Jurassic World Evolution 2 continues to evolve into a first-rate sim. The Dominion Malta expansion does something more than just adding stuff, though it does that, too. The Dinosaur Exchange adds an interesting ethical element to the mix, and the tie-ins to the movie bring a little blockbuster shine to the game as well.
One Piece Odyssey is first and foremost made for longtime followers of the manga and anime. That said, there is enough backstory and information to keep the casual gamer engaged. One Piece Odyssey is a robust, well-made JRPG that’s faithful to the core audience but fun for almost any turn-based action fan. Aside from the somewhat annoying, patchwork pacing and occasionally repetitive backtracking, One Piece Odyssey’s combat and oddball characters are fun to spend time with.
Joey Drew Studios has created a memorable nightmare world of maniacal ‘toons and the dark side of creativity. While its combat and mechanics don’t reach the same level as its setting and narrative, Bendy and the Dark Revival is a must-play for fans of the first game, and an effective introduction to a singular franchise for everyone else.
Coming back to Grime many months after its release, I’m still impressed with the game’s art, combat, and its smart variations on the Soulslike genre. The new, generous, free DLC adds a significant amount of excellent content and rewards the player community for its commitment to the game. As it was when it released, Grime is still one of the best recent Soulslikes and the Colors of Rot only makes it better
In a landscape littered with copycat games, Blacktail’s originality make it a winner. Set aside the game’s mechanically frustrating and probably unnecessary boss battles. Blacktail’s world, characters and narrative are easily worth the very reasonable price of admission.
There is no question that the free update makes The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt a better game. It looks better, it controls better and the many, minor improvements add up to a significantly improved experience. The Netflix-based DLC is not a cheap tie-in but a well-made and completely integrated new chapter worth playing. Short of an actual remake, the update brings a seven-year-old game within spitting distance of the best current-gen title. The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt update breathes new, exciting life into a genuine classic.
Crossfire: Legion is an exercise in nostalgia, bringing to mind real time strategy games back when the genre was at its most popular. Its mechanics are comfortably familiar, but that might also be a disappointment to gamers looking for innovation or depth. Skirmishes limited to online-only play, some bugs left over from early access and a forgettable campaign weigh against Crossfire: Legion’s basically engaging RTS gameplay and graphics. Diehard fans of the genre will absolutely appreciate the game’s classic feel, but will be left wanting more.
Devotees of yuri, musou, or anime visual novels might find something to enjoy in Samurai Maiden. Aside from its genre trappings, fans of action RPGs won’t be impressed. The game’s combat is simply too frustrating, repetitive, and janky. Samurai Maiden doesn’t take any chances. The result is an overpriced, low-budget game with tepid combat bound to a collection of familiar genre tropes.
The ability to partner familiar Marvel superstars with a hero of your own creation is just part of Midnight Sun’s appeal. The card battle system perfectly balances easy-to-learn with tough-to-master. With a heavy emphasis on narrative and character, Marvel’s Midnight Suns is much more than an X-COM clone. The Marvel gang feels right at home in the tactical RPG genre thanks to the game’s smart mechanics. Fighting alongside iconic Marvel heroes never gets old.
Fans of Vermintide will definitely enjoy Darktide’s slightly more creative approach to character building, and anyone into fast-paced cooperative shooters — lovers of Warhammer 40,000 or not — will have a great time. Best of all, Warhammer 40,000 Darktide has all the elements for an extended life, provided Fatshark keeps fixing bugs, adding content and rewarding its fans. Darktide is off to a great start.
The Oregon Trail was, and is, a landmark product in gaming history. Gameloft’s remake updates a classic and makes it relevant and fun for gamers in 2022, without sacrificing the original’s personality. Setting off for the West has never been more inviting.
Almost nothing about Gungrave G.O.R.E. feels like it was released in 2022. By sticking so closely to the original, it inherits all the faults of the PlayStation 2 game. It’s short, repetitive and while the combat system remains a highlight, it’s surrounded by story, mechanics, sound and art that somehow still feel dated and aren’t much fun compared to so many other, better action games. There are many devotees of the original, but I think they might be disappointed. However, if you’re a fan of chaotic third person shooters you might find Gungrave G.O.R.E. entertaining for a few minutes. Just don’t expect the fun to last.
Evil West is the third in an unrelated trilogy of games that weave together the old West with supernatural elements. The West has recently been Hard, Weird and now, Evil. To me, this is the best of the bunch. It’s definitely the most fun. It combines an old-school shooter’s lack of fussy complexity with plenty of depth and engaging, fluid, frenetic combat. Add in a well-acted narrative and some iconic environments, and you’re in for a great time slaying vampires and taking names.
At least visually, Pentiment is unlike any game in the marketplace, and its execution is never less than impressive. As a reflection on the role of the artist and the fundamental, unchanging nature of the human experience, it can be thoughtful, amusing and moving. The game’s mechanics, some of the writing and pacing definitely take a back seat to the aesthetics. Taken as a whole, playing Pentiment is another great reminder that not every videogame experience needs to overwhelm the senses, challenge reflexes or be the product of market research. Pentiment might not be for everyone, but that’s ok. Not for everyone is sometimes exactly what we need.
The Chant has an intriguing premise and setting that set it apart from its cousins in the horror/action adventure sphere. While it doesn’t break any new ground with its mechanics or combat, and it’s definitely not very scary, its exploration of psychological states adds a bit of specific narrative color. Budgetary limitations in character models, lack of refinement, weak combat, and inelegant animations aside, The Chant is just unique enough to make it appealing to fans of the genre.
Ghost Song doesn’t try to reinvent the Metroidvania genre, but neither does it clutter it up with extra mechanics for the sake of complexity. It’s approachable but challenging. What it lacks in originality is made up for by attractive art, good level design and overall, addictive fun.
Graphically, Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy are showing their age just a bit. The new PC release pulls them from the past into something very close to present day standards, not that they ever looked bad. In terms of fun factor, writing and action, Uncharted 4 remains compelling. PC players, your long wait is over. The Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves collection is definitely worth your time and money. If you’ve already played it on PS5, the port isn’t going to be a revelation or substantially different.
A Plague Tale: Requiem doesn’t reinvent what made the first game great. Instead, it builds on what worked and makes everything better. From graphics and sound to combat, A Plague Tale: Requiem adds a layer of depth a polish we didn’t even realize was missing the first time around. A lot of gamers missed A Plague Tale: Innocence, but everyone should play this altogether amazing sequel.