The Quarry is a celebration of horror with enough twists and turns to excite even the most jaded aficionado. It manages to avoid the tropes inherent with its summer camp setting by giving each of the protagonists a thorough opportunity for characterization and makes you care enough about each of them for their fates to matter.
Unfortunately, Salt and Sacrifice discarded way too much to place the focus on multiplayer. The aspects I do like, the exploration and combat, are carried over from the original game. The core Mage Hunt gameplay loop is tedious, and the lack of fast travel made me sick of seeing the same scenery repeatedly. You’ll probably find something to love here if you have a friend to place this game with and enjoy the original. However, as a solo adventure, it’s severely lacking.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story, but it’s definitely an oddity in today’s gaming landscape. It’s more “interactive film” than a video game, and you should definitely go into it with the mindset that it’s something that’s meant to be watched instead of played.
Nintendo has been criticized for porting Wii and Wii U games to the Switch and selling them at a high MSRP. However, in this case, I feel like we’d have gotten a better deal if Nintendo had just updated Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort to use the Joy-Cons. Nintendo Switch Sports has a weird emphasis on online play, a frustrating unlock system, and is sadly underwhelming compared to its predecessors, which launched over a decade ago.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a hearty appetizer for Hundred Heroes. I think Natsume Atari accomplished its mission of giving players a taste of what the world of Hundred Heroes has to offer, and I’ve gotten less enjoyment out of much more expensive games. You can’t ask for much more for a budget title that was created as a stretch goal for a Kickstarter project.
Trek to Yomi is a fun enough five hours for the money. I wasn’t expecting Ghost of Tsushima for $19.99, so I wasn’t disappointed with what I got. However, I’m a big weeb, love Kurosawa, and think katanas are cool. I’m not sure if those unfamiliar with the design principle behind the game will understand where it’s coming from. It might serve as a gateway drug to Japanese cinema for some, but I think many people will just be wondering why it’s in black and white instead of color. Overall, it’s like a samurai with a dull sword: flashy, but lacking the razor edge needed to cut its way through the shadow of its contemporaries.
Since there’s no way to get Chrono Cross legally on any platform introduced in the last decade other than The Radical Dreamers Edition, you’ve just got to deal with it. I played it on PS5, and I imagine it’s a similar experience on PS4 and PS4 Pro. However, as much as I love PlayStation, I would buy it for PC. We’ll likely see mods on that platform that will fix the issues with the backgrounds and FMVs. I really hope the poor quality of this remake isn’t indicative of what we can expect from Square Enix in the future.
Wonderlands is the safest, most paint-by-numbers, product-of-the-time game I’ve played in a while, and a serving of the same thing Gearbox has been dishing up for 10 years minus the humor. It’s the absolute opposite of avant-garde and simply reuses the Borderlands formula without improving on it in any tangible manner. While it’s more tolerable as a multiplayer game given that you’ll more readily be able to overlook its story and writing, it’s still a disappointing spin-off that takes away more from the source material than it gives back.
Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin is a wacky game that will end up being a cult classic. The devs were not afraid to march to the beat of their own drum, and the result is the type of slightly messy, unique AA game that we used to get in the late 2000s and early 2010s. It’s goofy, flawed, and fabulous, and I hope Square Enix continues to lean into publishing more experimental titles like this.
For its flaws, Pokemon Legends: Arceus does have a decent gameplay loop, even if it is a bit too tight. I hope that with Nintendo’s next console, we can maybe see a game that doesn’t have to make such significant compromises when it comes to graphics vs. performance. For now, let’s just clap our hands and try to forget that any other studio would be roasted alive for releasing a game like this in 2022.
Nintendo, Game Freak, and The Pokemon Company have made some odd decisions with pricing their products lately. Unfortunately, for many fans, these remakes were a bad omen that these trends will continue. The series has been criticized as being stagnate, and even going backward with things like Dexit. New and casual players likely won’t notice or care that the quality of the games has gone down with the last couple of releases. However, longtime fans are feeling increasingly disappointed, and Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl have done nothing to assuage that.
Shin Megami Tensei 5 brings back the things that fans love about the series. Its biggest sin is that it doesn’t do much to innovate. Fans that were expecting to see a brand new vision for SMT will be confused because this is essentially the same demon collecting dungeon crawler it has always been.
I hope that in the future, the devs take the asymmetrical civilizations further and focus on mechanics that evolve the Age of Empires franchise. There’s a solid foundation here, and if built in the right direction, it could lead to something special. For now, it’s too old school for its own good.
The biggest question about this game is whether the player base will stay strong or not. Left 4 Dead still gets a steady stream over a decade later, but it’s still up in the air whether Back 4 Blood will inspire the same loyalty. Fortunately, it’s on Xbox Game Pass for console and PC, so there’s little to no risk in giving it a try.
So far, Metroid Dread is a serious contender for my personal game of the year. It takes all the things that I loved about previous entries and streamlines them into a much more playable game. It’s the most accessible Metroid title to date, and it’s sure to win many new fans for Nintendo.
I wish that more quality of life improvements were introduced with this remake/remaster. Just a few more small changes could have rectified some annoyances that stem from it being a 20-year-old game. As it stands, it’s almost too close to the original in all the wrong ways while missing multiplayer options that were removed for no reason.