With amazing production values, characters I cared about, an entertaining story and plenty to see and do along the way, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End may not be the best game in the series overall, but it is a fitting conclusion that shows Naughty Dog continues to deliver the goods with their games.
Acorn Assault: Rodent Revolution is a fun little title that at its asking price provides a good time for those looking for a tactics game without the need to study an entire encyclopedia of knowledge just to play. The rules are simple but fun, and the premise is silly but entertaining. There are certainly worse things in the world. However, those elements of charm and simplicity give way to a feeling of repetition by the game's end, and the joy of the first hour gives way to something that holds few surprises or rewards for your persistence.
The game has made an easy transition over to the console from a control standpoint, the variety of characters is truly awesome and I enjoyed the gameplay which felt unique and different to me when compared to similar titles in the genre. Given the fact that SMITE can be tried out for free, I would argue that if you have any interest in the MOBA genre, you owe it to yourself to give this game a try and see. I found the experience loop and the overall gameplay to be quite rewarding, luring me back in time and time again.
The biggest issue with Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR- is that it is so similar to -SIGN-. We have some new characters and a new narrative, which is always a great thing. However, the core engine and gameplay are almost identical. This makes this latest game in the series feel more akin to an iterative upgrade than a true sequel. As a full priced game, that could prove a difficult pill to swallow for those who already own -SIGN-. As a result, your mileage may vary. That being said, on its own merits, Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR- is a fantastic game and one of the best fighters I have ever played and absolutely worth a look if you get the chance.
In Between gets some pretty major elements right with its unique, sadly beautiful presentation and storyline. It makes for a compelling experience that is easy to recommend because so few games really do a good job of tackling such heavy material. The matter in which In Between handles the weight of impending death is both unique and satisfyingly weighty emotionally. However, for everything In Between does well as an experience, there are some basic elements of gaming where it does not always succeed. The creativity behind using the stages of grief to create unique levels is inspired, but the controls are finicky and there are a few issues with the game's timings that hold it back from greatness.
Rogue Stormers is a somewhat short game, but it is built around replay value. If the idea of a quick and dirty action game bothers you, then this one will probably miss the mark. While Rogue Stormers is not revolutionary by any means, it does execute quite well on its premise. There is going to be a core group of gamers excited by the combination of taxing action and progression that will undoubtedly keep them coming back for more. While I enjoyed my time with the title, it is one that I can put down. It is easy enough to pick up and play for short intervals as well. Given that there is a grind-like nature to it, that is probably a good thing. For me personally, prolonged sessions of play proved a little frustrating. I enjoyed Rogue Stormers more when approaching it in more bite-sized play sessions.
Hard Reset Redux has the unfortunate issue of trying to recall classic FPS games so close to the Doom release that it cannot completely escape the long shadow of comparison that Doom casts. To its credit however, Hard Reset Redux is a lower priced game and it provides good value as long as you are okay with a game that is fast, furious and fully embraces its crazy action while providing no online multiplayer and somewhat dated audio and visual presentations. FPS fans should enjoy their time with Hard Reset Redux however, so long as they set their expectations accordingly.
If you already were a fan of the original game, there is enough change here to warrant at least some consideration towards picking the title up. If you missed the PlayStation 3 release a couple of years ago, Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force is the definitive version of the game to play. With enough tweaks to make several aspects of the game feel fresh again, there is not enough of an overhaul that it should alienate those who enjoyed the game the first time around, making it easy to recommend to all RPG fans.
The deaths that occur will lengthen your playtime, but I would guess everyone should be able to beat the game in about two to three hours, which leads us back to my opening thoughts. I really enjoyed the way the development team leveraged our toddler as a protagonist. It is a unique twist that works very well within the environment designs and plays with the notion that children really have very little understanding of their world or an ability to protect themselves, making the world a big and scary place. If anything the task is handled so well the majority of the time that I wish there was more of it, but what is here makes for a solid horror experience.
In the end Minecraft: Story Mode - Episode 6: A Portal to Mystery is an adequate adventure that feels tacked on to the primary storyline. Some of its creative choices work better than others, and while I have mixed feelings on the guests in the episode as they did not interest me much personally, I can appreciate Telltale's willingness to take some chances and try something a little quirky and different.
The boss battles help to alleviate the repetition and there are some secret ones that can be unlocked if you meet particular criteria that serve as the primary reason to replay levels. Admittedly, some of these were pretty cool and gave me a nice sense of satisfaction when they occurred, but at the end of the day Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan is little more than a visually stylized button masher with little of the heart that has made the Turtles so enduring over the years. I love most of the titles that PlatinumGames produces, but TMNT is a rare miss for the developer.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII is a niche game to be certain, with the kind of learning curve that could easily scare away casual strategy fans. Despite its emphasis on characters, this is not a tactics game akin to Fire Emblem, but something with a much different layer of city management and simulation layered onto it. It is a shame that the graphics engine - which looks very nice the majority of the time - seems to struggle a bit with the PlayStation 4 hardware, and no matter how well you design a user interface, a game like this is probably always going to be a smoother experience with a mouse as opposed to a controller. Those two concerns aside, Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII offers a uniquely deep experience that will no doubt have me coming back for more for a good long while. It also has me hopeful that we might see even more strategy titles coming out of Koei Tecmo in the future.
Human: Fall Flat is a quirky game with a few hiccups here and there, but the core experience is unique and the development team has embraced this uniqueness and made something more memorable and entertaining than I honestly thought it would be. A good game that challenges you to think outside of the box, Human: Fall Flat is a very short game, but one worth playing all the same.
I am no stranger to episodic games that rely heavily on story and setting to pull a person in. Life is Strange has a lot of similarities to titles from Telltale Games or the King's Quest chapters, but it does enough interesting things of its own to stand out as a unique and generally enjoyable experience.
Batman: The Telltale Series - Episode 1: Realm of Shadows allayed any concerns I had about how a character usually shown in video games as an action-packed superhero would be handled in a more story-driven format. I am happy to report that it was handled quite well overall, due in large part to a solid presentation (the visuals fit the comic book source material far better than they do The Walking Dead) and excellent voice acting (led by veterans Troy Baker and Laura Bailey), some new gameplay mechanics and a story that I am invested in.
It was hard not to immediately draw comparisons to Limbo when I started off in control of a young boy named Hue, who lived in a monochromatic world who basically starts off the game with the ability to jump around with little context as to who he is or why he is there. The Limbo comparison one is meant with only the best intentions, as that was a game I absolutely loved when I first played it.
Alone With You does a really nice job with its narrative, but the actual gameplay mechanics start to wear a little thin by the time the game wraps up. It is a callback to older style adventure games, which I have always had a soft spot for, and Alone With You is no different. It is a good entry into the genre and shows an impressive understanding of what it takes to weave a compelling narrative despite a handful of shortcomings.
The Huntsman: Winter's Curse has some interesting ideas, and I can appreciate that it blends RPG elements with a unique card battling system that compliment the visual novel-like story. None of these elements are particularly deep, but they are enjoyable enough to want to see the game through, even when a handful of smaller bugs do make it harder to complete the game properly.
Solar Shifter EX is a solid shooting game more often than not with excellent visuals but a camera system that does the title no favors in the end. The experience is a decent one for fans of the shmup genre, but Solar Shifter EX is nowhere close to being one of the best shooters have to offer.
It would be easy to look at Obliteracers and dismiss it as a Mario Kart clone, but you would be doing the game and yourself a disservice if you enjoy combat karting games. Obliteracers brings enough new to the table to stand on its own merits. Admittedly some aspects of the game work better than others, but the online modes are a riot and the game has an addictive quality that is impossible to ignore.