Mario Golf: World Tour is a mixed bag. On one hand, it is an almost perfect golf game with interesting and compelling online options. On the other, it adds in a bunch of gimmicks and lacks enough actual golf courses. Still, my complaints are more related to the lack of content that I was expecting, not the quality of the gameplay, which is pitch perfect.
Not only is Salt and Sanctuary a fantastic distillation of the Dark Souls formula to 2D, it is also one of the best Metroidvania games I've ever played. Either one of those would make the game an easy recommendation but both turns it into a must play.
In my 26 hours of playtime, I finished the main story, saw a bunch of optional conversations, and completed 45% of the side quests. It’s fun in a mindless sort of way and it isn’t terrible but you’re not missing anything by skipping it.
Besides a map system that could be better and a few glitched side quests, my experience with Prey was flawless. There were some misteps near the end, but the final scene gave me chills and the existential implications therein made it all worth it. To me, Prey easily stands toe to toe with some of the best sci-fi games in recent years, and if the world is just, should be remembered as one of the finest gaming experiences of all time. This is an instant classic that you shouldn't overlook.
Shadows of Valentia is more Fire Emblem but also a change of pace. More recent fans might not like the missing romance options, weapon triangle, and battlefield changes. These are sometimes dramatic differences, but those looking for a compelling strategy game with the series' staple excellent characters, will be pleased by what's included as well as the new features this remake has up its sleeve. Just be ready for some enemy AI shenanigans along the way.
While it's appeal is decidedly niche, the game excels as something much more than a visual novel. Add in the slightly easy, but satisfying, turn-based battles and it's a game that speaks directly to me and gets a high recommendation.
Shining Resonance Refrain isn't a great game but it isn't a bad one either. I love the combat despite the repetition and the story and characters are both worth paying attention to, but it's rough around the edges. Whether it's the dated presentation, the several wholly unnecessary systems, or traversing the same areas ad nauseum, there are simply too many roadblocks for me to give it a resounding recommendation.