Josh Broadwell


84 games reviewed
78.3 average score
80 median score
70.9% of games recommended
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8 / 10 - Men of War II
May 15, 2024

Frustrations aside, Men of War 2 is a fresh and ambitious take on a genre that's usually comfortable staying the same. I wish I had more time to sink into its massive multiplayer matches, but even when I don't, I'm still pleased with how strong the single-player experience is. Sure, it doesn't require the same level of strategy as taking on a human opponent, but Men of War 2's inventive mechanics keep you on your toes anyway.

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9 / 10 - Indika
May 3, 2024

Indika isn't an easy game to score. Tedious puzzles annoy in the moment, but they're easy to overlook in the broader scheme. Indika's underdeveloped theme stands out, but Odd Meter handles everything else so adeptly that it doesn't ruin the experience, even if it is slightly soured. As trite as it sounds, this really is one game you have to play for yourself and form your own conclusions - and that's probably just how Odd Meter wants it.

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7 / 10 - Sand Land
Apr 24, 2024

That's Sand Land in a nutshell, though. It's a vibes game more than anything else, charming, sometimes surprisingly incisive, and daring enough to be its own thing. That thing isn't always as engaging as it could be, but it's certainly unforgettable.

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Apr 21, 2024

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is a good reminder of why the RPG genre left some parts of its Golden Age behind. It’s also a testimony to what makes the genre special and the power of good storytelling to move and inspire. Admittedly, rigid adherence to archaic structures makes those first impressions tough to look past, but a creative battle system, extensive party customization, and top-notch writing make up for the retro jank.

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As a hub for video game preservation, Digital Eclipse's latest is fine. It does the absolute minimum and not a bit more. As a piece of history, though, it’s baffling, incomplete, and rushed. I can’t help but think that perhaps the Jeff Minter story that Digital Eclipse wanted to tell proved too unwieldy and maybe too expensive to fit into this release, and what we end up with is this pared down version. Even that doesn't explain the lack of effort to actually tell a story and put any of Minter's life and work in worthwhile context.

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7 / 10 - Last Epoch
Feb 22, 2024

I'm hoping 11th Hour has more in store for Last Epoch's future as well. There's a strong foundation to build on, both from narrative and combat perspectives, and more than that, I just want an excuse to spend more time in Last Epoch.

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Feb 14, 2024

What changed and what remains the same in Mario Vs. Donkey Kong on Switch is a little confusing at times, and it raises the question of why a remake was the best choice and not a full new game. Still, "if it ain't broke" and all that. The original Mario Vs. Donkey Kong holds up nearly 20 years later, and nearly every new addition makes the already-strong puzzle game even better.

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9 / 10 - Ultros
Feb 12, 2024

Ultros is a kaleidoscope game. It takes a handful of ordinary things, shakes them up and sticks the pieces together, and then spins it all around. It's just a different version of what we've seen dozens of times before, sure. But it feels special, and it sure does look good.

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Jan 31, 2024

That knack of managing to evoke emotion with so many established storytelling conventions is what makes Granblue Fantasy Relink feel special. In a landscape full of attempts to rekindle nostalgia or capture the essence of yesteryear’s most memorable games, Cygames did one better. Relink isn’t interested in trying to recapture those feelings. It reminds me why they were special to begin with.

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The three latter Ace Attorney games are certainly uneven, and the first two never quite reach the level of narrative power, or even general coherence, of the original trilogy. However, they do challenge the idea of what an Ace Attorney game can be and introduce some memorable characters in the process. Dual Destinies might be the sour one of the bunch, but Capcom wins the case of Apollo Justice v. the test of time.

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Dec 13, 2023

However, it’s hard to feel like that alone, plus an expanded roster, justify Versus Rising’s existence, especially if you played Versus for any length of time. If you missed the original Versus, though, then that doesn’t really matter. Rising is an excellent fighting game, even when the narrative context flies over your head.

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Nov 27, 2023

Last Train Home might not be as deep as some management sims or as broad in scope as other RTS games. However, it combines the best of both styles with some smart and welcome improvements that give it a strong identity. Combine that with a unique story and brilliant presentation, and you’ve got yourself a strong candidate for one of the best in the genre.

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Nov 14, 2023

Just when Tactica’s combat feels like it steps into its own, the game ends. Atlus definitely played it safe by easing players into the basics and gradually giving them more freedom to use all of Tactica’s tools, but the moment where everything clicks and all the systems work together happens a little too late. There's a lot of potential here, though, and I hope this isn't the last time Atlus brings tactics to the shadow world.

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Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name may be a side story in RGG Studio’s long-running Yakuza franchise, but it’s also one of the biggest steps forward in quality and thoughtful design that the series has seen in years.

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Nov 2, 2023

Annoyances and bugs aside, The Invincible is as bold and smart as its protagonist, and I can only hope it starts a trend of equally thoughtful takes on big ideas from history and literature.

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I just didn't really want to do any of the other things Return to Moria expected me to.

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Oct 19, 2023

There’s still work to be done, but Cities Skylines 2 is an impressive improvement over the original. Its systems work together seamlessly, and you have more control over how your city develops without it feeling overwhelming or intimidating.

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Oct 10, 2023

Total War Pharoah doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does introduce a handful of promising and sometimes deep new ways to approach the familiar formula. Combat is still hit-and-miss, but the approach to history and empire-building are among the best in the Total War series.

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6 / 10 - Ad Infinitum
Oct 2, 2023

A more coherent story and confident use of setting could've helped Ad Infinitum live up to its full potential. The dilapidated mansion, nightmare trenches, and horrible creatures still give it a unique identity that goes some way toward making up for the narrative shortcomings. However, I hope there's a "next time" for Hekate and Ad Infinitum and a chance for both to play into their strengths.

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