It is hard to articulate just how detrimental the Chaos Portal section of Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning - Fatesworn is to the rest of the new content. Until those portals opened this felt like a story worthy of Amalur, with a few twists and turns and Agarth acting a fool (as is tradition). Then the brakes were pumped, and I was buried in purple Chaos energy for far, far too long in the main arc. If there's one lesson I hope any prospective sequel developers take from this big adventure, it's this: leave the Chaos Portals out of this and just make the game you know you can make. As the rest of the adventure proves, the Amalur franchise can still hold its weight.
I want to fully endorse Gamedec, and up to a certain point I do, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention the radical shift in the game's focus. Up until then the investigations are mysterious and fun, telling a legitimately interesting tale. After it the game feels like it goes into hyperdrive, not stopping until the credits roll. If this universe is ever revisited, I would hope there would be more investigative stories and less weird color-coded mazes. As it stands then, Gamedec is best described as a promising title with uneven execution.
Naraka: Bladepoint does have a lot of cool and unique ideas for the battle royale genre. I love its melee-focused combat, I love the varied weapon selection, and I dig the durability system replacing the "limited ammo" functions of other games in the genre. However the game's longevity suffers due to becoming stale quickly, the lack of variance in the core gameplay loop rearing its ugly head quickly. It's the kind of game I would absolutely recommend to a friend, but only for one or two matches at a time. For long marathon sessions, there are far better options.
The Ascent equally frustrates and impresses me, one moment dropping my jaw with the city's neon-soaked beauty and the next making me clench my fists in anger. Veles is a brutal, unforgiving world, but it's one I enjoyed blasting my way through...when the game was being fair about it. Navigating the menus is a chore, but building a character is fun and the story is interesting enough that I don't mind the technical issues that pop up. It's not a perfect game, but if this is the beginning of a new franchise then it's a solid foundation from which to make its Ascent.
If you liked Final Fantasy VII Remake, you're going to love Intergrade. I know that sentence has a lot of "well DUH" energy, but it's the truth; at its core this is an enhanced version of one of 2020's best games. From visuals to framerate, Intergrade improves upon the original, with some scenes really popping off of the screen thanks to the PlayStation 5's prowess. Intermission is at its core more of the same, but the tandem attacks are an excellent addition and the story implications are intriguing. It's not Part 2, and Lord knows when that's actually happening, but for now Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade scratches the FFVII Remake itch.
Biomutant is a fascinating game, one that definitely belongs in a foregone era of gaming but somehow still works in today's industry. The world is massive and packed with things to do, combat is fast and fluid save for a few minor issues, and the story definitely keeps me interested throughout. There's jank, sure, but it's jank that somehow works in the game's favor, almost as if it's part of the game's identity. If you come in expecting a Game of the Year candidate you may leave disappointed, but if you're looking for a new adventure brimming with personality, Biomutant is absolutely worth your time. Just be prepared for that fast travel mechanic; it still shocks me every time.
That’s a perfect example of the kind of dastardly fun lies within the complex menus and systems of Evil Genius 2. Laying out the fortress, stocking the rooms with equipment, and executing Schemes is a powerful feeling, like I’m at the top of an empire. I can strike fear into my minions whenever I wish, or I can sit back and take a hands-off approach. Sometimes that hands-off approach takes a little longer than I’d like, but eventually I’m back into the action. Evil Genius 2 allows me to tap into my inner mastermind, creating an evil empire worthy of Blofeld himself even if the game is more Dr. Evil in its demeanor. It’s not a perfect empire, as some technical aspects are more frustrating than fun, but I still had a nefariously good time tapping into my inner evil.
Hitman 3 defies every expectation I had for it, from the size of its maps to the scope of its missions. I am truly free to approach these jobs however I wish, so long as the objectives are met, and that freedom is downright exhilarating. It’s not without its foibles, the inconsistency with its enemies being one that I ran into, but any issues are easily overcome by the quality of the overall experience. This may be 47’s last hurrah for a while, but dang if he doesn’t go out swinging.