Matthew Zawodniak


88 games reviewed
63.1 average score
60 median score
33.3% of games recommended
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Jan 20, 2023

As much as I loved the chance to play an additional chapter, Tiki's paralogue doesn't live up to the standard set by base game maps, and the Emblem Bracelets themselves don't add much to a completed save file-though it was nice to see Tiki and the house leaders get a chance to talk to Marth and Byleth since the Emblem characters never actually talk to each other in the base game. The expansion pass is a better value if you purchase it early in your playthrough, but you'll likely be stuck in the same position I am now for the remaining five Emblem characters to be added throughout 2023. Ironically the DLC is likely to be more enticing for players who pick up Engage late after all of the additional content has been added, since it's tough to say you'll get your money's worth now unless you're confident you'll still be playing Fire Emblem Engage at the end of this year.

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Jan 17, 2023

I have never played a game quite so ravenously, sinking over ninety hours into my first playthrough in just two weeks (though don't get too intimidated by that number, it counts all of my resets from playing on Hard difficulty, and I also played all fifteen optional chapters). At the end of it all I didn't feel exhausted or burnt out, but rather like I somehow wished that I could play for even longer. Fire Emblem Engage may not check every box that fans were hoping for, but it is easily the strongest showing for the series in the last decade.

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9 / 10.0 - Bayonetta 3
Oct 25, 2022

Bayonetta 3 is the kind of game that makes you wonder where a series could possibly go from here, because I can't imagine a sequel being bigger or better than this.

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I would be unsure about recommending the best port of this game now, but my feelings on the Switch version specifically are far less complicated. This is not a very good port, and the baffling difference in quality between the original game and its prequel only makes that more blatant. If I could rewind time, I would go back and avoid playing this port so I could simply live with my positive memories of the original instead of confronting the serious letdown the remaster has turned out to be.

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I was nervous about how it would hold up on Switch, especially given how troublesome its PC port was at launch, and I am incredibly happy to have been wrong to worry. This might be the best third-party Switch port I've ever played, which makes it incredibly easy to recommend this game to anyone who has never played it before. There are simply no two ways about it: NieR Automata was a triumph of design in 2017, and it is a triumph of porting big games to Switch in 2022.

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8 / 10.0 - Splatoon 3
Sep 13, 2022

It's even tougher to accept alongside an even older game like Mario Kart 8 doubling its content in DLC for half the price. If you're looking for reasons to upgrade from Splatoon 2, the differences are so small that I can't say there's anything that would convince you. On the bright side, if the words "Splatoon 3" were all you needed to get excited, then make no mistake: this is-by a small margin-the best Splatoon has ever been.

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4 / 10.0 - Restless Soul
Sep 6, 2022

Unfortunately I didn't find any of them to be very funny, which was only exacerbated by the non-stop parade of attempts at humor. The writing is just not very good, which could have been fine if there was a great game to get attached to, but that sadly isn't the case. Between poor writing and gameplay with less depth than a Mario Party minigame, Restless Soul simply doesn't have anything I think is worth seeing.

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Jul 8, 2022

The sheer scale and depth of this game's commitment to matching Three Houses' style and structure made for a very pleasant surprise that sadly made it even more disappointing when the ending fell as flat as it did. Almost overnight I went from not being able to get enough of the game to wondering if I had it in me to play even one more of the game's three story routes. Three Hopes is a must play for diehard fans of both Fire Emblem and Dynasty Warriors alike, but I almost wish that it had committed less to the scale of its story so that its poor final hours weren't so much of a bitter pill to swallow.

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6 / 10.0 - Sonic Origins
Jul 2, 2022

The only thing that I think this collection truly accomplishes is making some great games available on modern consoles, and that is the absolute bare minimum I can ask. These games-with the possible exception of Sonic 1-are great, and this is a perfectly playable version of them. Sadly, we've seen the potential of what a Classic Sonic collection could be, and Sonic Origins absolutely does not live up to that potential.

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Jun 21, 2022

I normally believe it is bad form to talk about other reviews in my own review, but I cannot help but feel awkward and a bit guilty when I see the universal acclaim this game has gotten. Between a 90 on Metacritic and an 'Overwhelmingly Positive' rating on Steam, it would be dishonest for me to say that I think you will not enjoy Echo of Starsong. However, it would also be dishonest for me to pretend that I did. Basic probability says that you will likely love this game, but if the game's random dice roll events have taught me anything, it's that even the highest chance of success can still lead to a hollow tale of failure.

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Apr 11, 2022

A Vita version was originally planned before the game was delayed so much that the idea of releasing a new game on Sony's dying handheld was laughable. Because of that, this version feels like 13 Sentinels is finally where it was meant to be all along. This game is wild and weird in all the best ways, and there has never been a better time to play it than right now.

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Apr 9, 2022

Its ruined yet beautiful world carries a tone of wonder and amazement throughout the entire game, and HAL Laboratory undoubtedly stuck the landing while transitioning the series' gameplay into 3D. Though I am disappointed in the small number of copy abilities, the game's issues are mere bumps in the road compared to its many triumphs. It is the only game I can think of to make me cry from the sheer joy of how cute and heartwarming it can be, and it is in my opinion the best game Kirby's name has ever been on.

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undefined.Sadly I am much less conflicted on the quality of the Switch port in particular. While none of the problems are significant enough to truly prevent someone from enjoying this game, the fact that such fundamental problems from a previous version have not been addressed makes it difficult to justify this version over any others. I think it's worth seeking out and trying Danganronpa for yourself, but I can't recommend doing so by playing a port of the mobile version running poorly on Switch.

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I want to say that Ruined King is great, because on a design level it is. It shows off the appeal of Runeterra while crafting a unique RPG battle system that is deep, engaging, and rewarding. But the presence of such an obvious and debilitating bug makes it difficult for me to recommend. Some may say that I’m making a mountain out of a molehill over having to take five minutes out of my time every couple of hours, and I have no doubt that many people will probably push past the bug and still love the game regardless.

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As a smaller budget game, the rhythm mechanics are decent enough, and once you unlock Full Action Mode the problems with freestyle mayhem completely disappear. Unfortunately, more freestyle mayhem means more performance drops, which means more missed button presses. Hextech Mayhem is a fine little game, but the fact that the best way to play just doesn't work sometimes and is only available after finishing the game, I'm not sure I can really recommend it to anyone that isn't a League of Legends fan that's really itching to see more of Ziggs in action.

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Comparing Tokyo 2020 to Mario & Sonic is not only unavoidable, it's also just weird. Mario & Sonic released in November 2019, and while Tokyo 2020 was always going to release a little later it was delayed a full year due to the real life Olympics being postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With more than a year and half gap between the two video games, it's bizarre that the one that had so much longer to be worked on ends up feeling more rushed and lacking in comparison to its counterpart. Tokyo 2020 would be tough to recommend on its own merits, but placed next to Mario & Sonic there really doesn't seem to be any reason to choose the "Official" Olympic Games.

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7 / 10.0 - Cruis'n Blast
Sep 14, 2021

There's no doubt that Cruis'n Blast is going to serve a relatively niche audience, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. The sheer spectacle on display combined with vast opportunity for technical skill makes for an incredibly engaging arcade racing game that focuses on letting the player have pure, unfiltered fun. It's a shame that there isn't any form of online functionality to provide a little extra meaning to the experience, since that little extra motivation could've elevated Cruis'n Blast from a good game to a great game.

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Sep 6, 2021

At its best it feels just like the Wii game, and at its worst it's an obvious step down. There is some minor added content like cosmetics that are unlocked through new collectibles, but they simply can't outweigh all the problems introduced in this version. The original version of this game is a personal favorite to this day, but Sonic Colors Ultimate on Switch is just a disgrace that only succeeds at worsening Sonic's already poor reputation.

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6.5 / 10.0 - No More Heroes 3
Aug 27, 2021

Even the game's style and technical performance are wildly inconsistent between the sublime combat and sterile overworld. It feels half-baked in the most literal sense, with one half being cooked to perfection, and the other half still cold from the freezer. I just can't shake the feeling that I'm the one doing something wrong, because I'm just not sure how a game can be so incredibly good, and yet so very bad.

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Jul 26, 2021

Despite a few struggles with the franchise's constant challenge of toeing the line between its story and gameplay, Great Ace Attorney feels like a series highlight. Ace Attorney as a whole feels like it's in limbo now since we're now four years past a brand new game being released in any territory, but hopefully this long-awaited localization is a sign of things to come. The Great Ace Attorney may not technically be a new game, but it's still just as good as I would expect a brand new Ace Attorney to be after half a decade's wait.

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