Eric Van Allen
- The World Ends With You
- Final Fantasy X
- Mass Effect 2
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a new frontier for the Yakuza series, and the life and crimes of the series feels right at home in this new setting. Ichiban is an instant addition to the pantheon of Yakuza legends, his party an endearing band of ruffians, with the combat doing just enough to make everything familiar feel new again. Where Yakuza goes from here is anyone's guess, but mechanical friction aside, this is a step in a fun and compelling new direction.
Paradise Killer drips with endearing style and charm, but can't quite make its finale match up to its opening hours. Discovering intrigue and mystery is compelling at the start, but the good gets lost in its collectible busywork. Paradise Killer is a good option for virtual detective fanatics in need of new mysteries, but it lacks the staying power of other modern mystery giants.
Spiritfarer is a cozy game about helping spirits move on. Its wide scope of systems and resources can sometimes get in its own way, but when working in harmony it unveils a touching narrative, all the while adorned by gorgeous art. Best enjoyed in small pieces, Spiritfarer is a warm and inviting world to get lost in, with the occasional emotional gut punch for good measure.
Valorant leans heavily on its predecessors, but makes use of established schools of thought and the unique novelties of its Agents to create a fresh take on tactical shooters, even if its launch is a little slim. For years, there hasn't been a fight for Counter-Strike's throne; but in Valorant, Riot Games has found a valiant contender.
Command & Conquer: The Remastered Collection gathers up every conceivable ounce of content from the first two games in the series and gives it a full makeover, resulting in a collection that feels holistic, modern, and true to its roots. It has some wrinkles that add an asterisk, but only just that much. This is Command & Conquer, not just how you remember it back then, but how you'll want to remember it years from now.
Streets of Rage 4 is a small, concentrated hit of beat 'em up excellence. While its length and lack of extra modes might make this offering seem slim, it makes up for it with brilliant fighting, effusive style, and another solid set of tunes. If beat 'em up games are seeing a revival, Streets of Rage 4 is leading the charge.
I enjoyed my time with GreedFall, but it's already failed to leave a lasting impression on me. Its best moments shine bright and show how much potential Spiders has to develop in this style of RPG, but it isn't cohesive enough to work in concert. GreedFall is certainly worth checking out if you're aching for the old days of BioWare, but it's a tough sell for most others.
Elsinore is simple and focused, aimed squarely at avid readers who want to manipulate Hamlet with their own hands. It succeeds at this, building a wonderfully meta-textual world that's fascinating to unravel and earns a good few gasps, laughs, and tearful moments, but the long waiting periods and frustration between different events overlapping can grate on after a while. Elsinore is time-looping <em>Hamlet</em>, and that premise is what will likely hook you or not.
Samurai Shodown captures the spirit of the older games, veering towards a mix of older and newer series entries. In terms of single-player, but it's a a far cry from Mortal Kombat 11 or even what recent games like Dead or Alive 6 have offered. On the multiplayer side, it offers a solid core, but not much else. It's nice to see SamSho back in the spotlight, but we wish it had a little more to keep us playing beyond just fighting other players.