Fashion Police Squad does get repetitive and annoying after a while, but I cannot deny how creative this title is. The idea of a fashion-based, death-free DOOM clone sounded ridiculous on paper, but the developers sure delivered a brand new take on retro-styled shooters with an additional layer of puzzle-solving, dad-worthy puns, and a ton of color and personality.
Backfirewall_ is filled with creative puzzles that are never obtuse. There are a few collectibles here and there. The script may have never made laugh out loud, but it was clever. The game may not be as memorable or replayable as its sources of influence (then again, that’s an incredibly high bar), but I had a pretty good time with it. It’s funny, well-designed and unique, with the latter being its most important quality.
My complaints are very minute. I simply loved Hi-Fi Rush. I just wasn’t expecting for such a banger to drop without any buildup, coming from such a talented team, right at the beginning of the year. It’s a magnificent mixture of tons of games from the mid-2000s, resulting in a unique combination of gameplay styles, sense of humor and visuals that easily stands out from the rest of Microsoft’s current exclusives.
This is still the GoldenEye you have loved for the past twenty-five years, with just enough quality of life improvements to make it feel at home in a modern console. It runs well (though not at 60fps), its new controller scheme is a godsend, and the godlike soundtrack remains intact. It’s more than just nostalgia bait: as a shooter made in a time when console shooters weren’t a thing, it has aged surprisingly well in most aspects besides its visuals. I love that I can finally play this on a modern system, with a decent controller, for the foreseeable future.
The mishmash between retro aesthetics and modern quality of life improvements creates a game that doesn’t innovate at all, but never needed to. Dread Templar is a stellar retro shooter that shines with its fast-paced gameplay and utterly stellar level design, with most of its issues being minute things such as poor (but very occasional) voice acting and some bizarre key mapping.
The improved framerate alone makes this next-gen version of Kakarot the ideal way to play the game, but considering the original build came out three years ago, you may have already played it to death. It’s still getting DLC, sure, but it’s the same old Kakarot. You need to either love it to death or have never played it before to fully enjoy this brand new version. It’s still a repetitive game full of padding and pointless filler, sure, but it’s also a phenomenal celebration of the anime, and pretty good action RPG in its own right.
If you were wondering if Persona 4 Golden would manage to stand the test of time, don’t worry, it did. Playing it on a console is still as fun as it was on the PS Vita. Even if its visuals aged like curded milk, and the dungeon crawling segments aren’t that engaging, the rest of the game is just too damn entertaining to complain about. The music, the characters, the setting, the fusing system, the fast-paced combat, the utterly fantastic plot… Persona 4 Golden is just great.
I’ll confess that I expected little from The Legend of Tianding due to its origins as a remake of a Flash game, as well as the minute amount of hype garnered when it first came out last year, but I was really pleased with the game as a whole. Even if its art style is hampered by some dull level design, and its pacing can occasionally be a bit dull, its gameplay was just good enough to make me (mostly) ignore these setbacks.
These issues were minute, however. I still wholeheartedly recommend picking NeverAwake up, even if you’re just moderately acquainted to bullet hell shooters. Its gameplay is actually innovative, in a genre known for rarely experimenting with new control schemes or gameplay loops, and its visuals are just amazing, being the perfect blend of something from Tim Burton and old-school Sega. Even if its story was forgettable and its duration wasn’t that impressive, its core mechanics more than made up for any setbacks found along the way.
To Codemasters’ credit, it is the full version of GRID Legends, but now available in VR. It’s not a simple “VR experience” either: there’s a truckload of content in this game, making it one of the beefiest titles available on the Quest 2. However, the horrendous visuals, disappointing controls, and lack of immersion make this one a tough sell to all but the most die-hard VR enthusiasts, those who were eagerly waiting for a full-fledged racing sim on the system.
All in all, Dusk ’82 is really short and as simplistic as it gets, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s a little side project meant to pay homage to Castle Wolfenstein. Limited and clunky by nature, sure, but it gets the job done. It’s not particularly memorable (you can beat it in one sitting and then delete it from your Switch’s memory), but quite fun while it lasts.
Let me remind you once more that calling Breakers Collection a collection is an exaggeration. It’s one Neo Geo fighter and an updated version of it, with barely any changes whatsoever. The game itself isn’t bad at all, just pretty generic not only for today’s standards, but even the standards of the Neo Geo system as a whole. There’s little in here that would make Breakers stand out even from the B-tier fighting franchises of the time, like World Heroes or Waku Waku 7.
All in all, The Entropy Centre is a charming and inventive puzzle platformer. It’s nowhere near as memorable or innovative as its main cake-smelling source of inspiration, nor is it particularly replayable, but as a one-off, mind-bending puzzle adventure, yup, this gets the job done with honors for the extention of its runtime, more than making up for what little issues I’ve found in its voice acting and presentation departments as well.
At its core, this is still the excellent Mortal Shell we all fell in love with two years ago, but do bear in mind that the setbacks caused by this game being ported to the Switch largely outweigh the pros. The novelty value of playing yet another “impossible port” on the Switch is fantastic, but you will have to deal with unbelievably long loading times and some really poor framerate issues.
A likeable protagonist, new abilities and a personal, down-to-earth story made up for the fact Spider-Man: Miles Morales is shorter than its 2018 predecessor. It’s a game with enough qualities to stand on its own, one that proves that Miles isn’t just some fluke character being pushed by Marvel over the past few years. Not only that, but this PC port is the real deal, with some pretty good optimization and performance.
Miraculous: Rise of the Sphinx is a pretty basic action-platformer at its core, even though it tries to add some variety to the mix with its barrage of pointless combat mechanics. Not to mention the whole high school social life second half, that felt more like a way to extend its duration, at best. With that being said, it’s polished, it looks decent, runs well, features the cast from the show, enough elements that make the game feel less like a soulless cash grab and more like your typical “it’s average at best, but fans of the show will be very pleased with the results” game.
Sol Cresta is not a bad bullet-hell shooter at all, but it’s far from being the most interesting I’ve played in a while. Its visuals and soundtrack did not wow me, and while it had one very interesting gameplay feature, it wasn’t exactly a new one: other games in the franchise have had them in the past. It felt less of a modern revival of an arcade franchise and just a new version of a 90s title which was locked in someone’s storage for the past 25 years.
Harvestella is far from being the most impressive and innovative mixture between a farming simulator and an action RPG, but it’s far from being outright bad or worthy of being ignored, either. It’s got some neat redeeming factors, namely its phenomenal soundtrack and relaxing farming vibes, while suffering from an uninspired combat system, and some really poor pacing problems.
Is there anything else that needs to be said? The The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was nearly perfect back in 2015, mostly hampered by bugs (which have already been fixed) and the hardware they were running on. The hardware issue is no more, with these next-gen versions letting you play these games the way they were intended to be experienced, with nearly no loading times, improved visuals, and a much sexier framerate. Is it worth revisiting it yet again? Absolutely! It might be a nearly 150 hour long RPG (counting the expansions and Gwent, of course), but it’s just way too good to be set aside.
I laud Floodland for being a shockingly niche game, aiming to please a very minute and specific subsection of gamers into survival, city builders, and strategy simulators all at once. It is flawed, being way too slow before it becomes really interesting, not to mention some performance issues, but it does indeed succeed at what it was developed for. It’s just a really hard sell for anyone besides this very specific niche of gamers, and not enough of a “city-builder” for those who are into the genre in particular.