Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection is a great package that any fan of action games will enjoy. Ryu Hayabusa still stands as one of the most memorable and bad ass video game protagonists even all these years later. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is the best one in this package in my opinion but all three are worth experiencing. Mastering the combat and Ryu’s moveset is so rewarding and you’ll easily get hours and hours of enjoyment out of this. Hopefully this collection will bring in plenty of new fans so that Team Ninja will give Ryu Hayabusa some new work soon.
Capcom Arcade Stadium is a great collection of classic titles that really does a great job of showing Capcom’s history. Across the 32 games here released from 1984 to 2001 you’ll find a lot of enjoyment and thanks to some quality of life gameplay improvements new players won’t become too frustrated. There are some notable missing titles here and some extra features that I would’ve liked to see but overall this is how all publishers should treat their classic titles when bringing them to a new audience.
Layers of Fear VR is a solid scary game for those who want to immerse themselves in a creepy and well-designed atmosphere. The game managed to keep my attention for the few hours that it lasts and manages to be a bit scarier in virtual reality especially with the excellent audio in the game. The downsides to it are that it looks worse than the non-VR version, relies on too many jump scares which cause them to become predictable, and the Move controllers take some getting used to. Bloober Team has made much better games since the original Layers of Fear but if you’re looking for a new horror VR title then this is a good one to try.
Returnal was Housemarque’s first crack at a AAA game and they’ve pretty much nailed the execution on all fronts. The game looks and runs like a dream on the PlayStation 5 and is one of the best reasons to own one yet. The game is tough and because of that it won’t be for everyone but for those who do enjoy these kinds of games you’ll quickly get addicted to the fast-paced and super smooth gameplay.
World Splitter is an enjoyable enough puzzle platformer with an interesting dimension mechanic that will really have you using your brain to make it to the finish. It’s not impressive technically but the actual puzzles offer plenty of challenge while optional objectives are there for the more hardcore speedrunners. It’s just a shame that the two-player levels aren’t plentiful enough and come across as little more than an appetizer. Overall, World Splitter can be fun to dive into for hours at a time or to just dip into for a few levels here and there.
In conclusion, the Atelier Mysterious Trilogy Deluxe Pack has a ton of value and content to play through for newcomers to these games. If you played these three titles on PlayStation 4 already then I’m not sure the little bit of new content and quality-of-life improvements are a big enough reason to rush out and play them right away again. For brand-new players looking for more Atelier to sink their teeth into though this is an easy recommend as you get three very interesting stories full of likeable characters, over a hundred hours of gameplay content, and lots of alchemy to mess around with.
Judgment was a great Yakuza spin-off title two years ago and that remains true in 2021 with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series release. While the detective gameplay isn’t as good as it could be it doesn’t detract too much from an otherwise great game. RGG Studio delivers another memorable story full of fun and interesting characters as well as a really detailed world full of fun activities to partake in. It also looks and runs much better than it did before making this the definitive version to play. Whether you’re a fan of the Yakuza franchise or jumping into this world for the very first time, Judgment shouldn’t be missed.
El Hijo – A Wild West Tale is a charming little spaghetti western stealth game that gamers of all ages can enjoy. It might not be hard enough for more seasoned gamers but the level design and puzzles do get more challenging as you make your way through. I also just really like the theme of a young boy trying to find his mom and being able to help other children along the way. If you’re looking for a new stealth game to spend a few hours with that asks you to use things other than violence to sneak around then El Hijo is worth checking out.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV is a great finale to what has been a memorable four game journey. It’s got so many great moments throughout and many of the characters we’ve grown to love get to shine. It could’ve done with a bit better pacing though as I felt like I was just doing busy work quite a bit of the time. The Switch version doesn’t look or perform as well as the PlayStation version that released last year but what you lose in visuals you make up for in being able to pick up and play portably. It also is disappointing that Switch only owners can’t experience the full four game story on the platform currently with only the third and fourth entries being available. I can’t say much else other than if you’ve been invested in this story so far, you’ll be very happy with the payoff and if you haven’t yet jumped into it yet then you’re missing out on one of the best JRPG franchises out there.
Hunting Simulator 2 on PlayStation 5 is an enjoyable time out in the wilderness so long as you haven’t been here before. While the graphics, performance, and load times are improved a lot those things alone don’t justify paying full price again if you owned this game before. Had the team included the DLC or offered some kind of upgrade path then I could recommend it. New buyers who are fans of more realistic experiences will find a lot to like here with some beautiful areas to explore, a variety of game to hunt down, and many weapons to hunt them with. Head out on the hunt if this sounds like your type of thing.