There is a whole lot to like about Sniper Elite 5, especially if you are a fan of the series already. The non-sniping gunplay feels better than ever, and the maps are huge with plenty to do. There is a solid progression system that lets you unlock perks as you complete objectives and take down enemies, and the story is solid if unspectacular. The best-looking and sounding release in the series, with a handful of different entertaining modes to boot – this is absolutely a worthwhile play.
Rogue Lords is a solid overall RPG roguelike with an interesting theme and a really cool mechanic in its Devil Mode. These things help to separate Rogue Lords from the pack, but unfortunately some uneven difficulty spikes and combat’s pacing slowing down in later runs takes a bit of the shine off the game’s longevity. It’s still worth playing until that happens.
Rogue Legacy 2 is a delightful mix of action-platforming with enough progression elements baked in to keep the many deaths from getting too frustrating. Unlocking new areas of my tower or discovering new traits was enjoyable, as was trying out new class / weapon / ability combinations with each new generation. Rogue Legacy 2 is a worthy successor to its ancestor.
Deck of Ashes: Complete Edition is a mixed experience for me right now. The core experience was engaging and one that I enjoyed – when things worked the way I expected them to. Unfortunately, I ran into enough technical hurdles that I stopped my second playthrough and have only picked it up once since then (three days ago to see if the issue with not being able to refresh middle rows of cards was still happening – it is). It’s a shame, as things currently stand – but thankfully with a few tweaks to polish up some of the rough edges and make the most of the core experience.
Roguebook is an excellent mashup of collectible card game, with exploration and progression elements that keep the experience fresh for subsequent runs. I was almost immediately hooked, playing with different party combinations and structuring my decks to see if I could make it just a bit further on my next run. And the one after that. And the one after that. I’m going to stop writing now and go back for another run now.
WWE 2K22 is a fantastic return to form for the series, and probably the best wrestling game I’ve played in several years. Admittedly there are some rough edges here and there, but the MyRise mode in particular was incredibly enjoyable and most importantly: the game was just fun to hit. WWE 2K22 does in fact hit different.
Shadow Warrior 3 presents more streamlined action than its predecessor, and revels in his glorious gory shooting and potty-mouthed protagonist. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss some of the RPG elements from Shadow Warrior 2, and there are some rough edges to be found in this latest iteration of the series – but it’s a bloody good time all the same.
Pinball FX3 – Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure is a fantastic table that filled me with nostalgia as soon as I fired it up and heard the familiar music. The presentation is top-notch across the board, and it is a fast-paced, entertaining table. The value proposition might not be for everyone however, as it is a single table at a premium price.
That being said, there is a lot to like here as well. Cyberpunk 2077 is an incredibly vibrant world, both visually and in its various interactions. Whether I was petting an animal, taking the time to read through billboards or finding a ton of quests to spend my time on, Night City was a thoroughly engaging virtual world. That being said, it’s still an imperfect world in a handful of minor but certainly noticeable ways. Though I was excited for the original release of Cyberpunk 2077, I suspect my experience benefitted from waiting to play. I’m glad I finally got the opportunity to do so.
Thea 2: The Shattering shares that DNA from the first game, but has evolved into something different – and something with higher expectations. It’s hard to say whether or not those expectations will be fully met by fans, but at the same time? Like the original, Thea 2: The Shattering has an addictive quality that tugs at me in a variety of different ways that kept me engaged for hours at a time.
Edge of Eternity is a great throwback to classic JRPGs overall. The presentation is fantastic, the world is expansive and there’s plenty to do with your time. That being said, the overall story and supporting characters while solid, were lacking for me. There’s plenty of systems layered in, and while combat is probably the most important system and also arguably Edge of Eternity’s best system, they don’t always seamlessly support one another. It is worth calling out that a reasonably small studio managed to make a large, high quality and very enjoyable game in Edge of Eternity and JRPG fans should come away pleased overall.
Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires is an improvement on the last Dynasty Warriors game, but that has more to do with my love of strategy and management than anything else. Given the divisive reception to the last mainline game, I understand why they moved away from the open world, but it does leave this entertaining game with oodles of potential in something of an identity crisis as well. What’s here is fun, and I am always up for some Three Kingdoms strategy and combat, but I can’t help but look forward to the next iteration that is built specifically with the PS5 hardware in mind.
Infernax is a bloody good time. The developers did a great job of harnessing just about everything that made classic platforming adventures like Castlevania great, while sprinkling in some new features along the way. The formula was not quite perfect for me, but it was pretty close and those looking for a challenging new game in the genre owe it to themselves to give Infernax a look.
Granblue Fantasy: Versus – Legendary Edition is a worthy addition to any fighting fan’s collection. It’s not perfect – to me it feels a bit like a lesser version of Guilty Gear at times. But it’s a whole lot of fun. The presentation is slick, the RPG mode has some longevity to it, and this Legendary Edition adds a lot of characters to an already solid roster. I’m glad I didn’t miss out on this title a second time.
Vaporum: Lockdown creates a nice sense of isolation and is a fun experience, despite some frustrating puzzles along the way. The presentation is solid and the progression elements are rewarding, even if the combat itself can be slightly repetitive after a time. Vaporum: Lockdown made a great initial impression on me, though by the time I got into the title’s later content, I was less enamored with it overall.
Rune Factory 4 Special is fascinating in that it has numerous systems that on their own are pleasant if not terribly deep. Where the title shines however is in how these various systems interact with one another. They create a cumulative experience above and beyond its individual parts, and there is a ton of content to be enjoyed overall.
...These quibbles aside, Battlefield 2042 is still a great deal of fun. Purists may not love the specialist system or the lack of a single player story, but those who want huge environments with loads of players should find the chaos of Battlefield 2042 quite enjoyable. Portal is going to give this game even greater life than usual and something I’ve enjoyed sinking my time into so far.
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water reminded me why I love this series so much. It has its flaws, but they are minor compared to what the title does really well. There is a genuine sense of creepiness that permeates almost all of the game, and those brief times of respite help to build up the interesting story at the heart of the game. Horror fans will want to give this a go. Meanwhile, I will impatiently await my remake of the original trilogy.
Corpse Party is the best version of this release yet, which is saying something as it has seen multiple ports over the last twenty-five years. It has the most polished visuals, accessible menus and extra content. The pacing and graphics might not be for everyone, but if you are a fan of creepy writing and outstanding audio design, then give Corpse Party a chance during this year’s scary season.
"Disciples: Liberation is a very enjoyable fantasy game that mixes turn-based combat with real-time exploration and a smidge of simulation / city-building. It can be a risk trying to balance these different elements, but kudos to the development team for striking a satisfactory balance. I really enjoyed my time with this game and it is pretty easy to sink a few dozen or so hours into it. Fans of strategy / RPG titles will find a lot to like here and should definitely give Disciples: Liberation a look." - Nick "So overall, even with the shift of the Disciples series with Disciples: Liberation to a more real-time and turn-based tactics RPG than the older entries of “player versus player” styles, it’s in good shape. The shift isn’t a bad one but as mentioned above, a few small tweaks could definitely help to polish this off even further regardless of if you decide to drop into this dark and intriguing world on the PC or on the consoles at the beginning of next month." - Pierre-Yves' PC Preview (https://chalgyr.com/2021/09/preview-pc-disciplesliberation.html)