In all though, this is such a comprehensive replica of the Souls formula that a brief glance at the screen will result in most folks thinking that you’re playing a From Software game. Indeed, for the most part, 2023’s Lords of the Fallen is a very well-crafted Soulslike that looks phenomenal, plays really well, and has a deep reverence for the source material it’s inspired by.
Nevertheless, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a lot of fun with Exoprimal. With its satisfying shooting, well-designed co-op, and unique yet lighthearted narrative and tone, Capcom’s team-based shooter can often be a genuine thrill, especially when your team synergises together in unison. Sure, it may be big, dumb, turn-off-your-brain fun, but, sometimes that’s all you really need, right?
All told, when Layers of Fear (2023) is firing on all cylinders, it feels like a genuinely mind-bending thrill ride as pathways behind you twist and contort in the blink of an eye. These qualities are best exemplified in the lithe and tight debut title. That said, what truly flies in the face of the collection’s overall charms is its uneven storytelling, repetitive puzzles, and buggy technical performance. In essence, much like the fractured psyches of the artists that form the soul of these vignettes, Bloober Team’s latest collection is simultaneously beautiful, fascinating, and deeply, profoundly… aggravating.
All in all, it may sound like I’m really down on The Callisto Protocol, and in some ways, I am. For those who were expecting the next Dead Space, I’m sad to report that The Callisto Protocol just isn’t quite it. Instead, Striking Distance Studios has crafted a largely by-the-numbers horror-action title with terrific presentation that could’ve been something truly special. Unfortunately, while your journey across the titular dead moon is a sporadically fun and entertaining ride, it fails to authentically push the genre forward in any meaningful way. Still, despite all that… at least you get to stomp on stuff, right? Phew!
These days, though, these kinds of experiences are undoubtedly a tougher sell, but it’s hard to be too down when you’re sporting tacos as shoes, head-butting ballerinas to produce humungous tornadoes, while the locals shoot laser beams from out their eyes for eating a cupcake. Yes, there may be some life in the ol’ goat yet, but it’s probably fair to say that the joke is beginning to wear a little thin… well, a tiny bit, anyway.
Ultimately, the new DLC is a great example of quality over quantity and is an easy blanket recommendation for any fans of the original game. Newcomers, however, may want to do their homework before pulling the trigger. Because like the devil at the heart of Cuphead, The Delicious Last Course demands your blood, sweat, and soul… where do we sign up?
Overall, while LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is more of an evolution of the franchise than a full on revolution, it’s still quite possibly the definitive Star Wars video game collection right now, not only from a content perspective, but from an authenticity and a fun factor perspective as well. Equally charming as it is nostalgic, it’s a wonderful experience, especially for those with a soft spot for that galaxy far, far away.
Castle Morihisa is much more of a straight up retread of Slay The Spire, which is simultaneously its strongest asset and its Achilles’ heel at the same time. While fans of the genre will find it hard not to love, and though its structure is built upon another game’s foundations, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a helluva fun time scaling your way to the top of its spire.
All in all, however, these are very minor reservations for what is ultimately one of the best action-centric games based on the Aliens licence, well… ever. It’s consistently engaging, surprisingly deep and radically enhanced when you’ve got a couple of friends in tow. While a few minor AI and presentational bugs hold it back from being the perfect organism fans have been hoping for, Aliens: Fireteam Elite absolutely nails that one-last-stand thrill of roleplaying a badass marine with your back against the wall battling overwhelmingly insurmountable odds. Let’s rock? Aye-firmative.
While Deadly Premonition 2 suffers from technical shortcomings, the oddball characters, endearing dialogue, disturbing atmosphere, and emotional rollercoaster-like story are where its artistic elements shine through the brightest. Simply put: If you're a fan of the original, you'll love this.
Resident Evil 2 is an absolutely phenomenal remake, one which is bolstered by the developer's renewed sense of confidence and a newfound sense of direction. Capcom has fully come to grips with what the series should look like in this day and age, and the end result is pure survival horror, retooled and retweaked for a modern audience. The Godfather of survival horror is back.
While Call Of Cthulhu's eerie atmosphere and compelling narrative impress, some technical and design issues -- like long load times, wonky facial animations and uninspired puzzle designs -- injure the Lovecraftian horror experience, which ultimately holds it back from true greatness.
Dark Souls on Switch was another chance for me to fall in love with the world of Lordran once more. It's an experience that's a perfect fit on a handheld, and it's one of the most compelling apps Nintendo's burgeoning platform currently has to offer.