That said, the story is far from the focus of the game and its strong gameplay and striking visual design more than make up for it. The pounding electronic soundtrack is worth shouting out as well because each song manages to perfectly match the energy of the player at any given moment. There are also a ton of minigames present to shake things up in the post-game, such as a speedrunning mode and a bunch of collectable game cartridges that can be played via the arcade machine in home base. Through its marriage of bullet-hell gunplay and fast-paced platforming of games like Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Soda Crisis stands out as a phenomenal side-scrolling action-adventure.
Players will come across the "Hidden Room" area early on and, upon doing so, reveal a moment in which a character enters the basement and goes through a wooden door that now has a combination lock on it. This is the first look at what becomes a more sinister rabbit hole that makes navigating a complicated situation just that much more difficult. Ultimately, Eternal Threads is a slow-burner that tells an endlessly intriguing story through a unique take on time travel. While this isn't everyone's cup of tea, it's something special.
Unfortunately, the boss fights feel a bit tame, save for the final moments of the final fight. Overall, they are repetitive and surprisingly slow at times - an issue made more apparent thanks to the aggressive synthwave soundtrack being pushed into the background instead of into the player's face. Despite these few fights, the real obstacle of Ghostrunner: Project_Hel is getting used to the new movement and combat mechanics. The speed and brutality is still there and anyone who enjoys the base game will feel right at home in this DLC.
This is the only noticeable downside to this expansion and it's one that will only affect certain players. Even then, the story alone is absolutely worth dealing with what is realistically a minor inconvenience. Destiny 2: The Witch Queen is an achievement in storytelling for Bungie, which somehow has two more expansions still to come for its ongoing game. The Witch Queen is a must play for fans of the series, casual or otherwise, as it's an intriguing story that is well told, exudes confidence, and hints at an even brighter (or darker) future that's still to come.
This is a hard moment to experience and there are many more throughout Martha is Dead, but none of these are implemented for shock value. All of these moments are carefully thought-out and relevant to the story and exploration of Giulia's mental deterioration. Ultimately, Martha is Dead is a game with simple mechanics that tells a difficult but important story that's well worth experiencing. That said, those interested in playing this game should consider doing so on Xbox or PC if possible, as these platforms are offering the game in the way it's intended to be experienced.
Overall, Kingdom of the Dead is a true love letter to arena shooters and the horror genre. This game stands out among its peers and its visual design, as well as its soundtrack, highlight how unique DIRIGO's style is. It won't be for everyone, as the same things that make the experience tight and replayable can paradoxically make it repetitive and unengaging. Despite this risk, anyone with an interest should absolutely check out Kingdom of the Dead and enjoy some good old-fashioned demon hunting.
With a game like Dread Hunger, some may feel that this death system hinders the core objective of the Thralls, while others may feel that it forces them to be more creative in dealing with other players and focus on turning the crew against each other rather than rely on brute force. Similarly, the crew may feel like there is too much to keep track of or they may feel like the gameplay loop is encouraging and rewards creativity. Ultimately, Dread Hunger is truly a well-thought-out and brutal game that feels novel in its execution, but its difficulty and gameplay loop may not be for everyone.
With the Uncharted movie bringing more attention to the already beloved series, it's a great time to explore what the world of Nathan Drake, Chloe Frazer, and Nadine Ross has to offer. Uncharted: Legacy Of Thieves Collection is authentic, exciting, and well worth exploring, neatly tying together the series past and potential future in the best version of both to date.
Even as the final moments occurred, which also felt like it came out of nowhere, it didn't feel like the player was a hero. Given the wonderful mechanics, design, personality, and narrative intentions of Scarf, the confusing storytelling is unfortunate but, thankfully, doesn't make the game any less enjoyable. While it's never fun to push story to the sidelines, doing so will let players get lost in Scarf's beautiful worlds and have an absolute blast during its short but sweet playtime.
Overall, Aeterna Noctis is a solid experience with some notable flaws that aren't deal-breakers, but could definitely benefit from a bit more refinement. What it does do quite well is find where its two genres intersect and craft a world and gameplay loop that highlight them quite well. For fans of these kinds of games, Aeterna Noctis is definitely worth picking up.
During its next stage of development, it will be interesting to see how ANVIL will establish its identity as something greater than the sum of its parts. It's clear that ANVIL is utilizing the best designs and systems from the games mentioned throughout this review, but it comes at the cost of not feeling like it's doing anything new or at least anything that is uniquely "ANVIL." With ANVIL: Vault Breakers promising regular updates, it has plenty of time to become something entirely its own.
Overall, Riders Republic is an incredibly fun game that's held back by its controls and the Ubisoft fanfare of microtransactions and content bloating. These issues can be fixed though and with players already being turned off by these issues, Ubisoft will likely take steps to address them - even if it's just tightening up the controls. Though Riders Republic is a thoroughly good time, some players will rightfully feel that its current issues may not justify the price tag.
The most surprising part of the experience was becoming engrossed in a story that built without being noticed. The game opens with a letter that originally seems to just be a stand-in for the developer to welcome players to golf, but over time it transitions into something more personal and reflective. What was once a series of formal letters becomes something beautiful, a sincere back and forth between X and Y, the player and the writer. A Little Golf Journey is a game full of surprises and a gameplay loop that never gets old, and comes highly recommended.
While there's something a bit disappointing about yet another entry to the Cthulhu mythos that doesn't quite manage to translate its best features into the video game medium, there are hints and moments of other smaller Eldritch creatures that keep things interesting. In particular, the way The Alien Cube ultimately handles its final moments is incredibly satisfying with its visuals. The story may not stick the landing for some, but the overall experience is dark, engaging, beautiful, and disgusting. The Alien Cube is a love letter to the genre and is a strong choice for the fans who are on the hunt for a non-literary medium that manages to get Lovecraft mostly right.
While the fast loading times and updated graphics show off the beauty of Dharma City's neon-grunge aesthetic and keep players in the action, it's ultimately the same experience. Screen Rant's first Ghostrunner review perfectly sums up the PS5 version's experience, in that it's "Sometimes Fast, Sometimes Slow." Ghostrunner is a great game that provides a proper adrenaline rush when everything works as intended, but those hoping for any significant changes in this next-gen version will be disappointed.4
Aeon Drive is an otherwise solid experience with nuanced mechanics. The biggest areas where the game struggles are, luckily, in the smaller details such as the lack of hangtime and forgetting to include a mechanic in the tutorial that, thankfully, didn't hinder the gameplay until the end. With its comfortable three-hour playtime, native speedrunning leaderboards, competitive mode, and charming personality, Aeon Drive is definitely worth checking out.
While this left a sour taste in that moment, it just serves as a warning to save the game frequently, because the devs are actively fixing many of these issues for launch and these hiccups shouldn't get in the way of playing Sable. It has a beautiful story to tell about the ups and downs of growing up and leaving home for the first time, with plenty of lovable characters and unique moments to experience along the way. With its beautiful design, surprisingly deep lore, and comforting soundtrack, Sable provides a joyful and inspiring escape that would be a shame to miss out on.
Minor annoyances aside, WWZ: Aftermath is fun, replayable, and challenging. As an added bonus, current WWZ owners can upgrade for $19.99 instead of paying the full $39.99 and carry over their progression and other save data. Overall, World War Z: Aftermath is a refined and replayable experience that offers a slew of content for half the price of its competitors.
There are some fun nods to its inspirations, such as having an area puzzle that mirrors the Ocarina of Time's Lost Woods puzzle; it even has a race and city called "Neptyn" that look a lot like the Zora and an un-frozen Zora's Domain respectively. While these references are clear, both in its design and gameplay, Flynn: Son of Crimson has a very defined sense of identity and has many unique features that set it apart from its inspirations. Flynn: Son of Crimson is absolutely worth checking out as every second spent in its beautifully designed world is one well spent.