Scott Ellison II
Sneaky Bastards understands that stealth doesn’t have to be boring, and encourages creativity in Wildfire. With each upgrade or new passive meteor shard, I was drawn back to older levels to see if it was easier to complete a task I had to skip out on prior. The game has a great flow of risk and reward amid its stealth. Add in the emergent layer of manipulating your environment and the enemies around you, and you have a game teeming with unpredictability. Wildfire is chaotic and wonderful, all enacted by the spark of a flame.
It’s evident that 80’s OVERDRIVE takes inspiration from games like Outrun and Rad Racer, and thankfully does a lot new things to separate itself from what came before it. The racing feels good, and is backed by an appropriate synthwave soundtrack. However, later races have too much going on and with some randomness of collisions will force you to restart more often than you’d like. Some issues aside, 80’s OVERDRIVE is a solid racer with depth in a gorgeous and vibrant palette.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered looks fantastic thanks to the work Beenox has put into it. The story still holds relevance, and there’s some wonderful nostalgia to go along with it now. This is a game begging to be a more complete package with additional modes, that just aren’t here. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered comes in at a scant $20, and remains one of the best single-player experiences ever.
Streets of Rage 4 is the surprise of the year. The grinding towards unlocking additional and retro character is a lowlight, the rest of the game is a highlight. The story is in-tune with prior games in the series, the artwork doesn't deviate from what you'd imagine this series looking like in 2020, and it's responsive and laser focused. Streets of Rage 4 keeps the history of the series in the rear view, yet moving forward by adding exciting and quality improvements to the series.
Milestone has this series dialed in so well, it’s hard to fault it for things that have been removed or reduced when the racing is so solid. On one hand, managing a team feels way more robust, but the downside is that the TV broadcasting element is almost nonexistent. With what MotoGP 20 is, it charts more in a straight line than the incline that was MotoGP 18 to MotoGP 19. That said, MotoGP 20 offers a comprehensive and detailed career and a series of modes that offers something for everyone, old and new, experienced or not.
Operencia: The Stolen Sun is full of charm, depth, and secrets that represents the best of the genre. There’s a lot of satisfaction in completing its puzzles, and overcoming enemies in combat. If you’re not a fan of backtracking or the way the saves work, you might not enjoy yourself as others in the genre. However, I think it’s an obstacle that you can easily overcome. The combat and puzzles are the majority, and the highlight. Operencia: The Stolen Sun shines bright in these dark times.
Remedy takes a step back with the odd happenings in the Bureau, and while the place is in dire straights, it doesn’t overwhelm you with that feeling because Jesse is so powerful now. Over the course of four hours, The Foundation solves its own mysteries in a satisfying way, while leaving the door open for what’s to come in Expansion 2. It also never spends too long on any one thing, and it feels like you’re repairing something over time. CONTROL – The Foundation maintains momentum from the main story without ever slowing down.
HyperParasite is “another one of those”, but it does it well. The fact that you can control one of your enemies for as long as you can last extends the lifetime of not only the game, but each run. A lot of it still comes down to randomness or RNG, but your skills get put to the test that help offset it. When the game becomes a shmup, it’s such a visual and aural treat. This the definition of a Steam Early Access success. HyperParasite excites and delights every time you play it.
Over the course of fifteen or so hours to see the game to completion, Iron Danger offers a good challenge, even on the default normal difficulty. The ability to infinitely bend time to your will to fine-tune encounters to perfection can be really satisfying. Its biggest detriment is how clunky and unpolished it all feels. That said, Iron Danger is really fun, and completely distinct from every other tactical combat game you’ve played. And for that, it should be on your radar.
Exit the Gungeon isn’t a sequel, nor does it pretend to be. I still find 2016’s Enter the Gungeon to be a fuller experience, with more depth and variety. Exit the Gungeon is not a game you should ignore. This Gungeon may have lost a little bit of itself along the way, but enough of its humor and sensibilities are very much intact for enjoying Dodge Roll’s twist on the Gungeon formula for the price point. Exit the Gungeon is a delightful spin-off, a blast to play, and the changes to the gameplay compliment the new perspective wonderfully.