- Bionic Commando
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Resident Evil 4 VR is one of the most surprising delights of my entire year. Every part of the base game is here, and it all fits and feels right. Every bit of the schlock, fear, and intensity is joined by a well-thought-out array of VR gunplay, puzzle-solving, melee, and other satisfying interactions. Resident Evil 4 is one of the absolute high points of the entire franchise. This is a full-on adaptation of it with nothing left out. If you weren’t cool with the narrative, scares, or schlock before, this probably won’t change your mind. But if it was the controls bothered you, this is easily the best and most enjoyable version of Resident Evil 4 to ever come out.
There’s a lot I like about Echo Generation. The adolescent youth in sci-fi suburbia story is really charming and aided thoroughly by the game’s gorgeous voxel visuals and delicious soundtrack. There were definitely some parts held down by archaic design decisions, such as the utter lack of a hint system or direction and the need to grind experience, especially on new party members. However, Echo Generation also has a lot of fun tried and true RPG design to it as well. All-in-all, it makes for a game where the good journey, music, and combat will likely overcome most of the distracting missteps you may come across.
I really appreciate how much Lone Echo 2 takes a mostly don’t-fix-what’s-not-broken approach to the original game’s formula. So much of it is simply a continuation of Lone Echo 1 in both narrative and form, and that’s fine. It does just enough to make things different by introducing a few new tools and increased threats to go along with them, and with only a handful of control or visual bugs that stood out as a result. Jack and Rhodes’ efforts to survive continued to make for a compelling story throughout and this is definitely an adventure fans of the first will want to see through. Ultimately, Lone Echo 2 is just as much a solid blend of narrative and puzzle solving in the VR space as the first one was and continues to show Ready at Dawn has a winning formula for VR players of all styles and comfort levels.
Yuzo Koshiro crushes it with both the classic and rearranged soundtrack, the gameplay is fun and a little bit improved in some cases, and the world is more enjoyable than ever to take in from the skies above and on the ground. I wish some classic pain points hadn’t come along for the ride and that the sprite work was a bit better, but Actraiser Renaissance is still a fantastic title whether you’re walking down memory lane or playing it for the first time.
Games like Pokemon Snap have you on a time-limited rail trying to desperately time every shot perfectly. Meanwhile, Toem has you take your time, frame things up, put the zoom on proper, and take as many tries as you’d like to get it right with good music to accompany the process. It’s a short-lived expedition and can get choppy on the switch when there’s a lot going on in an area, but it’s still a charming experience I very much enjoyed my time with. I wouldn’t mind seeing more games take this more carefree route to a photographic experience in video games.
There a lot of elements of SkateBIRD that are great. The birds are fun, as is customizing them and finding more things with which to dress them up. Their little adventure is also fun, the soundtrack is excellent, and the levels are fun miniaturized takes on the normal skatepark fare. It’s just that there is so much dragging these charming elements down, the most noticeable of which is the actual skating and the physics involved with it. SkateBIRD might be fun to experience for its premise and cuteness, but those looking for a good technical skate game experience will likely find their expectations crashing and burning frequently, much like most of my sessions with it.
Ultimately, I think what Lost in Random reminds me of most is American McGee’s early Alice games, but less brutal and more whimsical. It’s got a similar form of macabre about its world and narrative, but it also has a similar limitation and technical tarnish that those games had. Even and Dicey’s Journey to save Odd and stop the Queen is well written and presented by the game’s action, music, and narrative, but it feels like there’s also varying degrees of jank just sitting in your periphery. Get past that, and I still feel this is a fairy-tale adventure that deserves a cover-to-cover read.
Owlcat Games captured the creative freedom and magic of tabletop RPG adventure in a way few others do. There is such a good story here with characters and music that really push the desperation of survival in this game’s world. And you get to answer to the ongoing narrative with a character you can truly make your own both before the game begins and throughout the adventure. I wish it wasn’t so unforgiving in its information or that it didn’t deviate so much from the adventure with the Crusade Management, but you can also tone down the challenge at will and automate much of that system to breeze through. Take that for what it is and Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is one of the most enjoyable choice-driven tactical RPGs I’ve played.