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Josh McGrath

Seattle, WA
RivenControl
FireMarth
FireMarth
FireMarth

Favorite Games:

181 games reviewed
69.4 average score
70 median score
52.5% of games recommended
Nov 2, 2022

I admittedly haven’t played any of the older Star Ocean games from back at the peak of its popularity, so I can’t say for certain whether Divine Force is a return to form. But for fans disappointed with the previous entry, there’s plenty here to make a dive back into the franchise worthwhile. Here’s hoping tri-Ace gets another shot with a bigger budget next time, because I believe they’re on an upswing.

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Like many, I’ve been waiting for Trails from Zero for years. After falling off hard from Cold Steel due to its insistence of returning to a school setting multiple times, I had high hopes Zero would return the magic of the Trails games I felt from the Sky arc. And not only did it do that, but it went even beyond my expectations. With a tighter focus in both setting and cast, a story that’s quicker to take off, and the refinements to a battle system I already enjoyed, the game in my hands right now may be on its way to my game of the year.

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Sep 21, 2022

Anno starts rough, and that’s something you definitely need to know if you plan to dive in. Particularly story-wise, where it shoots off a firehose of ideas in an attempt to set up a core mystery. But if you’re able to stick through the first couple hours, things begin weaving together to create a much more graceful package. Aside from the graphics, I can’t say there’s any one aspect that the game particularly excels at. Taken as the sum of its parts, though, the developers at ThinkingStars have created quite an intriguing experience.

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Look. Despite the pretty coat of paint, Destroy All Humans 2: Reprobed is still a game from 2006 at its heart, and it carries over all the design sensibilities and quirks that come with it. Those looking for an open-world title up to modern standard will be disappointed. But for the nostalgic among us, and those that enjoy more retro design, Reprobed is a fun if flawed romp. I do like the intrigue the writers attempted to weave into what was originally a simple premise, and jet skating around a few different open worlds blasting humans with crazy alien weaponry is still visceral fun.

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Jul 27, 2022

Even with every positive being cancelled out, I still lean on the positive side about Gunvolt 3 overall. It has its rough moments and pain points, but pulling off a perfect combo and just soaring though the air is pure joy. And even with the ability to break the game as Gunvolt, players that choose to stick with Kirin will still find this game incredibly rewarding to play. Returning Gunvolt fans will find plenty to love here, and I believe this game can act as a great entry point for newcomers as well. Whether you want to master the systems and chase high scores, or just feel like a god smiting every obstacle in front of them, there’s still plenty to enjoy.

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Jun 5, 2022

Even with the heavy hitter Dragon’s Trap missing from this selection, Wonder Boy Collection is still a great option if you want to experience a more obscure retro franchise for the first time, or go back and revel in nostalgia.

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May 5, 2022

Once again, like its predecessor, this is a much shorter review than is typical here at Gamer Escape, since there’s not really much to review here. Even less, really, since our What the Dub?! review mostly applies to RiffTrax: The Game as well. It’s a simple but well-put-together party game that’s easy to set up and play, whether with friends at home, online on Discord, or streaming to a Twitch audience.

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Feb 28, 2022

The thing is, it doesn’t really do much to stand out. The fast pace, the focus on maneuverability, even its adherence to old-school FPS style, all of it has been done well (and in some cases better) elsewhere in recent memory. Does this make it a bad game? No, not by any means at all. But when the only real gimmick it has going for it is weird humor that doesn’t really stick the landing, there’s not really anything else that will make it a go-to pick for FPS fans looking for something to sink their teeth into. Shadow Warrior 3 is an interesting title and a fun playthrough. But I can’t say it’s one to go out of your way to get your hands on. However, if you have the opportunity to play it, it’s a worthwhile ride.

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Feb 2, 2022

The story here pulled me in quickly, and is well worth paying attention to. Exploration with parkour is just plain fun. The game doesn't feel like it's forcing the player to explore and complete every marker on the map, but rather giving the player options for how they want to approach the game. The survival aspects aren't overwhelmingly hardcore, but feel tuned to provide the perfect amount of tension.

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7 / 10 - Chorus
Dec 6, 2021

If you’re a fan of space combat and can push your way through the first couple hours, I’m fairly confident you’ll find a lot to like in Chorus. The core dogfighting is just plain fun, and the setpiece fights are something to see. If you’re not already a genre fan, however, I’m not entirely sure this will be the game to win you over.

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Nov 10, 2021

It really feels like Gust took the criticism of the original to heart here. We’ve gone from a massive stumble of a game with some good ideas to an incredibly solid JRPG that does just about everything it sets out to do correctly. From the character writing to the speedy gameplay, the world design to the excellent soundtrack, this is a game worth taking a look at.

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8 / 10 - Gleylancer
Oct 25, 2021

At its budget price ($6.99 at the time of writing), this game is an absolute no-brainer for shmup fans. I would argue that it’s a great option for genre newcomers as well, with its relatively easy opening levels before the difficulty really ramps up. As I continue my exploration of retro shmups, I’m glad this one fell into my hands.

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9 / 10 - Inscryption
Oct 18, 2021

Inscryption is an amazingly well-put-together piece of work. The atmosphere presented…well, I’ve already doted on it multiple times. And I’ll do so again: it’s unsettling, occasionally oppressive, and always keeps the player on their toes. It could easily carry the work on its own, but luckily the card game mechanics are solid and sound as well. It’s easy to pick up, but with a ton of variables to allow customization and multiple viable approaches to the challenges provided.

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Sep 27, 2021

It’s not without its quirks, unfortunately. The shocking aggressive AI racers created many moments of frustration, and I’m not a fan of the “gacha but not really” system going on here for obtaining new cars. But for fans of arcade racers, whether the Hot Wheels name strikes a chord or not, Hot Wheels Unleashed is a game worth a look.

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Overall, I step away from this new port of El Shaddai with much the same opinion I had as when I played the original ten years ago. It’s an intriguing premise with absolutely stunning audiovisual presentation, but the repetitive gameplay struggled to hold my interest. The story I’m mostly neutral on – it’s just plain odd and told in a weird way, which somehow works in the full package.

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9 / 10 - Dark Deity
Jun 15, 2021

For SRPG fans clamoring for games of a more “classic” style, this title comes highly recommended, especially with the replayability afforded to it through its custom campaign options. I know for sure I’ll be loading this up on the regular for a long time to come.

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Asha in Monster World wears its retro heart on its sleeve, with the modern graphical overhaul only helping to increase its charm. For fans of classic games and platformers, it is definitely worth a shot, though you will need to be ready to overlook a few quirks.

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5 / 10 - Ashwalkers
Apr 19, 2021

If I had to use one word to sum up all of the paragraphs above, it would be “boring.” Ashwalkers takes some intriguing prose and some truly difficult decisions and casts them all into a dull world design with tedious gameplay. The visuals and interactivity presented here do so little to prop up the relatively decent writing that I can’t help but wonder if this game would’ve been better off as a book instead.

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Apr 8, 2021

What the Dub?! knows what it wants to be, and it does it well, straight-forward and with very little frills. If you have a friend group that already enjoys the Jackbox series and other quick and easy party games, there’s little reason not to add this one to your rotation.

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Mar 30, 2021

If you’re looking for an emotional ride that will likely elicit a tear or two, Lost Words is something that should be on your list. Hiding under the basic gameplay is a story worth experiencing.

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