The House of the Dead: Remake is utterly disappointing. While the addition of Horde Mode is a net positive, it’s brought down by ugly visuals, poor performance, and worse controls. In my entire time with the game, not once did I ever feel the heavy weight of the game’s faults lifted so I could enjoy myself. There is some brilliance to be seen here, but that’s courtesy of what the original game was, not what the remake mostly fails to uphold. The House of the Dead is better enjoyed elsewhere.
There is no wrong way to enjoy a Rune Factory game. That was true in 2006 and it especially holds true today. Endless discoveries make for an endlessly enjoyable take on the farm sim genre. Although it is a clumsier game than its predecessor due to technical issues, Rune Factory 5 upholds the ever-heartwarming and ever-rewarding legacy of the series.
Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist & The Mysterious Dream is both a love letter to the series’ past and a bold step towards its future. I was thoroughly impressed by the game’s ability to merge gameplay found in Ryza with the gameplay of the older titles without ever feeling as if it needed to compromise either. Nearly every new element it introduced felt like a logical evolution of past ideas, to a point where I’m surprised that some of them had only been introduced now. Although it has a small number of cracks holding it back slightly, Atelier Sophie 2 was an absolute delight of a game, and easily my new favorite in the series.
Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX 2 doesn’t just fly, it soars. Its new mechanics, setting, English voice track, and visuals were not done for the sake of merely experimenting. These elements evolve the series and push it to heights it hadn’t yet seen until now. Among the pantheon of Inti Creates’ platforming hits, Luminous Avenger iX 2 stands tall and proud from the pack.
I was surprised by Poker Club, because my initial impressions of the game were not very strong. I found the online challenges to be frustrating and the game’s overall speed to be tedious. But as I continued on, I had reconciled these problems without really even noticing. That’s not to say that these issues are not pervasive to the entire experience, but because I had merely grown numb to them. Much like taking a seat at the gambler’s table for the very first time, many frustrations will pass as you take in the easygoing, yet exciting atmosphere of this common pastime. Though it could be better, Poker Club is a charming and lovingly crafted recreation of one of the most popular pastimes around.
I still recommend the game. Beneath all the baggage that the Ultimate version introduces, it’s still fantastic after so long. Despite having played the Switch version in particular, which is much worse off than the other versions, I still enjoyed the game enough to 100% in less than half a day. While I don’t regret my time doing so, by the end of it, I was slightly disheartened. Disheartened that, despite all the promises Sega made about ensuring more quality Sonic experiences, these promises end up coming out feeling like half-truths. I can only hope that future Sonic re-releases and remasters, including the upcoming Sonic Origins, have more time and care put into them, as the series truly does deserve better.