Modestly priced at $40, “Nier: Automata” offers dozens of hours of content in a port that sees sensible compromise (blurrier textures, a capped framerate) while retaining what makes the experience an opera of spectacle and mood. Its launch this week further strengthens the deep quality of the Nintendo Switch’s growing library, and it is immediately one of the best titles you could own on the platform.
“Shredder’s Revenge” achieves everything it set out to do, and will go down as an instant classic for its genre. No matter what era, whether it’s 1987, 1989 or 2022, it would be one of the finest, most exciting video game experiences of the year, honing an arcade formula as ageless as Turtles in time.
Available on Xbox Game Pass, “Trek to Yomi” is a no-brainer download for anyone wanting a simple yet cinematic action game that harks back to classic PC adventures and 2D blade-action titles. At a $20 asking price, it’s a more debatable purchase, especially considering the short clear time. But at the end of the trek, I didn’t regret a minute of it, once I got over the fact that the combat was never going to be the real hook. It’s a gorgeous visual feast, and once I started it, I found it hard to look away.
The story of Jack begins with him forgetting about himself. “Stranger of Paradise” is a drunken, belligerent game in both concept and design, and would’ve been better served if it was less adherent to its Final Fantasy origins, and, well, did things its own way, like Ol’ Blue Eyes sang. Despite its level design flaws and a crowded gear system that adds little to the experience, it was hard not to find Jack’s testosterone-fueled journey charming and full of surprises. Just don’t be surprised if it also farts in your face every once in a while.
“Elden Ring” is a game about discovering and pushing the limits of possibility. It dares you, over and over, to keep pushing, making this unlike any other adventure I’ve experienced. It would be understatement to say “Elden Ring” has exceeded my expectations. After 40 hours — and with so much more to go — I don’t even know what I expect from it anymore. Its sheer scale is humbling. In terms of square footage, “Elden Ring” may not be the largest game ever made, but no other experience has made me feel quite as small.
“Sifu” is a no-nonsense arcade brawler that can be played in short bursts or long sprints, depending on the commitment to perfect each level run. Despite its high skill ceiling, it offers a rare treat in video game martial arts: a brutal balletic presentation — if played well enough. If anything, it’s worth playing just for the first level.
Even if Quill sounds like a surfer bro, surfer bros can sometimes be among the most earnest people you’ve ever met once you actually get to know them. The same goes for Quill and co. Their personalities may seem like the stereotypes you’ve always heard, but spend a bit more time with them, and you’ll be glad you did.
The beautiful thing about beat-’em-up games is that the genre’s appeal is immediate: Walk right, punch everyone along the way and feel great about it. The beauty of “Mr. X Nightmare” for “Streets of Rage 4” is less apparent, because the original game was already packed with value. But at $8, this trio of indie studios somehow made a far more robust and replayable package. There’s little else to say besides “Streets of Rage 4,” as a now-complete package, has my highest possible recommendation.
In a time when sneering, ironic detachment remains in fashion, Insomniac Games has created the rare modern masterpiece with no convoluted agenda, no subtext — just so many reasons to smile and laugh. This purity is felt through every pixel, every line reading and every planet.