Psychonauts 2 is absolutely fizzing with ideas in gameplay, story, and presentation. Its story is emotional, its characters are hilarious, its worlds are huge and imaginative, plus I had a fun time actually playing the dang thing. Apart from some minor issues with the optional dialogue, it’s clear Double Fine went all out developing this title. Nothing feels rushed, nothing feels unfinished, and nothing feels like padding. This is a fabulously well-made game, and a perfect game for lockdown. If you’re looking for some extra joy from your video games, you need to play Psychonauts 2. If you’re a fan of the original, I suspect you’ll like it even more.
Samurai Warriors 5 is an ambitious reboot, removing many features from previous games while emphasising what makes the series tick. There is very little to do outside combat, but the combat is delightful, and the variety between characters makes each one a joy to play. Despite some superfluous systems and clunky camera and AI issues, Samurai Warriors 5 offers fantastic action gameplay. If you’ve been intimidated by the Warriors series in the past, this is a great place to hop on.
Where The Heart Leads is a terrific narrative game that has you make hard, fascinating life choices on behalf of its characters to create a story that feels your own. It utilises its surreal elements sparingly, instead opting to focus on the realistic personal lives of its many richly nuanced characters. Despite some slight issues with dialogue, menus, and the camera, Where The Heart Leads is a great experience, and a fascinating exploration of issues rarely covered in games.
Studio Fizbin have crafted a wonderful experience that achieves exactly what it sets out to do. It’s set in an intriguing world and tells an emotional story that explores a specific type of sadness, and how it affects relationships between loved ones. I can’t remember the last time a game affected me so much that I yelled at my screen due to something a character said. Despite my pedantry, I had a brilliant time with Minute of Islands and look forward to playing it again some day.
After having played Persona 5, and last year’s updated Persona 5 Royal, Persona 5 Strikers was like slipping into a warm pair of fluffy slippers. It brings back these characters I’ve spent hundreds of hours with, and gives them a nice little side story, if not a full-fledged sequel. Much like the other spinoffs, you might not enjoy the game if you aren’t familiar with the world of Persona 5, but for those who are, you’re going to have a lot of fun. There’s quite a few drawbacks, but Omega Force and Atlus have successfully converted Persona 5’s gameplay into a whole new genre, warts and all. I’m curious to see what either studio does next.
Chronos: Before the Ashes is not a bad game. It just feels like, by transitioning out of VR, it may have lost some of its original polish. It’s got plenty of smart ideas in its gameplay and world design. But apart from its aging mechanic, it felt like Chronos wasn’t doing anything that other games haven’t already done – and done better.
Considering how bloated and convoluted these games often feel, Melody of Memory is hopefully the beginning of a new trend for the series. Even if the music isn’t nostalgic for you, there’s a lot of fun to be had thwacking monsters to a catchy rhythm.
Death end re;Quest 2 is an experiment, which by itself is a great thing. It attempts to hybridise two genres of games that don’t normally share the limelight. But in the end, there is very little cohesion between the game’s two halves. It’s a JRPG with poor character development, and it’s a horror game that isn’t all that scary. And apart from the amazing battles, the game is frustrating on multiple fronts. There are parts of Death end re;Quest 2 that could be salvaged and made part of a better game, unfortunately that doesn’t amend all the shortcomings that are prolific within this title.