tick, tick of the iconic motion tracker adds to the stress of every mission. It really wouldn’t be an Aliens game without it.
While the plethora of ugly scandals hanging over Activision Blizzard has been frustratingly overlooked by the gaming public, it will be difficult for most to overlook the aggressive monetization of Diablo IV. In addition to different (and expensive) editions of the game that allowed earlier play and a shop that sells cosmetic items, Diablo IV has three different Battle Passes and two expansions in the works. It’s unnecessary, and taken alongside major updates that have already dramatically changed how some of the classes function, Diablo IV stands on unsteady ground despite possessing a strong foundation, far above its series forebearers.
Conversely, Lego 2K Drive has multiple currencies, and playing through the campaign unlocks frustratingly little. As such, players are artificially restrained while frequently being prodding toward spending real money. And the unfortunate result of that is that Lego 2K Drive is, at best, a competent arcade racing game let down by its difficulty and microtransactions.
And that delight is the core appeal of a game like Kirby’s Dream Land—that is, one that overflows with joy and happiness via relatively calm and easygoing gameplay that’s matched by bright and colorful graphics. Dream Land has never looked better than it does on the Nintendo Switch with this release, which updates the relatively plain 3D characters of the Wii version with gorgeous cel-shaded renderings that look like a cartoon come to life.
This game never makes the leap from smaller-scale locales to more epic-sized ones, meaning that the notion of laying waste to a city block as Mr. Stay-Puft or some similarly silly, over-the-top paranormal leviathan against the Ghostbusters remains only a fantasy. Like the film that preceded it, Spirits Unleashed is stuck sending us down memory lane at the expense of stepping forward into new terrain. For many, this nostalgia will be enough, but even with updates it seems unlikely that Spirits Unleashed’s core gameplay will sustain it for long.
Dying Light 2 is constantly introducing new abilities through its missions, and in such clever ways that that players become naturally acclimated to them. Consistently, the world here overwhelms us in lockstep with the dazzlingly dense gameplay. This is game about choice and consequences, and it rewards the player for exploring and engaging with the City’s environments. Unlike the derivative setting of last year’s Far Cry 6, the City is a character of its own, alive with lived-in detail and a refinement of the use of environmental storytelling. And it’s all the more incredible for making us feel as if we can change it for the better.
It doesn’t help that House of Ashes tends toward monotony. Much of the game is spent slowly exploring dark caves, sometimes the exact same ones, except with different characters. Too often you may find yourself trying to shake off tedium by trying to interact with something only to inadvertently activate a protagonist’s death. Or a jump scare might shake you out of it, but given how telegraphed they are, the game’s horror ends up being as ineffective as the story, which is given over to Aqua Teen Hunger Force-like levels of deranged non-sequitur plotting. While the prior games in this series never reached the heights of Until Dawn, they didn’t lack for disturbing and memorable imagery. By contrast, this game’s non-human baddies are so over-designed and uninspired that they never jangle the player’s nerves.
Only the human character models and their clunky facial animations suffer from a lack of realism compared to the stunningly detailed environments, and this remaster’s lack of ray tracing and HDR are odd for a game that boasts not only strong light effects but also makes both light and dark such an integral part of the gaming experience. Regardless, while Alan Wake Remastered doesn’t substantially alter the twisted tale of the writer and the dark forces that bind him, there’s enough here that connects to the events in Control and it’s Alan Wake-centered AWE DLC episode to makes the return trip to Bright Falls a worthwhile one.
Despite wearing its influences on its sleeve—Travis drives a facsimile of Kaneda’s bike from Akira and can transform into a Gundam rip-off—No More Heroes III shows no respect for the artistry or cultural context of the pop culture that it pilfers from. In fact, Given its alternately snarky, nihilistic, and condescending opinions of just about everything, you would be justified in feeling that the game doesn’t just dislike the things that it references but even itself.
Throughout Hired Gun, you very much feel its desire to emulate elements of genre-defining hits like the Half-Life and BioShock games, as well as its failure to understand how they utilized their systems and mechanics to engage and immerse players. Worse, Hired Gun turns its back to all that’s promising about Games Workshop’s fiction, such as the various spinoff novels that offer insights into a demented upper-class nobility as well as life in the Underhive, choosing instead to tell a meaningless, mostly incoherent story about archetypal characters who are unmemorable at best. Late in the game, a momentary detour featuring an iconic Warhammer 40,000 monster, one that’s wildly out of place and acting against its bestial nature, serves as a baffling example of how unmoored this game is to its own property.