Like a Dragon Gaiden is a solid and quite unexpected addition to the franchise, filling in the gaps and giving fans more to muse over before embarking on the next chapter, of which you have a demo available in this game. It’s a worthy companion to past games, bolstered by a substantial narrative focus and combat that remains gripping and fun, although the Agent style may be more of a bullet point than an actual absorbing addition.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a mesmerizing journey into a place that is very much unlike anything out there. It’s fantasy and technology boldly clashing and offering a sprawling, remarkable world that deserves all sorts of acclaim. The more you explore, the more you realize just how amazing this planet is, the windy peaks making for some jaw-dropping vistas, the parkour navigation and Ikran flying a contrast that ironically couldn’t work any better.
More than an attempt to cash in on the growing popularity of a series that started out in a somewhat niche way, Risk of Rain Returns is a welcomed remake that offers enough quality-of-life improvements and new content to be relevant and appealing to both fans and newcomers to the action roguelike genre. It plays great, has enough content and diversity to keep you entranced for weeks, and the new additions might just be what the game needed to appeal to a crowd that wasn’t attracted by the original. While not perfect, it’s a blasted good time where every frustrating death is nothing but an invitation to another run with renewed confidence.
When your dwarf is filled with joy and bursts into singing while mining, a little of The Lord of the Rings atmosphere springs to life. Exploring some areas without any care in the world is another moment when the game feels enticing and hints at the sandbox gameplay that could have been. But suddenly, you are reminded that the whole place is a procedurally generated mess with barely any memorable locations, combat is dull and flawed, mining is extremely limited, and the repetitive walks to the base with the goal of storing your recent loot become tiresome. Return to Moria is one for diehard fans only, and even those have to consider just how passionate they are about dwarves and survival in dark places.
If you’re a fan of slow-paced, story-driven games, this is a good place to be, with robots small and large, friend and foe waiting for your arrival, and quite a few landscapes to explore and instill a certain sense of dread, even if the layout design is excessively on the inflexible side. The Invincible may not mark a leap for the genre, but it is a well-rounded and interesting step for walking simulators.
With a playtime that deserves all praise, easily clocking in at over 20 hours if you don’t rush through it, Alan Wake 2 is absolutely worth the time and money. It’s a remarkable achievement that is meant to be both devoured and enjoyed slowly, despite what this sounds like, plunging into all the details, exploring every beat of the locations without rushing through the main goals, as to appreciate the colossal work that has gone into it. This is a terrific television series gone videogame, with a sophisticated plot that grips every fan of survival horror and never lets go. The fantastic looks help, but the perfect pacing and intriguing mysteries keep you going despite some frustration that may arise from the Angel Lamp puzzles. It’s one of the greatest survival horror games ever made, this shouldn’t be skipped. A fantastic example of how different types of media can crossover and create a very special outcome, it was absolutely worth the wait for Alan Wake to come up with a plan to escape the Dark Place and write an outstanding story about it for us to read, watch, play, and above all, enjoy.
If you’re not a die-hard fan of the series, waiting for the server issues to be fully resolved is the best step to take right now. When that is in the past, you may dive into these initially confusing but eventually rewarding heists, knowing that the Infamy system is a stone in your shoe, but cooperating with other like-minded players is an offer you may not want to refuse…in due time.
For reasons surely tied to design and layout, Gunbrella doesn’t always feature a fully scrolling map, being instead divided into some small sections where you must reach the edge of the screen to move to the next area, and segments where the screen smoothly moves along according to your character, such as one very hectic train ride. The latter makes for the best experience of all and makes me wish that the whole adventure would focus wholeheartedly on this approach. If we’re nitpicking, it’s also annoying that when a conversation topic starts, we can’t exit it and are forced to click our way out of this repeat dialogue until it ends. The sporadic jazz tunes add to this noir flavor and may not be to everyone’s taste, but there are other frenzied tracks coming into play with boss fights and varied key moments, so it evens out in the end.
Ride 5 is an exhilarating ride, forgive the redundancy, once again a terrific motorcycle racing game for experts who are ready to throw away all the riding aids and dive deep into the raw and unforgiving experience. Casuals and arcade enthusiasts will have a difficult time finding the right spot to enjoy it and may not be pleased with the middle ground that it offers. Skilled players, on the other hand, should seriously reflect if it’s worth purchasing the new release given the few major improvements. Those who give in are bound to enjoy the multiplayer thrills and expansive career events, but be wary of the blatant AI limitations, still the weaker link in otherwise exciting bike races.
As a straight-up shooter, Exoprimal comes with competent mechanics and polish, even if a feeling of sameness ends up as the predominant factor after a few hours of play. There’s something here to spark interest among the most competitive players, but it doesn’t feel like Exoprimal is a multiplayer game made for the ages, same as the creatures that were brought from the past to serve as the enemies in here.
Hammerwatch 2 is a delightful old-school RPG romp that suffers from some of the timeless predicaments of the genre, namely a feeling of repetitiveness and some odd design decisions. That doesn’t mean it isn’t fun, especially in cooperative mode, and it also helps that the pixel graphics can be magnificent at times. Play it wisely as to not become tired of its expansive maps, and that’s how you’ll enjoy the most of it.
It’s not a flawless game, but the anguish and thrills that it conveys are almost one of a kind, delivered with confidence and brutality to match the source. This is one for horror aficionados and everyone else who likes a good old-fashioned game of murderer cat, and stealthy mouse.
There’s some undeniable fun to be had if you can look past the hit collision issues, or the lack of proprietary support for online coop. The roguelite elements are interesting but don’t feel essential in any sense, almost as if a mandatory box to tick and tickle the fancy of some fans. As a throwback to one of the all-time brawler greats, Double Dragon Gaiden is competent, but doesn’t really pack the punch that the series deserves.
Arcadegeddon is tight and very playable, the neon-drenched visuals are cool and stylish, assuming you’re open-minded about all the garish colors and epilepsy-inducing explosions, and it has enough weapon options and character customization to experiment with. But as hours pass, a certain feeling of sameness inevitably starts to creep in. The runs begin to feel dull, the enemy variety isn’t stellar, and all those edgy characters start to blend and look the same.
Unholy started on the right foot with a setup that wasn’t too far from contemporary horror movies, but you’ll be better off waiting for the release of Silent Hill 2 Remake. The predictable descent into madness wasn’t entirely successful, as the netherworld is little more than your average city in ruins and an excuse to add broken stealth elements into what could have been an accomplished narrative-driven mystery. This is a game that works better when it isn’t trying to tick boxes left and right, but once you step foot into the Eternal City, it drags at snail's pace and rewards you with recurrent death and frustration. A mother’s struggle it may be, but making it a player’s struggle as well isn’t exactly what horror games should do.
Clash of Heroes can be challenging and addictive, but there’s an undeniable RNG element that plays an important role in some battles, and you must learn to live with it. Less understandable are some oversights that shouldn’t be in this definitive edition, such as the noticeable AI blunders – ignoring an elite unit merge in favor of a random move, for example. On the other hand, the turn switch animation troubles me, feeling like a second that lasts an eternity, as we’re bound to see it dozens of times per battle. This system would benefit from speed and urgency when control changes from one field to the other, instead of that lingering animation. Can Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes – Definitive Edition be considered as an essential revamp to a cherished game? It doesn’t bring a hefty dose of changes and additions, that’s for sure, making it difficult to recommend to owners of the original; however, new players should be able to discover a gripping puzzle game that, albeit not perfect, still provides many hours of merging and fusing entertainment.
Remnant 2 isn’t trying to reinvent the post-apocalyptic, gloom wheel. Expanding on the concept via the traditional motto of “bigger, better, more” but somewhat ignoring the faster part, this is a solid Souls-like that fans of the original should love. It doesn’t come without a bit of clunkiness here and there, and can be demanding in terms of system requirements, hopefully something that is going to be improved before release, but the added combat and build possibilities offer you new ways to face another set of moody set pieces and impressive bosses. As far as Souls-like go, this series is shaping up to be one of the household names. Just make sure that you know what you are getting yourself into, put some time aside for this adventure, and don’t forget to bring a couple of friends along for this exciting and brutal ride, unless you want to become boss pulp.
Aliens: Dark Descent showcases care and respect for the works that it is based upon. This is the antithesis of a cash-grab – this is a game that tried to deliver something different, something exciting that isn’t a mere rerun of previous offerings. It’s moody, the odds are clearly stacked against your squad but that makes each success even more rewarding, and the tactical scope is extremely enjoyable. Fans of a good real-time squad-based game shouldn’t think twice and just dive into this nightmare, weapons blazing.
All things considered, even after more than a decade, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective remains a gem that can’t be missed, and that’s a true testament to its long-lasting quality. With brilliant design, improved visuals that are remarkably smooth and pleasant to watch, a challenging adventure, and a story that has more nuances than you could ever expect during its 10-hour duration, this is a unique game that delivers so many thrills, so many funny moments, that you won’t regret a single minute invested in it.
Amnesia: The Bunker does what it sets out to do, and after finally completing your mission, you may look back and realize that every chill, every shiver down your spine was absolutely worth the price of admission, no matter the fate of our hardened French soldier.