Dragon Quest Builders 2 is a quintessential example of a great sequel. It takes everything that's fun about the first game and adds more of the good stuff while removing the mechanics that didn't work the first time around. It's slow to really get started, but once it starts rolling, you never want to stop digging, building, and fighting. If you're curious about the Dragon Quest Builders series on any level, Dragon Quest Builders 2 is a good jumping-on point.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has been a long time coming, but now that it's here, fans of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night have everything to gain. Playing through Bloodstained feels great if you're already a fan of Koji Igarashi's work—and if you're a fan of action-adventure games in general. There are some unfortunate bugs, hitches, and glitches, but once you download the 1.02 patch, you should be through the worst of them.
Cadence of Hyrule is the Legend of Zelda and Crypt of the NecroDancer crossover we never knew we needed, but now that it's here, we want the song to go on forever. Brace Yourself Games' expert handling of the Zelda property is commendable. Here's hoping we get an encore with some DLC.
SteamWorld Quest is a diet RPG, but it still contains plentiful portions of Image & Form's unique charm and humor. Its card-based battle system is engaging, and you might find yourself enjoying it a lot even if you're not a big fan of digital card games. Expect a straightforward journey that ends much sooner than most RPGs, but maybe a 15-hour quest isn't such a bad thing in a genre that keeps piling on 100-hour epics.
The visuals in Yoshi's Crafted World speak for themselves. Every corner you turn presents something new to wonder at. The game's a bit on the easy side, but that's not necessarily a bad thing if you accept Yoshi titles are more about exploration and collecting than serious platforming. It's a great little "spring game" that should fill out your Switch library nicely.
Pokemon Let's Go is engineered to let youngsters play along with their parents, but there's a lot here for veterans to enjoy, too. It's relentlessly cute and colorful, and while the challenge level won't blister your skin, the new Coach Trainers will keep you hopping. We're still not sure about the Go-style method of catching wild Pokemon, but Pokemon Let's Go's ability to link-up to Niantic's app offers a quick and easy way to fill out your PokeDex. Game Freak is clearly getting the hang of the Switch, so bring on Gen VIII!
Mega Man is back from exile, and he brought a nice gift for us to show there's no hard feelings. Mega Man 11 brings back the same high-quality platforming that made the Blue Bomber a household name in the '80s and '90s, and the new Double Gear system shakes up the classic gameplay without feeling like an intrusion.
If you're a fan of Dragon Quest VIII, you'll find a lot to love about Dragon Quest XI. Its character-driven plot and skill system recall the series' breakout PlayStation 2 installment, though Dragon Quest XI's lively world and expressive monsters lend it a unique feeling and flavor. Some fans might feel let-down about Dragon Quest XI's lack of job system or other options that let you fine-tune every aspect of your party (what I wouldn't give to see Dragon Quest V's monster-friending system make a return), but if you're in the market for a turn-based RPG that feels nostalgic but doesn't force you to deal with old genre mechanics, you won't find a better quest.
Octopath Traveler's attempt to balance new and old JRPG mechanics is impressive, and mostly successful. There's a charming one-of-a-kind title here that opts to talk about eight characters instead of focusing on one team, one world, and one story. Does this unusual method of storytelling work? I think so, but personal preferences will vary. Some over-long boss fights and questionable dedication to certain retro mechanics mar Octopath a bit, but if you own a Switch and love JRPGs, adopt this fluffy, lovely snow leopard of a game for your own.
Kirby Star Allies' friend-making gimmick adds layers of playful fun to this solid Kirby adventure. It's a perfectly pleasant way to pass a weekend by yourself, or with friends of your own—though the game is best enjoyed via the Switch's handheld mode. You might not be impressed by Star Allies if you're just not into Kirby at all, but everyone else should say "Hiiiiiii~!"
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 applies an energetic signature and wax seal to a wonderful year for the Nintendo Switch, and for JRPGs in general. Between the amount of time it takes to get used to the game and getting through everything it has to offer, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a worthy investment for series fans and newcomers.
Super Mario Odyssey honors much of what makes other 3D Mario games great, plus it adds plenty of its own flavor to the Mario stew thanks to its capture mechanic. Mario Odyssey can keep you busy for hours and hours if you want it to, and you probably will. Outside of a few instances where the camera took on a mind of its own, I can't think of a moment when I wasn't enjoying myself while journeying with Mario and Cappy.
Like Stick of Truth before it, South Park: The Fractured but Whole plays like an episode of the show. One of the good episodes, mind you, that's more about the kids interacting with each other than politics. Though it drags at times, The Fractured but Whole carries a sweet, twisted charm that makes it hard to resist if you're similarly twisted. It's still not recommended for anyone who never found the show funny to begin with, though.
Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 gathers up four great Mega Man games that are otherwise hard to find and play. However, Capcom's stitched-together presentation for the titles and lack of extra options leaves a lot to be desired in this post-Digital Eclipse world.
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero spent a lot of time cooking, but the end product is well-built. There are occasional tedious moments, and the story's disjointed at times (which can be chalked up to the fact some characters and chapters were added as Kickstarter campaign stretch goals), but it's still a must-play for Shantae fans. And if you're not a Shantae fan … what's wrong with you?
Skyrim Special Edition is a solid purchase for anyone introduced to the game through the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. PC players should give longer pause before playing, however, as they've probably already made their own "Special Edition" with the aid of mods – and some of those mods might not even work in the Special Edition. In the end, your decision should come down to how much you love Skyrim's ambition, how much you enjoy exploring its expansive world, and how tolerant you are towards its flaws.
Azure Striker Gunvolt 2's offers a unique method of taking down bad guys, which is enough to differentiate it from the Mega Man Zero series that indirectly spawned it. Tagging and shooting foes is tons of fun and the ability to play as Copen is a nice addition, but Gunvolt 2 still has notable issues with repetitive level design. Still, if you enjoyed the first game, there's no reason you won't have a blast with this one.
If a traditional menu-based RPG that spans nearly 100 hours isn't your idea of a good time, run away from Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past. Run away *screaming*. On the other hand, if you want to tuck into a great RPG for months at a time, you couldn't ask for a better companion.