TJ Denzer Avatar Image

TJ Denzer

JohnnyOlMan
johnnyolman

Favorite Games:
  • Xenogears
  • Bionic Commando
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

119 games reviewed
78.2 average score
80 median score
66.4% of games recommended

TJ Denzer's Reviews

At age 3, TJ Denzer ran away from his family on a vacation in Colorado. They found him at the local arcade, standing on a chair and playing SNK's World Heroes. Years later, TJ still has an obsessive passion for video games, from the technically sound to the absolutely artistic. When not digging into a game with his wife, he's hunting down good beer to enjoy with bad movies and friends.
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Sep 10, 2021

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.

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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.

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Aug 26, 2021

This game’s open world just isn’t fun, and the activities you need to do to get back to the good stuff are increasingly stretched and dull. I can appreciate the flashy action and grindhouse exploitation nature of No More Heroes 3 for what it is, but it kept the camera on the boring parts a little long for my liking. Still, if you’re looking to continue the weird assassin adventures of Travis Touchdown, then the chores are also probably worth doing to see how the escapade unfolds.

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9 / 10 - Psychonauts 2
Aug 23, 2021

It’s wild to think how many years of development are here in this game, but the end product is undeniably polished and top-to-bottom good gaming.

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8 / 10 - Axiom Verge 2
Aug 18, 2021

Combat feels half-baked and sometimes I really wish the game would have just told me what it wanted me to do next to move the story forward. The narrative going on is intriguing, but also a bit too technobabble at times. Even so, it’s a journey that pushes you into the unknown to overcome a vast tapestry of obstacles and enemies in stark isolation. For that, Axiom Verge 2 continues to nail down the Metroidvania-style in a solid and challenging way.

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5 / 10 - FORECLOSED
Aug 12, 2021

I also wish some narrative sections played out to their end and the choices mattered a bit more, but Foreclosed tells its story and gets out. I can’t fault it for not overstaying. If you want a snappy cyberpunk adventure it might be worth seeing how the story of Evan Kapnos and his fight for his own identity play out. Just be prepared to deal with some average and occasionally frustrating gameplay all along the way.

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7 / 10 - The Ramp
Aug 4, 2021

I’m not going to blast The Ramp too much for how limited it is in its offerings because the developer is pretty straightforward about exactly that. It’s essentially a chill experience without goals or milestones to achieve. You skate to your heart’s content, enjoy the soundtrack, land tricks, crash and burn, and restart to your heart’s content. I enjoyed it for what it is. It’s not something I can imagine anyone putting hours of playtime into. Still, at the very least, if you want to kill some time, stick some tricks, and occasionally absolutely annihilate your poor little skater on some bad landings, The Ramp could be worth a spin at its low price of $6.

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8 / 10 - GRIME
Aug 2, 2021

Grime does a great deal of things in metroidvania and soulsborne gameplay quite well. It’s got an engaging combat system full of customization and fun weapons. Additionally, the ability to absorb enemies for unique abilities is a really great way to individualize your playstyle. It’s also got some incredible environments to explore chockfull of unique enemies and platforming to overcome. I really wish it had a better handle on fast-travel because of how tough and frustrating it can be. That aside, Grime is an invigorating, fun, and challenging journey with a rather outlandish story and a great handle on action-RPG platforming and combat.

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With its strong cast of characters, complicated and compelling cases, and a good combination of new and classic elements in a good, lengthy prequel story, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is courtroom drama I couldn’t put down till I saw a mystery through to the end.

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Jul 26, 2021

I lament that personal character movesets have fallen by the wayside in favor of weapon category movesets and if you get quickly bored with these games I don’t think this one will blow you away. That said, Samurai Warriors 5 is a gorgeous game telling a classic story full of awesome characters and it doesn’t require much more investment than that. If that’s all you need, this is one of the best the Musou franchise has to offer.

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Hellbound & Undressed has elements fans will enjoy, and if you dig, you can find quirky and interesting things here, but if it catches you having too much fun, be prepared to have that stripped from you like a finely quaffed set of Shadow Soul clothes. This game is a constant chore to enjoy and should be reserved for the folks that really want to see where the series began.

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Jul 12, 2021

Where the Heart Leads does well for what it seemingly aims to do. It’s the surreal narrative journey of a family through years of happiness and sadness with the connective tissue of a disastrous event tying it down to the present. Putting the puzzle pieces of memory, decision, and consequence together as you go takes this game in a number of directions. Not every direction is riveting and there are some definite lulls, but there are also deeply difficult moments to choose between with consequences for the choices made and the paths untaken. If you’re looking for a chill and often lackadaisical journey you'll steer in meaningful ways, Where the Heart Leads is a narrative-heavy series of roads you may be inclined to explore again and again.

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A combination that longtime Monster Hunter fans and turn-based RPG fans ought to see for themselves, though the grind might leave some more action-craving adventurers wanting.

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9 / 10 - Chivalry 2
Jun 8, 2021

I often hear folks talk about their "comfort food game" – that game in which they can turn their mind off and just go at it for pure good feels and satisfaction. I feel like Chivalry 2 is that game for me. If it was even just that it’s a game in which I can pulp a folk or two with a big honkin’ sword, axe, or whatever I can get my mitts on to often hilarious effect, I would be satisfied. That said, Torn Banner and Tripwire Interactive have poured no shortage of love into this game’s environments, objectives, classes, and player customization. It’s that dedicated level of support that will keep me coming back to the game and crossing swords for a long time to come.

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It’s not the full-fledged EDF camp and scope you might find in one of the mainline games, but it is a fantastically accessible shooter with a ton of levels to play whether you’re going it alone or with some buds, online or off. If you want to just not think and shoot the big bugs into little square bits and pieces with a library of characters and weapons from across the franchise, EDF: World Bros. might be just the comfort food you need.

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Jun 7, 2021

It’s been such an incredibly long road for Guilty Gear. I actually cried in joy when Guilty Gear Xrd was first announced, bringing proper 2D fighting back under the reins Arc System Works. With Strive, my heart still fluttered, but for more than just getting a new fighting game in this franchise I so love. I marvel at what it means for fighting games as a whole. Guilty Gear Strive is a whole new level of beast. It represents the most visually gorgeous, the most full-featured, and the most technically sound that modern 2D fighting games have to offer, and anything that hopes to compete with it has quite the work cut out for it.

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May 12, 2021

Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir and The Girl Who Stands Behind don’t exactly have a lot of true “gameplay” to them and there are no consequences for wrong decisions, but the story that plays out as you figure out what to do next and apply logic and reasoning to investigations is a thrilling romp. If you want a high-quality visual novel, a good mystery story to follow, and a time capsule of game design all in one, the Famicom Detective Club remakes feel like a solid call.

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May 5, 2021

The combat is visceral and vibrant, the environments are splendid and mysterious, and the story had decent enough oomph to keep me involved throughout. I wish this was an overall scarier game, but it’s still a thrilling one nonetheless.

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9 / 10 - Cozy Grove
Apr 22, 2021

Cozy Grove is a very different kind of life sim. It’s so cheerful on the surface, but underneath the bark is a process of patience and of letting go the things holding one back or keeping them tethered in a difficult spot. I think for as fast-paced, hectic, and chaotic as our lives often get, there’s something a lot of players could take away from Cozy Grove, and the daily journey with this game makes it more than worthwhile if you’ve got the time and resolve to keep coming back.

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8 / 10 - Outriders
Apr 7, 2021

For its weird flaws, bugs, always online issues, obnoxious use of cutscenes, and b-movie attitude, Outriders is still mostly what I wanted it to be in execution and I think it's built for a wealth of future content and improvements that mean it's just going to get better from here. Whether I jump into the game on my solo character or team up with my friends, I know I’m in for a good, visceral, and rewarding time.

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