Garrick D. Raley
I wanted to love Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance so badly. I grew up reading R.A. Salvatore’s novels about Drizzt and his companions. Baldur’s Gate was my first CRPG that I ever played. The original Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance and Dark Alliance II are probably my favorite games from the PS2 era. But sadly, Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance just misses the mark in so many categories. It was a slog to get through, and there is almost no reason for me to ever pick it up again.
By itself, Resident Evil Village is a fantastic addition to the survival-horror genre and focuses more on empowering the player rather than cheap horror elements. As part of the series, Village lacks in the story department and seems like it tries to cast too wide of a net to appeal to a greater audience rather than catering to the hardcore fans. Diehard ResE fans might be disappointed at the lack of lore in Village, but casual fans won’t feel like they need to have played every prior entry in order to have a good time. Ultimately, I’d recommend Resident Evil Village to anyone that loved Resident Evil 4 or who felt like Resident Evil 7 was too horror-focused.
After the upcoming planned title updates, Rise could be a real winner. As it stands right now, I still highly recommend picking up Rise, but if you’re on the fence then it might be best to hold off at least until the story is complete. The good news for PC players is that Monster Hunter Rise will be coming to PC next year, so maybe it will launch alongside a new expansion that adds G-Rank hunts and even more monsters into the mix. Until then, I’m going to go beat that elder dragon just one more time… okay, maybe two.
Rehydrated doesn’t offer up more than a few hours-worth of content to distract from the doldrum. It took me roughly 8 hours to beat the story, but it would probably take up to 12 to collect everything. If you’re looking for a new game to play in quarantine, this isn’t it. Despite the nostalgia, I honestly can’t recommend this game to anyone except for families with small children. There’s no penalty for dying, except for having to backtrack through areas, and the combat is simplistic enough that any kid will be able to pick it up easily.
I think that, despite showing its age, Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition lives up to being one of the greatest JRPGs in the last couple decades. Its story and gameplay are timeless and, although I was personally overwhelmed by its inventory system, the amount of customizability and freedom that comes with the plethora of gear available makes it highly replay-able to boot. The additional content, including the new Casual and Expert modes, the Time Attack Challenges, and the extra story Future Connected epilogue, makes this the best version of Xenoblade Chronicles available to date, as well as cements it as one of the best values in gaming on the Nintendo Switch.
Although a lot of the Kafkaesque story beats, like the father-son relationship and the surreal, absurdist scenarios the boy found himself in, were unique and initially interesting; SELF just didn’t have the metamorphosis it needed to turn into something greater.
I think anybody that enjoyed playing the Fallout games, as well as anyone that has enjoyed the Mass Effect titles, would unequivocally enjoy their time playing The Outer Worlds. I had so much fun exploring every nook and cranny, scouring out-of-the-way locations for loot, taking everything that wasn't nailed down, and immersing myself in the otherworldy locations around Halcyon.