Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is a beautifully crafted experience that fans old and new will absolutely love. It almost goes too far in correcting the first game's linearity with broad open areas stuffed with things to do, but there's also key additions to the combat, and the story running through this middle chapter is masterfully retold. Really the biggest problem you'll have once the credits roll is knowing that it will be far too many years before we can finish the trilogy.
At best, the Metal Gear Solid HD Master Collection is a cynical cash grab that is trying to repackage and resell you on nostalgia. There are very few reasons to part with your cash at this point: wait for a proper ground-up remake.
Persona 5 Tactica is a good game, but it is a game that's standing on the shoulders of giants – when the giant is the size of Satanael, you have a lot to live up to. Indeed, it's very difficult to score this and not compare it to the other games in the series as a result. Tactica is good, but it's not great, and while it is always nice to sink into that warm-bath feeling of hanging out with your fictional friends, it won't be remembered as either a series high or the best spin-off the franchise has to offer.
Sea of Stars has clearly been made by people with a deep and abiding love of JRPGs. That level of passion is hard to mimic, and the result is a heavily playable game with morish visuals, a cracking story and deeply considered level design. However, while it is very good, it isn't quite perfect. Combat needed to be deeper (or at least escapable) and while the dynamism was a great touch, it wasn't enough to carry it all the way through to the end.
If you're a fan of strong narrative experiences, Final Fantasy lore, breath-taking graphics and a particularly sassy Moogle, and you don't mind a sprinkling of The Witcher, The Handmaids Tale and the many accents of Old Blighty, then Final Fantasy XVI is the game for you. Heck, it might just be the best Final Fantasy yet!
Cassette Beasts is simply one of the best Pokémon-like games I've come across, and I'm looking forward to earning a 100% completion. With a massive end-game and modder support built in at release though, I feel like I'm going to get very sidetracked on the way there.
Tchia is clearly a labour of love as Awaceb try to bring their culture to the rest of the world and show off what it has to offer. I absolutely love that tone and feel, but the way Tchia is packaged and paced means that it is ultimately feels like less than the sum of its parts.
Tales of Symphonia Remastered isn't going to win any awards. It's a soulless cash grab that has come with as little effort by Bandai Namco as possible. If you're a die-hard fan, there may be something here for you, but really you're just paying for the nostalgia hit. Those who didn't play the original and are looking to pick up and enjoy a slice of video game history should let this one go past - there will hopefully be another iteration of this in a few years' time and maybe they'll put more effort into that one.
Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Reunion is essential gaming for Final Fantasy fans - not only because it brings a much beloved game into the modern day, but also because Zack was heavily teased ahead of the next instalment of the Final Fantasy 7 Remake trilogy.
A Plague Tale: Requiem gave me the chills. The graphics, sound design and writing are all phenomenal, and the gameplay is fantastic. There are a few issues with sneaking sections feeling samey, the puzzles being a little too easy, but these are forgivable for just how excellent Amicia and Hugo are as characters. If you enjoyed the first game, or you're just looking for something narratively compelling, Requiem is the game for you.
I really wanted to like Bear and Breakfast more than I did. It isn't a bad game, it's just lacking the polish that could make it exemplary. With some simple quality of life improvements like faster movement, and cooking and crafting from the box, we could have a much smoother game on our hands. As it stands, it's a little too jarring - much like waking up at one of the rooms I built for my visitors...
I really can't give enough praise to the team at Massive Monster for creating something unique and memorable, and also one of the best indie games I've played in a long time. Sure, there's a few rough edges, but this charmingly bloodthirsty lamb that's hell-bent on slaying the unbaalievers has earned a special place in my heart.
The rerelease of Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is a welcome one - it's always good to see these games brought back for a new generation. The fighting feels as good as ever, and looks better than ever thanks to modern hardware, but the storyline and pacing almost feel antithetical in a franchise that was built on just that. Is it a solid fighting game that fans will love? Absolutely. Is it a must-buy for Persona fans? No, probably not.
If I could grade Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duels in Magic Terms, I’d give it a Sideboard B. If you love Yu-Gi-Oh, this is probably the pinnacle of the game’s experience, with modern flourishes and easy access to a huge repository of cards. However, if you’re not a hardcore fan and just fancy dipping your toes in the water, this game is probably not for you — by all means give it a chance, but don’t be surprised if you find its complexities impossible to overcome.
Pokémon Legends Arceus is a must-play game for fans of the franchise. Not only is it the very best Pokémon game yet, but it elegantly takes the formula and flips it on its head, creating a unique new challenge that fans will love. With the nods to the anime and Pokémon games abound, Arceus feels very much like a love letter from Game Freak.
Rush Duelling is a great idea, but Yu-Gi-Oh! Rush Duel: Dawn of the Battle Royale!! is a poorly executed waste of time. While it could be a fun entry point to the franchise for 5–7-year-olds, the frustrating pace of play, coupled with the issues where things just don't work as they are supposed to, makes it far more trouble than it's worth. Do yourself a favour and let this one pass you by.