These faults weren't enough to deter me from sinking over 10 hours into Forgive Me Father. There's a lot to love about the game, especially if you turn down certain elements in the audio options. Classic shooters live or die on a handful of core elements, and for the most part, Forgive Me Father meets those needs: a strong shotgun that decimates enemies, fast-paced action that constantly has you adjusting tactics, and hidden secret areas scattered across the levels. Some of this falls to the wayside when you're craving the next ammo drop that the game refuses to provide you, but it's an otherwise enjoyable shooter that's dripping with character. It provides plenty of joy with a dose of Cthulhu madness on the side.
I enjoyed Cyberpunk 2077 despite its warts. Underneath all of the bugs, broken AI, and questionable Reeves voice acting is a gem of a game that would greatly benefit from additional polish. Considering the developer's track record, I fully expect CD Projekt Red to release voluminous updates to address the title's many issues, but until the inevitable "Game of the Year" edition, prepare yourself for a fun cyberpunk playground that's currently marred with a litany of issues.
These gripes didn't detract too much from my overall enjoyment of Call of the Sea . With a gripping, well-paced story that isn't afraid to delve into the realm of surreal and weird, Call of the Sea is an adventure title that's sure to please fans of the genre. You won't feel like the next Einstein when completing its puzzles, and the love story won't bring you to tears, but there's something charming about it for that very reason. It's a concise, seven-hour journey that progresses at a steady rate without ever overstaying its welcome.
What a wild ride it is. I didn't want Yakuza: Like a Dragon to end. A part of me wonders if I grinded out battles and business minigames more than was intended, simply because I wasn't ready to say goodbye to Ichiban and friends. Fortunately, the story wraps up nicely and leaves the door open for a possible sequel - even though it wavers a bit near the end. This isn't farewell to Ichiban. With a new cast of charming characters, Like A Dragon feels like the start of a new saga in the Yakuza franchise. Until next time, Kasuga-kun.
I may be done with this review, but I'm not done with Tetris Effect: Connected. I may not be seeing tetrominos during my day job, but I do have a newfound obsession with Tetris. Since starting this game, I've gone down YouTube rabbit holes learning about t-spins, tips, and tricks to improve my Tetris game. I've replayed modes to beat my previous high score, which I don't normally do in games. Even after this review, I'm eager to jump back into Journey mode to hear some of my favorite songs before booting up another title. As an added bonus, the multiplayer options make for a solid package that should offer players tons of hours of Tetris.
The Falconeer's simplistic but captivating visuals are representative of the game as a whole. There's a simplicity to its gameplay and narrative, but there's something intriguing about the lore. The game doesn't stick the landing on its unique concepts, though. Clocking in at around 10 hours, the four chapters feel like the start of something really special - before the game abruptly ends. The first two chapters offer little in the way of diversity, and just as you come to grips with the game mechanics and start finding some engaging environments in the final hours, it ends. I wanted to learn more about the game world. I wanted to get in more exhilarating battles now that my falcon was competent enough to fly around without draining its energy meter, but the game wraps up just as I started getting into it. With a distinct art style, gorgeous animations, and intriguing lore, there's enough in The Falconeer to justify a playthrough, but most of its enjoyment doesn't shine through until the last couple of hours.
I'm hopeful that the Gnomes & Goblins developers can address these performance issues quickly. There's still a lot of design work that needs to be addressed if they want this game to be as great as its concept. Until then, Gnomes & Goblins is little more than a stuttering tech demo that doesn't capture the imaginative concept it so desperately craves to be.
For eFootball PES 2021, all of this adds up to a soccer game that feels great to play, even if it is slightly lacking in other areas. The $40 price tag makes that pill easier to swallow, though. Depending on what you're looking for on the virtual pitch, that will determine whether PES is the right option for you. If you're like me and enjoy playing through a season with some random teams that you've never heard of, then PES may be exactly what you're looking for. With solid controls and decent AI, PES 2021 is a competent alternative to FIFA from a gameplay perspective, but those who get excited about seeing their favorite teams succeed against their biggest rivals may want to pass on PES.
Despite some of my qualms with the production and PC port quality, I highly recommend picking up Horizon: Zero Dawn for the PC. Yes, there is some risk of encountering the issues that others have seen, but fortunately, Steam's generous refund system serves as a comforting protection against wasted money. Overall, it's an easy recommendation for all cohorts of gamers. Players who didn't have a PS4 can experience a well-crafted world with a captivating story to flesh it out, and those who already played it back in 2017 might still enjoy the PC version's improved visuals and frame rate. This is a great way to refresh your memory on Aloy's adventures before the sequel releases in 2021 for PS5.
Despite my qualms about the closing hours of Death Stranding, I truly enjoyed about 30 hours of it. There are plenty of moments where tone-setting music sets in and the vastness of the landscapes smothers you with solitude and despair. Collecting materials and contributing them to an online structure was engaging and even downright addictive. Moreover, the foundations of the plot intrigued me so much. I think that's what pains me so much about Death Stranding: I can see its potential, but the game went too far in too many disparate directions.
In a medium that so desperately craves additional content, Phantom: Covert Ops isn't a bad purchase for VR owners who are hungry for more games, but it's by no means a banner release for 2020. With games like Boneworks, Half-Life: Alyx, and The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners this year, the bar for VR games has risen exponentially. There's an exhilarating VR experience struggling to break the surface of this title. Phantom is holding itself back from breaking loose and taking the excitement to the next level. Hopefully nDreams has enough success with this game to carry its vision into a sequel.
Despite decent music and my love for samurai games, I cannot recommend Katana Kami: A Way of the Samurai Story. There is little pay-off to finishing the game, aside from a cut scene and a new post-game dungeon. The bugs and clunky menus encountered along the way make the journey an absolute slog. There are better roguelites, loot-driven RPGs, and samurai games out there.
With situations like that, there's certainly fun to be had in Bleeding Edge. The gameplay is solid, and I enjoyed my time with the title. It just needs more of ... everything: characters, game modes, maps, and skins. Microsoft and/or Ninja Theory certainly seem to be aware of this shortcoming, if the game's price tag is any indication. That doesn't change the fact that the game desperately needs more content if it wants to keep its audience; otherwise, Bleeding Edge's matches might not be so bloody in the very near future.
None of those points deter from my overall enjoyment of Phoenix Point, though. It's a fantastic game, and I'm excited to see what Gollup has in mind for DLC. I certainly plan to play more of this game and improve my tactics. At the moment, my only Phoenix-like revival skills lie in save scumming.
Overall, Trine 4 is a delightful game that's sure to satisfy anyone looking for a fun, light-hearted physics-based puzzle game. With roughly 10 hours of content, it's an easy recommendation if only to experience the game world's rich art design and clever puzzles. The puzzles aren't as complex as those found in Portal 2 or The Witness, but the variety of approaches is rewarding in its own way. For that reason alone, it's easy to recommend Trine 4, a game in a genre that rarely receives entries with this level of heart and soul in the art design department.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Insurgency: Sandstorm, and whenever the mood strikes for an intense, realistic shooter, this will probably be my game of choice. It isn't as punishing as something like Arma, but it still offers fantastic audio and a brutal TTK that forces the player to slow down, think about their steps, and use all the tools the game puts at their disposal. One can't go into this game hoping for a sleek experience. The technical side of the game is just as gritty as its combat. In the heat of an intense battle, your processor will also put out some heat. Hopefully, New World Interactive can devote some time toward the technical side of things and put as much care into that as it did the audio and gameplay. If the developer can fix those issues, Insurgency: Sandstorm would be one of the better competitive shooters available on Steam.
CrossCode shows that the size of a developer and its overall budget doesn't determine the quality of the game. AAA developers can sink all the money in the world into a title, and it may still lack that "special something." That isn't the case here. Radical Fish Games' CrossCode is a masterpiece action RPG by a small-scale studio, and it's damn-near perfect in nearly every way.