Vampire: The Masquerade – Coteries of New York left me feeling hungry. The game is certainly well-written, but its truncated story doesn’t quite do its complex, captivating world justice. If you’re a dedicated VTM devotee, Coteries of New York is a solid appetizer, but you’ll have to wait until next year for something to truly sink your fangs into.
Arise: A Simple Story is a beautiful, moving experience I couldn't stop swearing at. The game delivers a lovely yarn and some clever level design, but clunky controls and an infuriating camera leave this platformer stranded in purgatory. Arise's story may be worth your time, but only if you're the patient type. Simple as that.
Is Shenmue III dated? Absolutely, but the game proves that, like most genres, open-world adventures still have a thing or two to learn from the past. Shenmue III isn't always as player-friendly as it could be, but its lively, uniquely-handcrafted world is truly absorbing. Here's hoping this isn't the end of Ryo and Yu Suzuki's epic journey.
Need for Speed Heat ditching its predecessor's heavy-handed microtransactions and live-service nonsense is commendable, but in most other ways, this is actually a step back for the series. The game provides some solid arcade thrills, but a limited map, so-so visuals, slapdash action, and irritating cops weigh the experience down. If you're desperate for a new open-world racer, Need for Speed Heat may be worth a spin, but most will want to wait until this one hits the used car lot.
Once you check in, you won't want to check out. Luigi's Mansion 3 is a vibrant interactive CGI movie, beautifully-designed brainteaser, and top-notch action game, all rolled into one. The game isn't perfect, but its frustrating moments are brief and don't tarnish the experience as a whole. Luigi's Mansion 3 stands shoulder to shoulder with Switch must-haves like Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey – it's scary good.
Moons of Madness is the best of the recent rash of Lovecraft games. It isn't as dark or atmospheric as some of its macabre competitors, but it's well-crafted, nicely varied, and builds to a satisfying, pulse-pounding crescendo. If you don't mind your Lovecraft with a touch of Michael Bay, don't hesitate to blast off for the Moons of Madness.
WWE 2K20 is a slap in the face. I'm sure plenty of passionate people worked on this game, but the fact that 2K Games was willing to release it in such a sorry state shows they believe WWE hardcores will blindly gobble up whatever they shovel at them. WWE 2K20 is ugly, broken, uninspired junk, written and presented with contempt for pro wrestling and its fans. I know buying the annual WWE game is a tradition for a lot of people, but I strongly urge you to reconsider this year. If 2K and Visual Concepts can't do better than this, it may be time to hang up their boots.
Your enjoyment of Little Town Hero will largely depend on your patience for quirky JRPG systems. The game's battle mechanics are unique and surprisingly deep, but can be frustratingly random and time consuming. Add in a story and world that have their charms, but are ultimately rather simplistic, and you have a Little Town that will only appeal to select tourists.
Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince is an enchanting new highwater mark for developer Frozenbyte, featuring the series' best controls, visuals, puzzles, and bosses to date. Regular combat still feels a bit tacked on, but overall, Trine 4 remains a puzzle platforming dream.
The Sojourn is the equivalent of one of those big books of crosswords you can buy at the supermarket check-out. Its puzzles are well-constructed and provide a nice mental workout, but they're all rather one-note, and the game's world is dry as toast. If you're a hardcore puzzle nerd, give The Sojourn a shot, but those expecting to be taken on a deeper journey may be disappointed.