Grace Benfell


15 games reviewed
65.9 average score
70 median score
46.7% of games recommended
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Sep 26, 2022

Allowing it to weather or crumble under your second guesses is part of the process, but what remains after all that is probably something true and real. That is the care of being a critic. Even detestable homage deserves that respect.

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8.5 / 10.0 - Card Shark
Jun 3, 2022

Card Shark is such a sharp idea, it’s hard to wonder why it hasn’t happened already — or if it has, why such a fun idea has been forgotten before now.

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7 / 10.0 - Sniper Elite 5
May 25, 2022

Rebellion Games has been quietly refining this formula for 10 years. The studio found an enthusiastic audience, among whom are other writers at this very site. You already likely know if you are interested in Sniper Elite 5.

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10 / 10.0 - Sephonie
Apr 12, 2022

To put it briefly, Sephonie is a miracle. It swings between life and death, classic genre convention and thoughtful subversion, the mind-bendingly global and the heartbreakingly personal.

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7.5 / 10.0 - Rune Factory 5
Mar 22, 2022

Fortunately, despite adding a great deal of customization, Rune Factory 5 keeps the simple joy of getting to know a community separate from you.

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Mar 2, 2022

Without the ebb and flow of truly great level design, Ghostrunner’s hallways and arenas can blur together into a neon mess. This is especially true in Project_Hel, which largely takes place in the same district in the tower. With that in mind, it’s best to play with the base game firmly in the realm of memory.

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5.5 / 10.0 - Monark
Feb 22, 2022

Monark constantly strains within the confines of expectation, unable to push its ambitions through.

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7.5 / 10.0 - The Gunk
Dec 23, 2021

Higher profile, bigger budget indies games are here to stay. This is a perfect example of what the format could offer and a showcase of how a short game with a moderate budget can outdo its far larger contemporaries. If you've been playing Halo or Call of Duty and feel burnt out on what games are now, The Gunk is a perfect palette cleanser and an effective gateway to even better games.

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In concept, Voice of Cards is exciting: a small game from a major designer (Yoko Taro is the game's creative director), released with little fanfare. It offers a lean framework for other RPGs and narrative games to come. Ultimately, though, it's far less effective at its core goals than the games it draws from. Voice of Cards positions itself as a more intelligent, if leaner, classic JRPG. In practice, it is a hollow echo of what came before.

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Nov 8, 2021

Still, every charm of Mario Party is here, in full force. It's silly, frivolous fun, a perfect way to waste away an evening with friends, local or online. That does sting a little, when one considers the $60 cost, and how much more it could have offered.

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Sep 29, 2021

What pleasures Kena provides are intrinsic to most videogames: clicking buttons and finding trinkets. Eventually I did fall into that groove, but it was distracting, not compelling. When all the game's darkness dissipates into bright green, when all wounds can be healed with determination and kindness, when death itself is a collectible friend, it is difficult to feel that distraction was worth it.

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9 / 10.0 - Sable
Sep 22, 2021

Sable may dwell in the ruins, but she is alive. She is well. I take great comfort in that.

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8 / 10.0 - Black Book
Aug 18, 2021

I have nothing against those games, but it is wonderful to see something play with their vocabulary to make something fresh. While many games of its ilk rely on the broad strokes of fantasy, Black Book dares to be particular. It is all the richer for it.

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Dec 17, 2020

Forever stuck in the programmed roles the game assigned them. When there is no way out, no real play, there is no message, no change. Animal Farm lives forever, dying and being born, always doomed to failure.

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Nov 18, 2020

Whatever profound or resonant thought about selfhood or nostalgia or the trauma of remembering is buried in summary, in lulling, tired melodies. Fundamentally, Kingdom Hearts recurs in the way capital recurs, pushing on despite its contradictions and always banking on something new. We deserve better stories than this, but now, more than ever, I know we won't find them here.

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