The true definition of a classic, the gameplay and story of Shadow of the Colossus are every bit as great and emotional today as they were in 2005. This outstanding remaster skillfully enhances those qualities with improved controls, performance, and sheer graphical beauty. It remains one of the best PlayStation games ever made, and it's wonderful that Sony has brought it back to the fore so a new generation of gamers can experience it without having to look past its aged facade.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy succeeds on the strength of its protagonists, writing, and phenomenal depiction of India's jungles and ruins. Being in the company of Chloe and Nadine keeps its overly familiar action sequences and disappointingly empty open-world area interesting, and it regains its footing in smart puzzles and thrilling cinematic moments.
Rime's superficial beauty and interesting mysteries provided enough enjoyment to make me willing to put up with its shallow and familiar elements under the hood. While nothing about Rime is necessarily bad, you can find more interesting versions of nearly every single element of it in other, better games.
Though it only took me just under two hours to complete, the second the credits stopped rolling I immediately restarted What Remains of Edith Finch. Each of the vignettes is so distinct and surprising that I didn't have enough time to absorb and dissect what I had just played before being whisked away to the next one. But after fully piecing together the threads of the family and sifting through the allegories of their final moments, I was left with a beautiful, heartbreaking mosaic that exudes life, even when mired in death.
Yooka-Laylee contains all the pieces needed for a fun, enjoyable throwback to the 3D collectathons of the 64-bit era. The characters are charming and funny, your set of abilities is vast and entertaining, and four out of five of the worlds are fun playgrounds to explore. While it lacks the heart and polish of some of its incredible predecessors, it’s a good reminder that this genre, once thought to be dead, still has some life left in it.
Despite the fact that this is a first-person VR adventure mostly devoid of the combat platforming that made the original Psychonauts so memorable, it still carries the same spirit. The wonderful writing and solid use of VR make it a fitting continuation to the series that left me pining for Psychonauts 2, especially when it ended after three hours and visiting just a handful of locations.
The divide between the highs and lows of The Last Guardian is staggering. For every wonderful moment of absolute beauty and emotional attachment to its lifelike companion, there's an equal and opposite baffling moment that ruins the mood with frustrating controls and camera angles. But I found myself willing to put up with all of these hiccups if it meant experiencing any of its multitude of incredibly-beautiful moments.
Ezio’s trilogy helped build Assassin’s Creed into the giant franchise it is today thanks to its fantastic storytelling, amazing characters, and gorgeous world building. And while all of that is still here in The Ezio Collection, the lack of meaningful improvements and any sort of substantial bonus content make it a tough compilation to recommend.
Mafia 3's strong characters and confident storytelling kept me engaged, even if the gameplay rarely delivered anything but bog-standard and repetitive open-world action. That's a bummer, because Lincoln is an incredible protagonist and New Bordeaux is a fantastic setting thematically, and it would've been great to see them put to better use.
I had a good time with Pac-Man Championship Edition 2, even if it meant I had to wade through a lot of white noise to find it. For every excellent addition like being able to jump back to the start of a map, there are a few that aren’t as well thought out and feel more like limitations than tools for expanding your options. Figuring out the fast-paced puzzles based around all the new tweaks is still a good retro-arcade challenge, but it doesn’t come close to recapturing the magic of the first Championship Edition.
As someone who loves games like Portal and The Witness, The Turing Test definitely scratched that familiar puzzle itch, even if it fails to scratch more than the surface of most of its ideas. Its mechanics are solid but largely unoriginal, and its themes and world-building are genuinely great. And while it never reaches the originality and heights of its inspirations, it still manages to deliver an interesting world with one heck of a twist.
Song of the Deep makes a fantastic first impression. Its gorgeous world, charming characters, and melancholy tone make for a unique and effective aesthetic. But once you get into the core of the mechanics, combat and puzzles become a slog thanks to its cumbersome controls and wonky physics. Still, I found myself willing to put up with all of these frustrations in order to delve deeper and deeper into this beautiful world.
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the most gaming fun I've had with either series in years. The story is great, the levels are dense with fun puzzles, and unlocking all of the secrets is a blast. Whether I was going through it solo or playing alongside a buddy, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens proved to be an adaption worthy of its incredible source material.
The Park doesn't really bring anything new to the horror table, but honestly, that's okay. Its 90 minutes are filled with an impressive atmosphere, interesting themes, and spooky places to poke around. While some of the attractions are a bit long in the tooth, The Park provides enough tension and scares to warrant a playthrough from any horror fan.
Ratchet and Clank is a culmination of everything Insomniac has done with the series over the past 14 years. It takes the characters that we fell in love with long ago, and sets them off on their most gorgeous quest yet. The deep and rewarding weapon system, beautiful and varied worlds, and charming-as-heck story make it an adventure that anyone with a PlayStation 4 should strap in for.
Tales from the Borderlands Episode 5: The Vault of the Traveler finishes off Rhys and Fiona's journey in impeccable fashion. From heartbreak to hilarity, it runs the gamut of emotions in some really effective ways.