The fact that the developers implemented so many quality of life changes while simultaneously maintaining the game’s charms with such finesse makes Tactics Ogre Reborn stand tall and easily become one of the biggest surprises this year, as I didn’t think I would have so much fun with a strategy RPG released over 25 years ago.
I simply enjoyed the hell out of this video game. This journey comes out swinging and never lets up. Even during its subtle moments, you'll be captivated one way or another by the characters, the scenery, and the level of quality that only a handful of creators can accomplish. The folks at Santa Monica Studio are true masters of their art, and I can’t recommend God of War Ragnarok enough.
Soulstice is a fast-paced action adventure that has all the elements required to scratch that Bayonetta or Devil May Cry itch, but struggles to maintain its momentum due to combat design choices, dull characters, and the lack of flair that’s usually associated with games in its genre.
Everything I loved about the first game is intact, now with a visual uplift and a few enhancements. But the changes in The Last of Us Part 1 didn’t greatly enhance the finer points of this masterpiece, to an extent that I wouldn’t recommend this release right off the gate.
The new Saints Row isn’t making any bold statements here or pushing any limits. This release is Volition's way of saying that the series is back and that they have not forgotten why they’ve been able to release four mainline titles with this amount of silliness in the past. The essence of the Saints Row series is intact with this reboot, just slightly altered to fit modern tastes. It’s just unfortunate to not see drastic changes to the game’s core systems like combat, which could have propelled the series to new heights.
It’s been a while since I've been this engrossed in a video game world, but Stray is a journey that wouldn’t have worked if it wasn’t explored through a cat’s perspective. I sucked in as much of the game as I could because it was a joy to do so, and I was left emotionally invested towards the end. Some will be turned off by Stray’s short campaign, but there’s enough here to make the experience feel complete.
Outriders Worldslayer doesn’t answer all of the game’s main problems. This isn’t new content that will entice new players, but will rather sustain the game’s current fans. Players new to the game will still have to determine if the Outriders formula is for them, as Worldslayer doesn’t improve the new player experience; it actually complicates it.
I had a blast playing The Quarry, and it was unfortunate that you see more of the cracks during your second or third run of the game. There isn’t anything groundbreaking in The Quarry if you’ve played Until Dawn or any of the Dark Anthology games, but Supermassive games definitely delivered the best and most accessible version of the formula they are known for, and if you’re a horror fan, you’ll appreciate this one night in Hackett’s Quarry.
Sifu is the perfect representation of why the martial arts genre is so beloved by many and tackled through various mediums through the years. The amount of detail in the moves shown in this game empowers the player, making you feel like you can take on the world. The difficulty may be a turn-off to some, but the difficulty options added recently make it a more accessible game in comparison to how the game first launched in February, giving a chance for more players to experience how much of a gem this game really is, and how much it can inspire future games aimed at delivering a similar experience.
I enjoyed my time with Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising but as I was playing more of it, I kept thinking that this is a game that can be so much more. For both the narrative, its town building, level design, and combat – each one has a solid foundation in place but never takes it up a notch.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is the best modern Borderlands game out there today. Despite its issues, Gearbox Software has delivered its best take on the Borderlands gameplay, paired with genre-appropriate humor and a setting that reminded me why I enjoy diving into this type of looter shooter every now and then.
Gran Turismo 7 checks all of the boxes of what would be expected from a palatable Gran Turismo game, but has some questionable design choices that weigh it down. With Gran Turismo Café leading the way, this is the most approachable GT game to newcomers, whether in the series, or of car racing in general.
Elden Ring is a triumph of a video game that still found ways to surprise me even after crossing the 70 hour mark. I can't get enough of this game as this is definitely one of a kind. A rare gem that only surfaces once a century. A game that will shape how open world games are made, even future souslike games, making me excited for the games that come before it.
While Horizon Forbidden West doesn’t break the mold of the action-adventure open-world genre, it further enriches its blend of entertaining combat within a unique world that still stands out among other post-apocalyptic offerings. They might not have stuck the landing very well, but that wasn’t enough to completely stain the complete experience.
Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is an okay option for those getting into Uncharted for the first time with the latest games on the PS5. I replayed the new versions of both titles and was reminded how entertaining they are, not only to the player, but to those fortunate enough to be spectating.
Ubisoft is playing the long game with Rainbow Six Extraction. Right now, you’re not missing much if you choose to give this one a pass on release, but there’s definitely potential here, making this title worth keeping an eye on in the near future.
The problem with Vanguard is that it’s difficult to recommend with multiplayer being its strongest asset, which is something Black Ops Cold War and the Modern Warfare reboot provided well enough, as there isn’t a big enough change in the gameplay formula to warrant a switch. In the end, Vanguard simply asks if you prefer the World War II setting enough to buy it at full price. If not, I think you’ll be good with whatever Call of Duty title you have right now.
Riders Republic is a solid game all around; even in terms of its technical aspects, I hardly experienced hiccups that would hamper the experience. It can make you a believer in games like it - Ubisoft has a clear winner on their hands that, if nurtured properly, could spawn a community that will gladly take in any new content coming their way in the future.
Diablo II: Resurrected is a great remaster that will satisfy veteran players that treat Diablo II like comfort food. Those who’ve never played Diablo II will find Resurrected more palatable than the original thanks to myriad graphics improvements and minor changes, and will soon find out why Diablo II is considered by many to be one of the greatest games of all time.
What we have here is a game that puts the franchise in a new spotlight at the start of a new generation of consoles, reminding us that the Tales Of series is alive and in good hands. This linear adventure can serve as a great escape, with enough content to keep you invested for weeks, or even months. A few issues can be found in Tales of Arise, but they weren’t enough to taint my time with the game, as this is easily one of the best JPRGs I’ve played in years.