John Cal McCormick
- Final Fantasy IX
- Persona 4 Golden
- Mass Effect 2
For existing fans, this no-frills remaster is the best way to experience the 2010 game on modern consoles, but in 2021, much of the title simply doesn't hold up. Without the benefit of nostalgia, Alan Wake doesn't work as horror because it's not scary, as a thriller because long stretches of the game are fantastically boring, or as an action game because the combat is uninspired and repetitive. There's an interesting central mystery here, but like Alan Wake himself, you'll have to go through hell to find it.
F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch is a stellar Metroidvania adventure set in a beautifully realised world, replete with challenging combat encounters, rewarding exploration, and some spicy platforming action. Rayton Rabbit might be of diminutive stature, but he's punching well above his weight here in what is one of the best games of 2021 so far.
The mostly laid-back soundtrack and lack of NPCs lends Golf Club Wasteland a chill, lonely atmosphere, which helps to offset some of the more frustrating holes, and the short three or four hour play-time means it never has a chance to outstay its welcome. It's official: Golf Club Wasteland is the best post-apocalyptic golf game on PS4.
The story is slight, and possessed Dad – Jim Carver from The Bill for the 30-somethings among you – is more amusing than scary. The constraints of filming during a pandemic are clear – no two people are ever in the same room at the same time – and in terms of production values it's more school play than Hollywood. But Julie Dray is a sympathetic lead and the run time is barely an hour and change so it never has an opportunity to outstay its welcome.
The game does land one or two emotional blows towards the end, but getting to those moments requires a lot of walking — sometimes with only a vague idea of where you’re supposed to be going — and watching dull conversations unfold. Where the Heart Leads is too long, with huge stretches that give you little to do, and in the end you might be questioning whether it was all worth it. That’s life.
There's monsters, too, but these encounters are somehow annoying and tedious at the same time. You don't really battle with the denizens of evil so much as complete mini-games, such as depressing the triggers in time with your breathing, to avoid being murdered by ghosts. The problem is, once you've done this once, it never really changes and it's never particularly challenging, so any time a baddie turns up it's just irritating.
Ultimately, how much you enjoy I Saw Black Clouds is going to hinge on your appreciation level for schlocky horror and low-budget psychological thrillers. It's an amusing enough diversion, but the story may leave you unsatisfied depending on your route through the game, and there's nothing here that you haven't already seen in a dozen straight to DVD clangers starring Stephen Baldwin or Tara Reid.
If all you want is a facsimile of Crazy Taxi that you can play without dusting off your old Dreamcast then Taxi Chaos just about fits the bill. But that's all it does. For anybody coming into this without the benefits of nostalgia or more money than sense, Taxi Chaos is just a dull arcade driver with precious little to offer other than the dubious pleasure of chasing a high score. Send this one to scrap yard.
Oh dear. Empire of Sin has a fantastic idea at its core, and the jolly soundtrack perfectly complements the over the top character designs. But the game is a technical mess, littered with a spectacular array of bugs, and crippled by poor design choices that derail whatever little momentum the game may otherwise have had. Empire of Sin? They should have called it Buggy Malone.
Katamari Damacy Reroll is a faithful if unadventurous remake of a PlayStation 2 classic that should probably be experienced by every gamer at least once. The unique presentation and anarchic sense of humour stand the test of time, and the satisfying gameplay loop makes high score chasing a treat. It's a game in which you can roll over old women with a massive sticky ball and honestly you just can't say that about most games.