Grant E. Gaines
Overall, I would say I enjoyed playing through Ghostwire: Tokyo. Some of this might just be my love of the setting and overall culture, though it’s unique and often fascinating. It’s just a shame a wide variety of choices hold it back. Turning an open-world game into a long series of checkboxes is rarely good, with combat following an odd curve. It starts fun, then feels unsatisfying, followed by it slowly building back to being fun. Given it eventually becomes a satisfying experience I would say it’s worth considering, though it is absolutely not an experience I’d say is for everyone.
All things considered, Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin is a good spin-off. It feels different enough to stand out, without it being so different to throw fans off. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite check every box. Combat could be a little better, gameplay a bit deeper, story a little less goofy and so forth but it’s a good first attempt. One that is worth giving a go if you enjoy either experience.
Blue Reflection: Second Light does a good job of building on what worked in the first adventure. It’s cute, the characters are charming, with deep enough mechanics to make gameplay engaging. It might not be perfect like stealth sections are fairly pointless, but fans of the previous or this style of RPG will enjoy it. Even if it’s only over the delightful visuals.
The hard part about the introductory chapter is starting with a bang. It doesn’t feel like the story actually starts until the very end of Mobile Suit Gundam Battle Operation Code Fairy Vol. 1, with gameplay that is simply not appealing enough to carry the rest. As a result, this is going to be an experience, at least in its current form, that appeals to a very small set of people. Maybe if you’re a fan of the Gundam Battle Operation series, otherwise I’d wait to see how the second volume goes.
In a lot of ways, I applaud the concept behind Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars. It’s different, commits fully, and absolutely captures the experience it wants to create. The problem is, a gimmick like that can make it a hard sell. Games as a medium have distinctly different advantages, as well as those games catering to different elements, making it more of a well-executed concept. Naturally, fans of Dungeons and Dragons will likely find the experience comforting and enjoyable, whereas most other players will see a unique-looking game that plays like a rather generic RPG.
here are a lot of things going on in Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi. It’s a simple-looking game that relies heavily on a love of the tactical side of RPGs. There is also a strong story, one that does a good job hooking players quickly, though can lose them with frequent tutorials and vague answers. At its core, Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi does a decent job in the genre and certainly has its own perks, it just might not be enough to make it stand out next to similar titles or fall short of some of the better games in the genre.
Despite having some bumps, the core story, character interactions, and setting more than make Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy worth playing. I found myself amused by Star-Lord’s antics, gripped by his past and curious about the future. Throw in some delightful songs, weird situations, and a fascinating setting that requires a team of at least some level of teamwork to accomplish and you have a game worth exploring.
Even if Neptunia X Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars isn’t reinventing the wheel, it’s the type of experience that will speak to fans. The jokes are good, the setting offers a fair amount of new subject matter to explore and the gameplay is interesting enough to enjoy. What it lacks is some of the depth or sheer content you’d find in a similar game, which is somewhat disappointing. Still, fans of Neptunia will likely find themselves having fun seeing what trouble Neptune has gotten herself into.
The tricky thing about Dungeon Encounters is that it’s an engaging game. I found myself saying I would do one more floor a couple of times before realizing I had to stop. But, by the same token, there are plenty of games with deeper mechanics and more to it than a board and boxes fighting one another. For this reason, I think it appeals to people who love the imaginative side of Dungeon and Dragons, but many RPG fans will likely find the lack of practically anything boring. After a while, you just realize you’re swapping numbers, with a team eventually winning or losing.
To put it simply, Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Hinokami Chronicles is in an odd place. The story covers what it needs to, giving it enough content to fill complete for fans and newcomers alike, it just feels hollow.
Metroid Dread might not be perfect but it is a solid experience. The story eventually builds to a stunning climax, with gameplay that rewards those who like to explore. Progression can sometimes prove rather frustrating, along with the dread sections feeling more scripted than suspenseful but the overall package is quite nice. Needless to say, Metroid Dread is a must for Metroid fans or anyone who wants to get into the classic Metroid experience.
Back 4 Blood is a fantastic entry in this genre that is held back by a couple of bold choices. Builds are a lot of fun until it becomes overly robotic and anything short of a really bad modifier puts you on a set loop. It also benefits from strong mechanics that make even the lowest difficulty feel unrelenting, along with rewarding team players. As much as I applaud Back 4 Blood for catering to a specific hardcore player base, it is a choice that will alienate certain players. I suggest asking yourself if you’re looking for a game to grind heavily or if a moderate challenge on a lower difficulty is enough. If you answered yes to either or just love the genre, odds are you’ll love this too. However, if you’re not looking for a massive team-based shooter, this is one experience that will leave you frustrated and disappointed.
Xuan Yuan Sword 7 reminds me a lot of why people dislike trailers. You could easily watch the launch trailer for this and get the wrong impression. Everything shown happens, it’s just behind a couple of hour commitment and sandwiched between an underwhelming story and an equally underwhelming world. If you’re willing to invest the time and give Xuan Yuan Sword 7 a good try, it can potentially be a good game. However, for everyone else, there are better adventures out there.
As a huge fan of Disgaea, I’m simply disappointed in the direction Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny took. It went from a charming RPG that had larger than life bosses with equally impressive stats to numbers so inflated it’s legitimately hard to know what exactly your stats are. Add in auto play that will literally grind while you sleep, various mechanics that make the mechanics irrelevant and it’s literally just a pointless grind until the next pointless grind. For some that might be fun, but that simply isn’t what Disgaea is for me.
Another common debate in the gaming community, especially after some games going to $70, is quality versus quantity. For the longer time I’ve always favored quantity, though believe in a healthy mix of both, but Biomutant makes a compelling case for why quantity is bad.
The main thing to remember with Rust Console Edition is that you need to come in with a desire to build a life and invest the time to see that life through. This makes it hard to suggest to everyone, especially those who will want to fight a bear the second they spawn, a choice you’ll likely immediately regret but it does what it wants to quite well. The meta-game alone can feel hours, days, weeks or even months, provided you come in with an open mind.
Success really depends on what you're looking for. Traditional fans will likely love the experience. Puzzles are fun, combat is intense, enemies feel unrelenting and there is a need to explore if you want to stay alive. Anyone hoping for a more intense run and gun adventure will likely be disappointed. There are absolutely some great moments, just questionable design choices and a rough opening prevent it from being perfect.