Jack Zustiak


31 games reviewed
75.6 average score
80 median score
54.8% of games recommended
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80 / 100 - Digimon Survive
Aug 31, 2022

Despite some translation woes, Digimon Survive's narrative still shines brightly. As cruel and dark as its narrative can be, neither you or the characters should ever give up completely. That's the key to survival, and that message is apparent in the character relationships, the battles, and the developments of the story as a whole. Digimon Survive expresses the power that can come from your bonds with others, and how supporting each other can keep hope alive. That's a message worth sharing, and Digimon Survive is a messenger worth experiencing.

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Sep 28, 2022

Video Game Fables is a solid if simple RPG that suffers from the baggage of its meta nature. The lighthearted dialogue will make you smile and there are glimpses of compelling RPG design strewn about the experience. The game just never truly rises above the height of the conventions it seeks to overthrow, which given the subject matter, is a distracting misstep that weakens the overall experience.

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Oct 13, 2022

The DioField Chronicle mixes the complexity of a slow-burn political thriller with a deceptively straightforward strategy game. I was pleasantly surprised with where my investment in the world of DioField led me, but pay-off off the battle mechanics does not match the narrative destination.

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85 / 100 - Sonic Frontiers
Nov 7, 2022

Frontiers boldly plants one foot into the future with its "open zone" structure while keeping the other stuck in the past with mechanics and level ideas that are over a decade old. This approach results in a satisfying game even if it does not push the series into as many new frontiers as it could. It still hits many of the right notes that long-time fans will appreciate and works especially hard to satisfy those who have felt like the past few Sonic games have been missing some personality.

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80 / 100 - Gungrave G.O.R.E
Nov 29, 2022

Gungrave lives by the simple principle of "kick their ass." If that premise fails to hook you, nothing G.O.R.E. does will change your mind. If anything, its minor missteps may dissuade you from sticking with it at all. For those who love Gungrave for the kind of game it is, however, G.O.R.E. offers plenty more of it while intelligently expanding the core mechanics. This is one for all the true Gungravers out there howling at the night for more things to shoot.

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Dec 6, 2022

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet try to take the franchise in a new direction, but can feel empty and hollow as a result. The open world has bright spots, especially multiplayer, however a lack of care in its design leads to a game that's haphazard and lifeless.

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Dec 31, 2022

Valkyrie Profile uses the conventions of a dungeon crawler to highlight an aspect of games, and really humanity itself, that often goes understated. The path to our true calling is vague, confusing, and full of trial and error. If you're willing to persevere and think beyond the immediate path before you, however, you reach your full potential. You might like Valkyrie Profile, too!

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Jan 18, 2023

Rather than being a game for people who miss the old school ninja platformers of yesteryear, Moonrider feels more like a game made for the people who miss the idea of them, rather than the games themselves. The game borrows liberally from its inspirations and combines them into a game that looks and plays the part just fine. It just doesn't push itself or the player on a level that will fully satisfy people who still regularly enjoy the games it takes from.

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Jan 31, 2023

Breakers may not be the most original fighting game franchise around, but it is an extremely solid one that offers some fun spins on its inspirations. If you're willing to give it a break, the Breakers Collection is well worth playing.

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Feb 19, 2023

Symphonia regenerated the traditional RPG structure with smartly designed battle mechanics and well-fleshed out cast of characters. It remains a favorite of mine to this day and I'm glad to get the opportunity to experience it again, even if this re-release can never truly recapture the original effect it had on me. The remaster translates the regenerative nature of Symphonia competently, but this is the kind of game that deserves a remaster that goes the extra mile.

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When you return to a return, you risk drowning in sentiment to the detriment of the experience. Instead, Return to Dream Land Deluxe skillfully channels its sentiments to refresh Kirby's legacy and add something new on top of it. It is perhaps the most Kirby game to ever Kirby, and there's nothing wrong with that.

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95 / 100 - Street Fighter 6
May 30, 2023

Street Fighter 6 takes the series to the next stage with a wildly fun fighting system that emphasizes personal choice. Each mainline Street Fighter tends to define its era of fighting games in some way, and Street Fighter 6 confidently steps forward to that next era. From its battle system to its bevvy of modes such as World Tour, it dives deep into everything that makes fighting games great.

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90 / 100 - Humanity
Jun 14, 2023

Humanity is vast, clever, inventive, and eclectic. It constantly proposes new ideas that redefine the basic experience into a grand design of puzzle mechanics that are just as fun to experiment with as they are to think about. While its best-laid plans have some faults, it all works out in the end. You couldn't ask for a better reflection of humanity than Humanity.

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Double Dragon Gaiden focuses on replayability to its detriment. Solid combat mechanics give way to balance considerations made to justify all of the difficulty sliders and upgrade systems. If I had to pick between a game with a lot of "replayability" versus a game I simply like to play, the latter will win out every time. Double Dragon Gaiden isn't far off from being enjoyable on the merits of the gameplay alone, but it's far enough to consider going back to the dojo and polishing its Sou-Setsu-Ken technique.

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Aug 10, 2023

Marble It Up! Ultra applies the theory of controlled chaos to platformer design. It doles out exciting moments and frustrations in relatively equal measure thanks to the ambiguous nature of its marble physics. This unique juxtaposition often proves likable even if it can occasionally be hard to love.

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Aug 23, 2023

Loop8: Summer of Gods aspires to capture the human experience through a multitude of ambitious subsystems. Unfortunately, virtually none of these ideas make a meaningful impact on the game. The end result is a shallow, disjointed, and undeveloped experience. Rather than reflecting the nuances of our everyday lives, Loop8 most closely resembles the lives of aquarium fish.

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80 / 100 - Gravity Circuit
Sep 3, 2023

Gravity Circuit (grapple) hooked me after I threw caution to the wind. First playthroughs inherently emphasize caution, which means that truly appreciating the game will take some time. If you're willing to put in the effort, you'll find a game that twists old ideas in a fresh and fun direction.

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80 / 100 - Mortal Kombat 1
Sep 18, 2023

Mortal Kombat's "new era" takes more from the old ones than the reboot implies. While this allows Mortal Kombat 1 to bring the best elements of the series to the forefront, it also distracts from what should be a bold new beginning.

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Oct 18, 2023

Way of Wyrd's shadow-heavy visuals perfectly capture the Hellboy aesthetic. Sadly, the game lurking beneath those shadows suffers from unambitious design, inconsistent mechanics, and occasionally devastating bugs. Fun can still be found in the Wyrd, it's just harder to find than it should be.

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Oct 27, 2023

Mario is known for surprising you with new ideas and strong game design. Super Mario Bros. Wonder contains both in spades. Although it executes on the element of surprise in a way I hesitate to call an outright innovation, it always supports the strengths of both the expected and unexpected.

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