As a result, Final Fantasy VII REBIRTH is a modern RPG masterpiece and solidly sets up its third installment in the Final Fantasy VII Remake Project. It's ambitious and massive in scope - and that's before we even get to the daunting task of recreating one of the most iconic stories of all time. At its core, Final Fantasy VII REBIRTH retains the essence of what the original story contained, expanding on it meaningfully in a way that feels wholly new.
Persona 3 Reload is, as I said, the absolute textbook idea of what a remake should be. I'm super happy that this generation gets to experience this game and look forward to eventually seeing the same approach to Persona 4 and the Persona 1 and 2 duology. Now I must dive into Persona 4 Arena Ultimax after finishing Reload to take in the whole story!
Fear is what Alan Wake 2 is all about. When it's working, it's a spooky and thrilling adventure with two separate-but-equal methods of scaring the heck out of me. When it's not working, I'm afraid I may run into another weird glitch that makes me lose some progress. Thankfully, the former is far more common than the latter, and the times I did have to restart, they were small hiccups rather than major time losses. 13 years passed between Alan Wake's initiation and his return, and I am happy to say Alan Wake 2 was worth the wait.
The only other flaw to the combat of The Lamplighters League is the limited camera control. Strategic combat requires a good overview of the battlefield, and with the lack of any camera zoom or control over the viewing angle, you are stuck with a static isometric view of the fighting. You can rotate and scroll the map, but keeping track of a large map without any extra controls is cumbersome. It’s not enough to turn me away from recommending The Lamplighters League to any avid turn-based combat fan, but it is definitely a big miss.
Throughout the entirety of my runtime, I felt transported, compelled to help find a way to save myself and the companions I had grown to love over time. And it’s a world I don’t want to leave, at least not yet. Baldur’s Gate 3 is, simply put, the greatest RPG I’ve ever played.
Remnant II is a fantastic game for a base price of $49.99. I enjoyed Remnant: From the Ashes, even with the issues at release. Gunfire Games has refined what I loved from the first game, fixed the problems I noticed, and continued to expand on this post-apocalyptic universe that they had only scratched the surface of before. At the same time, they have successfully iterated on various systems to make for more fun gameplay and added a lot of replay value. Even on the base difficulty, the game can be challenging. The co-op is a great experience as your frantically clear areas and have friends cover you while reloading as the mini-boss charges, and I can’t wait to take on the Root with a few more friends.
What it all amounts to is one of the most detailed and beautifully made games in the series. Final Fantasy XVI is a masterpiece. From its stellar writing, music, world-building and incredible cast, this has easily taken the mantle as my favorite Final Fantasy in the series to date.
As I’ve mentioned a few times, there are still several things I haven’t had the chance to mess with or get into yet. There’s a ton of content in Diablo IV and digging into it all will take some time. Additionally, seeing how everything goes on launch and immediately after will significantly impact how enjoyable it is. Lastly, seeing the shop's actual impact on everything is also a considerable aspect that will need to play out. We know what we’ve been told, and looking at the information given to us, it should be fine. Certainly nothing like Diablo Immortal. Seeing all these aspects in the live game will be the final bits needed to put a score to Diablo IV.
The graphics won’t blow you away and it won’t be making too many “best graphics of the year” lists. But it’s a loving tribute and beautifully recreated edition of a much-beloved classic. There’s a lot to like in this remake, and if this is the building block for what’s to come in the franchise, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
With the additional playtime, Age of Wonders IV still impressed me even though I am concerned about the AI. The other issues I have brought up are all easily fixed over time, if not on day one. Between the customization options, atmosphere, and Pantheon system, Paradox Interactive and developer Triumph Studios have a great start to the next entry in the Age of Wonders series. I can’t wait to see how they expand the spells and Pantheon systems further, for fans of fantasy 4x strategy games, Age of Wonders IV is worth checking out if you want to evoke that old feeling of needing to take just one more turn.
Despite performance issues throughout my gameplay, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor meaningfully improves on many of the gameplay issues from the previous title. From a more rewarding cosmetic system to side quests that give more meaning to exploring the beautifully rendered and realized worlds, it was a joy to explore the galaxy as Cal once more. Add on the much-improved combat system that fuels the Jedi fantasy beautifully and the touchingly emotional storytelling and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is a triumph.
The combat combined with all of the features I mentioned earlier really come together to create something special-it still just needs a lot of work and polish. I especially love the concept of taking a large faction-based map and adding mmorpg elements to it, so I will absolutely be keeping my eyes on Gloria Victis over the next few months. If the developers keep making steady improvements like they are now, I’ll more than likely keep dipping my toes in every now and again to scratch that PvP itch.
Remnant: From the Ashes is still an excellent game. Gunfire Game’s port to the Nintendo Switch has made an exceptionally great game accessible to a whole new group of gamers. Tight, responsive controls and consistently smooth gameplay performance make up for some downgraded visuals. This leaves you with a solid offering for the Nintendo Switch. If you’re in the market for a Souls-like with a unique story, a bit more forgiving gameplay and also like to game on the go then I can highly recommend picking up Remnant: From the Ashes on the Nintendo Store.
As a fan of Destiny 2, I am enjoying Lightfall. It definitely had a bumpy start, especially if you’re a big story buff, but almost everything after the campaign has been solid. I wouldn’t say anything blew me away, but nothing has been horrible either. They stuck to the tried and true formula that has worked for them for quite a while now, and while I hoped for a bigger spectacle around some characters, Neptune itself, or even the raid, I am wanting to play more and do more.
Yet, although I did enjoy the time I spent with Wo Long, I don’t really want to invest more time into it. And I think that fact alone speaks more than any of my words in this review could ever convey. My main reason for not wanting to jump back in is simply because of its optimization issues on PC. I’ve seen that it suffers other problems on Xbox, such as ridiculously long loading times, whereas the PlayStation version is relatively free from these worries. Which makes sense, given that Team Ninja’s last two titles, Nioh and Nioh 2, initially launched exclusively on PlayStation consoles before. On PC however, it just feels like a bad port. Which, to be clear, it is. I found the overarching experience in Wo Long to be enjoyable on the whole, though I do lament the fact that they chose to develop a new IP instead of making Nioh 3. Despite the optimization issues and random difficulty spikes, I do think that Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is ultimately good – it just could have been so much better.
RuneScape feels like it’s an entity that ages with you and even after two decades of friendship, you always feel welcome. The signs of the game are showing but despite several eras of MMORPGs continuing the legacy RuneScape created, it still has this oddly fun experience that is hard to replicate. If you can live with the aging mechanics, RuneScape is still a fantastic MMORPG to play.
Octopath Traveler II is simply a better version of the original. It expands upon what made the first game great while shoring up its weaknesses. That being said, if you didn’t like Octopath Traveler then the formula is similar enough that you probably won’t like the sequel either. This is an excellent take on the classic 2D JRPG and fans of the genre won’t be let down.
Although WILD HEARTS puts up a valiant effort to capitalize on the success that Monster Hunter has found in the West these past few years, it still leaves a lot to be desired. The most disappointing aspect is how bogged down it is with technical issues that prevent a seamless online co-op experience. A lot of the joy in hunting monsters is being able to do it with friends. Despite featuring cross-platform play, I preferred to play WILD HEARTS alone rather than be bothered with the slow-downs that I encountered. It shows great promise with their weapon types and the upgrading mechanics, but ultimately WILD HEARTS feels like an unfinished product. I hope that the upcoming content updates can turn that around. In the meantime, I’d look elsewhere for getting that next hunt in.