WWE 2K22 has a lot riding on it, and it shows. 2K22 has made video game wrestling fun again while retaining the wealth of creative options to make your experience more unique and personalized. My GM is pure gold, even with its unfortunate limits in place, and it should only get better from here. Meanwhile, 2K Showcase and My Rise offer their own distinctive ways to immerse yourself in the world of wrestling, and coupled with the impressive graphics, give you more than enough reason to keep jumping back in. Online play did have its issues early on and My Rise isn't as refined as I'd hoped, but despite those flaws, 2K22 will continue to be in my console's heavy rotation because of everything else it brings to the party, and I would definitely call that a success.
Dying Light 2 gets off to a slow start, and some might even see it as a slog, but if you see it through just a bit longer, you'll discover a tension-filled journey through the zombie apocalypse that rewards players who are fearless and leap into danger. Soon you'll be gliding, leaping, and zip-lining through the world and cleaving the most deadly of Infected with precision and utter brutality. This is not an easy world to live in, and at times the darkness can almost overwhelm you, but more often than not the rich characters, compelling narrative, and thrill ride combat create a mixture that just can't be resisted, and it's a world I look forward to returning to.
Even with that gripe, Lost in Random just does so much right that it doesn't even really matter. I wouldn't trade my experience in the game for anything, and I'd be willing to get lost in the world of Random all-over gain. If you're on the fence, trust me: just roll the dice and jump on in, because you won't regret it.
The Siege of Paris delivers an adventure that I simply could not put down, keeping me riveted to the final battle and beyond, and I would return to this world in an absolute heartbeat. A villain that is nothing like you expect and a rich cast of characters keep you invested the whole way through, and while the game's new mechanics didn't really floor me the way that I'd hoped, they do enough to bolster an engrossing tale of intrigue, loss, war, and forgiveness that I would recommend to anyone who adores this franchise.
Those nitpicks, and they are nitpicks, likely won't really bother too many players as the story of Whit and Rene is captivating enough to push through any issues. You'll get lost in a beautiful world full of relatable characters and complex relationships, and there just isn't anything quite like Where the Heart Leads out there right now. While it might not be for everyone, those who discover it will likely find themselves better for the experience.
While the pace does drag a bit once you make your way to Shinra Headquarters, things pick up in a big way towards the finale, bringing all of the game's standout features back to the forefront. It all coalesces into a thrilling and heartfelt experience that will satisfy longtime fans of the franchise, and while I do wish there was a bigger emphasis on story and character, at times, I still had a blast returning to this world and spending time with this delightful duo, and Remake's second chapter can't get here soon enough.
There is a roadmap in place for future content, including new maps, weapons, and more, which bodes well, and the game is also budget-friendly at its $29.99 price point. Throw in some solid visuals and a truly fun and satisfying gameplay loop and you've got yourself a one-of-a-kind Robin Hood-themed adventure that will have you coming back for more. That said, it could be even better, and it will be interesting to check in a year from now and see how far it's come.
Gods Will Fall delivers on its promise of being easy to pick up but hard to master, and the creativity in its complimentary gameplay systems and how they interact with one another completely won me over. You actually feel as if every decision you make matters whether that's which warrior to send in, if you should use that last item, or whether you should seek out another enemy to build up some bloodlust. All of those decisions can lead to failure or victory, and regardless of which you achieve, you'll likely be coming back for more.
There's a lot to like about Chronos: Before the Ashes and there were moments where I was fully enveloped in the mystery of this world and the combat, which does offer a sense of accomplishment once you figure out the most efficient way to take down an enemy. The narrative parts of the game were incredibly strong and the uniqueness of the aging concept and its impact on your hero is definitely a feather in its cap. Unfortunately, the core combat isn't something I necessarily enjoyed on a moment-to-moment basis, and the sparseness of story elements and character interactions hold it back and keep you from becoming completely immersed in your adventure. With some smoothing of the edges and more of a narrative presence, this could be a knockout, and here's hoping we get another chance to see that happen.
Those are minor nitpicks of course, and shouldn't take away from all of the things Valhalla does well. Valhalla builds one of the most immersive and lived-in worlds of the series so far and expertly ties in all of its various mechanics and elements into one delightfully fulfilling experience. It delivers thrilling action and a gratifying narrative while also giving older concepts like the settlement the impact on gameplay they should have always had. Assassin's Creed Valhalla is yet another captivating chapter in the story of the Assassins, and you won't want to leave this warrior's world anytime soon. Skal indeed.
Saints Row: The Third Remastered is just as ridiculous and fun as you remember, and the new coat of paint and modern upgrades make it an adventure that you'll want to take on even if you've already experienced it before. Fans who missed out on the original also owe it to themselves to see what all the fuss was about, because if they do they will find quite a lot to love. It's not perfect, mind you, but, honestly, you'll be having too much fun to really care about its flaws.
This might be a bigger issue if Streets of Rage 4 was a more expensive game, but at just $24.99, it is well priced for the content it delivers, though we could've used just a little bit more. What is there is extremely polished, addictive, and, above all else, incredibly fun. Streets of Rage 4 captures the nostalgic vibes of its glory days with a beautiful coat of paint and just enough modern flourishes to hook a brand-new audience, who we think will fall in love with a classic series if they give it a chance.
Persona 5 Royal truly captures all the promise of the original while adding so much more to the mix, and is easily one of the most rewarding, captivating, and enjoyable gaming experiences I've had in some time. Few games have ever hooked me as much as Persona 5 Royal, and if you weren't sold the first time around, do yourself a favor and give Royal a chance to floor you, because it most certainly will.
Despite those nitpicks, this a winning formula, and while those looking for an Oscar-worthy narrative or genre-defining mechanics might not be satisfied, those looking for a rewarding, addictive, and above all fun rollercoaster ride will be over the moon. Sniping zombies has never been more fun.
Greedfall presents a compelling tale of political intrigue and hard choices and, coupled with its addictive combat and entertaining dialogue, it definitely makes a strong case for your time. It is a bit less refined than some of its contemporaries, however, and some will find it hard to ignore the reused textures and less than stellar graphics. That said, for those who look a bit beneath the surface, they'll find a unique world and a roster of rich characters that surprise you at every turn, and, if that sounds like a win, you should definitely give Greedfall a try.
Arise: A Simple Story lives up to its namesake, telling a captivating tale full of charm and heartbreak that hit me right in the feels. It's an experience I won't forget anytime soon, and while there are a few flaws, they cannot outweigh what a meaningful experience this turned out to be, and I couldn't recommend it more.
The mini-game portions of Shenmue III were by far the most enjoyable. Whether it's chopping wood for a paycheck, playing the arcade games, or training, these experiences were the most fun, and they do actually help you get lost in the world of Shenmue. That world and its quirky characters are delightful in their own way, but design and dialogue shortcomings are just too much for those elements to overcome. You'll enjoy the thought of Shenmue III more than actually playing it, and, unfortunately, the nostalgia won't be enough to keep you hooked.
Plants vs. Zombies has always had potential on consoles, but it seems Battle for Neighborville has finally found the winning formula. Battle for Neighborville builds on its predecessors' fun mechanics and adds a massive new world to explore that takes advantage of its strengths, all the while never forgetting the lighthearted approach that made us fall in love with the franchise in the first place. Battle for Neighborville is a rollicking good time, and we can't wait to spend more time in this vibrant and whimsical world.
2K20 is packed with content and offers some of the best wrestling in the franchise. Throwing down in the ring has never felt better, and above all else makes you feel like the Superstars you know and love. 2K's Showcase mode feels like a love letter to Four Horsewomen fans, and you'll be more than entertained reliving some of those classic matches. That said, the MyPlayer mode needs another year of refinement before it can truly reach its high ambitions, and the online side of things needs to be fixed ASAP. For me, online play just isn't that important, and my experience has been relatively glitch-free outside of that, so if that describes you as well you won't be disappointed.