One of the most esteemed and cherished RPGs of all time returns, smoother and smarter than ever. Unfortunately, Persona 3 Reload deals an incomplete hand, with disappointing omissions, stunted evolution, and a contentious price tag. Nonetheless, its indelible cast retain their infectious social spirit, set to break your heart and burn your dread all over again.
Tekken returns to the ring with a powerful new engine that sees The King of Iron Fist Tournament looking, sounding, and performing at its most majestic. Gameplay still forgoes evolution in favor of tradition, resulting in progress that is mostly skin-deep. Regardless, Tekken 8 remains a blast to play, set to keep competitive hype fires burning throughout 2024 and beyond.
Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is a sublimely designed celebration not only of its own storied past, but of the joys of gaming itself. Epic in scale, driven by an emotive story, and overflowing with compelling action and absorbing activities, Infinite Wealth’s bold ambition pays off handsomely, resulting in one of the finest open-world adventures ever made.
Finding its feet for a second round, Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising comes out swinging. Delivering an exciting, accessible, and shamelessly sexy fighting experience - packed with dramatic action, fun features, and bags of personality - GBVSR is a major improvement over its predecessor, fully deserving of a spot among the new year’s heaviest hitters.
As chaotic as it is repetitive; as satirical as it is hilarious; as vulgar as it is authentic, RoboCop: Rogue City is one of the most sincere licensed games in history. Teyon deftly replicates the series’ explicit satire and retrofuturistic style in a release that, much like its inspiration, is smarter than it initially appears, and has more heart than its violence implies. You now have 15 seconds to go buy.
From a gameplay perspective, Gangs of Sherwood breaks little in the way of new ground. But thanks to the talent of its developer, an eye for creative world design, and the classic, swashbuckling spirit of yesteryear, this plucky bout of melee mayhem pushes past its limitations to deliver a great-looking and enjoyable scrapper for you and your band of merry men.
While die-hard Phantom Thieves will enjoy stepping into the Metaverse once again - as slick, stylish, and cool as it ever was - Persona 5 Tactica lacks variety, momentum, and challenge. Its key issue lies in a fatal lack of mechanical balance, resulting in an endearing but unsatisfying strategy experience.
With Alan Wake II, Remedy delivers a sequel that often stumbles under the weight of its own ambition but corrects its missteps with a gloriously gloomy atmosphere, excellent sound and visual design, and engaging methods of cinematic storytelling. A bold experiment in survival horror that provokes just as much as it unsettles, and is not soon to be forgotten.
Sonic Superstars has all of the ingredients, but something has gone askew in the baking, resulting in an adventure overburdened with gimmicks while lacking in coherence. While the colorful world, nostalgic presentation, and fun cast of characters shine, Sonic Superstars frequently proves unwieldy and antagonistic, wrestling against its own design while roadblocking fun. There’s enjoyment here for the dedicated fanbase, but the wider community should look elsewhere.
With Super Mario Bros. Wonder, Nintendo has delivered a beautifully designed, charmingly realized, and thoroughly joyful jaunt through another fantastical universe. Sporting razor-sharp gameplay - positively bursting with character and personality - Wonder is a celebration of gaming in its purest form, while still boasting one of the most unique and evolutionary experiences in genre history.
Lords of the Fallen is a solid, if conventional Soulslike, offering imposing adventure while never quite breaking new ground. Though a litany of performance woes currently hinders the experience, expansive realms, gloomy lore, and a bloody, heavy-handed challenge await the more sadistic corners of the game-playing audience.
Assassin’s Creed celebrates its 15-year anniversary with a presentable tale of stealth & stab, set against the backdrop of a beautifully realized Baghdad. Unfortunately, in returning to its roots, Mirage casts an unwelcome spotlight on the series’ dated mechanics, signaling a need for evolution. For the franchise faithful, however, Assassin’s Creed Mirage remains a fine adventure offered at an agreeable price.
With polished gameplay, a splendid aesthetic, and a demonstrable commitment to quality, Lies of P evolves beyond its over-familiar designs to become a splendid new entry in the genre that mercy forgot. For players who believe staying down is never an option, this engaging new Soulslike will absolutely deliver the action, adventure, and challenge you seek.
Six years on from its initial release, Fight’N Rage retains its reputation as one of the greatest beat-’em-ups ever made, as well as a testament to the magnificent talent of its two-person development team. While its vulgar, neon nightmare visuals won’t be to everyone’s taste, and its rock-solid challenge is not to be denied, Fight’N Rage stands above many of its contemporaries as a lesson in retrofuturistic game design, bolstered by the power of a screaming guitar and a well-placed roundhouse.