To its credit, Bow to Blood: Last Captain Standing is a unique kind of game that plays well in virtual reality. While the concept has a bit of that current battle royal craze in its blood, it reminds me more of a cutthroat reality show. There are some missed opportunities in making it single-player only, and a lack of meaningful progression means that there is not a ton of reason to come back over and over again. That being said, I enjoyed the core gameplay and could appreciate the thoughtfulness of the strategy elements, even if in the end the overall package is just a bit shallower than I would have liked.
It was actually kind of nice to see a full simulation title like this on the Nintendo Switch, and it all works just fine, even if the content is not going to be for everyone. With loads of text and a somewhat distanced, managerial perspective that keeps quests and combat accessible while at the same time not being all that exciting, this is what Neo ATLAS 1469.
While the studio had been around for years before The Walking Dead, it was really Clementine's and Lee's initial adventure that won the studio lots of acclaim and put them on the map. There were likely many ups and downs for the studio in between, diverging paths that all led to this - the end of the studio as well as The Walking Dead series. So I got to say goodbye to both a studio and a character I cared about when I put down the controller, thankful for the opportunity to be there from beginning to end, even if I might have personally wished a few things had turned out somewhat differently.
The Wizards - Enhanced Edition is a fun virtual reality game that has more length and polish than many other VR titles on the market. The gesture-based combat is a lot of fun, even if it is not always completely precise and the presentation values are quite good as well. The combat itself can get a little repetitive however, due to lack of enemy variety and overall spells at your disposal, and the lack of modes beyond campaign and arena do limit replay value some as well. That being said, The Wizards is an entertaining experience and one that has room for growth should Carbon Studio go ahead and see fit to make a sequel, which I would definitely like to see.
Fate/Extella Link does not take a lot of chances, and it does not really shake up the core formula of the first game - but it does improve upon it in subtle but effective ways throughout. There is a lot of content here, and if you are a fan of the Fate/ series, you will likely enjoy getting to spend some time with its cast of quirky, colorful characters. The combat and progression are both deeper than the last outing as well, even if by the end of the game there is the risk of things getting a bit repetitive, but that did not keep me from spending a lot of time with this game and unlocking every last thing I could. There is still potential to do something more with multiplayer than the 4-on-4 mode that was introduced here, and I would not object to a bit more depth in terms of RPG elements as well, but all in all Fate/Extella Link was exactly what I was looking for in this sequel.
I think it is safe to say that the care and attention that went until putting this collection together is fantastic overall, though the games themselves are certainly more niche in nature. Arcade and NES enthusiasts who enjoy action games (especially shooters) will probably have the most fun with this compilation, however.
Dick Wilde 2 is a decently made game that really does nothing new. If you enjoy these kinds of wave / rail shooters in virtual reality, odds are you will enjoy your time spent with Dick Wilde 2. However, for those looking for deeper mechanics or a more engaging story, you will likely find this to be a shallow adventure that you are done with in relatively short order. Dick Wilde 2 does what it sets out to do rather well, just set your expectations accordingly if you are looking for anything more than a goofy arcade shooter.
If you already played the heck out of BlazBlue: Central Fiction when it released in 2016, there might not be enough content here to justify an all-new purchase. However, if you are a fan of fighting games and missed this title the first time around, BlazBlue: Central Fiction - Special Edition is a very worthwhile acquisition here on the Nintendo Switch.
Legrand Legacy: Tale of the Fatebounds is a perfectly good, functional flashback to an earlier time in JRPGs. Aesthetically it is really pleasing, the combat is a nice mix of turn-based while requiring you to stay engaged with it instead of just mashing through menu items and while early on the narrative looked like it was going to travel some well-worn, overly familiar tropes, the characters and world are more interesting than they might initially appear.
Despite some stiff gameplay mechanics and fairly simple combat, Killer7 manages to hold up very well even more than a decade after its initial release. The narrative is truly interesting, and there is no question that SUDA51 was well ahead of his time with both the visuals and some of the twists he threw into his story along the way. Killer7 is an example of a game that took chances, and those risks helped Goichi Suda establish his well-deserved following.
There are a handful of oddities around the Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection, from the strange purchasing structure to how the stories in these newer games actually feel like a step back from another in the series from a few years ago. That being said, the core gameplay is both intuitive and addictive, the visuals are fun and the music is fantastic. That there are some other things to do that add an additional sense of progression is just the icing on the cake and I found it very hard to put these games down.
I really, really enjoyed Tetris Effect. The modes are engaging, the presentation has a life of its own and is certainly the best the series has ever looked and sounded and the variety of modes and options while coupled with the new Zone mechanic offer some new wrinkles with plenty of replay value.
All in all, Road Redemption is a solid enough experience that is pretty fun in small doses. The combat is the highlight here, but I also appreciate it when games drop in some light RPG elements to give some sense of progression along the way. Road Redemption is not going to blow anyone away with its technical presentation, but there is some good, fun arcade action that bubbles right to the surface and helps - at least for a time - to hide its relatively shallow story, modes and number of tracks.
The actual gameplay of GRIP: Combat Racing is pretty entertaining. That it supports local multiplayer makes it an ideal game to play with some friends, and the easy-to-pick-up nature of the game is almost begging for some party play. That being said, the actual career mode is mostly cosmetic in progression and the number of tracks is a bit light, with even fewer really good tracks out of that collection. Some nice twists on race modes help to provide some variety to those same repeating tracks, but that sameness when mixed with somewhat shallow modes and options and an average presentation kept GRIP from being so compelling that I have to play it often or over very long stretches of time. It is a fun experience, if a somewhat shallow one.
With a story that has not changed and a layer of optional VR added to the original game, Megadimension Neptunia VIIR is not perhaps a compelling buy for everyone. It is a good excuse to put on a virtual reality headset, and there are some notable quality of life improvements that when coupled with improved visuals make this a worthwhile play - especially if you missed Megadimension Neptunia VII the first time around. Megadimension Neptunia VIIR likely will not bring new people to the series, but returning fans of the Neptunia titles will likely enjoy the presentation, characters and numerous systems of progression.
There is a lot of stylish hijinks flowing throughout Strange Brigade, which is really what makes the title work. It certainly plays better with friends, but it can be tackled solo as well. Decent weapon variety coupled with varied environments from one level to the next help to offset what is generally repetitive shooting gameplay broken up by puzzles that do help change the pace without ever really taxing my brain. Basically it is good at multiple things while seldom great at any of them. The end result is a rollicking adventure that occasionally frustrates but entertains more often than not.
A flawed protagonist and generally good voice acting compliment an interesting story and solid overall production values to create an interesting RPG-adventure hybrid in Call of Cthulhu. There are some rough edges to be had that might be a bit hard for some people to swallow at its AAA-ish price tag. Lovecraft / horror fans such as myself will likely find Call of Cthulhu to be time well-spent, but there are some rough edges that certainly do detract from the overall experience.
While SoulCalibur VI probably will not be a top title in the eSports fighting scene, it has a solid enough online presence that should provide plenty of competitive gameplay. That being said, too often the fighting genre relies too heavily on online competition to give their games longevity. Kudos to the development team here for creating an incredibly robust single player experience that is worth coming back to time and again. This makes SoulCalibur VI my vote for best fighting game of 2019.