At first, Tokyo Dark seems to be little more than a pale replica of better Japanese adventure and horror games. The game's presentation is amateurish, its characters are stereotypical, and its depiction of Tokyo doesn't break any new ground. Thankfully, the game's innovative SPIN system and focus on player choice heightens what would otherwise be an uninspired homage. Tokyo Dark falls well short of greatness, but hardcore point ‘n' clickers looking for something a bit different may want to give the game a stab.
NBA 2K18 has a few holes in its game -- the series needs to improve its writing, the ballyhooed MyCareer Neighborhood hub falls flat, and the tech powering the series is nearing retirement age. That said, boil the game down to its essentials and you have a rock-solid, well-balanced sports sim that provides an immensely entertaining shoulder-to-shoulder same-couch multiplayer experience. It's that strong core that keeps NBA 2K18 and its vast array of modes and features from collapsing in on itself. NBA 2K18 isn't a milestone entry in the series, but it's a solid playoff contender well worth basketball fans' time.
Darkwood is a fine open-world survival experience, and spins a good yarn, but doesn't quite succeed as a horror game. The ominous veneer wears off quickly enough, and you're left with a somewhat cumbersome Don't Starve clone. Darkwood has its moments and will please a certain dedicated breed, but less masochistic general gaming audiences may find the title more tedious than terrifying. Don't venture into these woods unless you're prepared to rough it.
Like the original comic book series, Battle Chasers: Nightwar looks fantastic but feels a bit hollow. The game's JRPG battle system and Diablo-style dungeons are rock solid but don't bring many new ideas to the table. If you're really into Joe Madureira's art or grinding for loot, you'll find plenty to like here, but the general RPG audience may find the game slightly lacking in flavor. Not bad at all, just a little flat. Perhaps it's unsurprising that a video game, based on a comic book, based on earlier video games feels like it's spreading its inspiration a bit thin.
This franchise is almost out of chances. This is the fifth WWE game from 2K, and they've still only figured out one of the three ingredients. WWE 2K18 is great if creating wacky wrestlers is all you're interested in, but those looking for solid in-ring action or a compelling career mode will be let down yet again. If WWE 2K18 were a wrestler, it'd be Jinder Mahal – all flashy show muscles, no fundamentals. I realize a lot of hardcore fans will buy WWE 2K18 regardless of reviews, but if you actually want the series to change, it might be time to tap out.
Gran Turismo Sport is a good game, and yet, it's still a disappointment. Given this series' pedigree, good simply isn't good enough. GT Sport still brings it on the track, but its lack of content can't be ignored, and you can't give the game top marks in world where Forza Motorsport 7 and Project CARS 2 exist. If you're a diehard fan of Sony's series or really into online racing, GT Sport is worth a shot. If you just want the best racing sim out there, you may want to kick some more tires.
Ironically, AER Memories of Old doesn't leave much of a lasting impression. It feels like a prototype you might show a publisher to convince them to fund a full game. What's here is charming, but it feels underbaked compared to the games it patterns itself after. If you're looking for a laid-back Zelda-like adventure and don't mind spending $15 for a single play session, AER Memories of Old is a pleasant-enough distraction, just don't expect to be swept off your feet.
Need for Speed Payback is a well-designed sandbox that's at its most entertaining when you ignore what's supposed to be the core of the game. The story is dud, and the game's Ultimate Team-inspired upgrade system is an attempt to force a square peg into a round hole, but there's no denying tearing down desert roads at 180 mph in a souped-up 1965 Mustang is a blast. Need for Speed Payback is a fun joyride, but it doesn't quite hold up over the long haul.
2017 is the year the Sonic franchise stops running from itself. Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces celebrate different eras, but they both take the same shameless “all-in” approach. Sonic Forces is a confident game, serving up a story and stages that go for broke, while dodging the pitfalls of the past. As long as you're not a hardline 3D Sonic hater, this earnest, entertaining adventure is worth a spin.