This is a barren horror game that feels like it is barely clinging to its life and is held together with cheap tape. It’s utterly lacking in features and the gameplay is simplistic… when it works. When you’re not bored or desperately scraping for something to do, expect to be frustrated by the ill-conceived photography and melee systems.
Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth achieves tremendous success while simultaneously puzzling players with some frustrating decisions. Unlike its predecessor, which welcomed newcomers, Infinite Wealth assumes familiarity with Yakuza: Like a Dragon. Players who haven’t experienced Yakuza 6: Song of Life will miss major plot points, as Infinite Wealth resolves themes and loose ends from that game.
The popping new art style thrives in its zoomed-out perspective, and the soundtrack continues the series’ tradition of infectious songs. However, be prepared for nothing but intricate turn-based skirmishes. While the scenarios, mechanics, and maps excel as far as strategy RPGs go, it’s hard to ignore the lack of variety, creating a constant state of strategic pressure with little room to breathe.
Unfortunately, The Return also exposes the underlying weaknesses in Part II‘s mechanics, especially when compared to older stealth-action titles like Metal Gear Solid V or even Manhunt on PlayStation 2. Labeling this a “Remaster” is disingenuous, and “Director’s Cut” wouldn’t be accurate either. At best, The Last of Us Part II Remastered qualifies as a “Special Edition.”
Apart from the skin-crawling modern sensibilities affecting the narrative and an unmemorable soundtrack, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown swings for the fences and hits an impressive balance of action, exploration, and puzzle-solving. This is a hearty and beefy epic that will satisfy veterans of the genre and push them to their limits.
There’s undeniably an intriguing concept at the heart of War Hospital. The potential for a gripping and stressful experience set amidst the chaos of a World War I field hospital is undeniable. Unfortunately, the execution veers into frustrating territory, where the stress stems from technical hiccups and clunky mechanics, rather than the game’s intended thematic weight.
The customization options are about as deep as a kiddie pool, and the lack of long-term content might leave some hardcore racers wanting more. For a quick dopamine fix, a hit of high-octane thrills, F-Zero 99 is the real deal. It’s a shame Nintendo will pull the plug on this speed demon someday. It burns bright, and fast, and leaves you with a memory that’s just as blurry and exhilarating as the last lap.
The lure of hidden collectibles and environmental puzzles flickers brightly, but it’s often overshadowed by sloppy battles and an obnoxious aiming system that feels like a festering wart on an otherwise charming experience. Despite its flaws, Raccoo Venture is brimming with soul. Densely packed with things Diego Ras loves, playing it feels like getting to know him on a personal level.
It’s a shame that Cookie Cutter is so utterly off-putting because the core gameplay is tight and flexible to foster inventive combos. Level design flows nicely for the most part and it seems like the developer truly understands what a good metroidvania needs to engage players.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora will please fans of the films and gamers who enjoyed the likes of Crysis and Far Cry. The action is solid and the visuals will blow you away, but don’t expect to get invested in the story or characters. It still falls victim to the same flaws as the source material and the games that inspired it, but for a movie tie-in game, Frontiers of Pandora is a pretty epic 25 hours and is otherwise safe and harmless.
Astlibra Revision is an epic that would make Tolkien blush. At the tail end of the marathon, it throws a curveball that’d leave a Major League pitcher whimpering. It’s like Astlibra has got an infinite well of weirdness, constantly bubbling up with fresh insanity just when you think you’ve seen it all.
Armikrog is a very short game, its price reflecting its brevity. However, the repeated puzzles are a regrettable misstep, and the spartan sound design woefully undercuts the impressive claymation visuals. The most impactful visuals are frontloaded, leaving no sense of narrative crescendo. Sadly, the game feels like it loses steam much too quickly.
Ghostrunner 2‘s action is an acquired taste. It is extremely risky since players have to be both reckless and careful at the same time. The battles are cruel, yet retrying is painless. It may resemble most first-person action games you may have seen before, but it has more in common with the heedless gameplay in Katana Zero or Hotline Miami.
Star Ocean: The Second Story R stands out as one of Square Enix’s most accomplished remakes. While the original game had its shortcomings, this remake effectively addresses those issues and elevates the overall experience to new heights. Gemdrops has transformed a solid RPG into an exceptional one, establishing a new benchmark for remakes in the gaming industry.
Super Mario RPG was never a deep RPG and it still isn’t, but it is a very entertaining one that manages to have some striking imagery and plenty of funny moments. The gameplay and scenarios are varied to never have a dull moment. Despite what the 3D graphics suggest, this is still an SNES RPG.
Despite all the limitations of 2000s-era specs, Max Payne is still a righteous action game that is enjoyable for its pacing and entertaining scenarios. Some parts late in the game are a bit cheap with how enemies are placed around corners, but retrying is painless. At worst, the lack of nuance in the movement may turn off some modern gamers.
Prison City is a very solid retro throwback action platformer. It lacks originality and the main character is boring because he barely says anything more complex than one-word sentences. The challenge is hearty and gamers will find the references endearing… if they can survive long enough to see them.
Air Twister is a very engrossing rail shooter that keeps luring gamers back for more. The steady stream of bonus content is a satisfying beckoning mechanism that makes replays rewarding. On top of the intrinsic rewards, it is gratifying to improve and master the levels with Valensia’s soaring music as the backdrop.