Mark Fajardo


178 games reviewed
77.4 average score
80 median score
67.4% of games recommended
Feb 22, 2024

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth shines as a standout game of 2024, offering players an expansive and immersive experience that keeps them engaged from beginning to end. With a perfect mix of nostalgia and fresh innovations, Rebirth surpasses its predecessor in every way. From its stunning open-world exploration to its polished combat system and fun side activities, Rebirth sets a new benchmark for JRPGs. All these things combine to cement Final Fantasy VII Rebirth’s status as a must-play game that will likely remain one of the year’s best titles.

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Feb 12, 2024

Perhaps the optimal approach to grasping Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden is to view it as a high-investment endeavor. Initially, progress may feel sluggish, and the narrative might seem disjointed. However, with increased time and effort, the experience undergoes a marked improvement. Admittedly, transitioning from a lackluster encounter to a satisfactory expertise may not represent the most favorable exchange. Nevertheless, enthusiasts of ghosts, the occult, or dialogue-rich adventures are likely to discover it worthwhile.

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9 / 10.0 - Persona 3 Reload
Feb 7, 2024

This is a great example of a remake done right. Not only were there plenty of reasons to revisit this classic, the improvements were quite welcome. It's unfortunate it still occasionally shows its age, plus the lack of FES, but the overall experience really shows why later titles had so much momentum. So if you loved the original, or just want to see what the hype is about, I think you'll more than love Persona 3 Reload.

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Jan 23, 2024

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth surpasses expectations with its seamless integration of compelling narrative, diverse gameplay mechanics, and innovative features such as tag team attacks, or Sujimon Battles. The meticulously crafted landscapes of Yokohama, and Hawaii, complemented by the return of beloved characters elevate the narrative, captivating both series veterans and newcomers alike. Positioned as a must-play, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth offers an unforgettable journey through vibrant worlds that firmly establishes it as an early standout among the best games of 2024.

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There is really only so much to say about Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince. It's fun, designs remain fantastic, though at its core it isn't particularly deep. Those into the Dragon Quest brand will undoubtedly enjoy it, as will those looking for a good pick up and play adventure. It would be nice if there was a bit more depth, but even in its current form it isn't hard to get your money's worth.

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7.5 / 10.0 - Ghostrunner 2
Oct 23, 2023

I'd describe Ghostrunner 2 as a safe sequel. Those who love the original will almost certainly feel the same about this, just like those who hate it will probably find their opinion unchanged. If nothing else, it's a fun adventure that has a fair amount of replay value, even if some of that is simply figuring out the best way to cut down those who stand against you.

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Jun 28, 2023

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s a lot of fun. The gameplay might be more straightforward, though creative solutions more than make up for it. This, combined with an engaging narrative that doesn’t take itself too seriously, makes for adventure fans of Ace Attorney, or story-driven puzzle games will surely enjoy.

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9.5 / 10.0 - Final Fantasy XVI
Jun 21, 2023

Final Fantasy XVI is a well-crafted experience and a strong Game of the Year contender. Not only does it have a gripping narrative that restored my faith in Square Enix’s ability to tell a gripping story, but it also features several improvements that fans and newcomers alike will enjoy. This isn’t just improved visuals that scream Final Fantasy and a combat system balanced with players of various skill levels in mind. Hardcore players have a robust system to explore that expands on higher difficulties, with less skilled individuals having various paths to experience all that Final Fantasy XVI has to offer.

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Jun 19, 2023

At its core Etrian Odyssey, Origins Collection are enjoyable games in this genre. Some will find the simplistic and mostly menu-driven adventure unappealing, though fans of it will likely be engrossed in the world. This, coupled with a different look than the overly detailed designs typically found here, helps Etrian Odyssey Origins Collection stand out. So if you’re looking for a new dungeon crawler, you’ll likely be happy.

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Jun 15, 2023

At its core, Layers of Fear is a rather generic survival horror experience. Most of your adventure will be exploring locations for clues or solving rather basic puzzles. Eventually, you meet hostile forces; they’re more annoying than scary. For these reasons, it’s probably worth it if you love the genre, but you might want to look into something else for everyone else.

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9 / 10.0 - Diablo IV
Jun 9, 2023

I wouldn’t say Diablo IV reinvents the wheel, but I wouldn’t say it needs to. The core experience is quite fun that is just a pleasurable experience. Add in the endless amounts of content, the ability to play as multiple different classes, and upcoming changes, and it should be a safe choice for anyone looking for their looter fix. Especially if they love everything, Diablo has to offer. So if you’re on the fence, there is no better time to join than now.

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8.5 / 10.0 - Live A Live
May 7, 2023

It’s great to see Square Enix reach into their past and allow a new generation to experience some of its best titles. While there are some negatives to Live A Live, such as weak combat and bite-size adventures, these quirks work in portable versions favors. This version loads slightly faster, so many performance quirks are part of the software. Since this isn’t quite a complete remake, the differences are marginal at best.

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May 3, 2023

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is a reasonably safe AAA experience. Combat can be fun, especially if you’re good at it. For those who need more help or want to slice down foes, there is also a difficulty for you. Locations might have some derivative mechanics, yet that doesn’t stop me from wanting to explore them. Add in what fans love about Star Wars, and it might not be revolutionary, but it is an experience fans of the franchise or sci-fi itself will almost certainly enjoy.

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Apr 24, 2023

At its core, Fairy Fencer F: Refrain Chord feels like a different take on the Neptunia formula. For this reason, fans of the franchise will absolutely enjoy this adventure. For everyone else, it’s a good strategy RPG with amusing dialogue. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s still a lot of fun. Especially if you take the time to do all the optional content.

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Mar 14, 2022

Triangle Strategy does what it sets out to do quite well. It’s engaging, the story is interesting if you’re invested in it and there is the ability to explore or ignore it if you want to. Unfortunately, the slower aspects won’t appeal to everyone, some might even be overwhelmed by the options, though it’s a solid strategy RPG that will give you plenty to do at home or on the go.

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9.5 / 10.0 - Elden Ring
Feb 23, 2022

What makes Elden Ring work is a deep understanding of both what players like about the games and what makes the setting different. It should immediately feel different, yet the same, making for a wonderful experience. Some might be put off by the more accessible nature, at least initially, though it does a good job of offering this without taking away from what makes the experience special. You’ll still struggle, die, make another mistake, die, get to the boss and then die again. Just instead of putting people off, it encourages using the awareness to your advantage. For these reasons, along with the wonderful cutscenes that touch on a fascinating narrative and delightful scenery, it’s easy to recommend Elden Ring.

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Nov 4, 2021

Shin Megami Tensei V is the Shin Megami Tensei game fans have been waiting for. Not only it does improve the core gameplay, but it also offers a dark-gritty storyline that exceeds previous efforts. There is so much to do in Shin Megami Tensei V that could make you easily forget how long you’ve been playing. If you have been a fan of the SMT games, Shin Megami Tensei V is a must-buy, and for JRPG gamers, it is a game you don’t want to miss.

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Unfortunately, Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water wasn’t perfect when it released on Nintendo Wii U, nor is does the remaster fix everything. While the flaws hold it back, the game succeeds by providing the horrific and eerie atmosphere that the franchise is known for. There is a lot that fans will appreciate, it’s newcomers who might not care for the dated approach. However, whether you’re a fan or newcomer, if you give Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water a fair chance, you’ll likely not be disappointed.

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6.2 / 10.0 - New World
Oct 25, 2021

New World could be presented as a gateway to MMOs (“My First MMO,” if you will). The simplistic combat may entice those who have been overwhelmed by the busy hotbars of games like Final Fantasy XIV. The many allusions to survival games also provide an easy way to integrate those new to the genre. But I don’t believe everything on offer here is going to pull anyone away from the titan MMOs still holding their thrones. New World is at its best when you wander into the dense forests and toil away endlessly with the (arguably therapeutic) gathering portion of the game. Those pork chops and apple sauce meals won’t cook themselves, after all.

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Speaking for myself, The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes starts very strong, takes an instant nose dive, and then meanders to one of the conclusions. Linear paths, obvious secrets, blatant choices, and more take so much out of the experience. Sure, players are still rewarded with so many tiny details, it just isn’t interesting enough to warrant the ride. It’s hard to go from a man in a golden mask taking the life of a woman before his people are brutally killed by monstrous beasts to getting orders about how this insurrection is going to play out and then three hours in a hole looking for more interesting things to do. It’s a shame too since the interesting things are there, it would probably just work better as a movie than a game.

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