Shane Boyle


51 games reviewed
72.0 average score
80 median score
66.7% of games recommended
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Dec 24, 2022

Despite a slow start and some persistent technical issues that are inexcusable, Syberia: The World Before is a fantastic narrative adventure that continues the series in spectacular fashion, and does Benoit Sokal’s legacy proud. It’s not clear where Syberia as a series goes from here now that the Sokal is sadly no longer around to steer the ship, but I have full faith after playing Syberia: The World Before that Microids is more than capable of continuing to deliver more incredible tales in this universe.

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3 / 5.0 - RWBY: Arrowfell
Dec 3, 2022

RWBY: Arrowfell is the definition of a mixed bag. Rewarding and fast-paced exploration does provide some satisfaction, but the combat, which makes up the majority of the game, fails to impress through the awkward way in which character progression has been implemented. If you’re willing to overlook that, then RWBY: Arrowfell serves as a perfectly fine distraction that I feel does just enough right with its narrative, presentation, and exploration to make it worth a look for action platformer fans.

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3.5 / 5.0 - Heidelberg 1693
Nov 29, 2022

If this review came across as negative, it’s not because Heidelberg 1693 is a total bust. Any negativity largely comes from a place of frustration at how close it gets to greatness at times. It is absolutely still worth playing for fans of action platformers and all things macabre, who will delight in the stellar enemy variety and terrifically disgusting art direction. When it’s firing on all cylinders, the weird and wonderful world of Heidelberg 1693 provides an exhilarating challenge that evokes the glory days of the genre, all punctuated by fantastic and imaginative boss design. If you’re willing to look past the frustrations that present themselves at times in the form of uneven balancing, then Heidelberg 1693 will provide a few hours of horrendous fun that genre fans will lap up.

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4 / 5.0 - Sophstar
Nov 25, 2022

Even with those gripes, however, there is nothing here that would stop me from recommending Sophstar to shmup fans. It takes a familiar genre, nails the fundamentals, and then builds upon those with unrivaled ship variety and its teleportation mechanic that is so core to the experience and blows the genre wide open to the extent that I’m not sure I want to ever play another shmup that doesn’t have this feature. If you’re not put off by the lack of progression and are up for the immense challenge presented by Sophstar, then I would encourage you to not let this little gem pass you by.

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4 / 5.0 - Super Woden GP
Nov 19, 2022

Super Woden GP pretty much delivered everything I wanted from it. An addictive gameplay hook, fantastic track design, and a simple yet challenging-to-master handling system all contribute to a retro racing experience that delivers fun in spades, all while looking stunning in action. The difficulty wall that the early hours present may be off putting to some and it is undoubtedly frustrating early on, but those that battle through it will find one of the most charming and rewarding racing experiences that Nintendo’s hybrid has to offer.

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2 / 5.0 - The Last Oricru
Nov 7, 2022

Having said all that, despite the fun that co-op brings, it isn’t enough to turn The Last Oricru into a recommendation, unfortunately. The amateur-hour writing and uneven combat are just too difficult to overlook especially considering just how stuffed the genre is with competing titles that do just about everything The Last Oricru does, only better. Sure there is fun to be hand in exploring Wanderia and its intricate level design, but every “wow” moment is typically followed by a facepalm, as Silver says something that is tonally deaf, or falls to yet another attack that should have had no business hitting him. If you’re after another slice of Soulslike action in 2022, then your $40 can absolutely be spent better elsewhere, with The Last Oricru serving as little more than a pale imitation that struggles to even nail the Soulslike fundamentals.

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2.5 / 5.0 - Session: Skate Sim
Oct 15, 2022

Session: Skate Sim is a game of two halves at the moment. It presents a daunting, yet rewarding challenge that genuinely tries to move the genre forward through its dedication to being an authentic sim, but at the same time lacks the character and anarchy that the genre and skateboarding, in general, are synonymous with. Add onto that a healthy serving of jank and bugs, and Session: Skate Sim becomes a hard sell. However, if you can look past its flaws and are down for a challenge, it’s worth giving a shot as the innovations it does present are worth experiencing, and the highs you will receive from mastering the complex controls are unlike anything else the genre has to offer.

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Oct 11, 2022

Asterigos: Curse of the Stars is a triumph, a title of such confidence and quality that it feels like the work of a veteran studio, rather than a studio trying its hand at the genre for the first time. With a truly flexible combat system, an engaging and deep narrative, and a gorgeous visual style that makes the most of its Greek and Roman inspirations, Asterigos: Curse of the Stars easily overcomes any minor criticisms that can be raised against the slightly lacking level design and quality of life issues. Even if you’re like me, and felt like you had already had your fill of Souls-likes for 2022, give Asterigos: Curse of the Stars a chance, and you’ll likely find yourself falling in love with the genre all over again.

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Oct 6, 2022

Despite its flaws, No More Heroes III is a worthwhile addition to the series. With the performance issues that distracted on Switch now a thing of the past, and the best combat that the series has produced to date, No More Heroes III is capable of providing an overload of gorgeous, chaotic fun. With combat this good, it’s a shame that the rest of the package feels so woefully outdated at times. By relying so heavily on past gimmicks and humor, No More Heroes III becomes a recommendation for die-hard fans only, rather than something that could have had a more widespread appeal had some more efforts been made to modernize the experience.

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4.5 / 5.0 - Deathloop
Sep 22, 2022

Deathloop remains Arkane’s best work, and it’s fantastic that Xbox players can finally get in on Cole’s deadly groundhog day. Its unique structure and sheer scope, coupled with the signature Arkane gameplay that has been polished to within an inch of its life, feels like the work of a developer finally fully realizing a vision that began many years ago with the original Dishonoured. Despite the lacking AI, Deathloop is a modern-day classic that should not be overlooked by anyone, something that should hopefully now be made easier by having its audience extended to the Xbox.

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Sep 21, 2022

No Place for Bravery is another stellar soulslike for genre fans to add to their library on the Switch. By taking the best elements from Sekiro and translating those into a fast-paced, isometric ARPG with deep world-building and compelling narrative hooks, No Place for Bravery does more than enough to provide a title that stands out amidst a sea of samey competition.

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4 / 5.0 - Soulstice
Sep 20, 2022

Soulstice is a fantastic time and successfully emulates the glory days of the character-driven action genre, whilst also implementing some neat ideas of its own that make it stand out from the competition. Visually, it may not stack up to the best the genre has to offer, but when you are in the thick of the action, looking like a total badass thanks to the easy-to-learn, difficult-to-master combat system, you’ll be having so much fun that it becomes very easy to overlook Soulstice’s flaws.

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4 / 5.0 - Biomutant
Sep 19, 2022

Biomutant on the PS5 is a greatly enhanced experience that, whilst unable to fix some of the more fundamental issues baked into its core, is a much better-realized version of the developers’ vision. Running on significantly more powerful hardware than that on which it was originally released, Biomutant’s exploration and combat shine brighter than ever. If you were put off by the technical limitations that held Biomutant back, this version is very easy to recommend, and even easier to sink hours upon hours into.

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White Day: A Labyrinth Named School is a somewhat uneven package, arguably held back by how dated the jump scares and obtuse nature of the puzzles feel. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth experiencing, though – if you value an uncomfortable, oppressive atmosphere in your survival horror, along with a haunting and compelling story, then White Day: A Labyrinth Named School is definitely worthy of your time.

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4 / 5.0 - Steelrising
Sep 7, 2022

Steelrising is yet another feather in Spiders’ cap that clearly shows how far the developer has come. Not content with putting out a steady stream of sprawling Western RPGs, the plucky French studio has made a largely seamless transition to the souls-like genre. Hitbox frustrations aside, Steelrising’s challenging combat and deep world-building feel like the work of a team who have been churning out souls-likes for years, rather than a studio stepping into uncharted territory, and they’ve successfully created a world that I hope we see a lot more of in the coming years.

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Aug 23, 2022

Super Bullet Break uses its difficulty and gacha mechanics to truly great effect, elevating what would otherwise be a fairly standard deck builder, into something that is fiendishly addictive and easy to dump hours into. Sure, the early game can be brutally difficult, and some may find that off-putting, but stick around past those early stages, and Super Bullet Break’s moreish gacha systems will almost certainly suck you in, due to the way in which the randomized systems bring the creative options for deck building to the forefront.

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3 / 5.0 - Book Quest
Aug 17, 2022

While it isn’t going to be an easy sell for many due to the difficulty spikes that arise in the form of its demanding bosses, I ultimately came away from Book Quest satisfied with the final product. Sure, it wasn’t the laid-back, Zelda-clone I was expecting and presented a challenge that came as a shock, but that was ultimately the best thing about it. If you can look past the, at times, inconsistent hitboxes, and frequent audio bugs, then Book Quest provides a satisfying evening’s worth of, at times, hardcore action that I hope finds an audience.

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2 / 5.0 - Aniquilation
Aug 14, 2022

Unfortunately Aniquilation squanders an interesting concept with poor level design that does its best to ensure that the various mechanics at play are nothing short of frustrating the majority of the time. There is some fun to be had if you can endure the frustrations and fight your way through to the later stages of Aniqulation’s levels, where the environments open up and it becomes more apparent what the developers were going for. Sprinkle in the technical issues, and Aniquilation is difficult to recommend to anyone other than the most dedicated of twin-stick shooter fans.

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Aug 6, 2022

Bright Memory: Infinite is a shining example of the power of development tools when placed in the hands of someone who truly knows how to get the most out of them. With its AAA production values and polished gameplay, it provides an evening’s worth of action that entertained me in a way that the genre has struggled to do since Respawn’s underappreciated Titanfall 2. If you’re comfortable with dropping twenty dollars on an experience that you know will be over in a couple of hours and are willing to overlook the messy narrative in favour of the excellent gameplay loops, then Bright Memory: Infinite is absolutely worth supporting.

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I truly hope that Sword and Fairy: Together Forever finally releasing on consoles gives the series the boost it needs towards more widespread recognition globally. It’s a fantastic title with some of the deepest lore to grace the genre in a while, which also manages to back up its compelling narrative with combat that is a joy to engage with. In a summer that has sorely been lacking in epic RPGs for genre enthusiasts to get stuck into, Sword and Fairy: Together Forever not only helps fill that void but does so with a level of style and heart that begs to be experienced.

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