Joel Kogler


30 games reviewed
79.2 average score
80 median score
40.0% of games recommended
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Dec 7, 2022

Although we would have hoped for a lot more on the technical side thanks to current-gen exclusivity, "Need for Speed Unbound" leaves a positive overall impression. Sure, the strange mix of cel-shading and realism is not for everyone, but at least sets the game apart from other series parts and racing games. The constant threat from the police is initially entertaining, but quickly becomes annoying if you want to earn enough money to visually customize several cars. This is exactly where "Need for Speed Unbound" has its strength, which hasn't been in the series for a long time. The tuning and adaptation of the vehicles as well as the progress through the story motivate tremendously and are reminiscent of series highlights such as "Underground 2" or "Most Wanted". Sooner or later, however, the unpleasant smell of burnt rubber always remains in the nose.

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Dec 2, 2022

What The Callisto Protocol lacks in truly original ideas it more makes up for in presentation and atmosphere. A game this polished and confident from a newly formed studio that had to work through a pandemic is nothing short of impressive. While it won’t change anyone‘s mind who didn’t like the spiritual predecessor Dead Space, this brings back unsettling space horror at its peak.

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Nov 14, 2022

Despite a very rough start and many technical issues is Sonic Frontiers a game that we thoroughly enjoyed. It may very well be an odd form of Stockholm syndrome, being enchanted by the cringe-worthy voice acting, the absurd story, all mixed with some of the best gameplay flow the sonic games ever had in the third dimension. As soon as some of the big boss battles hit, the game shows that it’s much more than just a cheap imitation of Breath of the Wild. A full recommendation however isn’t possible with the technical state the game released in. A few patches are desperately needed for fix some of the glitches and underwhelming textures and animations.

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80% - Pentiment
Nov 14, 2022

Pentiment might just be one of the weirdest AAA-games released this year. By stripping gameplay down to little more than walking and talking, this medieval crime drama feels like a visual novel that took the genre’s title a little too literal. The graphical style is heavily inspired by the illustrations of medieval books, which ties directly back into the main character’s background story as an illustrator. With an excellent story, great dialogue and too many mysteries for just a single playthrough, this odd little gem is one that may take some getting used to, but will reward you for your patience with a story more interactive and deeper than most.

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77% - The Chant
Nov 8, 2022

Your spirit is the only one that is a purely positive attribute. Spirit acts as a kind of mana for your special attacks, but can alternatively be used to restore your mind through meditation. So you need a constant supply of all three values. Through accumulated experience points in the three disciplines and hidden crystals, you can also expand your supply in a skill tree or unlock passive bonuses. These abilities are quite nice, but with the exception of the extended bar for health, mind and mind, they often only have a noticeable effect in very specific situations.

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The struggles and the slow work up in the medieval hierarchy are good enough to keep us glued to the screen until late into the night. Especially if you want to compete against other army leaders in multiplayer mode, you should definitely take a look here, because "Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord" is a gaming experience like no other despite its flaws.

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Nov 1, 2022

Gotham Knights should not be confused as a sequel to the excellent Batman: Arkham Knight. Instead this Spin-Off explores a new and interesting story about the death of Gotham’s protector and falls victim to some of modern gaming’s worst trends. The crafting system feels unsubstantial and while the four different playable characters are all different and interesting, it feels like substantial abilities of the prior games were taken away and locked behind different characters, rather than each member of the bat family bringing something new to the table. Despite its shortcomings and missteps, we found “Gotham Knights” to be very fun to play, when focusing on the story over the repetitive open world activities and the multiplayer is an excellent fit for both the story and style of game.

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While Ilfonic who previously worked on “Predator: Hunting Grounds” and “Friday the 13th: The Game” excel at recreating the look and feel of the Ghostbusters movies, the gameplay remains relatively simple and shallow. This isn’t necessarily a title you’ll sink night after night into, but instead one to pick up now and again to play a couple of missions with friends. While it’s a bit light on the content side, the developers have a history of supporting their games long after launch with extensive updates.

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Oct 19, 2022

The Last Oricru is undoubtedly flawed, but underneath a rough exterior and a multitude of bugs and glitches hides a videogame made with clear passion, focusing more on an engaging story with many branching paths rather than a particularly deep combat system or polished looks. The addition of local and online co-op is remarkable and while online co-op brings with it a whole new flood of potential bugs and lag, local multiplayer works remarkably well. With a few patches and the right audience that enjoys flawed but inspired games like Elex or Greedfall, this can become a diamond in the rough.

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Nevertheless, "Asterigos: Curse of the Stars" offers a surprisingly round gaming experience, especially in its price segment and genre, which does not knock anyone's socks off, but also does not deeply disappoint anyone.

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"Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous" is a role-playing game colossus that not only devours many hours of play, but takes you into a world packed with secrets, decisions and interesting stories.

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83% - RAILGRADE
Oct 7, 2022

"Railgrade" is an absolute must for players who like to trim a system for efficiency. Borrowing from games like "Factorio", "Satisfactory" or even the more abstract "Magnum Opus", "Railgrade" pushes itself to the top of the genre thanks to charming presentation, short but crisp missions and an excellent price-performance ratio.

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77% - Soulstice
Sep 22, 2022

While the combat isn't quite as fluid as its big siblings, and the graphic style takes some time to get used to, at its core, Soulstice is a very good action game with a solid, albeit predictable, story.

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85% - Temtem
Sep 14, 2022

Temtem follows a rather simple premise. What if Pokémon’s first generation was made today? The result is an excellent dose of nostalgia with many modernized features such as campaign co-op and a rich endgame. It’s about time Nintendo’s stagnant franchise gets serious competition and as things stand now, Temtem is the game for those who have dropped off the main Pokémon games for lack of innovation and challenge. A relatively low price and a ton of very polished content makes this an easy recommendation.

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Sep 8, 2022

"Steelrising" is like "Greedfall" a very positive surprise. Spiders has once again managed to put its own stamp on a very highly competitive genre. The balance of the game could certainly still be tightened, and the areas are not as impressive as we would have liked. The bottom line, however, is that "Steelrising" is one of the best Western interpretations of the "Souls" series and brings a breath of fresh air into a very rigid formula not only with a fascinating setting, but also with new elements in combat and exploration.

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"SD Gundam Battle Alliance" is a nostalgia trip, even if you have nothing to do with "Gundam". Because the design of the game itself is strongly reminiscent of titles from the early 2000s

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Aug 23, 2022

"Rollerdrome" is an excellent game in a genre that is now almost completely extinct.

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Aug 20, 2022

"Cult of the Lamb" can convince more as an idea than as a product. Minor defects exist at all corners and ends. The balance of the game leaves much to be desired, and it seems as if the progress of the cult is almost twice as fast as intended for the story. Nevertheless, "Cult of the Lamb" captivates not least thanks to the look and the original setting. With around ten hours of play, it is without a doubt rather short for a roguelike adventure.

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85% - Thymesia
Aug 16, 2022

Thymesia may look like an Indie-Developer trying to do Bloodborne, but it ends up being more than that. Thymesia seamlessly blends the fast, often frantic combat of games like Devil May Cry with a more thoughtful approach, giving the players the tools to quickly leap between enemies, while strategically switching between light and heavy attacks, as well as flashy specials. While regular combat is often a fun power fantasy, the game truly shines in its boss fights, where two equally deadly warriors dance around each other parrying and trading blows. The only sore spot in the gameplay is that there isn’t already a Thymesia 2 to sink my teeth into.

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80% - Stray
Jul 18, 2022

"Stray" had inspired the imagination of many players with his first attempts as "HK Project". The bottom line is that the final product feels far more familiar and generic than you might have hoped for from the first pictures. Nevertheless, "Stray" has its strengths, especially in the level design and in the atmosphere that it builds up again and again through great graphics and music. Playfully, the work moves rather on the easy side and offers experienced players hardly a challenge. But that's not what this is about anyway. "Stray" wants to take you into a world that is dirty and broken, and shows you again and again the bright spots of hope and the beauty that lies hidden.

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