- Bionic Commando
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
TJ Denzer's Reviews
It’s a decent enough arcade shooter, and if you look at it that way, the length and mood of the game make sense. However, it doesn’t make as much sense as a game with the Dark Pictures moniker. As widely varied as the quality of those games have been, they take the time to tell a story. Switchback doesn’t. It focuses on the gunplay, action, and thrills. While it does a decent enough job of that, the performance issues bring even that end down a bit. If you’re a fan of Supermassive’s brand of horror, it would be hard for me to recommend this over their other games. If you want to play something more like a modern light gun horror that makes decent use of the PS VR2’s technology, then you could do worse than Switchback, but you could also do better.
I say this without reservations: Resident Evil 4 remake improves upon a masterpiece in ways that will make it hard to go back to the original. It might very well be the most perfect horror-action game I’ve ever played.
Mato Anomalies was a kind of game that pushed me away and pulled me in frequently. I found Doe’s investigative side to be boring outside of good story bits and the Mind-Hack card battle segments. Meanwhile, between the Gear system and skill cooldown system, exploring the Rifts and fighting the Bane Tide would be really fun, if not for the lack of enemy variety and non-stop one-liners. The story was good enough to help me look past some of the issues, but ultimately Mato Anomalies has a lot of repetitive annoyances that keep it from being better than many of the RPGs it borrows from.
Horizon Call of the Mountain has value in the sheer fact that it puts you behind the eyes of a character in the Horizon universe that’s not Aloy. Taking in the beauty around me at all times was a treat in this game and I liked the interactivity Guerrilla and Firesprite implemented in this experience. I liked bonking drums and throwing pottery around as much as I liked assembling fire arrows and shooting them into a machine’s opticals. I wish the game didn’t rely so much on climbing, but even in that, it provides a pretty intense and immersive experience. The game isn’t without hiccups, and it won’t give you the same vast freedom the mainline games do, but Horizon Call of the Mountain is still a breathtaking VR adventure, a fun side chapter in Horizon lore, and a great kickoff to the PS VR2’s original lineup of games.
I love Monster Hunter, and Wild Hearts isn’t perfect, but it improves and diversifies on that formula in ways I don’t think any fan of this genre should overlook. I want to keep being in this world and I can’t wait to see how Koei Tecmo continues to expand upon it.
Pharaoh: A New Era’s visuals, music, and gameplay tweaks make for a very easy-to-grasp, complex-to-master setup, and there are loads of options to soften the challenge whenever you feel like it. More than that, when you get your cities bustling with farms, markets, industry, entertainment, religion, and monuments the whole thing is a busy spectacle of beauty. Some archaic bits can make things difficult, and this isn’t my favorite city builder I’ve played, but it’s still an excellent spin on a classic.
There’s an action game underneath all of Wanted: Dead’s problems that is not half bad, especially if you liked games like No More Heroes, Devil’s Third, and Wet. It’s ridiculous in its context and action. Unfortunately, for everything good I could say about this game, there was at least one or two things keeping me from enjoying it. Between cringe-worthy dialogue, game crashes, clashing moods, random and ridiculously difficult moments, and broken mechanics, Wanted: Dead takes a lot of effort just to play, let alone enjoy. Here’s hoping they can smooth out some of the technical issues after launch, but even then, this might be a title only the truly dedicated will tolerate for long.
Not only is the 2023 Dead Space remake good, it takes everything that made the 2008 game good and makes it better, even outright swapping out certain weak points of the original to make a top-to-bottom must play for anyone looking for a good scare in their games.
Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider is great in a lot of ways. Even if it stays almost too close to the Mega Man X formula, it still utilizes it well. The visuals and music are definite highlights that put this game apart, but it also just feels satisfying to play. The ride is over all-too-soon, but I’m happy to have taken it. It was another good challenge and we cut up tons of machines, fascists, and fascist machines along the way. More than that, I’d love to see some speedruns of this game because it looks ripe for excellent players to learn and master. If you want a decent action platformer to kick 2023 off with, you can’t go wrong with Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider.
Tactics Ogre: Reborn is a treasure of both classic tactical RPG design and modern sensibilities. I really like the quality-of-life features that make it so much easier to play and stay on the path of the story without much padding. I can also appreciate that this game also contains some tough-as-nails challenges that take an incredible amount of dedication to overcome. In between all that, it’s also just a great story and I really appreciate the Chariot Tarot system allowing you to see the paths untaken at any point you desire. If you want a great tactical RPG, this is not only the forerunner to many favorites, it’s also well-polished for a new generation.
Between removing the movement grid, adding more strategic options, new characters, new abilities, and expanding and revising the roster in an enjoyable story, Sparks of Hope feels like another exceptional collaboration between Ubisoft and Nintendo.
I really like the overall style of Gundam Evolution. The maps are neat and the mobile suits are a decent starting lineup, even if I don’t like some of the omissions from throughout the franchise in both the roster and cosmetic options. There’s also the fact that some of these mobile suits just feel straight-up overpowered compared to certain other niche options in team comp. That said, as a live-service free-to-play game, I’ve never had an issue finding a match in Gundam Evolution and it looks like the groundwork is here for some good improvements, additions, and balancing over time.
Ultimately, Overwatch 2 feels less like a sequel and more like a refresh, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The new Heroes are neat, as are the refreshed looks of previous Heroes. The new Push mode and other new maps are fun as well. That said, the game pretty much plays the same. If you loved Overwatch, there’s really no reason why you won’t enjoy continuing this journey. If you weren’t a fan, this isn’t going to change your mind. That said, if the first batch of heroes, modes, and maps were any indication, it at least looks like Overwatch 2’s new free-to-play seasonal content rotation is going to keep things interesting for a long time to come.
Of all the survival games I’ve played, Grounded is easily one of the coolest. The very theme of it is fun and the execution is pretty on target too. Playing as micro-sized kids in a vast yard full of pests and threats is really interesting, the story keeps exploration intriguing, and the progression, whether alone or with friends, feels satisfying. I’m not fond of how hard it is on normal difficulty alone, or the lack of variety among nearly required gear, but it really gets all the more delightful with friends helping. Even then, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy Grounded solo, too. Between Creative Modes, multiple difficulties, and a nice set of accessibility options, Grounded feels like one of the strongest entries to the survival genre in a long time.
I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a softy when it comes to good stories, but I’ve still played quite a few games and seen enough narratives of all kinds to think it’s hard to floor me these days. Or so I thought, anyway. I’m not sure if I was caught off guard or if Beacon Pines really is just that good. It’s pretty easy to see that its art and music are both top notch. Ultimately, this is also a story good enough that I’d love more people to see it so I can talk to them about it. It might not be the longest game, and the thrill of the exploration may bottleneck a bit at the end, but the changing course, different routes, and ultimate ending of Beacon Pines are still more than worth exploring for any fan of narrative adventure.
SD Gundam Battle Alliance has me at odds because there’s a lot of things I like about it and a lot of things I don’t, both as a Gundam fan and just a general player. The mobile suits and pilots are fun to collect and explore. The story and missions are also fairly well-done and I like the look of the super deformed versions of a lot of my favorite mobile suits from across the series. My big miff is that the difficulty spike between series of missions makes repeatedly playing the same scenarios to level up your pilots and mobile suits a near-mandatory chore. I also just don’t think it makes good use of the SD spinoff formula. Mix in some annoying inconveniences in camera and other gameplay design and while SD Gundam Battle Alliance may be fun at first, the luster will likely fade for many after a few hours.
GigaBash has a lot of fun elements to it. The monsters are quite varied and well-designed, in terms of both original creatures and obvious nods to classics. I also really enjoyed the battlegrounds, music, and stories (as short as the latter was). And that last note ultimately sums up my experience. In both gameplay modes and story, it doesn’t take a lot of time to see everything GigaBash has going on. Even so, if you can wrangle some buddies together either locally or online, GigaBash would make a solid addition to a party game night.
All in all, it’s a game I could lose hours on in the blink of an eye, just like it was the first day of the rest of my life. A, for excellence.
Between a compelling story, beautiful music, and deep combat system, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is an awesome adventure for longtime fans and newcomers alike.
Frozenheim is quite a test of strategic resource management and combat tactics as you raise your settlement, make it self-sufficient, and defend it from outside forces. I really enjoyed the ability to diversify through clan types and the maps are just plain beautiful at all ends. Some resources are far more unwieldy than others, and players will likely find frustration learning how to keep the things they constantly need in check. However, for everything on offer, Frozenheim is a solid arrangement of primitive economics and warfare and should scratch an itch for anyone looking to enjoy a solid strategy experience, either solo or with friendly opponents.