The Grand Theft Auto series will always be seen as a cultural milestone in video gaming which led to the open world games that we cherish now, but the years have been a bit harsh on the trilogy and the complete lack of care put into what is essentially an afterthought of a remaster doesn't help matters much. The few updates made with controls, shooting, and lighting are nice, but not enough to justify the $60 price tag. The games are still worth revisiting, especially if you've never played the original releases, but only if you aren't playing on PC or the Switch as those versions seem to share the bulk of issues the game is currently experiencing. So far PS5 is the way to go for a hassle-free trip into Liberty City, just maybe wait for a price cut first.
Thunderflash is a highly competent, if uninspired release. While I enjoyed my hour long playthrough and a round or two of Survival mode, I couldn't help but feel that the release as a whole was a missed opportunity to not only bring back the Run 'n Gun genre, but to innovate and create something more complex. Still, as a co-op experience, it is well worth playing but unfortunately will be forgotten soon after completion.
Nitpicks aside, I don't think that Dreaming Sarah is a bad game, just that it is a great proof of concept that could use more polish. But for an average list price of around $5, I may be asking for too much. Head into the game with an open mind and prepare to think outside the box and you may be pleasantly surprised. Overall it was an ok, if not great, experience and worth taking a look at.
House of the Dead Remake is a fun, quick romp perfect for a night in with a friend, but will most likely wear out its welcome after a couple of hours. The HD graphics help update the game to the modern era while the addition of unlockable weapons, a horde mode, and multiple difficulties help to extend a rather short campaign, but still doesn't offer much reason to continue playing after you've completed the game a few times. The thing I was excited for the most, the motion controls, ultimately became my biggest disappointment and I can't help but feel that there was a huge missed opportunity to not package the game with a gun peripheral. Still, the core game remains fun despite being released over 25 years ago.
Quest for Infamy is a near perfect recreation of point-and-click adventure games of the past. Featuring hilarious dialogue, immature humor, a variety of locations to explore, some clever (and some frustrating) puzzles, and a decently long campaign with an interesting story to unravel. Game breaking bugs and a few of the genre's persistent issues, such as frustrating design and confusion as to where to go or what to do next, do present themselves and in this modern era are far harder to forgive. Still, Quest for Infamy is fun, funny, and worth giving a shot.
While hilarious and fun for a couple of hours, Fisti-Fluffs players will be hard-pressed to find many reasons to come back after a night or two of entertainment. Still, the hilarious win animations, variety of modes, customization options, and killer metal soundtrack make for a good night in. While there are a few issues with slowdown and bots freezing, none of these ruins the experience enough to worry about in the long run.
B.ARK is a fun and incredibly chaotic shooter, one best played with friends. The levels move quickly and throw a variety of enemies and bosses at you, despite some of the bosses feeling a bit repetitive. Still, the lovable cast of characters, the quirky concept, the ability to rescue your teammates, and the push for players to be competitive all fuse together to create a fun, if short-lived experience that I found well worth tackling over a night with friends.
Jay and Silent Bob: Mall Brawl does a great job recreating the look and feel of an original NES release, but takes its retro inspired roots a bit too far and becomes a game which few but the most dedicated will finish. That said, I did enjoy my time with the game and catching the references to other Kevin Smith movies.
Knight Squad 2 is a fun, competent, and chaotic multiplayer game great for parties, but features little to keep players interested beyond the few hours it will take to tackle all the game modes and unlock all the Knights. The addition of cross-platform play is certainly nice and a feature I hope more games implement in the future. A few more unlockables or even a leveling system for the Knights would have been nice, but as it stands I enjoyed my time with Knight Squad 2.
PAC-MAN World Re-Pac is a fun 2D/3D platformer with creative level design, unique boss battles, and collectible items that are actually fun to find. From space ship battles to kart races, PAC-MAN World rarely sticks to one genre of play style for long and is all the better for it. While lack of camera control does make some sections more frustrating than necessary and the campaign clocking in at only five to six hours is a bit disappointing, there's still a lot of fun to be had with this remake whether you're a fan of the original or a newcomer.
The Gunk is a creative, witty, and charming adventure game, albeit a bit on the short side at only five or six hours in length. Still, the writing, world, and exploration more than make up for the short campaign as players will find themselves immediately immersed in the world and Rani and Becks' friendship. Unfortunately, a few technical problems plague the game, the most blatant of which – getting stuck on various items – becomes frustrating in later platforming sections. Still, The Gunk is an adventure well worth partaking in.
As a game, The Last of Us: Part 1 still deserves a high score after all these years, but I give that score hesitantly, as I am acutely aware that previous releases offer more content and that this release was not created for those who have already played through and enjoyed the game in the past, but rather to welcome in new players or for those who wish to harness the full power of their PS5. While this is the most technically impressive version of The Last of Us that we will likely ever get, it is anchored down by its previous releases, while simultaneously missing important components those versions had, namely the superb multiplayer. Despite some interesting bonus features, new cosmetic items, vastly improved AI, and a few quality-of-life changes, there may not be enough here to justify the purchase for anybody except newcomers. That said, the impressively robust suite of accessibility options is a welcome addition worthy of praise and will hopefully provide an opportunity for a new generation of fans to experience this story.
Mothmen 1966 is a gripping story of how three characters react when thrust into contact with the paranormal. Fast-paced and featuring fleshed-out characters, the story only falters as it nears its action-packed ending. The retro aesthetic oozes charm and helps elevate the story, while the simple puzzles and gaming sections allow players to take a break from reading to become active participants in the story. At only two hours long, Mothmen 1966 is a no-brainer for those interested in the paranormal.
Despite my minor complaints, Salt and Sacrifice is an insanely fun Souls-like featuring brutal challenges, great level designs, beautiful hand drawn graphics, interesting enemies and boss fights, cool gear to find and upgrade, a fun leveling system, and one of the most enjoyable co-op experiences I've had in quite a while. The fact that this game was designed by so few people and is of such high quality for a relatively low MSRP of $19.99 is nothing short of astounding. While not perfect, Salt and Sacrifice kept me entertained for well over 20 hours and made me excited for the next entry in this incredible series.
Ghostwire: Tokyo is a unique blend of FPS, RPG, and horror with a creative twist on how we approach fighting in an FPS. Despite a few grievances about the length and ambition of the project, it is still a good game, but unfortunately it merely toes the line between good and great, never quite finding its footing. Still, Ghostwire: Tokyo is well worth picking up.
The Last Stand: Aftermath is a rougelite with a unique concept which keeps each run feeling fresh. Each character, despite having nearly no dialogue, still feels distinct and gives you the sense that each volunteer who sacrifices their life in the name of the community is important. As you progress and unlock new and better equipment and upgrade your survivors, runs will become longer and unveil new story beats, constantly keeping players pushing to unlock the next upgrade, find the next supply cache, or uncover more of the world's lore.
In Sound Mind is a psychological horror game which borders more on tense than scary, and proves to be a unique look into the minds of struggling individuals. Having each tape/patient provide a different world, with the patient's inner torment essentially lashing out as the level's boss, is a unique twist on the genre. The juxtaposition between the monster trying to hurt you, but also expressing its doubt and fears, all while Desmond attempts to calm it and show that he wants to help, felt surprisingly fresh – and gave me much more reason to continue than a simple good versus evil fight would have. A sense of humor, large levels, and a variety of puzzles make In Sound Mind a game worth picking up for those looking for a new twist in an overdone genre.
WarioWare: Get It Together, despite its rather short campaign, features over 200 incredibly funny, absurd, and downright creative microgames for players to complete. You'll find yourself laughing your way through the experience, fighting with your friends over who failed a game, and savoring your triumphs over the late game's harder challenges. The addition of the Emporium, Break Room, Missions, Play-O-Pedia, and Wario Cup are nice and will keep the game fresh for many players well after they complete the story, but a few players may not enjoy the grind to unlock all the Prezzies available. As it stands, WarioWare: Get It Together is a great, though short-lived, game – perfect for a night in with a friend.
Quake is a seminal shooter that helped define the genre, but it's definitely starting to show its age. It's well worth experiencing the campaign, but its design and enemy placement can occasionally feel unfair. Just as well, the multiplayer is difficult to get into if you're not already familiar with it.
Trigger Witch is a surprisingly cute yet bloody homage to retro RPGS while also being an incredibly competent twin stick shooter. You can tackle the campaign solo or alongside a friend, adding much needed replayability. Despite the short length, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Evertonia. The characters, dialogue, backstory, and challenge left me satisfied and looking forward to a sequel.