Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate chooses quantity over quality. While it includes tons of characters, the bland level and mission design lose their allure far too quickly, which is a shame. With a little more care and tweaks to mechanics, it could have been a strong entry in the series.
Shenmue 3 feels instantly outdated, but at the same time is seemingly uncompromising in its vision. Despite some fun mechanics, lots of distractions, and a restrained take on combat, my nostalgia could only partially gloss over the weak characters, story and progress gating.
Despite being a spinoff game, Judgment does everything that merits it standing on its two feet. An engrossing narrative, great characters, and a wealth of side content make for a thrilling adventure - despite some niggling story beats and under-utilized mechanics.
Dead or Alive 6 serves up great fighting mechanics, solid offline mode variety, and looks good while doing it. If you're a fan of the series, it's well worth checking out, even as this latest entry stumbles in the online arenas and the disappointing approach to customization.
Jump Force is an exercise in wasted potential, which is a real shame considering the strong roster of characters and engaging worlds they all hail from. The combat is lackluster and repetitive, despite being punctuated by flashy iconic special moves. Heavy grind and boring mission structure turn saving the world into a chore.
Another worthy entry into the series that still distinguishes itself from the rest. Diverse characters, unique mechanics, and pick-up-and-play nature make it extremely accessible. Despite a few fumbles in training modes and mediocre story elements, Soulcalibur VI is a great fighter at its core.
Even if you're not already a fan, Valkyria Chronicles 4's engaging story and interesting characters will win you over with a WW2-inspired setting that doesn't shy away from dark subject matter. For veterans of the series, this new chapter will give you a good run for your money, despite some unintuitive menus and wonky character mechanics.
An excellent entry into anyone's JRPG collection, Dragon Quest XI will have you wondering why more of the series hasn't made its way to consoles. It manages to capture the spirit of genre classics with memorable locations, engaging explorative elements, and fun combat.
Mechanically, Yakuza Kiwami 2 is the best offering in the entire series. With the abundance of fun distractions, quirky side stories, break-neck and brutal combat, and the franchise's signature dark, if sometimes convoluted story, newcomers and veterans are in for a real treat.
Shining Resonance Refrain is a decidedly adequate game. It has dozens of hours of content, but those hours include passable battles, an average story, tired MMO elements, and a mediocre dating sim to boot. It's not going to twist the arm of someone who's sworn off JRPGs like Persona 5 would, but it could do just enough to satisfy die-hard fans of the genre.
An improvement over the previous instalment, Attack on Titan 2 tweaks its combat, character setups, and online modes to create an overall more engaging experience. Unfortunately, the core gameplay loop becomes boring after extended sessions, which takes away from its potential longevity.
Yakuza 6 is a fitting end to the journey of Kazuma Kiryu that will not disappoint long-time fans, while also providing an accessible journey to newcomers. Though it does not reach the heights of previous entries in its narrative and optional content, it does deliver a touching tale with a strong thematic core that has even stronger combat chops.
For long-time fans of the franchise, Dynasty Warriors 9 feels like it has its heart in the right place, but the implementation of the open world and MMO mechanics feels dated, creating a bland experience that does not do the colorful series justice.
Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] should satisfy fans of the fighting genre, if they are willing to look past its flaws and spend time perfecting the art of combat for the game's sometimes shaky online mode. As a single player experience, it is well-suited for a couple of friends to pass the time thanks to being fun and accessible.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar proves to be a solid turn-based RPG with polished mechanics, interesting dungeons, beautiful artwork and animation, and a lot distractions to keep you entertained. Despite some UI and performance issues, fans of the genre should still find it to be a game that is worth their time.
Tekken 7 has reached a peak for the franchise in terms of combat quality and character variety. However, some online issues and lack of diverse modes for both online and offline play hamstring the game a bit. Still, whether you are a Tekken fan or fighting veteran, or complete newcomer, there's a lot here to get stuck into.
NieR: Automata's engaging narrative, blending of gameplay genres and fantastic soundtrack are what make it special. Though somewhat hampered by simple yet slick combat, and level design that fails to fully realize its sci-fi dystopia setting, it is still a game that is absolutely worth your time.
Yakuza 0 is a fantastic journey through the seedy underbelly of the '80s in Japan. The game’s strong narrative core, filled with memorable characters, is the perfect driving force between engaging combat, memorable sidequests, and time-devouring minigames.