Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection – Volume 1 serves as both a fantastic collection of video games and as an impressively detailed look at the evolution of the iconic video games series, but is unfortunately hampered by a sense of déjà vu due to providing few upgrades to the core games from the previous HD collection release. Despite this, the Master Collection remains the only way to be able to experience these games on modern consoles and each title is well worth revisiting. The real stars of this collection are the screenplay and master books which provide meticulously crafted breakdowns of each game and serve as a treasure trove of information for die-hard fans to pore over.
Pixel Ripped 1995 is a fantastic game which expertly combines well-crafted game homages and VR features to provide an enthralling, albeit short but well-paced, adventure. DOT's never-ending battle against the evil Cyblin Lord provides the perfect backdrop for this adventure, and the surprisingly heartfelt story about family adds an extra layer to an already impressive game. Those looking for a hit of nostalgia or just a well-rounded VR game need look no further.
Lies of P is a gorgeous, bloody, unforgiving game which builds off the well-tread souls template to create a wholly original adventure that never ceases being a joy to explore and experience. With top tier combat, fantastic enemy and boss designs, and intricate and often interweaving areas to explore, the game remains fresh despite the 30+ hours required for a first playthrough. I may be a sucker for these types of games, but Lies of P hit absolutely every note needed to draw me into its often grotesque yet surprisingly emotional world. Lies of P may be based on a well-known and over told fairy tale, but watching it unfold in a mature setting with a likable cast of characters and dire stakes made the story that much more enthralling.
Stray Gods is an interesting and mostly successful experiment in creating a new gaming genre, one that I am ultimately hoping leads to more refined experiences in the future. Despite a few grievances, I enjoyed my time unraveling Calliope's death and diving into the lives of these diverse Idols, all while tapping my feet along to some well-constructed songs.
Pixel Ripped 1978 is a fun, albeit short and flawed VR game that leans into nostalgia and gamers' love for Atari, but unfortunately does little with the plethora of great Atari IPs available. Still, the concept is unique, the boss fights are creative, and the last third of the game makes up for the rather lackluster beginning. For those with a strong sense of nostalgia, Pixel Ripped 1978 is worth checking out, but for those with no connection to the Atari time period your enjoyment may vary.
Another Fisherman's Tale is a charming, unique, and well-crafted puzzle game with creative set pieces and a heartfelt story, but unfortunately is let down by an unwieldy control scheme and a short three-to-four-hour long campaign. Still, the story of Bob and his adventures is worth diving into for its sheer creativity and uniqueness.
Cosmonious High is a fun, albeit brief, VR experience which allows you to drop into a school in disarray and obtain a variety of powers which can then be used to fix the school or cause more chaos. The assignments are fun, the VR mechanics work great, and the characters are hilarious, making Cosmonious High a game well worth spending a few hours on.
Moss: Book II is a genuinely emotional, surprisingly creative, and incredibly gorgeous follow-up to its critically acclaimed predecessor. Book II takes the themes and gameplay ideas from the first title and nearly perfects them and in doing so has created a longer, more difficult, and more fulfilling adventure for Quill.
Moss is an incredible puzzle-based adventure which uses VR to create a unique and stunning experience, all while featuring one of the most adorable heroes to come along in years. Featuring creative puzzles, a simple, but heartfelt story, some fun platforming and action sequences, Moss is a must have for any VR lover's game catalog.
Job Simulator was one of the defining games of early PC and console VR and remains a great introduction to VR for those wanting to learn the ropes in a stress-free environment. All four scenarios are fun to mess around in and the game has a wonderful sense of humor. Sure, the entire experience only lasts four or five hours, but remains fun throughout.
Ragnarock is an incredibly fun rhythm game filled to the brim with catchy Celtic inspired music. While a bit bare-bones with no story or progression modes to speak of, Ragnarock still works as a party game and is sure to become a go-to when you have a few moments to spare or when you want to have a blast with your friends.
Switchback VR is a fun, albeit flawed, arcade shooter. While the game lacks enemy variety, has disappointing bosses, and has some graphical issues, the core gunplay remains fun and the variety of locations you'll visit keep the game entertaining throughout the rather short campaign. While I wish the rollercoaster theme was utilized for more thrills, it is still a blast to take down a horde of enemies as you ride through a burning house or a creepy backwoods road.
Resident Evil 4 was a 10/10 game when it was released and remains so to this day. Despite the years since its initial release, Leon's adventure has held up incredibly well thanks to a combination of fantastic gameplay, a fun story, campy characters, varied environments, and a lengthy campaign. Now with a new facelift which modernizes the gameplay while providing an incredible graphical update, adding thrilling new set pieces, and expanding the story, RE4 easily retains its spot amongst the best games ever.
Unplugged: Air Guitar is a great concept that works quite well despite using only Sense Controllers to mimic playing a guitar rather than requiring an unwieldy accessory but falls short due to limitations on the type of chord progressions and notes that the PSVR2 is capable of reproducing without hand tracking. A good song list will ensure that most players will remain entertained for a few hours, but despite the developer's best attempts to ensure the game remains challenging by adding new techniques throughout and multiple difficulty levels, it still becomes rather repetitive.
Before Your Eyes is a unique and emotional narrative about a soul on its way to the afterlife and a deep dive into what is important in life. Sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, Before Your Eyes manages to make you care for Benjamin in the short time that you have with him. Controlled using only your eyes, Before Your Eyes is a testament to what the PSVR2 can do, helping craft a story which has no need for controllers to experience. Simply sit back, watch, and blink when you're ready to progress.
Zombieland: Headshot Fever Reloaded is a great VR shooter with precise shooting, good enemy variety, a nice cel-shaded art style, and near infinite replayability. While the base campaign is short, the multiple goals, B-side levels, upgrades, and leaderboards help to flesh out the game and provide a compelling reason to continue jumping back into the chaos long after you first complete the levels.
Wo Long: Fall Dynasty is a near flawless game and what I hope is just an intro to this fantastic world. Team Ninja have crafted a game that takes the basic structure of Nioh and other Souls-likes and creates their own unique, rewarding, and brutally challenging experience. In its almost forty hour campaign I was constantly surprised by the amount of new locations, creative boss fights, and sheer ambition of the game. It may be early in the year, but I'd be surprised if any game beats Wo Long for the top of my year-end list.
Kayak VR: Mirage is a testament to the power of the PlayStation VR2 and a showcase for those who want to show their friends and family what VR is all about. While more of an experience than a full-fledged game, Kayak VR manages to provide a gorgeous, realistic, memorable, and relaxing experience which accurately mimics real kayaking and is almost certain to make you begin plans for your next vacation.
The Dead Space remake is exactly what a remake should be. Quality-of-life improvements help the game flow better and meet modern standards, while the updated graphics bring the terror to life in vivid detail, providing a grotesque beauty to the nearly non-stop carnage. Despite the years which have passed since the game's initial release in 2008, Isaac's trek through the USG Ishimura remains as enthralling and terrifying as ever.
Children of Silentown delivers a compelling story told through stunning hand-drawn graphics and spearheaded by a hauntingly beautiful score that perfectly encapsulates the feelings of melancholy and dread that pervade Lucy's thoughts. Silentown's unique focus on discovering notes to uncover songs which can then be used to unlock puzzles provides a new dynamic to the point-and-click genre, and despite having gripes with one of the puzzle types, I still enjoyed my time unraveling the mystery of Silentown and the monsters that haunt it.