This is the Yakuza experience, but with a refreshing change of character, tone, and voice. Judgment has a familiar skeleton, but the flesh and blood housing it is new. Longtime Yakuza fans have a lot to look forward to here. But, admittedly, having a new setting, new characters, and new mechanics laid over top of the same framework dulls some of that “fresh” feeling.
All things considered, unless you’re a completionist, want that new swag, or were simply looking for a good excuse to replay it, the new PS4 version of Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II probably isn’t worth your time.
This is a port for console parity, not a fun remake or remaster. But it’s still a modern JRPG classic, and one that is only the beginning of a long tale that goes some serious places.
Fate/Extella Link is proof that an idea can succeed over time, even if it doesn’t exactly catch on at first. It’s totally okay to jump in and have fun here with all the interesting characters, but it’s also a heck of a ride to try and take in all the context.
I often found myself willing to overlook all the obvious flaws in favor of engaging with what sits at Left Alive’s messy core, a sort of ultra hardcore, Metal Gear-looking-but-not-really, room escape-slash-solo-board game sort of deal that really got my brain juices flowing.
ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove feels like the sequel the creators of the original game always wanted to make. It's a follow-up to the original concept, which ended up lost in the weeds for every previous sequel attempt. It's a roguelike sort of game, but one that wants you to laugh and have fun instead of constantly dread what's around each corner. That remains distinct, even after all these years. This isn't the most elaborate or intense game in its space, but it's the happiest to be there.
I was really hopeful in the lead up to Jump Force, because I love most of these characters, and the set dressing for the concept is often very cool. The visual style was even something I thought I was getting used to as the character reveals rolled in. But once the game was in my hands, reality struck me like a Detroit Smash and what I had before me was a mess. Jump Force is ugly, janky, confusing, and far too simple. It does what other games have already done before, but with far less confidence or success. It tries to hide its misgivings behind cool special moves and motion blur, but fails at that too. It's a total swing and miss, but hopefully just a bump in the road for Shonen Jump games in the long run.
God Eater 3 definitely has a tougher barrier of entry compared to last year's Monster Hunter: World. Most of that is due to complexity; God Eater 3 has tons of combat mechanics, a weird, jargon-filled narrative, and just generally a lot going on at once. However, it also doesn't have a lot of the same heavy preparation and survival vibe of Monster Hunter, so it's really more about mastering the action than micro-managing your inventory and outsmarting behemoths.
There is so much game here in Kingdom Hearts 3, and it’s all coming from the mind of an auteur with far too much power. But if you dare to take that plunge, as much of an investment as it is, there is a great adventure to be had here. So much adventure. Probably too much.
I've done a lot of gushing here, but Resident Evil 2 is the perfect sort of game for gushing. Much like the legendary REmake, this new version of a storied classic was lovingly crafted by people who not only have a collectively sharp eye for what makes an excellent video game today, but also possess a deep understanding of why the original Resident Evil 2 is worth revisiting and what made it a game celebrated to this day. This isn't just an old Resident Evil molded into the new Resident Evil formula. It's a new take on Resident Evil 2 that doesn't feel like it's trying to “modernize” or “fix” the original. It's more of an expensive, ludicrously polished tribute than a remake in the semantic sense, a project that has been in demand for years and quietly pursued for just as long. I'm glad it worked out so well.