At the end of the day, I’m glad I got to play this refined version of Super Mario RPG. It’s a game that garnered quite a bit of critical and fan acclaim back when it first released in 1996, and the 2023 remake is a loving recreation that will appeal to both longtime fans and newcomers alike. While I wish it could’ve been just a little bit more streamlined, it’s hard to complain too much about a game that just makes you smile and feel good for playing it.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage is proof that Ubisoft doesn’t need an expansive open-world to create a compelling Assassin’s Creed game. I don’t need a laundry list of neverending chores to knock out, or endless quests and question mark icons to explore in order to level up. All I need is my hidden blade, a cool hoodie and some darts, and I’m good to go. Mirage is Ubisoft’s most focused Assassin’s Creed game in six years, and a much-needed revitalization of the series.
In its second act, Starfield shows its cards as you finally realize what it’s all about, and that revelation is tremendous. You won’t be fighting dragons in this one, but Starfield doesn’t need any of that pizazz or showmanship to excel. The beauty of Starfield lies in its humanity, and how deeply it cares about the Earth we live on and what we’ll do to survive as a race. It’s a game about breaking through the final frontier, about appreciating what we have, about the lengths we’ll go to advance, and while it has its flaws and missteps, Starfield explores these themes with a sense of earnestness and authenticity that’s hard to find in most other titles. And maybe that’s all that matters.
An incredible looter experience overall. I cannot overstate just how satisfying it is to play Diablo IV on a moment-to-moment basis, and with so much replay value to be had from its various classes and build possibilities within those classes, Diablo IV feels like a true return to form for the series.
Overall, Minecraft Legends is a simple, yet effective introduction to the RTS genre for newcomers like myself. While I don’t necessarily see myself sinking a ton of time into the game going forward –primarily because RTS games still aren’t my thing– I do appreciate Mojang’s effort in expanding the Minecraft universe and experimenting with different genres to see how creative they can get with the IP. Slightly janky controls aside, Minecraft Legends is a solid adventure to experience with friends, and it’ll keep you occupied for hours on end. Just don’t go in expecting a ton of single-player content you can enjoy on your own time.
10 years on, and The Last of Us still feels as timeless as ever. It is, without a doubt, the crown jewel of Naughty Dog’s catalog, but for now, I’d hold off for a bit if you’re thinking about picking it up on PC. Fantastic game, but maybe wait for a patch or two to smooth things over first.
Return to Castlevania is, hands down, Dead Cells’ best expansion yet, and it’s not even close. This isn’t to say that its previous add-ons have been lackluster, as every update to the game has only served to help flesh it out even further. Dead Cells continues to be one of the very best rogue-lite games that have released in the past decade, and this just further cements its place as an outstanding entry in the saturated genre.
Hogwarts Legacy gave me the rare opportunity to be transported back to a time that was harder in some ways, but also simpler in many others. The fantasy of what could’ve been was sweet and lovely, but also devastatingly fleeting. Then again, perhaps that’s really all I could ever ask for.
At the end of the day, Fire Emblem Engage ends up being a rather middling experience that wasn’t afraid to try a few new things as far as combat is concerned, but couldn’t come close to the heights that its predecessors have set for the series.
Bayonetta 3 is an ode to the longtime fans who’ve stuck with the game since 2009. While it’s certainly not without its obvious flaws and missteps, I can’t imagine that fans would be very disappointed with how this third, explosive entry has turned out.
It’s difficult to look back on a game like Overwatch and wonder what it could’ve been if it had been delayed, and released as a complete, full-priced package with none of the extras: no feel-bad Battle Passes, with the story mode and Hero Missions available to all from the get-go. It’s not all doom and gloom of course; I’ve been in denial about the change in direction for PvP, but tens of hours of playtime have convinced me that the new 5v5 format will lead to more exciting experiences going forward. For my fellow lore and character enthusiasts, well, there’s always next year.
Ultimately, The DioField Chronicle surprised me with just how much depth its combat system offered, and powering my way through its levels proved to be a joy, despite its narrative and characterization shortcomings. The real-time strategy battles are an innovative aspect of the game that I’d love to see adapted in more RPGs, and while I do wish the protagonists weren’t as cookie-cutter as they come, I’ll take bland stories and pretty art over boring gameplay any day.
My time with Ooblets started off rocky, and while it did take a while for me to get into the groove of things and finally settle into the comfy farm life that I so desperately crave from these games, I’m glad I stuck with it. And just like Stardew Valley, Ooblets 1.0 definitely has the potential to keep growing and expanding beyond its current scope. It’s a fantastic farming sim as is, but the real excitement comes from what it could eventually become in the future.
Midnight Fight Express wants you to be the actor, director, producer, and choreographer of your own action movie all at once, and it absolutely nails that aspect. As I made my way through the city, I found myself wishing the night would never end. But you know what they say, all good things must end and all that. At least I’ll always have neon blue hair Babyface.
At the end of the day, I found myself feeling pretty ambivalent towards Tower of Fantasy. I appreciated its focus on multiplayer activities, but ultimately, Tower of Fantasy wants to be a story-driven MMORPG with an immersive open-world for players to get lost in, and it just isn’t that. After finally getting past the honeymoon period of being wowed by its sun-soaked environments, it became clear that Tower of Fantasy is pretty much all style, with little substance. It’s a fun romp, and certainly one of the better mobile MMOs out right now, but in the grand scheme of things, there isn’t quite enough polish or engaging quest content to keep me coming back for more.
Marvel’s Spider-Man continues to be one of the best superhero video games released in the last decade, thanks in no small part to Yuri Lowenthal’s committed and passionate performance as Peter Parker, and the overall lighthearted tone that keeps players feeling good over the course of its 20-hour runtime. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that you run out and buy it if you’ve already played the base game at launch, but if you’re looking for an excuse to jump back in and take a crack at all the DLC missions that have released since then, you can’t go wrong here.
Eyes in the Dark is ultimately a unique and very distinctive entry in the rogue-lite genre. It certainly won’t resonate with everyone, but it’s well worth a look if you’re in the mood for a charming rogue-lite that looks like it just jumped out of a Tim Burton movie.