Evan Rowe Avatar Image

Evan Rowe

Portland, OR
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Favorite Games:
  • Super Mario World
  • Rocket League
  • The Witcher 3

64 games reviewed
80.0 average score
80 median score
92.2% of games recommended

Evan Rowe's Reviews

Evan Rowe is a human who happens to write software for a living. He has been playing games since he was five years old and recently realized he may have some things to say about them. Likes coffee a whole lot, drinks too much LaCroix, dreams of one day owning an obscenely expensive recliner.
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Nov 24, 2021

Minor shortcomings aside, Psychonauts 2 is the rare sequel that succeeds in living up to the hype and delivering on the promise set up by its predecessor and many years of anticipation. It is such a treat to spend more time in this world, and I will still staunchly argue that Psychonauts is the best stuff Doublefine has ever created. I love that this exists, I love that a whole new generation of gamers are getting the chance to experience this magnificent world for the first time, and it is so refreshing to see a game with so much creativity get the time, attention, and budget it deserves. Psychonauts 2 is a heartfelt, joyous adventure that ups the ante in every way, and I think it’s a must play experience for anybody who loves a good adventure.

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Oct 27, 2021

I Am Dead takes pains to emphasize that death is not the end for anybody, so much as a transition into something else. It’s a comforting sentiment and a refreshing take on the grisly finality the death is normally viewed with in games. While it’s far from the first story-driven game to examine the concepts of our own mortality, I Am Dead‘s approach to exploring what it means to have lived and died is both quaint and uplifting, and it makes staring death in the face a surprisingly pleasant affair.

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All told, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is a worthy successor to the original game, and the PC release feels well put together and worth the price of admission, perhaps even more so than the first. It’s not without its blemishes, but I’ve found the improved pacing and enhancements to the first game’s design to be meaningful enough gains to justify recommending the PC release as a great way to play and experience No More Heroes 2 for the first or fiftieth time.

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Sep 17, 2021

If you’ve never had the chance to experience No More Heroes before, this is as good an opportunity as any to get in and see what it’s all about. It holds up well enough to still be enjoyable, and if nothing else is a great opportunity for the series to finally reach a wider audience, and hopefully win over a new swath of fans in the process.

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Sep 10, 2021

Road 96 is a great deal of fun, and is incredibly charming. I came into it cautiously optimistic about the premise, and I have found myself delighted by its character, heart, and the way it depicts people and places with such love and attentiveness to detail. I don’t know whether it’s the next big thing in narrative games, but it delivers on most of its promises and offers an experience that truly feels unique among its peers. Plus, it’s a good old fashioned adventure of the kind that frankly I didn’t realize I’d been hankering for. It’s not a perfect game, but it’s a darn good one, and as with all good stories, the journey of playing Road 96 really is the best part.

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Aug 11, 2021

Axiom Verge 2 is a thoroughly enjoyable game that hits most of its notes perfectly, and is easy to recommend. Where Axiom Verge 1 was a clear love letter to Metroid, Axiom Verge 2 establishes more of its own identity, both in how it fleshes out the shared universe of the series, and the ways it blends elements of its predecessors and its inspirations together to create something really unique. Like the first game, it feels both familiar and entirely new. The sense of mystery and wonder, combined with excellent mechanical execution, will keep you going on a breakneck pace from start to finish.

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Jul 16, 2021

I want to love Stonefly. It has all of the right pieces to make something great. When those pieces come together, though, the fit isn’t quite right, and the resulting whole has its share of holes. This is a game that’s big on concept and playfulness, but translating those qualities into something that you interact with as a player fails to cleanly make the jump. Most specifically, the game play isn’t quite there; the mechanics are all fine, but the balance is off in some crucial ways that disrupt the experience and cause the game to get in the way of itself. Stonefly is at its best when its showing off its beautiful artwork and telling its story, and the parts in between where you fight lots of bugs and gather too many resources feel in opposition to that side of the experience rather than in service of it. I still enjoyed a lot of my time with Stonefly, but this feels like an experience that would have benefited from being shorter, and more focused on exploration and its narrative.

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- Fez
Jun 17, 2021

FEZ is the perfect confluence of beautiful visuals, deeply satisfying gameplay, a richly designed world, tightly interconnected systems, an astounding soundtrack, and fantastic pacing. Seldom are games this well composed, and it feels mostly as fresh today as it did the day it came out. This is the definition of a classic; it endures time and shows the mastery of its work as it ages. It will always be one of my favorites, and I can think of no more fitting a place to experience FEZ, be it for the first time or the tenth.

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May 26, 2021

Judgment is an easy game to recommend, especially with the sequel coming out in September, and I’ve had as much fun with it as any other mainline Yakuza title. Plus, it’s hard to argue with getting a full-fat, high quality Yakuza narrative experience in a $40 price point. This is a really promising start for a new franchise, and it’s only going to get better from here. Seeing RGG Studio stretching itself and finding new ways to apply and change the formula it’s already found so much success with is an exciting and welcome shift. Whether you’re racing drones, playing a Mario Party inspired VR board game for cash, tracking down cheating spouses, chasing a local parkour crime gang through the streets, or solving a really thorny murder mystery, you’re going to find yourself having a blast.

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As far as the quality of the port goes, it’s pretty excellent overall. The controls are great, the visuals look about as good as they possibly can without reworking some of the art, and after you ease in, all of the nitpicky details fade away as you enjoy a romp through lively, detailed, smooth-as-silk renditions of Kamurocho and Onomichi. This is, quite simply, the best Yakuza 6: The Song of Life has ever looked or played, and if you’ve been waiting for the PC release to experience it, you’ll be delighted with the final product.

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Apr 23, 2021

Despite some of the unevenness and slowness toward the end, It Takes Two is still a fantastic experience that elevates cooperative games to a level they are rarely treated to, and is one of the most fun games you’ll have played with a friend or partner in years. I love what Hazelight is doing to revitalize the genre and think of new ways to make it fresh and fun, and the focus on collaborative play is a huge part of why the game is so damned successful. It’s an absolutely joyful experience nearly throughout, and the innovative mechanics, beautiful visuals, and inspired locations will keep you engaged from beginning to end on this journey unlike any other.

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Mar 18, 2021

The good news is that Yakuza: Like a Dragon is the same incredible game on PS5, as well as an excellent RPG. This particular release amounts to a light coat of polish that makes some subtle improvements but nothing truly revolutionary as we’ve seen with some other PS5 upgrades. This may largely be owing to the fact that the original release already looked excellent, but it still would have been nice to see the PS5 release support a full 4K60. Also unfortunate is the lack of using much of the DualSense controller’s features, but again, this is the sort of addition that’s hard to shoehorn in after the fact. While the PC is still the best place to play Yakuza: Like a Dragon, the PlayStation 5 can keep pace well enough and it’s a solid way to experience Ichiban’s incredible, can’t-miss story.

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The Yakuza Remastered Collection for PC is exactly that; a set of remasters that give the old games just enough polish to run cleanly on the PC and ensure they can live on to be enjoyed for years to come. While there’s nothing particularly groundbreaking or exciting about the ports, and while I would have really liked seeing a bit more attention paid to crisping up UI elements and maybe polishing the pre-rendered cut scenes, the work on the ports is solid and the games run great and there’s honestly little to complain about. Whatever minor hiccups might exist are completely worth it, as the ability to play all three of these Yakuza games in higher fidelity is by itself a huge treat.

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Mar 12, 2021

I want to love Maquette. It’s is a solid puzzle game whose moments of brilliance are regularly interrupted by stumbles and rough spots. It soars much more often than it dips, but there are enough times where things don’t land that the experience can feel disruptive. While some extra time to polish some of the rough edges would have been majorly beneficial, it’s still a wholly unique piece that merits your time and attention. Just know going in that it’s imperfect, as all of us are, and try not to let those little details get under your skin.

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Feb 11, 2021

While rough around the edges in a few areas, overall The Medium is an excellent adventure that’s not lacking in scares, and is thoughtful in how it approaches its subject matter. I felt the tension, the dread, the sadness, and the fear in those moments where they presented themselves, and I felt a connection to Marianne and her story that I don’t often feel in many games, regardless of genre. It’s a beautiful game to look at and the art direction is excellent throughout. The Medium has a lot of heart and it wants to tell you important things, if you’ll listen. I’m not generally one to say that I enjoyed my time with any horror game, but this is a case where that is absolutely true for me, and that alone is reason enough for me to say this is a world worth experiencing.

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Dec 9, 2020

I honestly could go on about all of the reasons why Hades is so incredibly good for another 1500 words. There is so much to unpack and explore here, but at a certain point you’re better served by just playing the damn thing yourself. Hades is Supergiant at it’s pinnacle. It is the culmination of a decade’s worth of buildup to an unparalleled experience that leverages all of their expertise, and it exemplifies the possibilities of what early access cycles can be with a supportive community and a responsive, talented team of creators. It feels as though everything Supergiant has made prior has been rehearsal for this triumphant performance, but better still, it shows the heights they’re capable of and leaves you with the strong impression that this is just the beginning of what they have in store. Don’t wait for a sale, don’t wait on Hades for any reason; if you are even remotely interested, you absolutely have to play it right away, and I promise you will not regret it.

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I can’t say for sure whether Immortals Fenyx Rising is for you. The systems in this game are absolutely not super in-depth; they are streamlined, easy to understand versions of systems you see in other games, and this is true of character progression, combat, and practically everything else. They are designed to get to the point and let you get on with your game. It’s not overly involved because it doesn’t need to be, and there are plenty of games out there that do get incredibly deep if you want those kinds of experiences. Immortals Fenyx Rising isn’t the perfect antidote to open world fatigue, but it is a damn good first volley at trimming off the extra checklists for the sake of checklists, and giving players a more focused experience that they can dial up or down to suit their tastes. As a bonus, it’s wrapped in a gorgeous looking package with some clever writing and a story that may not be ultra compelling but is fun to enjoy nonetheless. It’s the perfect open world game for somebody who loves Greek mythology, for somebody who wants to have more control over their experience, who wants to be able to kick back and explore without pressure, or who wants to dig into a big game they can actually finish. For me, it’s a fantastic way to revisit a style of game I’d given up on and focus on just having fun with it, which is worth the price of admission for me alone, and I can confidently say that between the three big Ubisoft releases this season, Immortals Fenyx Rising is the game I’ll be choosing to spend my time with.

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Nov 25, 2020

Paradise Killer checks a lot of my favorite boxes. There’s an exciting and strange world to explore, there’s a strong cast of characters to get to know, a solid mystery to solve, and enough throwback references to 90s-era technology and eclectic iconography thrown in to create something that feels nostalgic and completely alien all at once. I’ve honestly never experienced a game quite like this one, and it’s one of the easiest recommendations I’ve been able to make in some time, especially if you relish in the weird. It’s a delight to get lost in Paradise, which leaves a lasting impression in almost every way imaginable.

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Nov 11, 2020

Bugsnax may not be the next big thing in creature collection, but it does a great job of bringing something new to the genre and demonstrates a lot of untapped potential therein. More importantly, it instills you with a sense of adventure in a strange new place to explore where any and all of your expectations are subject to defiance at a moment’s notice. The bugsnax themselves are consistently cute punctuation throughout your journey, but the journey of uncovering the mysteries of Snaktooth Island is far and away the real purpose of this game. Bugsnax will surprise you, it will delight you, and it will absolutely, positively burrow its way into your subconscious once you’ve dug in.

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The Solitaire Conspiracy almost shouldn’t work, but it’s an example of that rare bit of alchemy that manages to fuse together two things that have no business occupying the same space into a shiny, exciting new thing that’s a joy to behold. You could certainly break down the game into its distinctive components, but there is a throughline that runs through all of it that doesn’t just tie those elements together, but makes them feel like they belong in this place with one another. It’s not necessarily a revolution in gaming, but the story is cheeky and fun, and the Solitaire itself is fun enough that you’ll want to keep it installed to continue playing well after the credits roll.

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