Poignant but padded, ONI: Road to be the Mightiest Oni has charming art, beautiful music, and simple but fun gameplay. But for its every pro, there are two cons. Performance problems and a screen filter hinder the game's visual presentation, the overuse of vocal tracks diminishes their impact, and the too-many missions filled with spongey enemies lead to the combat feeling monotonous. There's a lot of heart and style here, but they're obfuscated by unfortunate design.
"Deluxe", indeed. Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe remasters and expands one of the tightest controlling and most power-packed platformers in the series into a polished package of Kirby content. While the main story gets off to a slow start, both plot and gameplay-wise, it builds into something quite special and is capped off with the fresh and fun new Magolor Epilogue chapter.
Wanted: Dead is as befuddling as it is bloody. Players will find the plot of Soliel's slasher/shooter hybrid varying levels of coherent depending on their interpretation. What's undeniable is the fun to be had in its streamlined slaughter. Come for the demanding and gory action gameplay, and stay for the odd voice performances, anime flashbacks, and karaoke with Stefanie Joosten. It's sometimes frustrating, often satisfying, and almost always janky and weird; I can't stop thinking about it.
Dead Space rigorously reanimates gaming's best sci-fi horror game. It's clear EA Motive looked at the original title both through the lens of adoring fans as well as talented developers. They keep what worked, morph what didn't, and unlike the game's protagonist, cut off almost nothing. The USG Ishimura has never been more immersive. Only minor missteps keep it from perfection, but not from being an absolutely stunning makeover, and a must-play experience.
The PS2 series has returned with modernized controls, but old problems. Simple but satisfying gunplay wrapped in a stylish package is marred by a padded runtime, uneven presentation, and poorly done localization. Gungrave G.O.R.E's promising start transforms into a slog to its finish through bullet sponges, bad encounter design, and worse platforming.
God of War Ragnarok makes use of cinematic techniques and skilled actors to tell its story of holding on and letting go. But it doesn't feel beholden to cinematic trappings. It's proud of its history and medium and plays sublimely as a result. With a focus on fun and flow, God of War Ragnarok's bloody and beautiful pieces fit together swimmingly.