There is no time like the present to fully invest yourself to the cause, and if you have any reservations about joining the Slayer’s Army, rest assured – this is one of the best, if not THE best, shooter experience you’ve ever laid your hands, eyes, ears, and guts on. Grab your chainsaw. Rip, and tear.
Allow me to be candid for a moment. I work in healthcare and have small children at home. With the fear in the world of CoViD-19 and the surrounding hysteria and panic, these last few weeks have been nothing short of stressful. I’ve had travel plans cancelled, work schedules have been all over the place, and we’ve had some difficulty getting supplies for our home, including fresh food. My family is still in a good place, but the thoughts and worries have been constant clouds in my mind. Ori and the Will of the Wisps has been a welcome escape from these concerns. For a few short bursts of time, I was able to escape the crowded grocery lines and travel through Niwen, full of friendly faces and frightening foes alike, all placed in one of the most beautiful video game worlds to date. The credits rolled for me at just over 10 hours of play, but I expect to get a few more hours reaching towards the 100% marker in the first playthrough alone. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is available on PC and Xbox One via Xbox Game Pass, which runs at such a cheap price that this game should be a no-brainer for most people to play. For me, this is the first high profile release of 2020, and is a near-perfect Chapter One to what looks to be a very promising year.
My spooky investigation of The Suicide of Rachel Foster was overall enjoyable, and being compared at all to some of its obvious influences is a compliment in its own right. Nevertheless, I walked away feeling like the story could’ve had more to give. I spent just over three hours at the Timberline Hotel, which could have been extended some to prevent feeling rushed in the final act. Retailing at $17.99 USD, the money-to-time investment ratio could be fairly compared to purchasing a movie. If story-driven or horror-themed walking simulators are your preferred brand, this shouldn’t be a game you miss. Otherwise, a Steam sale sometime this year will likely feature this game at a nice discount.
The Pedestrian is a rewarding puzzle game with well-made brain busters that challenge the likes of Portal. This was originally a Kickstarter campaign, so if you’ve made the initial $15 investment to back the game, you should know that your money was well-spent. If you’re looking to pick this up on Steam, $20 is an appropriate price. The only barrier to being worth much more is the overall short length of the game. In case it’s unclear, I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of The Pedestrian.
Few games have caused as much controversy and conversation in 2019 as Pokemon Sword/Shield, from the exclusion of previous Pokemon to the inclusion of gym missions and version-specific battles. For many, the question remains: Are Pokemon Sword and Shield good games, and more importantly, are they good Pokemon games? To both of these inquiries, I have to concede a confident “yes”. Pokemon has never felt better than it does in Sword and Shield, between variation of available monsters, flow of the storyline, larger than life moments and battles, and overall graphical integrity. I do understand the reservations many fans have, and share some of my own disappointment with them, but couldn’t help but smile while traveling through the Wild Area on my electric powered bike-ski.
If you are getting the idea that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a great Star Wars game, then you’re on the right track, and I believe that Respawn (and EA) is too. There is so much great about this game that it can be easy to overlook its obvious flaws: graphical errors and glitches, a static and sometimes flawed combat system, unrewarding collectibles, and lacking RPG elements being chief amongst those complaints. A full play through of the campaign took me just over 12 hours – a span that told a cohesive story with impressive components, but in the end nearly overstayed its welcome and resulted in a game that felt to me rather one-note. Jedi: Fallen Order feels like a great base game that Respawn can build upon to make deeper, richer, and more stable sequels that fully explore the powers of a Jedi while polishing the individual elements borrowed from each different genre.
If you can overcome (or somehow master) the imperfect controls of Luigi’s Mansion 3, you will be presented with the best Luigi’s Mansion experience available. The entire game is brimming with charisma, through the soundtrack, set pieces, and cinematic moments of grandeur. I have felt comfortable combing through each floor at a leisurely pace, my four-year-old excitedly watching over my shoulder every step of the way. Fans of the series shouldn’t be dismayed by the sixty dollar price tag, either. This game is both lengthier and meatier than either of its counterparts, and there is plenty to do and see for casual players and completionists alike.
Concrete Genie is not everybody’s game, especially those who don’t already have a deep appreciation of visual art. The story is catered mostly for a younger audience, as a single adult doesn’t appear in the game outside of hasty flashbacks. The gameplay remains mostly static throughout its admittedly short six- to nine-hour playtime, outside of the aforementioned combat sequences that, although properly functioning, don’t really provide any new experiences or challenges that any gamer wouldn’t already be familiar with. The trailers for Concrete Genie do thankfully provide an accurate representation of the game, so if those trailers intrigue you, I think the $29.99 pricetag may justify this creative endeavor.
After 26 years, returning to Koholint Island was a pleasant escape that provided a thoroughly realized game world that I had forgotten how much I loved. Most players will finish Link’s Awakening in under 10 hours, though collecting every seashell and piece of heart, or journeying through Hero mode after finishing a normal playthrough, will extend that game time dramatically. To some gamers’ dismay, this game is priced at $59.99 retail and in the US eShop. Complaints range from the relatively short campaign and cartoonish graphics to the fact of it not being a new game at all, but I would be challenged to find a more polished and charming game in 2019. For me, the weird, wonderful world of Koholint Island, with all of its funny characters, clever dungeons, and inspired background music, made the price tag worth every penny.
Cat Quest II inhabits the same world as its predecessor, though stars different characters and locations, and those familiar with Cat Quest will discover the experience has not substantially differed in its sequel. The same action-RPG gameplay abounds in the new entry, with plenty of dungeons, collectibles, and pet-related puns to keep you busy with light-hearted fun for a few hours. Unfortunately, if you’ve already play Cat Quest or are not a fan of action-RPGs, there may not be a lot of substance in this feline frenzy to feast upon.