Sniper Elite 5 is a culmination of many years of gameplay systems and development processes being polished to a mirror sheen. Making tremendous strides in both technology and visuals, Sniper Elite 5 can stand amongst the likes of its AAA contemporaries with gorgeous, realistic environments and visuals. Character modelling and animation could still use some refinement and the narrative left something to be desired, though the story thread was enough to provide adequate pacing for the action on screen. If you’re a fan of the series or looking to finally see what all the fuss is about, Sniper Elite 5 is the best the series has ever been.
A Memoir Blue is an interesting case study for where the future of indie games may be heading within the next 5 years. While both visually striking with a seemingly simple narrative core, A Memoir Blue is able to deliver an experience that evokes emotional sympathy and combines its game concepts directly with its themes of family and estrangement. Despite being a short experience with limited opportunities for interesting gameplay scenarios, I sense this is only the beginning of an exciting style of video games.
King of Fighters XV is the best version of KOF to date. Thanks to the improvements made to online play due to well-implemented roll-back netcode, it’s also a game primed for modern audiences and gaming habits. While its lack of a satisfying or engaging story mode holds it back from standing shoulder to shoulder with its genre brethren, SNK’s narrow focus does enough to show where their passion and enthusiasm truly lies. KOF XV is a precise and fun fighting game built for the series’ longstanding community of players.
Riders Republic offers a cornucopia of extreme sporting choices for players to choose from. By giving enough attention and fine-tuning to each individual sport, it has created an evergreen title to receive future updates or expansions to build upon well into the future. With a solid foundation offering solo and group players fun and exciting experiences, Riders Republic has set the stage incredibly well. While its predecessor Steep failed to capture a lasting audience, I feel strongly that Riders stands a much greater chance at retaining players’ interest due in part to its tongue-in-cheek tone combined with the game’s sheer variety of extreme sports adventures and energetic open world. I look forward to returning to Riders Republic to bike down mountain paths or fly through narrow canyon gaps while listening to alt-rock radio sometime soon.
Narita Boy is a surprisingly melancholic experience that puts forth a narrative exploring the power fantasy that video games provide people. While the execution of the game itself can sometimes be lacking, it pays enough of an homage to its inspirations and celebration of the era while at the same time creating a visually creative world that could’ve been mistaken as having released a few decades ago.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood seemingly tries to bite off more than it can chew. As cheesy as that sentence sounds, it certainly meets that description. There are moments that stand out amongst the mediocrity of it all, that elevate the overall experience, but it’s not enough to justify playing it solely for those moments. The main “selling point” for the game being the ultra-violent combat could actually be its weakest element. So much so that the added inclusion of stealth mechanics is preferable to the main attraction. And it’s this secondary gameplay loop that is left feeling shallow and easily manipulated because of this split focus. Within the stealth systems, there is the potential of something interesting when mixed together with in-universe powers, but the current execution failed to capture the full fantasy.
Call of the Sea is a charming adventure that immediately hooks you through its period-appropriate mystery, that slowly builds intrigue and excitement. The various puzzles you encounter along the way are thoroughly engaging, while at the same time offering enough of a challenge to not be too easy or annoying.
A few bugs here and there and some weird performance ticks aside, this remastered version of Age of Empires III, certainly qualifies to receive the ‘Definitive Edition’ moniker. The updated visuals and compatibility with today’s PCs, combined with the entire package of expansions and newly added content, creates for a wholistic RTS experience that should not be missed by those who are fans of the genre.
With an insane amount of enemies that can appear on screen at a given time and an insane arsenal of weaponry at your disposal, Serious Sam offers a hectic good time for those of us looking to turn our brain off and just get into the flow of blowing up aliens. Not to mention, playing co-op with friends lends to combined bewilderment and joy. However, be aware that this game is a slog on PC with performance being highly variable. It will require a lot of graphical tweaking, but thankfully Croteam has provided a plethora of graphics options which should make finding that performance sweet spot a breeze.
Total War Saga as a mini series of smaller scoped historical settings has allowed for incredibly rich myths and legends to be portrayed in a Total War game. Troy is no different. The Total War formula is able to seamlessly integrate itself into the Homeric epic, and the added mythological nature of the original story makes for a diverse range of Heroes and Kingdoms to choose from, making each campaign feel unique and purposeful.