Nathan Birch


203 games reviewed
71.7 average score
75 median score
40.6% of games recommended
7 / 10.0 - Skull and Bones
Feb 21, 2024

It can be difficult to square the decade-plus Skull and Bones development cycle with its lack of features in some areas, but this isn’t the wreck many expected it to be. The game’s naval combat is simple yet engaging, its world is striking, ship customization is satisfying, and there are plenty of varied things to do, even if most of them don’t involve getting off your ship. Skull and Bones can be repetitive and it doesn’t exactly capture that devil-may-care pirate lifestyle, but keep expectations in check and there’s fun to be had sailing these pleasantly predictable seas.

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Feb 14, 2024

Mario vs. Donkey Kong may lack the razzle dazzle of its stars’ more recent games, but this remake still has the power to hook players with its tried-and-true retro platforming and a finely-tuned difficulty curve that culminates in some challenges that will truly test your mind and reflexes. Those who have played the original Mario vs. DK to death may not find quite enough new content here, but lapsed fans and new players are in for a barrel of fun.

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Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League has a sprinkling of that classic Rocksteady charm, delivering polished visuals, fluid traversal and combat, and some snappy repartee, but the whole experience is bogged down by dreary, repetitive mission design, empty live service elements, and a feel-bad story that’s mean-spirited to the point of feeling oddly resentful. Perhaps most damning, not even the thing promised in the game’s title – fighting and dispatching the Justice League – ends up being particularly fun or memorable. Those who really want to see what becomes of the Arkhamverse may not be able to resist picking this up, but I suggest waiting for a steep discount before subjecting yourself to this tedious team-up.

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Jan 18, 2024

Another Code: Recollection may seem a bit quaint compared to some of the visual novels and narrative adventures that have come along since Cing’s games helped reinvigorate those genres, but there’s an undeniable easygoing charm to these stories, characters, and world. This collection also completely revamps the original games’ puzzles, usually for the better, meaning even Cing veterans are in for a fresh experience. Another Code: Recollection may not break much new ground, but it satisfyingly evokes memories of a simpler time.

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Dec 20, 2023

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a remarkable achievement in many ways, bringing a cinematic world to life on a massive, technically-impressive scale like few games have done before. Unfortunately, limited, frustrating combat means the game isn’t always that fun to play once you bump into the RDA. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora’s world is worth experiencing if you’re a fan of James Cameron’s movies, but as the franchise often reminds us, sky people ruin beautiful things.

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9 / 10.0 - Super Mario RPG
Nov 15, 2023

Super Mario RPG is a lovingly-crafted remake that retains the original’s peculiar off-brand charm, appealing combat, and varied level design while subtly tinkering with numerous elements to make the game more palatable for modern players.

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5.5 / 10.0 - WarioWare: Move It!
Nov 1, 2023

WarioWare: Move It! is a touch too clever for its own good, taking a concept that’s best when kept simple and drowning it in fussy unreliable motion controls and overelaborate microgames. There are still some flashes of that old anarchic fun here, but even those who have loved past WarioWare games may find this vacation-themed entry a bad trip.

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6.5 / 10.0 - EA Sports UFC 5
Oct 27, 2023

EA Sports UFC 5 doles out impressive blood-soaked Frostbite visuals and a double-dose of M-rated attitude, but don’t let the new swagger sway you. While the action remains satisfying enough, it hasn’t evolved in any significant way, and a lack of compelling content continues to be an issue for the series. UFC 5 may deliver the razzle dazzle, but it needs to work on its fundamentals.

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Oct 18, 2023

Super Mario Bros. Wonder is the plumber’s best platformer this generation. We haven’t been able to say that of a 2D Mario for a long time, but this game measures up to the best and most beloved side-scrollers Nintendo has ever made, delivering joyously-creative level design and rock-solid platforming in a gorgeous wrapper.

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Oct 17, 2023

Detective Pikachu Returns isn’t for everyone, with too much reading for little ones and an overly-gentle difficulty curve for adults, but I think some kids, particularly those just beginning to read and explore the greater Pokémon universe, will have a great time with the game. A surprisingly robust world, diverse mysteries, and involving plot may even draw in some parents, despite badly-dated visuals. Investigate Detective Pikachu Returns before buying, but if it seems like it’s right for you or your kids, don’t hold back – it might just hit you like a minor bolt of brilliance.

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Oct 4, 2023

Assassin’s Creed Mirage doesn’t make the sharpest first impression with its dated visuals and by-the-book mechanics, but like its hooded protagonist, the game sneaks up on you with its manageably-sized yet vibrant map, intricately-woven campaign, and varied missions. Assassin’s Creed Mirage’s blade may be slightly tarnished, but it still leaves a mark.

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7.5 / 10.0 - NBA 2K24
Sep 19, 2023

NBA 2K24 doesn’t feel like the work of a team that’s hungry as a majority of the game’s modes and features aren’t much of a step up over last year. It’s a shame, because the on-court action, brought to new life by innovative ProPlay animation tech, is more accomplished than ever and MyCareer actually makes some welcome changes amid all the microtransactions. NBA 2K24 delivers plenty of polished roundball fun, but some of the choices the game’s developers made following last year’s excellent entry make me question their coaching.

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8.5 / 10.0 - Mortal Kombat 1
Sep 14, 2023

Mortal Kombat 1 is one of the franchise’s most bloody-entertaining entries to date, offering up refined action, smartly revamped fighters, and a story mode that delivers a surprisingly-coherent plot and plenty of blockbuster thrills. A lack of compelling modes and meaningful character customization does hurt, but Mortal Kombat 1 should be a heart-ripping hit with fans even if the overall package is slightly anemic.

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6.5 / 10.0 - Immortals of Aveum
Aug 22, 2023

Immortals of Aveum makes a solid early impression with engaging magic-infused FPS action and eye-catching Unreal Engine 5 visuals, but a predictable plot, irritating characters, and repetitive, by-the-books level design dims the game’s razzle-dazzle. Immortals of Aveum will be worth it for some shooter and fantasy fans, particularly at a discount, but don’t expect your memories of the game to live forever.

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8 / 10.0 - Venba
Jul 31, 2023

Venba is a delectable slice of a game that offers a subtly moving story that ought to appeal to Tamil people, first-generation immigrants and their children, and wider audiences alike. It’s also a fantastic cooking game, capturing the sights, sounds, joys, and challenges of preparing food like few games before it. A short runtime may leave you hungry for more, but that’s largely a testament to the quality of the meal.

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6.5 / 10.0 - Remnant II
Jul 29, 2023

Remnant II is an impressive technical and artistic accomplishment in some ways, offering an intermittedly-striking, cutting-edge procedural world that’s satisfying to unravel. Unfortunately, a forgettable story, middle-of-the-road gunplay, dull loot, and some performance issues means this fantastic world isn’t always that fun to inhabit. Some folks, particularly those with a regular co-op party, will be drawn into this dark multiverse, but others may find Remnant II only provides scattered fragments of excitement amidst the frustration.

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9 / 10.0 - Pikmin 4
Jul 19, 2023

Pikmin 4 adds or reintroduces a lot to the series’ formula, including caves, nighttime missions, and an adorable doggy sidekick, to the point the game starts to feel a bit busy and unfocused. Fortunately, like a well-managed Pikmin squad, the game comes together in charming, effective fashion by the end. While the franchise may have bloomed slightly brighter in the past, Pikmin 4 will still provide a bountiful harvest of fun for longtime fans.

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Jul 14, 2023

Master Detective Archives: Rain Code may tame Danganronpa’s anarchic spirit slightly, but it also greatly expands and improves on its formula with a more developed world, bold visuals, refined gameplay, and the best collection of whodunnits writer Kazutaka Kodaka has delivered to date. This is, simply put, one of the best, most ambitious visual novels in recent years. Get in on the ground floor, because Master Detective Archives has all the makings of a killer franchise.

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7.5 / 10.0 - AEW: Fight Forever
Jun 28, 2023

Like the promotion it’s based on, AEW: Fight Forever can be a bit rough around the edges, but the game is also a welcome breath of fresh air. Fun, approachable in-ring action and an endearingly-quirky career mode largely make up for scruffy visuals and some missing content. AEW: Fight Forever won’t be for everyone, but if you’re looking for an alternative, feel free to push your chips All In.

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8 / 10.0 - Age of Wonders 4
Jun 1, 2023

Age of Wonders 4 offers a rare and refreshing level of flexibility for a 4X game, allowing you to customize your leader, people, and realm to an impressive degree. This can be a bit bewildering at first, and the level of complexity threatens to overwhelm the game’s limited tactical battles, but it all comes together as a satisfying package after a bit of trial and error. Age of Wonders 4 may not be the perfect potion for all turn-based strategy fans, but it should enchant a good portion of them.

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