It's not every day you get to play a video game based on an anime or manga designed to utilize every aspect of the source material to make a great game, rather than simply cashing in on its popularity of it for a quick buck. One Piece: Odyssey tells a good story that spawns many of the franchise's various arcs allowing you to experience the vast One Piece lore in a brand new way. Its turn-based combat is simple but addicting and fun, utilizing each and every member of the Straw Hat crew to the best of their abilities.
It's not every day you get to experience a game like Chained Echoes. With an incredible story, excellent writing, characters you can connect with and a combat system that takes a traditional turn-based system and turns it into a strategic, thought-provoking experience. What's not to like about that?
A fantastic remaster of one of the best Final Fantasy spin-offs. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion is the definitive version of a game lost for fifteen years. With a masterful visual and audio upgrade and a combat system that, in my opinion, outshines Remakes with its fluidity and ease of use, Crisis Core shouldn't be missed; it's just a shame that the writing remained unchanged, and side content is just as repetitive as it was fifteen years ago.
Sometimes you want to start a game and have fun right from the get-go. Evil West doesn't try to do anything fancy or tell a big cinematic story. Instead, it gives you various tools to go in, and slaughter vampires like humanity's existence depend on it. With plenty of weapons and fun combat, Evil West provides plenty of non-stop action, although it's let down by a paper-thin story and some issues with visuals and lighting.
Gungrave G.O.R.E. has been a long time coming; in many ways, this is the game fans of the franchise have been waiting for. It may not be the best game on the market regarding visual and audio design, but the gameplay makes up for that. What may seem like a repetitive shooter quickly becomes a frantic and strategic battle against hordes of enemies. Gungrave G.O.R.E. is a brutal game, but I would be amiss to admit that I loved almost every minute of my time with it. It's not for everybody, but those who take the time to appreciate its mechanics may find something special in this latest franchise entry.
Gotham Knights step out of the shadows of the Dark Knight and provide a breath of fresh air with four unique characters that provide a different approach to protecting Gotham. Gotham Knights' combat may feel stripped down, but it still provides some of the best melee combat on the market. Gotham City has plenty of crimes to solve and challenges to get through. It's just a shame some of its traversals can be so bothersome.
Unusual Findings is a brutal point & click adventure that pays homage to classic titles in the genre. The traditional puzzle-solving and lack of direction may turn off a lot of players, but those that stick wit hit will find a rewarding experience that uses more of your critical thinking than most games ever have.
The missing piece in the Legend of Heroes franchise finally makes its way west. Trials of Zero is a great addition to the franchise featuring a great cast of characters and a fantastic strategic combat system. It's just unfortunate that the PS4 version of the game didn't get the same upgrades that it did on other platforms.
Dusk Diver 2 delivers a much-improved sequel. Though its story takes some time to get going, its execution bears weight, especially in the second half of the game. With great exploration and combat, which allows you to take control of all your party members this time around, Dusk Diver 2 provides a steep challenge with plenty of content to sink your teeth into.
Soul Hackers 2 feels like a budget title whose developers did the best with what they had. It's still a solid game with plenty to love that fans of the genre will certainly enjoy. A strong addition to the Shin Megami Tensei franchise with great combat and art direction only held back by uninspired dungeons and exploration.
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series is a faithful and entertaining remaster of two classic PlayStation platformers. Bandai Namco did an excellent job keeping the franchise's identity alive and preserving the faithful combat and platforming. Though it may feel dated by today's standards, those who remember the Klonoa series will love these remasters, and those jumping in for the first time will experience simple platformers from a simpler time in game design.
Fobia St. Dinfna Hotel does a lot of things right but it falls just a tad short of matching the greatness of many other games in the genre. I loved exploring the Hotel and solving puzzles that are reminiscent of classic titles like Silent Hill and Resident Evil. It's just a shame that combat is not only boring but lacks any real challenge, and the story doesn't provide much resolution or explanation to what's really going on.
Tribute Games and Dotemu have officially brought back the beat-'em-up genre into the spotlight. Shredder's Revenge channels the greatness of arcade beat-'em-ups from the 80s and 90s to create an exceptional experience. Teaming up with friends and taking on the Shredder and his ninja Foot army will definitely put a smile on your face. With plenty of quality-of-life additions like unlockable skills and mission-to-mission quick saves, the only thing holding the title back is the lack of any unlockables and only two game modes to play through.
A great start to what I'm hoping will be a great franchise. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising doesn't do anything to move the side scroller action RPG genre forward, but it does everything to make it fun. Rising reminded me a lot of old school 2D action platformers but with an entire town-building mechanic. It's also one of the most visually impressive indy titles I've seen in a while. Overall, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a great starting point for what's set to be an epic JRPG, with Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes releasing in 2023.
I loved my time in Lake and wished it lasted a bit longer. Though mail delivery doesn't sound so appealing, it was nice and relaxing to drive around a small town and take in the sights. Providence Oaks' town is full of people with big personalities that you can interact with however you want. It has some issues with pop-in issues and repetitive musical score, but it's easy to overlook these issues when the people of Providence Oaks are so delightful to talk to.
There is almost nothing good about Outbreak: Contagious Memories. From the terrible controls to the lack of simple quality of life issues that were found in previous games in the franchise, Dead Drop Studios want you to believe that all the horrible design decisions were done on purpose. Sadly, it's impossible to actually believe that someone can make something this horrible in hopes of entertaining anyone.
Stranger of Paradise is the perfect example of gameplay towering above the sum of its parts. I loved the combat and job system, which allows for dynamic battles and strategy. It's just a shame that the rest of the game feels low budget and unfinished. If you're looking for an origin story to the original Final Fantasy, you'll get it here, but chances are you may want to forget it as soon as you're done.
It's not every day that you get to play through a game that leaves a mark with its disturbing and tragic story, but Martha Dead was able to achieve something that got me thinking from start to finish. The game's incredible soundtrack and sound design are harrowing, and the visuals push the genre forward. It's just a shame that some technical issues and hit and miss tutorials hold the game back from true greatness.
Monark has many great ideas, and some of them are executed well, but the game falters when it requires you to grind for hours just to stand a chance against the next story battle. The exploration and puzzle-solving keep things exciting, and the use of the Seven Deadly Sins for character personalities is a unique way to develop your characters. All in all, though, Monark may have been a better adventure or visual novel game than an RPG.
Dying Light 2: Stay Human has been a long time coming, and thankfully it's worth the wait. I loved the time I spent exploring Villedor; finding random events and scaling buildings took me back to the old days of Assassins Creed II. While I wish I wasn't being timed on the occasions I went into a dark building or decided to explore at night, it's a minor issue to overlook when most of the game is so brilliantly executed and fun to play.