Observation is almost a great game. Characters are interesting enough to hold up an often-surprising story, gameplay sweats intensity and is rewarding more often than not, and what No Code has managed to put together in spite of its small budget is tremendous. What stings more than anything is the thought of what could be. The game has a lot of things that need fixing, even if the hiccups are mostly surface level and technical. Observation truly seems to be only a few patches away from cementing itself as a worthwhile experience in the narratively-driven genre of games. Until then, Observation’s shot at the moon left it drifting into space.
FromSoftware is owed immense praise for creating a beautiful world brimming with life that still oppresses in every conceivable way without falling under the Dark Souls umbrella. Challenge, character, and the primal need to keep moving forward are still key features in FromSoftware’s design arsenal that has inspired for 10 years. Creators could learn from Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice’s uncompromising focus and freshness for years to come, even if its roots are planted in familiarity.
Ape Out is a beautiful game that is impossible to forget, yet finds itself with plenty of imperfections. The lengths the game goes to empower players in the world of a trapped gorilla are perfect and make the game easy enough to recommend. That said, some minor tweaks to the procedural level generation and more options to take out goons could have given Ape Out the tools to rise to the top. A sequel could do more to improve on the gameplay formula and should be on everyone’s radar, assuming Ape Out 2 is planned for the future, of course. Until then, Ape Out remains as an experience everyone should give a try, even if its gameplay does not quite meet the savory standards of its own presentation.
No other game exists that offers the same experience that Insomniac's Spider-Man does. Even the Batman: Arkham series from which Spider-Man garnered many of its ideas from does not implement a system that constantly injects a sense of wonder like web swinging. Peter is learning to stand as an idol for New Yorkers, and Insomniac manages to put players right in the driver's seat. The LA-based studio knew it had great power when it was given the reigns to one of Marvel's biggest faces, and every ounce of effort poured into this project shows that. Spider-Man on PS4 is not just a love letter to everyone who has ever loved the wall-crawler as a superhero; the game is a love letter to everyone who has loved his games too.
All-in-all, 'Nightfall' finds itself drenched in detail. Aragami lovers, and even general stealth genre fans, will find content here worth sticking around for, especially for the cheap price. On the other hand, those players hoping for any building upon Aragami's solid-enough foundation will be sorely disappointed. The genuinely new pulls in the package are shallow beyond belief due to a lackluster story and cool powers that are never given time to shine through the darkness. 'Nightfall' is an add-on with a ton of potential that missteps so often that it falls just a bit more than it strides.
The best way to summarize DBFZ is that it is Dragon Ball in its purest form. The game is ridiculous and odd, but filled with decades of lore that fits right in with its faithful graphics. DBFZ's challenge and accessibility are only matched by its commitment to a proper adaptation that will appeal to both the oldest and newest of fans. The beginning hours of the story is where the game's biggest flaws can be found, which ultimately hurt the game's chances of keeping players hooked. DBFZ has so much beneath this thin surface though, so players who are turned off upon their first hour with the game should really give it another go. The story will always be an annoyance, but this is a small gripe in a game filled to the brim with exceptional content. DBFZ is a Super Saiyan experience and essential for anyone who has memories from the anime—present or past. Those who are not fans will still find a fantastic game, but a bit of research and patience may be needed to fully grasp what is, without a doubt, the greatest Dragon Ball game ever released.
Regardless of a few minor errors, Odyssey is an absolute joy to play through. Bowser's latest attempt at kidnapping Peach is an interesting one, but the adventure does not stop after the credits roll. In fact, the game's offerings seemingly have no end, and sets a new bar for Mario's 3D ventures: one that stands much higher than anyone could have expected. Creativity and pure joy shine in Odyssey, and they do so in a way that will be looked to by developers, artists, and gamers for a long time to come.