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.
Ultimately, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes basically turned me into the Death Knight, who yearned for nothing but cold, heartless bloodshed as I hacked my way through a bunch of levels, ignoring every side objective that came up. Three Hopes serves up a fun story that will definitely please a lot of Three Houses fans, and despite a few character missteps here and there, it’s well worth experiencing. Just be careful not to fall to the dark side.
It’s a brilliant encapsulation of what made the movies so iconic and beloved, and it just oozes humor and delicious campiness at every turn. It’s still fairly rare for games attached to some sort of entertainment IP to do well, but I’d say Evil Dead’s already off to a groovy start.
As it stands, Salt and Sacrifice continues to nail down all of the moving parts and elements that go into creating an impressive Souls-like game. For most players –especially those just discovering the genre for the first time– this is an easy recommendation. But for the rest of us, it’s not quite enough anymore.
I think fans of the genre are going to really appreciate what Triangle Strategy has going for it, even if the character development could use a bit more work. And for genre newcomers or those less familiar with it like myself, this is a fantastic entry point with an engaging story to keep you hooked.
Is this the best FromSoft action RPG ever made? For now, perhaps. It’s definitely up there with Bloodborne. But given the company’s track record, I’d no longer be surprised if they come back in another six years with a new IP that surpasses all expectations yet again.
Lost Ark might be one of the most banal games you’ll ever come across if you’re just looking at it from a narrative point of view, but it’s a prime example of how good gameplay and combat can carry the entire experience. Sometimes, all it takes is the appeal of watching your tiny numbers gradually grow into big numbers for you to get hooked on a game.
Danganronpa Decadence has been a long time coming. The series itself is just such a perfect fit for the handheld device, and coming back to it has been such a joy. This is the kind of series that keeps you up at night, jabbing at your screen under the covers in the dark as you soak in every new bit of information, trying to unravel the mystery. It’s completely engrossing, and a wonderful addition to the Switch library.
At the end of the day, I’m not so sure that Shin Megami Tensei V really pushes the envelope forward for the series. It doesn’t have the emotional brevity of the excellent Nocturne, nor does it present the same kind of moral quandaries that IV did. It certainly looks better and plays incredibly well, and from a gameplay perspective, this would easily be the most accessible entry of the bunch.
In spite of its shortcomings, though, Back 4 Blood is already starting to feel like it could very well become my go-to zombie shooter whenever I just want to have a fun, social experience with friends. Despite how saturated the zombie game market has become, Back 4 Blood cuts through all the noise and delivers a solid co-op shooter that oozes charm and prioritizes fun with friends over everything else.
Death Stranding Director’s Cut continues to impress with its fearless commitment to fetch quests on top of fetch quests, and again, it’s not going to change your mind if you didn’t already buy into what it was selling back in 2019. But if you did, the Director’s Cut enhances and enriches that original experience, and you’ll be happy you jumped back into this one.
Before I knew it, my initial skepticism and complaints had begun to evaporate. Even as a silent protagonist, John manages to exude so much personality from his non-committal shrugs and sighs, and he and Sam play off each other so well it’s hard not to feel endeared to them. Everything about Eastward just feels immediately magical and nostalgic, and while my gripes with the combat and stretched out dungeon designs never really went away entirely, Sam’s journey is still one I’m glad I went on in the end.
By and large, though, Humankind is still an exciting evolution for the genre. Its dedication to historical authenticity sets it apart from its largest competitor, and the new systems like war support and shifting cultures feel like the very first steps leading to something that’s potentially greater. It’s not quite the ‘Civ-killer’ it wants to be just yet, but hey, give it a few more iterations and it just might be.