Stephen del Prado
Harmonix has always been a studio whose love for music infuses every title they’ve had a hand in. Fuser feels like the first time they’ve finally found a way to guide players towards engaging with said music on a deeper level than other rhythm titles, but in the process may turn away anybody who solely desires to recreate songs on plastic instruments or is hell-bent on chasing high scores while notes drop at blistering speeds.
It was a gamble on Sega’s part to make such major changes to a tried and true formula, even more bewildering given its recent meteoric rise in Western markets. If Yakuza: Like A Dragon proves anything, it’s that fortune does indeed favour the bold.
It’s a refreshing change compared to other entries I’ve played in and around the genre and one that ensures I’ll keep coming back to Descenders regularly for the foreseeable future. After all, a few more runs and I might just be able to make it through the forest completely unscathed.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated seems directly targeted at those with a real nostalgia for the original game. Improved visuals and audio aside, it’s hard to recommend to a new audience when the platforming genre has had some truly outstanding remakes these past few years, let alone new entries.
Tripwire has crafted a fantastically balanced experience that knows when enough is enough and is genuinely funny, something many games aim for but so few succeed in reaching. Maneater is an ideal palate cleanser for those suffering from ‘open-world’ fatigue and, despite its perfect size, still left me wanting more.
There is quite frankly an overwhelming amount of content in Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate – while those upgrading from the base game may find it difficult to justify the cost outside of Infinity Mode, there’s no question that anybody tossing up between the base Orochi 4 and Ultimate at this point should absolutely go with the latter.
If the formula of the first game didn’t appeal to you then nothing that Dragon Quest Builders 2 does will change your mind, the game is in every respect better than its predecessor, but doesn’t change its form in any way to appease those scorned by it before.
Rules is not a bad game but instead lies in the shadow of a cracker opening episode in Roads that it struggles to live up to. I think the importance of Rules will rear its head in later episodes as decisions begin to compound further and players are made to face the consequences of their choices in unexpected ways.
When examined individually, the titles that make up Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection are a little uneven in terms of depth – the narrative is traded off for visuals and some tracks are more suited to remixing than others. Taken as a whole, however, this is a great package for fans of Persona 4: Dancing All Night who are keen to catch up with the cast of Persona 3 and 5. It's also a great gateway into the rhythm genre for Persona fans who might have skipped P4D and would like to see what all the fuss is about.
In the space of a year, the Nintendo Switch has set itself up as the premier choice of console for rhythm gamers, with Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun the most polished of the genre on the system and my personal recommendation as the best place for newcomers to start rhythm gaming period.
Gal Metal isn't a game for all rhythm game fans, let alone gamers in general. It does a lot of interesting things in terms of systems and I can't help but admire the level of depth it offers to those willing to learn and practice. This is a game that isn't going to hit the mark for many – however, if it hits for you, it's going to hit hard.
While previous Valkyria fans will get slightly more out of Valkyria Chronicles 4, it is, without doubt, a fantastic game for newcomers to jump on-board with. Improvements to many of the systems ensure a more balanced experience than previous titles and the availability of a Switch version will no doubt sway many potential buyers looking for a portable option.
I enjoyed my time with The Gardens Between and appreciated it dealing with a topic that almost everybody can identify with but few games have tackled. Contemplative and moving, The Gardens Between is perfect fodder for a rainy morning in bed spent reminiscing about friends lost and the years separating then and now.