Chris "Atom" DeAngelus
Lost Judgment can best be described as The Yakuza Game With The High School. It's familiar and comfortable, and it's likely to please fans of the franchise who weren't thrilled with the JRPG style of the last game. The storyline is sometimes too grim even for a Yakuza title, and it plays things a bit safe, but it's still a darn fun experience. If this really is the Judgment spin-off's last entry, then it's a fitting send-off to the sub-franchise.
Deathloop is an engaging and enjoyable game that manages to capture the feel of Dishonored in a more fast-paced adventure. The unique setting and engaging concept carry the game through the repetitive nature of the gameplay. The multiplayer at the center of the story is more of a mixed bag but still intriguing enough to be memorable. Some annoying bugs drag down the experience. If you liked Dishonored but wished it were less about stealth and more about blowing things up, then Deathloop is the game for you. Just be prepared to die again and again.
Tales of Arise is a Tales game through and through. It's polished and consistently enjoyable, and it features an excellent combat system. The story and characters are not particularly ambitious or distinct, but they give you a fun world to explore for the 40+ hour runtime. In an era where "safe" JRPGs are uncommon, it's nice to have one that does exactly what it promises. It's not the best or worst of the series, but it is a darn fun Tales title that lives up to the franchise's name.
Life is Strange: True Colors is a fun entry in the franchise. It doesn't really break any rules or do anything shocking, but it's a comfortable game to play. The time I spent in Haven Springs put me in a shockingly good mood for a game revolving around a murder, and I welcomed the entire experience. Unfortunately, the tacked-on murder mystery drags down the story somewhat and keeps it from reaching the highest highs that it can. If you're a fan of the franchise, you're sure to like this latest entry.
In many ways, Sonic Colors: Ultimate represents the unhindered high points of the 3D Sonic games. It's Sonic as a single playable character, so there are no werehogs, gameplay changes, or an adorable pudgy younger version of himself. It's the "run incredibly fast through loops" gameplay boiled down to its essentials, and it works really well. Even a decade out from its initial release, it's still a darn fun game, and Colors Ultimate definitely captures the feel. It won't change your mind if you never liked the 3D style of gameplay, but if you did, Colors is arguably the best of the lot. It might not have the highs of Unleashed or Generations, but it also is a far more focused affair.
No More Heroes III feels like a sequel to the first two games in every way, for all the good and bad that entails. It's creative, clever, charming, and delightfully weird. The combat system is simple but fun, and it doesn't overstay its welcome thanks to a wide variety of creative boss fights. However, everything outside of those elements feels a bit dull. Thankfully, like the first two games, No More Heroes III has enough interesting stuff going on to overshadow the flaws. Newcomers would probably be better off trying the cheaper No More Heroes titles on the Switch to see if Suda 51's specific eccentricities are to your taste.
In pretty much every possible way, Psychonauts 2 is a direct sequel to the first game. It's perhaps prettier and more polished than it would have been if it had come out a decade ago, but the feel and tone are spot-on. It probably won't change your mind if the original Psychonauts didn't capture your heart. If it did, though, Psychonauts 2 is a charming, funny and incredibly welcome visit with some old friends. The gameplay is sometimes too straightforward for its own good, but everything else more than makes up for it. If you're looking for a charming platformer with its own style and sense of humor, Psychonauts 2 delivers in spades. Here's hoping it won't be another decade before we see another entry in the series.
Road 96 shows that it is possible to do a "roguelike," narrative-focused story and do it well. It's a shockingly engaging and well-written game with likeable characters. It's sometimes funny, sometimes terrifying, and sometimes thought-provoking, but no matter what, it never gets boring. Each setback or revelation made me eager to see the next, and my ending felt like a satisfying resolution to the plot that I'd been building. If there were ever a game that defined, "It's the journey, not the destination," it's Road 96, and if you're a fan of quirky, narrative-driven games, then this is well worth a shot.
Last Stop is three interesting stories tied to an entirely pointless set of gameplay. The narrative drives the game and holds your interest, while the gameplay veers between pointless and distracting. Overall, it is an enjoyable romp for anyone who's fond of narrative-driven games. It's hard to escape the sense that I would've enjoyed an animated movie or television show more, but Last Stop is a satisfying, if not very interactive, story.