As a complete Warriors package, Samurai Warriors 5 doesn't quite match up to its stellar predecessor, but that doesn't stop it from being fantastic hack and slash fun. Even if the gameplay itself is largely familiar, a rebooted story mode and overhauled art style give the experience a fresh and surprisingly unique feel. What's more, the new ultimate skills system is an excellent addition, and something we'd love to see become a Warriors staple.
You'll have to get used to the combat system as well, which does feel very dated. It's not bad, but it's incredibly basic and, by today's standards, clunky. It boils down to running away from enemy attacks, and then running back into the fray to unleash simple combos. Special moves are available once your super meter is full, but actually landing them can be frustrating, since enemies can waddle out of the way while the animation plays. Again, it's clunky, but there are a range of weapon types to play around with, and companion characters (who can be controlled by the AI or a second player) add spice with their own abilities.
Scarlet Nexus is an enjoyable, polished action RPG, but despite its interesting concepts and setting, it all feels a bit stunted. An intriguing plot is hampered by sloppy storytelling, and the combat system is good fun, but it loses its edge long before the credits roll. If you can play past the game's flaws, there's a lot to like about the brain punk world of Scarlet Nexus - just don't expect it to rewire your own grey matter.
Guilty Gear Strive is a different kind of Guilty Gear. Veteran players may not appreciate some of the changes, but there's no denying that this is still an exceptional fighting game. On a mechanical level, Strive is immensely satisfying and hugely rewarding. On a visual level, it's quite simply unmatched in its genre, and the same can be said of its outstanding online netcode. Where it matters, Strive is a borderline masterpiece.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is the best way to experience the return of Cloud and company. Remake remains a game of ups and downs in terms of quality, but by the time the credits roll, its most memorable moments shine through - of which there are many. Meanwhile, Episode INTERmission won't blow anyone's mind, but it's an enjoyable adventure that slots neatly into the existing story, and fans won't want to miss it.
It's worth noting that local co-op is available at any time, but your partner is limited to playing as one of the game's companion characters. They can't be damaged, but their attacks are weak, and they lack Goose's movement. In short, your co-op buddy is getting a pretty rough deal.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition is the remastered collection that the trilogy deserves. Playing these games back-to-back showcases the immensely impressive scope of BioWare's series - an ambitious project the likes of which we haven't seen since. In some ways, all three titles are showing their age - but excellent character writing and exceptional world building make this a timeless trilogy. An emotional and truly memorable experience, from start to finish.
Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster offers something a bit different here in 2021. By today's standards it's a very hardcore, old school RPG; an adventure that's both unwelcoming and uniquely intriguing - even engrossing once you're invested. But it's also a cult classic that deserves more than this barebones remaster, which does very little to enhance the overall experience - especially for its price tag at release.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids is one of the series' best expansions. In its beautiful but sombre open world depiction of Ireland, it provides an intriguing story that combines history and folklore to great effect. A range of new weapons and armour sets help sweeten the deal, while more engaging combat scenarios keep you on your toes. If you're already a fan of Valhalla, this Emerald Isle adventure is very hard to fault.