- Final Fantasy VI
Deliver Us The Moon, I would say, deserves a place up there with the likes of Firewatch, What Remains of Edith Finch, and Gone Home. It presents an engaging story and an even deeper sense of immersive storytelling seen through the collection of codex, environmental cues, and exciting set pieces that propel us to find out the answer to the ultimate mystery. While it is a short experience and replayability is relegated to completing your codex, Deliver Us The Moon is a title that should be experienced to be believed. With good use of gravity mechanics and actual cues for adventure, your first run of the game will surely be a blast.
Your dose of nostalgia, especially from 90s fighting games, will be realized with the Capcom Fighting Collection. With ten unique games to choose from, it’s definitely worth the price of admission especially if you’re a die-hard fighting fan looking for a great time by yourself or with competitive play. As a fighting game casual, I still found myself enjoying the single-player options that many of these titles offered. Whether it be for the more popular titles like Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo and Hyper Street Fighter II or the more obscure ones like Cyberbots and Red Earth, the Capcom Fighting Collection is a superb compilation that shows the great lineage of Capcom titles.
OlliOlli World: VOID Riders adds a ton of value to the base game with a new technique, new cosmetics, and new backbreaking challenges to keep you playing. It makes an amazing game even better, with the caveat of getting good if you want to enjoy the elite rewards. VOID Riders is a great expansion that adds more of what made OlliOlli World an already fantastic experience, and that’s definitely not a bad thing in our book.
The Quarry doesn't hit the same highs as Until Dawn, with very simple QTEs and the lack of good and genuine scares that do the game a disservice. It is unfortunate because the star-studded cast delivers the goods but isn't enough to lift the game to the heights that it aimed to reach. I commend how The Quarry attempts to stand out with its accessibility and slightly revised mechanics, but for all intents and purposes, it is an overpriced version of Until Dawn. The Supermassive formula is begging for a refresh, and The Quarry is its latest victim.
There’s a lot of enjoyment to be had with Metal Max Xeno Reborn in the long run, but it’ll take a long while before you get there. The moment you’ve established your base of operations, recruited all your survivors, and maxed out your tanks, there’s a real cathartic way that the post-apocalyptic world of Dystokyo comes to life with its intense bounty hunting and fetch quests. However, the game terribly suffers in its early to mid-game, which can be a bit of a disappointment due to its rushed tutorials and unforgiving difficulty spikes. As a longtime JRPG fan, it really reminds me of old-school JRPGs that had a bit of jank but had their unique charm. As with classic JRPGs, it also comes with its quirks that make the game frustrating, especially when starting out and getting lost in the process. It gets better in the endgame if you last that long.
For fans of the series, Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong would hopefully quench your thirst until the eventual release of Bloodlines 2. However, I feel that newcomers to the series will have varying degrees of enjoyment regarding the lore, and if you’re not a fan of reading, it’ll be a bumpy start. The magic of Swansong is that succeeding playthroughs will definitely get better as you learn more of the lore and paint a complete picture of the whole mystery. If you have the patience for all that legwork, more power to you to be able to unravel every one of its mysteries. It also really doesn’t help that the puzzles are quite obtuse and the visuals aren’t as inviting as something like Vampyr or Detroit: Become Human.
Card Shark is a rather unique game with an interesting premise, but I strongly suggest you try out the demo before committing. The aesthetic and narrative are entertaining enough, but require you to learn a rather tedious mini-game system whose costs outweigh the rewards. There are a few strange design decisions that prevent the enjoyment of Card Shark, as a simple manual save could save us a lot of grief going through the journey. The tutorials are quite obtuse, but the early quests keep it easy that when it starts to combine variations of techniques, there’s no way to review old tricks to keep the momentum going.
Sifu is a definite must-experience beat-em-up for 2022, and for those who have passed on this title because of the crushing difficulty, you can rejoice in the fact that the developers have added difficulty settings that allow you to experience the game at your own pace but still keep the overall experience. While the original really pushed for the aspect of lifelong mastery through its difficulty setting, the new update really opens up the game to a fuller experience that a wider base can experience instead of being intimidated by it. There is more to Sifu than this, boasting its atmosphere and immersion to breathe life back into the beat-em-up genre that’s really been relegated to retro games or remakes of retro games.
Road 96 is an enjoyable narrative journey that makes the most of your first run to the best of its presentation. While it may not win over gamers of certain political mindsets, its strengths are more derived from how it made a narrative game entertaining enough that doesn't forget that it's a video game first. I'm always looking for creative ways to tell a story and these vignettes that chronicle a country's turning point through the eyes of its disillusioned youth are what inspire me to continue perusing interactive media as it pushes the boundaries as a storytelling medium. Long story short, Road 96 is certainly a journey worth taking.
Personally, I appreciated A Place For The Unwilling due to its atmosphere and unique way of interacting with the world. The title really makes you feel the alienation and awkwardness of being a stranger in a strange land, while always having you be on your toes for an unseen danger. However, from a gameplay perspective, it is marred with inconsistencies that rob the game of its enjoyment.
Weird West is a game that I enjoyed because of its unique take on both the Western and Weird sci-fi sub-genres, making it an impressively immersive RPG experience. What sullied my experience were the multiple glitches on top of the repetitive quest system, preventing me from completing the story because I played the game the “wrong” way. Weird West is designed to be free-flowing but these glitches are fundamentally the antithesis of what they’ve designed the game to do. I’m a patient gamer when it comes to gameplay bugs, but when glitches stop story progression because of something the game has been designed to do, it’s really a red flag going forward. It can be patched eventually but until then, minus points for now.
Overall, Ghostwire: Tokyo is a decent game that provides a surprisingly fun time with its open world and intriguing side quests, but it may not be a game for everybody as the action and open-world mechanics will expect some effort from its audience. Despite that, the game deserves a playthrough for its unique immersion and thematic elements, and I hope Tango Gameworks takes this groundwork and improves on it for future titles.
It’s pretty ironic that for a game that tests so much of your patience, our rating asks you to wait some more. That’s because, given the chance, there is some semblance of fun to be had with Babylon’s Fall, but getting to that point is an extreme test of willpower that not many will be able to overcome, especially given its $60 price point. There are some interesting ideas here, especially with its class-less and weapon-based systems, but a lot of conflicting mechanics muddle the whole product. Each of these systems taken on its own sounds solid, but they come together to form an incoherent game that requires a lot more effort from its players.
Submerged: Hidden Depths sticks to its game promise all the way in its brief 4-6 hour journey, offering a violence-free adventure that stops at just the right time before it completely loses the player. While there are many interesting mechanics involved with this game, we’re given a bare-bones experience overall and I actually hoped for more of the story over than the game I was playing.
ELEX II is a fringe RPG that marches to its own beat but definitely caters to fans of the series and its style of gameplay. It's the type of game that if you get it, you get it, and if you don't, it'll take a lot of effort and energy to force yourself to. It's very difficult to recommend this game to anyone new to the series who's used to the mainstream style of open-world games, which will certainly require a huge paradigm shift.
Despite my opinions about the creative choices of The King of Fighters XV, the gameplay remains slick and fun with its fast-paced combat and combo-centric interface. Probably the best performing SNK game in a long time, but also one of the most accessible King of Fighters game so far, bridging the gap between beginners and competitive pros. While its disappearance for 6 years didn't really amount to a full visual overhaul that sees the return of fairly flat character designs and backgrounds, King of Fighters XV makes great improvements to where it counts the most, such as rollback netcode for online matches.
Horizon Forbidden West successfully builds on the lore and story of Horizon Zero Dawn, bringing to life a world that offers exploration as a reward of its own. The vast lands are breathtaking, paired with photo-realistic designs and an epic soundtrack to boot, Aloy's continued adventures are dazzling, to say the least. There is a magnificence to Horizon Forbidden West, and despite being bogged down by some questionable choices and decisions, the game is another masterful display of talent from Guerrilla Games.
Life is Strange Remastered Collection is a curious case that begs the question – was this really necessary in the first place? Fans of narrative adventures will find much to love with the game, especially if you are a newcomer to the series that will be experiencing the games for the first time. However, if you’ve already played the original versions from years back, there’s very little reason to go back and purchase this at a premium day one price
Combining different gameplay mechanics such as platforming, rhythm game, and a personalized dialogue choice mechanic, it is a title that needs to be experienced firsthand. While the story is told from Francis’ perspective, much of what personalizes this game is your individual choices that create his superstar persona.
OlliOlli World is a fun game that lets you pick it up and proceed at your own pace. Depending on how much you want to put into the game, there’s something for just about anyone willing to give it a try. While the later levels may come across as intimidating, you’ll learn how to do tricks and advanced techniques like a natural in no time thanks to its fantastic tutorial.