Washington Post's Reviews
By officially revealing the Secret and bringing the series full circle, “Return to Monkey Island” is deliberately closing a chapter in the franchise’s life. It’s not the end of Guybrush Threepwood or Monkey Island, but it’s a swan song for the bygone era that birthed them.
In a way, it’s the FPS genre that grants players a kind of agency that rhythm games haven’t — the freedom and exhilaration of performance. You can execute kills to the beat of your internal pulse, with the act of shooting bodies and popping heads forming a pleasing rhythm. That’s why playing “Metal: Hellsinger” can almost feel like you’re holding the drumsticks yourself, as you blaze through demon hordes with a percussive flow of your own.
Some writers have described “Immortality” as being about burnout or auteurism (the final few scenes can be read as evidence for that theory). But that’s not quite right, akin to saying Star Wars is about space. Artistry does not grant privileged access to decency or good nature. That is what the game is, not what it is about. It’s text, not subtext. For so long as “Immortality” uses that as a starting point to probe further, it is a high water mark for gaming in 2022. When the characters are allowed to be people — not vampires nor aliens nor angels but people who are tired, embarrassed, horny, funny, naive, voyeuristic, creepy and more — each frame’s richness is its own reward.
Splatoon 3 doesn’t drastically change the formula because it really doesn’t need to. Its modes are varied and offer truly different experiences that would shine on their own. If you’re a newcomer looking to break into the series, you may be a little lost at first, but stick with it. It’s an inky mess well worth your time.
Coach Madden spent years meeting with the game’s developers to ensure the authenticity of a product that bears his name. As they honor his legacy in “Madden 23” and the games to come, they’d do well to remember: If it’s in the game, it’s in the game. If it’s not, get it out.
There is no shortage of enjoyable things to do in “Saints Row,” but doing them means putting up with a severe lack of polish. As it currently stands, “Saints Row” is barely playable. It’s good, mindless fun, but I cannot recommend it in good faith. I offer a little prayer that a day one patch can address some of these concerns, and that the studio has a long-term plan to salvage this promising title.
And if you’re a fellow average joe fighting gamer like myself, “MultiVersus” is still a smooth, polished experience with beautiful art direction, zany characters and chaotic but deep gameplay. Grab three friends and give it a whirl. It’s a great way to spend a Saturday night.
“Endling” isn’t the sort of game you might settle down to play after a long day of doomscrolling through social media; it’s the sort that forces you to confront the monstrous scale and toll of human activity on the ecosystem and the planet. And yet, even as a deeply apocalyptic look at what feels like the imminent end of our world, the game’s profound pessimism doesn’t stray too far from the truth. Scientists have already warned that we are in danger of losing 20 to 50 percent of all species by the end of this century; the bulk of this is due to human activity.
For a dystopian narrative, “Stray” isn’t interested in preaching to the player. It doesn’t try to make grand statements about mankind’s hubris or shortsighted innovation. Instead, it walks you through a living, breathing city where robots have molded their own society from the ashes of another, and lets players make of humanity’s self-destruction what they will. And that impression will stick with you long after the game ends.
Puzzle games have to manage a delicate balancing act: If solutions are too simple, players lose interest; too difficult, and they feel cheated, like the answer was never decipherable to begin with. “Escape Academy” was opaque at times, but the answer always felt like it was within my grasp, if I just tried out this one idea, or thought about the puzzle from this other angle. Giving players that sense of empowerment is hard, and games don’t always get it right. But “Escape Academy” walks that tightrope with finesse, joining the pantheon of frantic-but-fun co-op greats.
Studio MDHR’s “Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course” provides players with a five-star meal. As I picked my teeth, let out a final sigh of relief and felt full from my experience, I can only hope that the DLC’s name was just a play on words — and that there’s still room left for dessert.
For what the game is — a sequel to “Three Houses” with real-time Musou combat — it delivers what it promised. There’s a mystery to “Three Hopes” that can only be unraveled with dozens of hours of combat and cutscenes, and the game assumes substantial preexisting knowledge of “Three Houses.” Fans will enjoy reuniting with their favorite characters, but the derivative plot and built-in grind make it a tougher sell to anyone else.
“Shredder’s Revenge” achieves everything it set out to do, and will go down as an instant classic for its genre. No matter what era, whether it’s 1987, 1989 or 2022, it would be one of the finest, most exciting video game experiences of the year, honing an arcade formula as ageless as Turtles in time.