Ryan Thomas Bamsey
No Place for Bravery surprised me in many ways. When I first started, I was ready for a gory festival of combat with a good story to go along with it. What I got was a beautiful, dark narrative that pushed me to reach the end credits far more than the promise of combat would have. The things I loved most are things I can’t talk about in this review for fear of spoiling the experience - No Place for Bravery feels fantastic to play, and Glitch Factory has created a story that will stick with me for years.
Sunday Gold is a game with a lot to say, says it eloquently, and has an aesthetic and artistic direction that I’ve fallen in love with. However, it must be said that the execution leaves something to be desired - the game excels in set pieces, confrontations, and dialogues, but getting from one highlight to another is a bit of a slog. I’d play another game following Frank, Sally, and Gavin in a heartbeat, but I’d hope it flows much better than Sunday Gold.
There’s a lot to love about Potion Permit. It’s a game that, as mentioned, gives you a purpose, and does a great job of letting you experience the journey from total newcomer to heart of the community. It’s a perfect game for those seeking a relaxing, chilled-out experience - a tonic for a market filled with life sims that emphasise profit and efficiency. The only things lacking are a little difficulty to keep things interesting and some bug fixing to keep things running smoothly.
At this point in time, it takes a lot to stand out in a sea of Metroidvania action platformers. With its gorgeous presentation and memorable boss fights, Islets does just that. It has some of the tightest platforming I’ve ever experienced, but I felt that the unbalanced combat design drags it down. I really enjoyed my time with Islets - it took me around 12 hours to beat the game, and it certainly doesn’t feel like time wasted - and I’d recommend it to any fan of Metroidvanias, but I don’t think it has universal appeal.
With all of that said, it cannot be understated how compelling this game feels. It takes all the best things from its inspirations and blends them together in a way that works. It’s a game with the combat of a Soulslike, the gameplay loop of a Monster Hunter, and the exploration of a Metroidvania, all set against a beautiful backdrop - conflicting flavours that come together to form a delicious experience. It’s greater than the sum of its parts, and it’s a game I won’t be putting down for a very long time.
Bringing this game to consoles turned it into the most beginner-friendly and fastest-loading version of Crusader Kings yet. It falls only slightly short of the PC version’s greatness simply through the game being built from the ground up for desktop gameplay. As it stands, Crusader Kings 3: Console Edition is the platonic ideal for console ports when it comes to strategy games.
When comparing it to its predecessors, the game feels like a sorely needed update. Yes, it treads old ground, with the same crops, monsters, items, and mechanics to deal with, but you can’t really mess with a winning formula, and the game has plenty of worthwhile additions of its own. To sum it up, playing Rune Factory 5 is a compelling, joyous experience that its fans will devour heartily as if it were a plate full of Supreme Curry.