- Streets of Rage 2
- LA Noire
It’s not the game it was five years ago, but Super Arcade Football is all the better for it. You can do much worse than use a classic as the basis for your title, and it successfully marries the still solid gameplay aspects of Sensible Soccer with some modern graphical enhancements and general quality-of-life improvements to deliver a football game that offers a cheap viable alternative to the juggernauts of the genre. Well worth a shot (pun only slightly intended).
Is it on the level of a Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2? Or a Skate 3? Alas, no, but SkateBIRD successfully stands out from the crowd with a unique premise, lashings of charm and solid mechanics. It’s not perfect by any means, and can often be a pretty frustrating experience, but with a plethora of menu options with which to simplify and improve that experience, it’s a game that should appeal to anyone who likes their games on four wheels and a deck.
I’d still love to know what conversations took place that led to “hey, we should remaster Zool”, but Zool Redimensioned does a pretty decent job of applying a fresh coat of paint, but in a way that remains very reverent to the source material. An excellent achievement from a group that only started programming 12 months ago. Unfortunately, the source material itself is the ultimate problem here – Zool was an average game back in 1992 and it’s little more than average here in 2021. A pleasant nostalgia trip, yes, but sadly it’s offers nothing to compete with the best modern platformers.
Antab Studio’s ambition has to be applauded. Blending multiple game types with such a bold aesthetic style and an intriguing story premise – and getting so close to pulling it all off – is a remarkable achievement in its own right. As it is, it’s a qualified recommendation from me – the combat could be a little tighter and you should be prepared for some frustration with the instant-fail stealth sections. However, at the price point Foreclosed sits at, you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck, and that’s a difficult value proposition to ignore.
With a different gameplay focus, bright and breezy presentation, a simple yet effective match engine and a long overdue women’s football management mode, We Are Football does a pretty decent job of setting itself apart from Football Manager. However, a cluttered and messy UI, when combined with a frankly overwhelming amount of information to process, served to be pretty off-putting and left me pining for the relative simplicity of FM Touch. If you want to dig into some boardroom minutiae, this might just be the game for you. As it is, there was just a little too much white noise around the good stuff to make this a unanimous recommendation.
An effective story, some excellent performances from its cast, and very good production values do much to cover up its minor flaws and, as such, help Erica stand out from the crowd, when it comes to full motion video games. With a nice tight runtime, it’s also a game that doesn’t outstay its welcome. More of this kind of thing, please.
As an epic sci-fi story or as an elaborate futuristic dating simulator or even as a third-person shooter, Mass Effect Legendary Edition has a little something for everyone, and puts many modern narrative-driven RPGs to shame. It may not quite be the full-blown remake that many hoped for, but it’s still the ultimate way to experience Shepard’s story, regardless of your history with the franchise, and easily takes top spot in the running for my game of the year so far. Even the Mako sections are less annoying…
Before We Leave is as close as I’ve ever come to sticking with a city builder and, for that, it deserves enormous credit. The non-violent nature of the gameplay is also to be commended. However, it’s all still just a little too dizzying for me and, if you also struggle with the level of micro-management this type of game fosters, then this likely won’t be quite streamlined enough to change your mind.
It may not be action-packed and your enjoyment mileage may vary, depending on your views on roguelikes, but Insurmountable is a unique take on a genre that has begun to feel a little stale for me. With an interesting premise, good replay value and a nice clean look, it’s a game I’ll certainly keep installed on the PC for a while and boot up for a quick run from time to time. A good, if somewhat tense, time will be had.
Brief and concise, but being no less affecting for its brevity, Before I Forget is heart-breaking and uplifting in equal measure. The framing of the story induces a genuine sympathy and understanding of what those who suffers such conditions go through, but successfully stops short of crossing the line into patronising schmaltz. I urge all of you to experience it for yourself and make sure you avoid spoilers for maximum effect. I cannot recommend this enough.