Master Detective Archives: Rain Code offers a fun murder mystery that acts as a true spiritual successor to the Danganronpa series and even builds upon many of the core systems that made that series of games resonate so well with so many around the world. It features a greatly written story filled with quirky and interesting characters, and is almost fully voiced, helping the story be more engaging and cinematic. While I did find it to be a little easy overall, with some sections that should have had serious consequences for failing being too forgiving and some characters that failed to live up to their potential, it’s still a game I would recommend to anyone that’s interested in murder mystery games or the previous works of Kazutaka Kodaka. The game’s narrative definitely lives up calibre of story I knew the team invloved in the development was capable of telling.
Whether you’re a newcomer to the series or a Final Fantasy veteran, there is a ton to love with Final Fantasy 16. Its darker tone really helps portray the grim nature of the story and the series’ return to high fantasy. I fell in love with the characters throughout the lengthy journey and am looking forward to jumping back in to test my skills in the game’s more difficult new game+ mode. Magic may be disappearing from Valisthea but its truly returned to the mainline Final Fantasy series.
LEGO 2K Drive is a really solid kart racer, built on top of an incredibly powerful customisation system which really lives up to the level of freedom we think of when thinking about LEGO. It’s a game that is legitimately fun for all ages and will appeal to players that want a really fun kart racing exploration game, and also those that like to spend hours upon hours creating LEGO vehicles. Balancing of the online transactions side of things would be appreciated, but nonetheless, LEGO 2K Drive offers a great time for players young and old that enjoy racing games and the quirky humour of LEGO properties.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is a fantastic follow up to the previous game and features some of the best narrative beats and characters from any recent Star Wars media. It takes what was already working from the last game and enhances just about every feature to create one of the best recent action adventure games. Best of all it closely captures what I imagine it would be like to wield the Force and use a Lightsaber. If you’re a fan of the Star Wars universe I can’t recommend it enough.
It’s incredible that Dead Island 2 made it through it’s development issues and is a game we can finally play in 2023. It offers a really fun sandbox to explore and tear zombies limb from limb but don’t expect a groundbreaking story or dialogue. If you’re looking for a fun first person zombie slaying experience then Dead Island 2 is going to be right up your alley. Let’s just hope it’s not another 10 years before we get to see more from this series, as I can’t wait to see how it’s awesome FLESH system evolves going forward.
Capcom have another masterpiece on their hands with the release of this remake. It preserves everything that made the original game so iconic but has also expanded on aspects and removed others to create a new, well paced masterpiece that honours the original game and has plenty of surprises for new or old fans. It’s certainly not going to be the last remake of a popular game we see that’s for sure, but it sets a new benchmark for how video game remakes should be treated.
Octopath Traveler 2 is a fantastic follow up to the first Octopath game and an incredibly fun and rewarding JRPG adventure with a large but deep party of characters. It’s music will captivate you right from the start and it’s combat and job system provided plenty of room for individual customisation. It’s taken what worked in the original game and further advanced aspects as well as fixing up a number of the issues pointed out with the original game some fans didn’t particularly like to create a great adventure game, and one of my favourite JRPGs from recent years. It’s a long adventure, but it’s one well worth checking out.
Like A Dragon: Ishin at it’s core is still very much Yakuza/ Like a Dragon title despite being completely separated from the mainline series. It has a grand story and characters that will captivate you from beginning to end, incredible action, great over the top moments that will make you laugh out loud, some that will make you question why they’re so weird and of course plenty of mini games and systems implemented that will keep you entertained aplenty when not completing the main missions.
If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter universe, this is the game you’ve been awaiting for years. It really let’s you live the life of a Hogwarts student, and experience exploring the Hogwarts castle and attending classes all for yourself. There’s plenty of Easter eggs about for fans of the series, and with so much engaging side content, the game will keep you entertained for a long time to come and captures the feel of being a witch or wizard flinging spells to take down enemies perfectly. I’d love to see what a sequel could offer if the team are given the chance, because they’ve almost hit perfection on their first attempt with the Harry Potter IP.
Metroid Prime is an absolute masterpiece. It was a gamble taking a 2D series and trying to adapt everything that made it great into a 3D experience but it paid off massively. Now with this remaster it has gotten even better and opened up the door to so many new players. With noticeable improvements to both the look and the feel of the game, this is now the standard I’ll hold all remaster projects to. I’m a massive fan of the Metroid series so any time Nintendo show it some love, it get’s me quite excited. I can’t wait to experience what’s on offer in the upcoming Metroid Prime 4 and more curious to see if we’ll be getting the same remaster treatment in the meantime for Prime 2 and 3.
Wild Hearts does take a bit of time to get into but once you get past learning the ropes, the game does get really addictive. Even when away from it I often found myself thinking about different build to try out next time I played and which creature I would try to take down next, or which piece of gear should I focus on trying to upgrade, which is always a good sign for a game.
Forspoken is a good open world action adventure game overall. While I would have loved if the team at Luminous had nailed every aspect of the game, it seems this time around at least it fell a little short when it comes to the main story, character writing and some design decisions. It does take place in a world I would love to see more from if the series is given the chance as there are seeds of greatness here.
The Dead Space Remake is a superb recreation of a survival horror classic. It enhances the original game, while also being faithful to it’s story and setting, implementing a slew of new features and visual upgrades to make the game feel incredibly modern. It’s undoubtedly the best way to experience Dead Space, whether you’re jumping in for the first time or wanting to relive the story. The original still holds up pretty well to this day, and some say it didn’t require a remake, but the series certainly deserved some new love, and this is just the way to get the ball rolling again for the Dead Space franchise. I’m excited to see EA placing more faith in their single player offerings and I hope this spawns a new entry in the franchise or remakes of sequel Dead Space titles.
Overall, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is a fun 3D platformer that will appeal primarily to a younger audience or those that are fans of the SpongeBob franchise. It doesn’t do anything too groundbreaking when it comes to the platforming genre but does provide some visually diverse environments to explore and plenty of references to the series that lead to a great deal of laugh out loud moments. It’s great that it’s fully voiced and that the original voice actors are reprising their roles. It feels like a real celebration of the SpongeBob franchise as a whole and I’m still very much onboard to play the next video game the series spawns.
Persona 3 Portable offers a dark yet engaging story you’ll get lost in for many hours. It has a great cast of characters and is backed by an amazing set of music tracks. I would have loved if the game did manage to include some of the additional content that was found within the FES release of the game and traversing through some of the Tartarus sections does become repetitive, which is a shame because it’s the primary section of hand’s on gameplay the game offers. But those things aside, you’re still in for a very fun and rewarding experience that offers a lot of player choice. It’s great to see Persona 3 getting some love again, and hopefully it’s just the start of things to come again celebrating the Persona series from ATLUS.
Persona 4 Golden continues to be one of the greatest and well loved JRPGs almost 15 years since it’s original release and is now available on more platforms than ever. The Golden version of the game is by far the definitive version to play and you’ll have plenty of hours ahead of you to get lost in with an incredible cast of characters as you try to get to the bottom of an engaging murder mystery. The Persona series is consistently good, they’ve nailed what makes JRPG games so fun to play, and if you only have the ability to play one of the newly released 2023 remasters coming out this week, Persona 4 Golden is my recommendation for which one to pick up.
It’s clear a lot of effort was taken to get this game just right, it instantly feels higher in quality compared to other One Piece games and does act as a true celebration of One Piece’s 25th anniversary. Odyssey doesn’t just feel like a generic game that’s been created with a licensed anime skin thrown on top like we’ve seen many times in the past with other anime titles. It’s apparent a lot of care was taken across it’s 5 year development time to make sure the game was fun to play, filled with great characters and is enjoyable for players whether they’re existing fans of One Piece or if they’re jumping into the game because they love JRPGs that take players on grand adventures.
Whether you’ve played Crisis Core in the past or planning to jump in for the first time, there’s really no better way to experience it than with the Reunion Remaster. It does so much to bring a title that released 15 years ago into the modern era, and succeeds on most of it. And with numerous quality of life improvements implemented and the addition of full voice acting, it’s an incredible way to experience this part of the wider Final Fantasy 7 universe.
Overall there’s a lot to like about The Callisto Protocol. It’s a tight and well paced 10 hour experience and looks and runs great on the PS5 and It’s art direction and sound design help portray some really unsettling and horrific moments. It’s held back by some frustrating scare choices, repetitive combat and boss encounters and it’s push towards focussing on action in it’s later half. If the team at Striking Distance decide to flesh out the world they’ve established with a sequel, I’d love to see where they could take these characters and build out the setting next while having the benefit of having this first game to look back on.
Firaxis have another hit on their hands with Marvel’s Midnight Suns. They’ve shown once again that they’re the masters of tactical, strategic combat mechanics and have blended an addictive and deep combat system with the Marvel Universe to create a game that feels rewarding to players of any skill level. While it does have some pacing issues getting going and some inconsistent character models I did really enjoy the card based combat system and that the game highlighted a number of Marvel characters that don’t get enough focus these days. I’m looking forward to jumping back into the game in the months to come as further additional characters get added.