Chris "Atom" DeAngelus
Persona 5 Tactica is a fun attempt to bring the ideas and concepts behind Persona 5 into the tactical setting, but at times it can feel more like a proof of concept. The core gameplay is a lot of fun, the story is enjoyable, and it's a good game for Persona 5 fans. It suffers from the cast being so overexposed that it's difficult to get super excited to see them again, and the actual persona element feels a tad lackluster.
If you take it on its own merits, Robocop: Rogue City isn't exactly a great experience. The combat is simplistic, the mechanics are slapdash, and you spend as much time finding someone's lost towel as you do shooting bad guys. Despite all of that, it's oddly compelling. It's ambitious and charming enough that if you're a fan of Robocop, you'll probably find it appealing to take a trip in his robo-boots. I can't imagine it holding much appeal for anyone who isn't excited for the chance to revisit the iconic locations of the franchise, but die-hard fans will probably revel in it.
Alan Wake 2 doesn't quite reach the highs of Control, but it's still an excellent game in the same vein. The atmosphere is almost unmatched, and it's an incredibly fun world to get lost in for hours at a time. The only thing that drags it down is the by-the-numbers combat, which is only a problem because I want to get back to the weird and surreal exploration as quickly as possible. Fans of the wild world Remedy has created will find a lot to like in Alan Wake 2, but newcomers might want to play through Control first to avoid being completely lost when a random janitor shows up and starts singing Finnish songs.
Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is a great sequel to a great game. It's bigger and more focused, and it captures everything that made the first game work. From start to finish, it is as fun to play as its predecessor, and if it has one "flaw," it is that you're getting exactly what you'd expect. I can't get enough of the game, so when I completed it, I instantly set out to finish all of the challenges. Kudos to the development team.
Sonic Superstars is a fun and thoroughly by-the-numbers Sonic title, which is all it is really trying to be. It is the definition of an average Sonic game, it's competent, and it's often enjoyable. I had a good amount of fun with it, and it's a perfectly solid platformer. It doesn't reach the highs of Sonic Mania, which was always going to be a tough act to follow. If you like the 2D Sonic offerings, you'll have a good time with Sonic Superstars, even if it isn't likely to become a new favorite.
I'm not sure who's the target audience for Assassin's Creed: Mirage. It goes beyond returning to basics and is just basic. It's not terrible or unplayable, and if you enjoy the core Assassin's Creed gameplay or want a chance to run around Baghdad, it might scratch your itch. The problem is one that I've never had with an Assassin's Creed title before. They have problems, flaws, and issues aplenty, but each one felt like there was ambition behind it. Mirage feels unmemorable and bland and plays like a phoned-in Assassin's Creed title.
Cocoon is a simple game, but for a game that amounts to shuffling orbs around, it does a fantastic job of providing a sense of progression and advancement. The strong visuals give the game a solid sense of identity, and similar to Limbo, it's the basic design that helps it shine. Overall, it's a solid indie puzzle title, and while there's certainly no shortage of those, Cocoon is one that's well worth playing.
Fate/Samurai Remnant is a perfectly fun action-RPG, and it is as a great introduction to the Fate franchise for those who find the convoluted and complex series too difficult to get into. The story and gameplay are engaging and fun but don't reach the highs of something like Persona 5 Strikers, largely because of the focus on Iori's "weakness."
Infinity Strash: Dragon Quest - The Adventure of Dai is a cute game, but it's the definition of a generic anime tie-in title. It has its charms, and it doesn't play badly, but it is a very basic title that primarily exists for fans of the show. If you're a die-hard Dragon Quest fan rather than an Adventures of Dai fan, it might be better to watch the show and return to the game if you want more. Fans should have a lot of fun getting to experience the adventures of their favorites in a new form.
At the end of the day, Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty DLC probably won't change your mind if you just disliked the base game. If you even remotely enjoyed the original, then Phantom Liberty is an excellent DLC. It contains some of the best story missions, a host of cool new weapons, and a lot of time with Elba. The fact it carries over into the main story and offers a completely different endgame path is also very cool and means that it's a worthwhile experience - even for those who have seen everything the original has to offer.
Summum Aeterna takes a difficult Metroidvania and converts the basic ideas and characters to a roguelike. The result is a lot of fun, somehow managing to capture the best parts of the original game in a more digestible chunk. It isn't necessarily going to win you over if you dislike roguelike titles, but if you were a fan of Noctis, you must try Summum, which has all the makings of a perfect gateway drug to roguelikes.
The core issue with Rune Factory 3 Special is that Rune Factory 4 Special is already out, and without any significant improvements, there isn't a ton to recommend Rune Factory 3 Special overits sequel. There's more structure to the storyline and more freedom to break the game early on, but beyond that, it's basically the same experience that is a step backward. Rune Factory 3 is still fun, but it feels like it's missing things so soon after Rune Factory 4 Special because, well, it is. On the DS, Rune Factory 3 was a huge improvement over the previous game, but when you're going in reverse, it loses a lot of its luster. Short of having burned yourself out on Rune Factory 4 Special while still hankering for roughly the same gameplay, there's no huge reason to grab this over its sequel.
Starfield both hits and misses the mark. Starfield has both improvements and steps backward from the previous games, and whether you consider it to be better or worse than Fallout is dependent on what you prized from those games. If you're looking for more Fallout 4 with bigger and more detailed environments and quests, then Starfield is pretty much everything you could hope for and more. If you're looking for No Man's Skyrim, however, it's disappointing. Almost everything on the ground feels good, while the space travel and exploration feels lackluster. If you're looking for a Bethesda-style, open-world RPG, Starfield scratches that itch, and Bethesda fans will lose countless hours in scouring every nook and cranny.
Sea of Stars is a pitch-perfect nostalgic take on a JRPG, with beautiful visuals, a fun combat system, and a top-notch soundtrack. My only major criticism is that the story is a touch weak and disjointed, and the combat system falls off a bit toward the end. Sea of Stars hit its mark hard, and it's a damn impressive first effort from Sabotage Studios. If you've been looking for a simple, fun and lighthearted old-school RPG, look no further than Sea of Stars. It's not quite a new classic, but it doesn't need to be, either.
Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon is a darn fine entry into the franchise. The buttery-smooth gameplay and incredibly cool combat make it an absolute delight to play. It's easily one of the best mecha action games, and only Gundam Breaker 3 has a more involved and enjoyable mech customization system. If you're looking for a really fun and well-crafted robot bashing experience, look no further than Armored Core VI, which is a delight to play.
Immortals of Aveum isn't a terrible game, but it is an incredibly forgettable one. Everything it does feels like a paint-by-numbers scenario, and it doesn't feel like it captures any sense of wonder. The annoying quipping dialogue drags you out of the world, and without that, you're left with a solid, if entirely unexceptional, magic-themed FPS. There's not much to recommend Immortals beyond giving you gun-themed magic instead of guns. I could see it perhaps finding an audience once its price point is lower, but most people will probably want to wait and see - or at least watch some videos of Jak's quips and see how tolerable they find it.
The first two episodes of The Expanse: Archer's Paradox are a solid beginning. They're mostly there to introduce the setting, the tone and the characters, but that's really all it needs to do. How well it holds up as an entire story isn't something we'll be able to judge for a few months, but isn't that how most TV shows go? As far as quality as an adventure game/interactive movie, The Expanse is a strong return to form for Telltale Games. If you've missed Telltale's games, even if you're not a fan of the TV show, it's worth trying out The Expanse. If nothing else, maybe it'll get you interested in the shows.
Arcadian Atlas is the definition of a fine game. It isn't bad, and it isn't great; it's just perfectly passable. There are some solid moments and a nice hit of nostalgia for PS1-era RPGs, but that's about it. Other spiritual successors like Triangle Strategy and Fell Seal have proven that the genre can do a lot more on a lower budget, and Arcadian Atlas feels dated. If you're a fan of SRPGs, this might be worth a look, but it's mostly forgettable.
WrestleQuest is a charming, cute and heartfelt game that is laser-targeted at a very specific group. It's not even so much wrestling fans as those who grew up playing with wrestling toys in some fashion. That isn't to say it's inaccessible outside of that demographic, but it's dedicated in its purpose and does it well. It's far too slow for its own good, and a lot of the charm and fun can wear out their welcome after you watch the same lengthy animation for the umpteenth time. If you're a '90s kid or a fan of wrestling or unique RPGs, WrestleQuest is probably worth a look.
Baldur's Gate III is everything an RPG adventure should be. It's appropriately epic while also spending time with the small moments. It allows you to feel powerful while also rewarding you for being clever and avoiding trouble. It offers the class fantasy of everything from a stalwart paladin to a hellish abomination, from fast-talking trickster to rage-filled barbarian. It has its quirks and flaws, but they usually add welcome texture to the game. Perhaps most importantly of all, it captures the feeling of sitting down and playing through a D&D adventure with some friends.