Need for Speed Heat has a great visual style that smartly leans into the tuner culture that helped set the series apart in games like Most Wanted and Underground. Unfortunately its sluggish progression and weak online offerings keep this from reaching the heights of the series.
Not content to simply remake these games, this collection offers a nearly complete (sorry SNES Aladdin fans) look into these games and what made them so special. If you weren't a fan in the 90s, you won't be persuaded now, but for older players looking to tap into some sweet nostalgia or a new generation discovering these for the first time, this collection hits all the right notes.
If you want to explore a mysterious, puzzle-filled world, you could do much worse than The Eyes of Ara, but its transition from PC to Switch leaves plenty to be desired. It is perfectly functional as a solid adventure to keep you busy on a long road trip, but this version is a tough sell for anyone with an adequate computer at home.
The Last Remnant is an interesting experiment in expanding the traditional turn-based battle system, but there are enough annoyances in that system and weaknesses in its setting and characters to keep this from reaching the heights it's clearly reaching for.
World of Final Fantasy Maxima is by no means perfect (it, in fact, has many notable flaws) but I had a fun time indulging in my love of Final Fantasy and with a Pokemon twist. This new Maxima add-on only makes the overall experience better, but is a fairly light package for anyone that played the base game already. If you were champing at the bit for any new content, then this gives players some new monsters to collect, but it ultimately is more additive than transformative.
The Forge is a disappointingly brief and underwhelming add-on to an excellent game. What is there is technically good, but hard to recommend as content that Square Enix is asking you to pay for. I'd recommend holding off to see if the rest of the season pass is worthwhile or if you should pass on it entirely.
Instead of simply running you through various battles of World War I, Valiant Hearts: The Great War uses the story of a French family to build a better understanding of the broader historical importance. This personal story serves as the perfect framing device for the game's documentary-style presentation. While there are a few missteps and areas where it could have been stronger, it is a beautiful and well-executed game that offers a unique glimpse into one of the deadliest wars in human history.
Honestly, the nicest thing I can say about Heavy Fire: Red Shadow is that it's over in two hours. It is at least technically playable with some interesting mechanics. But even if you are specifically looking for a wave-based, arcade-style turret game, I'd still stay away. This game offers little of value and is fun only if I stretch that word beyond its absolute limit.
The depth on offer in Cities Skylines is staggering, which is why being able to pick that up and take it with you is so exceptional. There is a limit to how successfully the console version is able to emulate the PC experience, but it does a good enough job that I can't recommend the game enough to the Switch owner hankering for a city building game for their favorite hybrid console.
This is the Police 2 is an impeccably grim view of the modern police force. It deconstructs and subverts police genre stories with a protagonist that offers no remorse and warrants no redemption. It does this while providing an intriguing and vibrant cast of characters and a rewarding gameplay loop. It isn't perfect, but it certainly should not be missed.
As an anachronistic curio it fits well among a growing stable of small, simple experiences to take on the go. Getting it off the phone and onto dedicated game consoles lends it an air of importance that the game design doesn't always back up, but it has an endearing style and gratifying challenge enough to warrant reuniting the two oft-imperiled blobs.
Torna: The Golden Country is an ambitious addition to an already enormous game, but by stripping away many of the features on the sides of the experience, you're left with a game that never quite finds the highs present in the original game. The story was fun, if hammy at times, but worth seeing. I only wish they had taken better advantage of the excellent changes to combat here to deliver more on the faster-paced combat rather than the dull and laborious side quests.
Lara Croft is no more, and the Tomb Raider takes her place. This latest entry is a wonderful cap on this rebooted series that delivers on both the promise to refresh the character of Lara Croft and to bring the action of old Tomb Raider games to the modern era. It was a fun and visually stunning game from beginning to end.
Dragon Quest XI is a big game with lots to see and do, and you won't breeze through the game in a weekend. If you are willing to put in the time and see it to the end, though, the game is highly rewarding as a JRPG with a surprising amount of depth. Some of its larger story moments are enjoyable in their own right even if they can be derivative or are mere shadows of specific moments from classics of the genre, but while the game may not reinvent the JRPG, I had a blast making my way across Erdrea.
A story of loyalty and honor, it is peerless in the crime fiction genre. The gameplay is so varied and exhaustive even if you tend to simply solve all your problems with your fists.There are some kinks to work out about how it deals with its more lascivious content, but what this game does well, it does so well that all I want to do is get right back in to see what I missed.
Despite some gripes about the translation from PC to console, The Banner Saga 3 does an admirable job wrapping up a grim tale of separation and loss. And it does that with challenging and fun tactical battles as well as fascinating player choice throughout.
Semblance lets you deform your platforms to solve puzzles how you want, but it limits your tools so severely that the promise of that idea is wasted on mediocre puzzles. It has a neat look, but like its core mechanic, it wears thin even before you get to the end of your two hour trip through the game.
Racing through remixed and all new zones at blistering speeds is reminiscent of old Sonic while also surpassing it in almost every way. The new characters they bring to Sonic Mania Plus are excellent additions to the stable of playable critters, so it's somehow an even better package than Sonic Mania was last year.