- Final Fantasy VI
The Ascent is not perfect, but it is fun as hell. The frenetic gunplay is only supported by its engaging aesthetic. If you don’t mind not having a fully immersive experience that has a shallow narrative, what you will get is a massive arcology to explore, along with taking on hordes of foes with your hard-earned loot. Its deceptively simplistic gameplay only allows for better exploration and engagement with its many sidequests.
Playing this game in its “Intergrade” form is such a privilege that is truly magnified when you get to experience 60fps and almost no loading times. Anyone who owns a PS5, whether replaying the game or a first-timer, would surely enjoy this release in its most polished state, the way it was meant to be played, fixed doors and all. As a whole, Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is a complete experience. They’ve improved on the visual fidelity that corrected a lot of the hiccups from the PS4 version while adding the INTERmission side content enables the story to open up to a much larger world away from the Midgar-centric stage.
Well deserved commendations are in order for Insomniac Games and Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart, as they’ve preserved the integrity and charm of the franchise while introducing fantastic quality of life improvements to make the game feel like a massive improvement from its predecessor. In a way, it’s definitely the same Ratchet & Clank flavor but wrapped in a shiny and technically masterful package. The addition of new characters like Rivet and the multiple dimensions dynamic is icing on the cake for such a must-play, next-gen feel-good experience.
These three games are a generation-defining series that have shaped many players’ lives, that I actually envy some people who are able to experience this for the first time. To some, this may even be the best trilogy of games ever created, with Mass Effect 2 possibly being up there in the “greatest of all time” conversation. This shared experience causes many of them to bond over their distinct adventures, cry over lost squadmates, and share their common frustration with driving the Mako or the divisive conclusion. Either way, it was a fantastic journey, and while not all of our collective emotions could be bottled up and re-lived, it feels so nice to be back in the shoes of Commander Shepard once again.
I commend Neil Jones for his passion project and providing us with a unique experience with this free-running game, and I fully support his vision. While the game is a bit light on gameplay, the soundtrack to it is the icing on the cake and I would most definitely recommend buying it and supporting his composer Daniel Wilkins as well. As for the game, it’s an accessible experience that could be easily picked up and once you complete it, harder difficulties could be unlocked for some speedrunning options.
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is a great way for potential fans to hop on and check out the Ace Attorney series. For those who can appreciate the visual novel storytelling and its light-hearted wonder, you get two games for the price of one, and it really doesn’t get better than that.
In a time where we’re being bombarded with larger open worlds with endless fetch quests and high-difficulty roguelike combat in every corner, it’s refreshing to have a game that just charms us traditionally, and Greak: Memories of Azur does just that.
I really enjoyed Psychonauts 2 despite not having played the first game and as someone who generally ignores mascot platformers. The unique visual style may not be for everybody, but the charming and heartwarming story can really get you into the groove. Coupled with an easy control scheme mixed in with a semi-open world enabling you to explore different mind mazes, there's a lot to love about this game.
Cris Tales has its fair share of problems, but if you don’t mind a little bit of jank and a full dose of nostalgia, this non-Japanese developed JRPG is definitely for you. It’s a simple game that follows many of its tropes to the letter, sometimes to a fault, but it does just enough to become a charming ride without it overstaying its welcome.
Deathloop is one of the year’s best games and you shouldn’t let the marketing fatigue fool you because Arkane has delivered quite a fresh take using one of the most saturated themes in today’s gaming market. Deathloop has some of the best ways to ease you into a complex world, waiting for you to walk until you can run, but at the same time treating you with enough respect to figure things out.