The Longest Five Minutes presents its basic fantasy tale as a series of flashbacks experienced by its amnesiac main character during the game's final battle. It takes an otherwise generic retro turn-based RPG and turns it into something special—but it could have been so much more.
Arc System Works has created the most approachable Dragon Ball game ever, and one of the most accessible fighting games. Fans of either should be overjoyed to welcome newcomers to their ranks, and those newcomers get to experience two of the most accepting and supportive communities in fandom. Everybody wins.
Were Hob a tightly-scripted action adventure that guided the player from point to point and told them exactly what was expected of them, it wouldn't be nearly as magical an experience, and certainly not as personal. Making my own decisions (and my own mistakes) makes the impressive, world-changing moments feel like something I did.
Agents of Mayhem is many things, but mostly it's what happens when the development studio responsible for one of the raunchiest game series dials back the dildos and gives its heroes a little more maturity and humanity. It's something special. Like Uranus.
Giving players the option to enjoy the game on their own terms is something Nier: Automata does very well. Challenge-hungry players can ramp the difficulty all the way up, doing away with silly things like targeting and aiming. Folks who just want to enjoy the nice game with the pretty androids can set the difficulty to easy, which allows for the equipping of special chips that auto-heal, auto-fight, auto-dodge—they almost play the game for you.
Like most recent entries in the Tales series, Tales of Berseria is an epic adventure packed with stuff to do. There are mini-games to play, cosmetic items to collect, food to cook and treasures to uncover. Those goofy fun trappings are draped across a much more serious whole this time around, offering welcome respite from a tale that’s not afraid to take its memorable characters to some very dark places.
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone doesn’t miss many beats. Though a couple of my more recent favorite Miku tunes didn’t make the cut (notably “Love Song,” featured in last year’s Project Diva X), I am overwhelmed by what Sega’s latest vocaloid rhythm game has to offer.
Eschewing the spare storytelling of previous Team Ico games, The Last Guardian's plot unfolds in a series of easily digestible cutscenes. It's a dark fairy tale that probably isn't quite what anyone expected, but ultimately serves to make the friendship at the core of the game even more remarkable. The Last Guardian is about two lost souls becoming one, and the strength and joy found in that conjunction.