For a series that has been hiding in the shadows and deemed a cult classic franchise for quite some time, Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist Of The Mysterious Dream proves that even though it may be the underdog in a genre saturated with many, many entries, it can come out from the shadows and prove that it's a one of a kind experience.
The murky visuals, bland dungeon design, boring gameplay overshadow the excellent boss design and a killer soundtrack, making this more of a chore to play and dampening the experience tremendously. There is no way in good faith that this could be recommended as a full-priced title, however in the future, if they improve upon the many mistakes that are currently in the game, it could be made into what it originally looked to be.
If there was a word to summarize how fans will feel with this title, it would be Surprised. Surprised to see how much love and care was put into this title, from entrances to the sheer amount of things for you to customize within the world. Visual Concepts knocked the ball out of the park with this entry, but there are a few little things that hold it back from being the greatest of all time.
From the gorgeous visuals that transport you directly to the field, to the stellar controls, you won't find another sports game out there that will captivate you quite like this one. Feeling the roar of the crowd swelling up as you continue to rack up points, to the way that your players will express their emotions on the field, this is a sports title that other developers of the genre should take notes from.
With a haunting soundtrack, great sound effects, a great visual style that stands out from the crowd, excellent commanding gameplay, and the plethora of options that you'll be able to take to achieve victory, you'll find yourself excited to try to take command of the Spice, even if you end suffering a crushing loss.
This is a video game about flying around heaven, shooting and dashing through demons, flirting with your other neons, gathering cards that happen to double as weapons, and talking to angels that just so happen to be cats with comically large sunglasses. If any of that sounds even slightly interesting to you, you may have found your new obsession.
With a killer soundtrack, excellent controls, a great roster of characters, and more, you'll find that there is an excellent time to be had here by any gamer of any skill level. A few small problems hold it back from being the greatest beat-em-up of all time, you cannot go wrong with this shell of a time.
If you're looking to fall in love with a platformer that wears its heart on its sleeve, you'll be happy to know that these titles still do hold up tremendously well, even if they may not feel as polished as some newer games in the genre. If you're willing to deal with some frustrations from dated design, you may find yourself head over heels for this loveable Dream Warrior, no questions asked.
It's hard to perfectly encapsulate what Stray really sets out to do, as it is a jack of all trades, but unfortunately a master of none of them. Certain parts of this game are near masterclass, like its stealth sections, but it finds itself lost within its own identity too often, and misses the mark on more than one occasion.
While other years have felt like a fumble, this feels like a solid first down, and we can only hope that they go for a successful Hail Mary the next time around. The spirit of Madden fills this entry in the franchise, and it feels that there is hope that it can reach its roots once more, and become the premier football simulator once more. Are you ready for some football? Because I know that I am.
With some dated design choices that hold it back from being the best that it could be, it may not be everyone's cup of tea. But, for those that have been waiting, this is like the ultimate form of comfort food, getting something that they love, to bring them back to a specific time and place that gives them their best memories.
NBA 2K23 does a killer job of opening the floor to those that are new to the franchise, or those returning for their umpteenth time. With gorgeous visuals that help solidify this as one of the best-looking games of the generation so far, to controls that let you feel like a pro, there's very little to complain about here.
If you've never experienced the Taiko no Tatsujin franchise, this is going to be the perfect entry point for players. With the new Taiko Music Pass, you'll have access to more music than ever before, and with its abundant customization options for your character and playstyle, you'll become a master Donder in no time. You'll need the patience to learn and grow, but once you do, it's the best feeling around.
If you're willing to devote the time needed to this title, you'll find one of the most exciting sports games around. It's not going to hold your hand, but it's going to do what it needs to help shape you into the next face of the PGA Tour. The endless frustration of a barely missed putt, versus the excitement of a hole-in-one that you finally nailed is exhilarating.
If you're looking for something that makes you feel closer to the ice than ever before, NHL 23 is going to be your favorite game that you play this year. The electricity that oozes from this title is something that will bring me back to playing it over and over again, even if there are a few nagging problems that need to be addressed very shortly.
As a swan song for the series, the Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection delivers on the grandeur for which the series is well known. Whether this is your first time exploring these detailed and beautiful worlds or your fifteenth, it'll be hard for you to come across a package of adventure games that can deliver the thrills and chills that these titles can.
Bringing a fresh new art style to the franchise that we hope sticks around for years to come, this ain't your daddy's Need for Speed. And maybe, that's a good thing. With Heat pushing the franchise in a bold new direction, Need For Speed Unbound borrows almost everything that made that title special and improves upon it.