Persona 3 Reload feels simultaneously like it has been adequately modernised and yet also remains stuck in the past. While the updated combat and visuals make the game a lot more approachable for fans whose first game in the series was Persona 5, the monotonous procedurally generated dungeon that takes up half the game is hard to look past. Furthermore, for players who are existing fans of Persona 3, it is a definite shame that so much of the new content introduced in other versions of the game isn't present here. Despite those shortcomings, Persona 3 Reload remains an excellent (if not necessarily definitive) version of a groundbreaking JRPG that is still a joy to play in 2024, and Persona and general JRPG fans are sure to have a great time.
True to the tagline of its publisher, UDO is certainly a short yet sweet game. As far as roguelikes go, fans of UDO's bigger-budget brethren may find the game a little insubstantial, and it is true that within a handful of hours you will have encountered all that the game has to offer. That said, I can't deny that I had fun bouncing down a big hole and drilling through bugs and big rocks, and some of the unlockable abilities do a lot to mix up what is otherwise a fairly repetitive time. As long as you go in with the expectation of a short, arcade experience and not much more than that, UDO is worth digging into.
Trinity Fusion provides a very good time that fans of roguelikes and 2D action games really shouldn't miss. The game weaves its multiversal mystery throughout your many runs towards the Harmonisers, crafting a fun narrative out of the cast's repeated jaunts across different realities. The combat and platforming is satisfying and delightful, with chaining together melee attacks, gunplay and air dashes feeling effortless and engaging. As with many roguelikes, the repetition sets in before long, with limited level designs and an Amplifier mechanic that discourages experimentation, but the game is still a blast while it lasts.
Despite many issues dragging down the experience, I would not say that I had a bad time overall with The Last Faith. The combat is genuinely thrilling and impressively varied when it functions well, and I was impressed with many of the game's locations, boss fights, puzzles and enemy designs. However, The Last Faith feels like a particularly inelegant mixture of many different elements from popular Metroidvanias and Soulslikes without quite executing them as neatly. With its obtuse-for-the-sake-of-it narrative, occasionally stodgy combat and platforming elements and a lack of its own identity, Metroidvania fans will have an enjoyable enough time with The Last Faith, but there are better examples of what it has attempted to execute out there.
Even though Nintendo has now come out with a modern Advance Wars game of its own, Wargroove 2 stands as more than a mere homage. With a grander scale and more units, Commanders, and other gameplay features than ever, Wargroove 2 is an excellent strategy experience. The new Conquest roguelike mode feels like a complete experience packed within an already feature-rich game. Even after the campaigns are over, the Conquest mode, missed optional objectives, and future custom content will ensure plenty of reasons to stick around. If you enjoyed Wargroove or Advance Wars and want another fantastic strategy offering, Wargroove 2 is not to be missed.
The Expanse: A Telltale Series feels like a fairly decent return to form for Telltale Games after its temporary closure. As a fan of The Expanse, I can attest that this Telltale series represents the show, and the character of Camina Drummer in particular, very authentically, and it was a joy to return to that setting and explore it from a different perspective. Despite those positives as a fan, the series also suffers from feeling especially short, linear and low-stakes. While The Expanse: A Telltale Series certainly has its high points, diehard fans of The Expanse or Telltale Games' previous output are likely the only ones who would get much out of the experience.
Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty is a strong and very engaging paid expansion that offers many hours of new content. Idris Elba's Solomon Reed is an excellent addition to the setting, and his movie star charisma does a lot to elevate the expansion's tense sci-fi political thriller tale. Accompanied by the long-awaited 2.0 update, substantially overhauling the Cyberpunk 2077 base game for the better and allowing the game to finally reach its full potential, Phantom Liberty might not bring as many new gameplay innovations on its own, but what it does bring feels like a worthwhile addition to the base game and something fans of Cyberpunk 2077 will definitely want to check out.
In spite of various problems found within Tenebris Pictura, the game still leaves a fairly positive impression by the end. Some of it doesn't quite work, from its very downplayed narrative to its slightly-annoying combat, but it brings enough novel content to the table to be engaging. If you're into atmospheric adventure games with clever puzzles and unique ideas, you're likely to find something rewarding in Tenebris Pictura.
Blasphemous 2 is a truly stand-out Metroidvania that is an easy recommendation for fans of the original and newcomers alike. From its detailed and fluid animations to its wide assortment of gameplay improvements, Blasphemous 2 is everything a sequel to the already-strong Blasphemous should be. Although it isn't as consistently challenging as its formidable art direction and clear Soulslike influence would suggest, the core experience of Blasphemous 2 is still something fans of 2D platformers and Metroidvania exploration are sure to greatly appreciate.
Adore is a rather good game that has a refreshing spin on the creature collection genre. The action-based isometric combat presents a unique take regarding controlling a team of creatures, and mastering when to summon them and customising a team made for a compelling experience. The gorgeous and charming art and soundtrack are also a pleasant inclusion. While the very limited variety in quest objectives starts to become an issue long before the credits roll, you can definitely still have a fun time with Adore's new interpretation of isometric dungeon crawling and creature collecting.
Aliens: Dark Descent is an excellent addition to the Aliens canon. The Darkest Dungeon-style stress mechanics end up fitting the setting like a glove, and the RTS combat and disposable marines definitely suit the tone and style of Aliens perfectly. Although the reliance on infrequent autosaves can often prove frustrating, the game is overall easy to recommend for fans of strategy games, survival horror games, or Aliens fans hungry for something which strongly evokes James Cameron's 1986 classic while adding its own new elements.
Nightdive's System Shock remake is a strange game, and whether it will appeal to you may largely depend on your nostalgia for the era of gaming from which it came. This remake still shows its age, despite the considerable and impressive paint job, lighting, and updated controls. If you don't mind the sometimes murderous level of difficulty, tons of backtracking, and minimal handholding, System Shock may be a compelling piece of gaming history that is worth checking out.
Ravenlok is not a bad game, but judged on its gameplay, it feels somewhat insubstantial. Those going into the game looking for an engaging and challenging action experience will likely be turned off by its simple and toothless combat and overreliance on fetch quests. That said, for younger gamers or those seeking a more straightforward adventure through a surreal world filled with memorable and strange characters, it's a decent time, and is worth checking out on those merits.
Fundamentally, Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores repeats a lot of the same beats as the main game, and doesn't explore much new territory in terms of world-building or gameplay. However, the minor gameplay additions are certainly fun and welcome, and if you enjoyed the base game, this expansion is certainly still an enjoyable time, prolonged final boss fight aside. As an epilogue with some fun diversions, which also expands upon Aloy's character arc from the base game and introduces a great new supporting character, Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores is definitely worth checking out for anyone wanting a good excuse to return to the game.
Arcana of Paradise – The Tower is a decent addition to any roguelike deckbuilder fan's library. With its real-time gameplay adding tension to what is generally a slower, more tactical affair, it's a refreshing twist on the formula. The inventive combination of card-based gameplay and puzzles also incentivises experimentation in an interesting way. Unfortunately, despite its gameplay strengths and gorgeous presentation, the shallow setting and lack of sufficient encounter variety cause the experience to become repetitive after only a few hours.
If you loved Octopath Traveler or are just a fan of expansive JRPGs, Octopath Traveler II is for you. Its cast is appealing and varied, even if the accompanying shifts in tone and stakes between each character's storyline can feel jarring at times. The combat is also a joy, rewarding experimentation and customisation, despite the amount of level grinding required later in the game. If you want a fun, if familiar-feeling, JRPG that will last you a while, Octopath Traveler II will absolutely do the trick.
Atomic Heart is a compelling and exciting sci-fi action RPG, with a unique and well-developed setting. Although it has its imperfections, from its slow pace to occasionally annoying combat, the exciting mysteries at the heart of, well, Atomic Heart, made it worth powering through. For action-RPG fans with a taste for alternate history settings, Atomic Heart is definitely worth diving into, and I am excited to see what developer Mundfish has to offer in the future.
If you're a longtime Final Fantasy fan who greatly appreciates the franchise's musical legacy, Theatrhythm: Final Bar Line is a game that celebrates that. It holds up as a rhythm game, with complex and engaging gameplay and decent integration of obligatory Final Fantasy RPG mechanics. With its expansive track list, adorable visuals, and large roster of characters to collect, it is a joy to play through the musical history of this classic RPG series, either alone or against others. While it doesn't really aspire to be much more than that, if you are fine with that, then Theatrhythm: Final Bar Line is certainly worth checking out.
You probably already know if you are the target audience for Dread Templar. The game skillfully captures the spirit of classic FPS', for better and for worse. The challenging gameplay with a large arsenal of crazy weapons is there, along with deep, secret-filled levels. However, it has all been done before, and while Dread Templar is a very competent and enjoyable shooter, it doesn't do a whole lot to carve out an identity of its own outside of being a homage. Still, if you're into classic FPS games and want a modern title that strongly evokes the era, you could do a lot worse than Dread Templar.
I had a good time with High on Life, but I can't promise that everyone else will. Although the basic first-person shooter gameplay is hardly a revolution in game design, its certainly more than competent and accomplishes what it needs to, even with its significant lack of variety in the game's second half. Where High on Life is likely to be polarising is its dialogue and humour, which are prevalent enough that they are hard to ignore. If you're looking for a decent FPS that doesn't overstay its welcome and can accept that not every joke is likely to land, then High on Life is certainly worth checking out.