The Nioh series has already contended with some or all of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty’s quibbles, so veterans may not be the least bit dissuaded at the similar missteps made here. They’ll find tons of items to pore through and bosses to tangle with over a 35-hour campaign, with additional side quests and some fun 1-on-1 duels to dive back into after the credits scroll. If another Team Ninja Soulslike focused on parrying and inventory management sounds like a great time, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty will certainly deliver, but a lack of mechanical polish and an inflated inconsistent campaign may be a hard sell to the uninitiated.
Wild Hearts should thrive in its post-launch life as new updates accrue, while players devise and trade loadout strategies and boss techniques. Additionally, Koei Tecmo has stated that no microtransactions are planned, with new karakuri, weapons, kemono, and quests expected in the coming months. Our review encompassed single player only, and the game is a completely reasonable and satisfying challenge in offline mode, with an engaging story that builds to some gratifying peaks. Wild Hearts is a class act and an impressive first step at a franchise that feels entirely original, in spite of its direct Monster Hunter competition looming large.
Much like the rest of the game, Dust & Neon’s bosses pretend that they’re interesting, but are absent of charm or character. Then there are the final bosses who require an arbitrary number of level-ups to reach, forcing players to chew through repetitive missions and farm XP, a task which only brings the game’s flaws more readily to the surface. In its finest moments, Dust & Neon presents serviceable roguelite gameplay with responsive controls, but there are better options available with way less meaningless grind required.
Mahokenshi has no “endless” mode or anything of the like, and completing each mission and related side objective grants the game a decided and achievable end-state. One would expect that, with good sales, additional quests and modes (and mods) may eventually be added, all of which would inject some more needed bang for its buck. As it stands, Mahokenshi is still a great, session-based deckbuilder, and worth wading through its few snags.
Re:Call is worth investigating with a playthrough - just be prepared for a paradigm shift just when things are getting good.
High on Life is a mediocre shooter punctuated by sporadic humor that misses more often than it hits. Its self-mocking video game gags were tackled much more effectively in Trover, and the sheer size of the experience only places its faults into greater relief. There are laughs to be had, secret collectibles to sniff out, and some genuinely hilarious riffs on internet forums, but these are not enough to uplift the basic gameplay. High on Life gets the job done, but not in a remarkable way.
The Callisto Protocol brings high-def sci-fi horror to current-gen consoles, but it suffers from a lack of dynamic gameplay ideas outside of its gore.
It's a one-of-a-kind experience, and an easy recommendation for anyone open to some cheap laughs in a world where the points don’t matter.
Three different endings are available to those itching to give The Chant another spin, and our own playthrough took only about six or seven hours from start to credits. Even though there are plentiful elements where the gameplay sags, The Chant is a spirited survival horror custom-made for adherents to the genre’s quirks, and they’ll be delighted at the finale.
The synthwave soundtrack by Jules Reves is also an engaging accompaniment to the combat, though it does drain enthusiasm after 12 hours on repeat. That estimation can be used to describe the wider game as well; Nitro Kid lacks the just-one-more-run qualities of other roguelites, whether it be a range of exciting progressive unlocks or a surprising gameplay curveball. The runs just quickly begin to bleed into one another. Nitro Kid’s foundational systems are definitely smart, but its emergent delights are slim, making it a tough recommendation when there’s so many fantastic, empowering deckbuilders to play.
As it stands, Dome Keeper is still left wanting for more content to flesh out its addictive gameplay concept. At the ten-hour mark, many players will have seen the breadth of its unlocks and will then decide if simply pumping more time into it for the love or leaderboard placement is worth it; a special “prestige” mode is specifically geared towards a risk/reward competitive score style. It’s hard not to simply want more weapons, base mods, and artifacts, even if the gameplay otherwise remains the same. With enough sales, maybe the game will come even more into its own, but Dome Keeper’s unusual mix of combat, time management, and resource-drilling is a magical combo.
In the end, Shovel Knight Dig is more Shovel Knight. The basic gameplay and boss fights are the stars of the show, and they more than make up for the ways that the game struggles in its capacity as a roguelite. It’s got a healthy supply of that just-one-more-attempt magic, which should serve folks hankering for more shovel-swinging action just fine. The irony remains that Shovel Knight Dig is just not exceptionally deep.
As a hybrid game concept, both sides of the Sunday Gold experience don’t always feel fully fleshed out, and it’s better to look at the game as an experimental piece with a terrific aesthetic. Specific puzzles or moments absolutely stood out and felt like premium adventuring, with the turn-based combat pulling the shorter straw. For anyone waiting for a lovely point-and-click adventure that experiments with the genre and never wears out its welcome, Sunday Gold is absolutely worth a look.
Thymesia is a Souls-like with a few neat ideas.
Whether Gigabash proves enduringly sticky enough to weather the wax and wane of the console’s fighting game community seems up to chance, and its prickly price tag isn’t doing it any favors. It’s not a Smash Bros. killer but has its own eccentricities and charm, even while begging for that franchise’s array of match-changing items or epic single-player modes; just a tournament mode or randomized match queue would be welcome. As it stands, it’s still a smooth and quirky kaiju brawler packed with cities and buildings to crush to dust.
It's unfortunate that Loot River feels like an Early Access product in its current state. A scarcity of content and a thoroughly unfinished, unsatisfying feel to the combat, movement, and item discovery makes this title very hard to recommend. The best action-roguelites require rock-solid fundamentals to stand on their own, and a few game-breaking bugs combined with the limited equipment and incorrect item descriptors is cause for concern. Its scant bosses range from easily exploitable to insta-kills, and a deeply unsatisfying core gameplay loop essentially asks players to take on a series of failed runs, with repeat runs betraying how little the game's procedural generation affects these randomized maps. Loot River is a frustrating experience which clearly needed more development time, but hopefully the game finds its footing post-launch.
Anyone discouraged from those popular concerns of free-to-play MMOs will find that Lost Ark is gentle in its pay-to-win leanings. There are predictably seductive premium purchases to be had, but most of them revolve around time-savers and special mounts/skins, and hopefully there's some more free Lost Ark content to come. The architecture of the game seems geared towards dutiful endgamers with decent daily rewards that won’t require dozens of hours a week to maintain. Past that, the early stages of its arrival look promising and there’s considerable content to devour at launch, all for free. Lost Ark is easily worth the download and feels remarkably fully-formed, but it should really thrive with new world events and additional endgame content.
It’s hard to imagine how a Zero Dawn fan could be at all dissatisfied with Guerilla Games’ choices here - the studio has delivered exactly what they were waiting for.
Earlier impressions on Sifu’s camera issues have not been resolved either, and getting cornered by enemies would be less punishing with a more sensibly directed viewable angle. For beat ’em up fans starved for new games to play, Sifu remains an obvious recommendation. Even those taken by its copious charms will want for more after they’ve seen it all, however.
It’s a comparison born of Dead Cells’ tradition of fond inclusions and references to other games in the past, all spun through its irreverence and charm. The persistent attention to detail seen through each of its iterative updates is present in The Queen and the Sea; for instance, eagle-eyed players may spot allusions to The Queen’s protectors in a late-stage level of the main game. The Lighthouse fight is absolutely the centerpiece of this DLC - and one of the most thrilling engagements in the wider game itself - but it all boils down to must-own material for longtime fans.