Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is a fun way to revisit a game that I have fond memories of from last generation. By and large, the game has aged pretty well. Some fans might be disappointed that there weren’t larger changes made, but I’m happy to see the game back in any form and can once again hold out hope that maybe, just maybe, we’ll get more titles that allow us to revisit this fascinating world in the future as well.
In all, NBA 2k21 is still the best sports experience on the market. That being said, this feels like a strange year for the series, given the pandemic, altered real life NBA season and split attention between two generations of console. There were few significant changes made, but almost all of those updates were for the better – except arguably the most important one. To change such a core mechanic as shooting so fundamentally is going to be polarizing and while I have been growing used to how it works, I think more tweaks need to be made to finetune the experience. It’s been a strange year and NBA 2k21 reflects that in a lot of ways. All things considered however, NBA 2K20 was easily my most played video game over the last year and I suspect that will be the case for my upcoming year and NBA 2K21.
I really enjoyed the sense of humor that Shing! provided, wrapped up in an enjoyable presentation manages to feel fresh in a genre that is seldom innovated in. The biggest innovation however, is the use of the right control stick instead of pressing face buttons. Generally speaking, it works well but does bog down when there are too many enemies on the screen at once or during extended play sessions. It is a cool idea that will no doubt receive mixed reviews, but everything else around Shing! is good enough to warrant a look for those who are fans of the genre.
Admittedly, Kandagawa Jet Girls is not the most difficult racing game out there, but it does have a surprising amount of depth to the actual gameplay mechanics. There is plenty of fanservice in its anime-styled cast, and while the story itself was not riveting by any means, I had a good deal of fun with the game itself.
Banner of the Maid deserves credit for its pleasant visual style, interesting characters and thoughtful gameplay. The unique setting also wins some points with me as I don’t believe I’ve played a game set during the French Revolution since L’Empereur on the NES. That being said, pacing and difficulty spikes will turn off some gamers and I really do wish the localization had been better as well. There is a solid story with some interesting characters to be had here, and tactics fans such as myself should find plenty to like here, but a few of those rough edges probably could have been smoothed out.
This has been a weird year in general and for sports in particular, but PGA Tour 2K21 is a perfect reprieve from all of that. The PGA license is put to good use and the authentic presentation help to round out what was already a great core system. The Golf Club lives on in PGA Tour 2K21, and is a game golf fans are going to want to get their hands on.
Simply put, Fantasy General II: Invasion is a deep, enjoyable strategy game that works surprisingly well on consoles. It offers a lengthy campaign that provides ample challenge and replay value through the unit development and choices that can be made along the way. There is a bit of a learning curve to the mechanics and controls, but once you’ve learned how to play, Fantasy General II: Invasion is a must-play for strategy fans.
Faeria offers excellent value to people who enjoy collectible card games but dislike the feeling that the devs have their hands in your pocket almost from the beginning. It will be interesting to see how the community fleshes out, but I found the combination of tactics and deck management to be a rewarding experience.
Tannenberg is a strategic shooter that pays incredible attention to detail. The presentation might not be AAA, big-budget level, but the developers have put together a compelling mode of play that is easy to sink many hours into. Here is hoping for more growth in the player base, because the early lack of online players does potentially limit Tannenberg’s potential long-term appeal.
While the breakneck opening might make it somewhat difficult for newcomers to the series to find their footing, it is clear that Gust was quite focused on delivering a love letter to existing fans of Fairy Tail. To that end, the developers succeeded. Fairy Tail is not a terribly challenging JRPG, but it never felt overly grindy or tiresome either, and with any luck we’ll see more of the series in game form in the future.