Casey David Muir-Taylor
Even though its side quests and story are mostly forgettable, there is something incredibly addicting about Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising. Its gameplay loop of completing quests, filling your stamp book, upgrading the town and your gear, and unlocking the next area sinks its teeth into you. Rising offers up an addictive, charming, and beautiful taste of what’s to come.
From its story to its platforming, Arise is simple in many ways and is not afraid to try new things with its mechanics. While its platforming makes things more difficult than it needs to be at times, it is the journey through the narrative that matters the most. If you’re up for a simple yet satisfying journey that tugs at your heartstrings, Arise will do just that.
There are some good moments in Chernobylite, but much of it is hampered by its inability to decide exactly what it wants to be. Neither the RPG nor survival horror elements rise to the occasion, but some of its storytelling pulls at your heartstrings. It kept me playing to see Igor and his companions through the end of the game. Chernobylite is best when it’s focusing on its characters, but I am not sure even that would make this adventure worthwhile.
While upgraded graphics and gameplay enhancements may not be enough for everyone, it's still a great game thanks to a vibrant world and cast and its take on the tired and true turn-based battle system. Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers is a worthwhile port for fans of the game and those looking to play for the first time.
Ghostwire Tokyo is not a bad game, but it never reaches the greatness I’d seen Tango Gameworks do previously. If you’re a fan of open-world games, collecting things, and love side content, it might be something you enjoy, but be wary of the game’s narrative and battles. With those, you’re in for a bit of corporeal punishment.
Horizon Forbidden West is a success in almost every way even if it sometimes does too much in its open world. Guerrilla Games takes everything great about Horizon Zero Dawn and improves upon it all while offering up an engrossing narrative with memorable characters, exciting battles, and a whole lot of fun.
Dying Light 2: Stay Human largely improves upon the original in every way, and it will have you enveloped in the dying light of the City again and again as you glide, climb, and jump from roof to roof in search of the next thing to explore.
Despite Maiden of Black Water’s flaws, I do think it succeeds with creating an eerie atmosphere, and some of the storytelling and lore sent chills down my spine. Unfortunately, a lot of the lore is told through found documents, and it can be hard to stay engaged by reading journal after journal. When you do see a scene through the main story or via Fatal Glances after defeating enemies, it does feel a little more important and special since they’re few and far between. If you’re looking to play a game with a spooky story and a different take on the survival horror genre, pick up your camera and head into Fatal Frame’s world.
While some of the game’s mechanics haven’t aged super well, it’s still a fun and eerie ride through Bright Falls, and it is enjoyable to see where Remedy came from. If I had played this game when it first came out, I think I would have appreciated it more, but that isn’t to say Alan Wake Remastered isn’t worth your time. If you’re looking for an eccentric and spooky story with some zany characters and good gameplay, spend some time with Alan in Bright Falls.
Even with its issues, Diablo II: Resurrected is still a very fun time and will take you back to 2000. There is still the addicting urge to keep going and find more loot, better armor, and learn more skills, and being able to play it with this generation’s graphics is the icing on the cake.
If you’re invested in stories that will make your heartache and your stomach flutter, Life is Strange: True Colors is worth your time. With a cast of likable, developed characters and a mystery that you’ll want to see through to the end, True Colors holds its own amongst narrative-driven games and cements itself as the best Life is Strange game yet.
Where the Heart Leads doesn’t tell a story full of action sequences and battles with grand sweeping scenes, but it does tell a story about a man and his life, a town and its inhabitants, and it does a damn good job of making you care as you maneuver obstacles with subtle nuance in impactful ways through the power of choice.
Both Intergrade, with all its glossy bells and whistles, and Yuffie’s engaging and well-paced story in INTERmission are a worthwhile investment if you own a PS5. Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is the definite edition of the game.
Despite a few bumpy features and frustrations, Nocturne is a game that still plays great almost twenty years later. With the addition of voice acting, remastered graphics, and its quality of life changes, it cements itself as a JRPG experience that is still worthwhile even if battles can sometimes be difficult and repetitive.
I am not sure I would ever call the game fun, but there are moments where things click and there is a sense of accomplishment. Though every time I cleared a particularly challenging objective with a lot of moving parts and felt proud, the game threw something frustrating or unexplained at me that made the game feel like a chore again. That is perhaps the biggest issue I had with Buildings Have Feelings Too!: finding joy in the game.