Chris "Atom" DeAngelus
That basically sums up The Dark Pictures: Episode 3 - House of Ashes. It's a cheesy action-horror movie, except you can help characters survive (or die) with your button presses. It's not my favorite of the lot, but I was relatively engaged. It's an enjoyable enough B movie and feels like it would thrive the best as a multiplayer party game. If you've enjoyed the rest of the franchise so far, you'll enjoy House of Ashes because aside from some quality of life changes, it's largely in the same mold.
That is it. Dying Light: Platinum Edition for the Switch is a straightforward port of a solid game. The basic zombie-killing parkour adventure is still as fun as it was when the game was originally released, and it has only received more content and more things to kill since then. The Switch version runs surprisingly well, so if you're willing to compromise visuals for portability, it might be the game for you. Dying Light 2 might feel like it's eternally delayed, but the Switch version can help tide players over until they get the chance to finally return to the zombie-infested world of Dying Light.
Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles is basically a game for the fans. Do you want to pick your favorite character and beat up your other characters? Or do you want to see scenes from the original story re-created in beautiful 3D? However, that is about all it offers. It's beautiful, plays well, accurately captures the source material, and that is the beginning and end. If you're curious about the uber-popular franchise, it's probably best to watch the anime or read the manga before diving in.
Metroid Dread is a fantastic return to form for the 2D Metroid titles. Building upon the lessons of Samus Returns, it captures the feel of Metroid nearly perfectly. It's incredibly fun to play, balances the story and gameplay in the way a Metroid game should, and in general, it's just excellent. Its few flaws stood out more in retrospect than while I was playing the game. It's easily one of the best 2D Metroid titles, and it's a fantastic way to close out the ongoing storyline.
Overall, Xuan Yuan Sword 7 is a completely mediocre game. That isn't to say it can't be fun or doesn't have strong moments, but somehow, none of what it does really stands out. It's interesting to see a long-running franchise finally get its chance to shine outside of its home country, but Xuan Yuan Sword 7 doesn't do enough to set it apart from the crowd. There are a lot of interesting ideas here, and I look forward to seeing what the next entry shows off.
It's hard to fault Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania for giving us exactly what it promises. It's a compilation of three older games with some gussied-up visuals and some nice new features. If you've never played the franchise before but were always curious, then this is probably the best place to start. If you're a longtime fan looking to re-experience some older Monkey mania, then it'll be exactly what you need. It's nothing more and nothing less.
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.