Shane Robert Moyer
Despite the plethora of side missions distracting from the main quest, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth still brings a decently poignant story to the forefront of the series. The turn-based combat might not be enjoyable for everyone, but it certainly will entertain fans of a variety of genres and game types. The game has a knack for keeping a player's interest, which is something extremely difficult in this day and age. It uses its craziness in such masterful and fun ways that most players won’t be able to help themselves from smiling and laughing along with Ichiban Kasuga and the rest of the cast in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth.
Gunbrella has a lot of potential, both in its storytelling and combat. Unfortunately there never feels like there is enough of either that will or could catapult the game into the upper echelons of pixilated side-scrollers. It is very close to being something special, even when it is embracing some familiar adventure tropes. Hopefully, the world of Gunbrella will be expanded on and grow, because it deserves more of the things that make it great.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is something special, though. Its complexity is intimidating, but sticking with it and learning has such a high reward threshold that it's hard to not recommend the sequel to even the most casual gamers out there. It has heart, it has style, and it has the multi-year effort of a studio that obviously loves its source material. The mind-blowing size of the game itself and everything contained within is a testament to Larian Studios' dedication to its craft and commitment to bringing something incredible to the gaming public. The blend of the various Dungeon & Dragons systems into the game is almost flawless in its execution, and the math and storytelling combo does a one-two punch on almost every other RPG game out there. High quality and astoundingly fun, Baldur’s Gate 3 may just become the kind of game that old and new fans can agree is something extraordinary.
Every moment in Dave the Diver feels unique the first time through. The constant changing of side-missions, the cutscenes when upgrading weapons or fish dishes, and the eccentric cast of characters, all blend together so well into a game that, when viewed just from the surface, might seem shallow. But players willing to dive into the meat of the game will find even more enjoyment than they bargained for, especially with its official 1.0 release. It’s a single-player adventure with heart, good music (‘Hot Pepper Tuna’ will likely end up on a lot of people's personal playlists), and a cast of characters that feel right at home around The Blue Hole. Its eccentricities make it memorable, and Dave might be the kindest and most fun adventuring protagonist players encounter in the world of video games this year.
Blizzard has taken twenty years of game design lessons and put all of them into Diablo 4. The variety of things to do in the game and the plethora of build choices feel like they come from a company that has experienced the highest highs and lowest lows in game development and taken some of those hard-learned lessons to heart. There is a lot of love built into every aspect of Diablo 4, and users will find it in every system and corner of Sanctuary. With the first simultaneous release on PC and consoles in the series' history, Diablo players are finally getting back into the fight between Heaven and Hell, and they will more than likely still be fighting for many years to come.
One of the best feelings in puzzle games is that ‘Ah-ha!’ or ‘Ohhhh!’ moment when a solution that seems obvious but continually remains elusive, suddenly becomes evident. Storyteller has these moments, but altogether entirely too few of them. It tries so gallantly to keep that feeling, but it ultimately stumbles due to its short length, disappointing ending, and low difficulty. Still, there is enough charm to the game that some will seek to complete the stories that Storyteller wants to tell.
Have a Nice Death is a gorgeous, weapon-filled adventure that could slice and dice its way to the top of the roguelike genre. Its almost ‘cutesy’ nature plays well against the sometimes dark themes it contains, but the vast array of weapon and spell combinations will be what draws and then keeps players within the walls of Death Inc. It has the rare ability to be enjoyable for both the high-difficulty, build-crafting RNG fans and the more casual crowd. Players will delight with its sublime art, memorable fights, and its well-crafted, lore-filled world. If someone has to be Death, Have a Nice Death is going to make it enjoyable.
Wanted: Dead has glimpses of greatness but is held back by mediocre systems and design choices that keep it from flourishing. Brief flashes of brilliance can’t help but be overshadowed by combat that feels repetitive, and voice actors that sound bored despite the surrounding chaos. Its difficulty, combat style, and visceral style will bring it some attention, but it more than likely won't be enough to keep most players enthralled for long.
Some players may create chaos, others will try to keep the peace, but each will be able to tell the story of Pentiment in their own way. It is interactive choose-your-own-adventure story-telling at its best, and although it feels too short, hopefully, there will be more tales and tomes like this one from Obsidian in the future.
Destroy All Humans! 2 Reprobed is a gorgeous, destructive romp across multiple cities dragged down by its original platforms' limitations. Unshackling Crypto from the confines of previous gaming hardware might give him the ability to jet to new heights, but it’s unknown how much a new game would be able to maintain the raunchy spirit of its predecessors. Perhaps enough interest in these remakes will encourage THQ Nordic to think about creating new adventures for the constantly aggravated and devilishly malicious Furon named Cryptosporidium.