I wanted to love Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance so badly. I grew up reading R.A. Salvatore’s novels about Drizzt and his companions. Baldur’s Gate was my first CRPG that I ever played. The original Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance and Dark Alliance II are probably my favorite games from the PS2 era. But sadly, Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance just misses the mark in so many categories. It was a slog to get through, and there is almost no reason for me to ever pick it up again.
If you liked Final Fantasy VII Remake, you're going to love Intergrade. I know that sentence has a lot of "well DUH" energy, but it's the truth; at its core this is an enhanced version of one of 2020's best games. From visuals to framerate, Intergrade improves upon the original, with some scenes really popping off of the screen thanks to the PlayStation 5's prowess. Intermission is at its core more of the same, but the tandem attacks are an excellent addition and the story implications are intriguing. It's not Part 2, and Lord knows when that's actually happening, but for now Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade scratches the FFVII Remake itch.
Ultimately, I’ve had a blast with Chivalry 2. It improves upon every single aspect of the original game, and feels more stable and polished than Chivalry ever did. There is some jankiness to the game (I’m not sure if the aforementioned self-catapulting is actually supposed to be an option), but it doesn’t take away from the fantastic combat. Getting a kill never gets old, battles are unpredictable and memorable, and there are seemingly endless ways to take down your foes.
Biomutant is a fascinating game, one that definitely belongs in a foregone era of gaming but somehow still works in today's industry. The world is massive and packed with things to do, combat is fast and fluid save for a few minor issues, and the story definitely keeps me interested throughout. There's jank, sure, but it's jank that somehow works in the game's favor, almost as if it's part of the game's identity. If you come in expecting a Game of the Year candidate you may leave disappointed, but if you're looking for a new adventure brimming with personality, Biomutant is absolutely worth your time. Just be prepared for that fast travel mechanic; it still shocks me every time.
By itself, Resident Evil Village is a fantastic addition to the survival-horror genre and focuses more on empowering the player rather than cheap horror elements. As part of the series, Village lacks in the story department and seems like it tries to cast too wide of a net to appeal to a greater audience rather than catering to the hardcore fans. Diehard ResE fans might be disappointed at the lack of lore in Village, but casual fans won’t feel like they need to have played every prior entry in order to have a good time. Ultimately, I’d recommend Resident Evil Village to anyone that loved Resident Evil 4 or who felt like Resident Evil 7 was too horror-focused.
After the upcoming planned title updates, Rise could be a real winner. As it stands right now, I still highly recommend picking up Rise, but if you’re on the fence then it might be best to hold off at least until the story is complete. The good news for PC players is that Monster Hunter Rise will be coming to PC next year, so maybe it will launch alongside a new expansion that adds G-Rank hunts and even more monsters into the mix. Until then, I’m going to go beat that elder dragon just one more time… okay, maybe two.
Persona 5 Strikers is a brilliantly executed melding of the Dynasty Warriors style gameplay with Persona 5 characters and systems. It delivers a solid story while staying true to the roots of both games. There were some small issues with how some of the systems were set up, the default sorting for the items list for one, and I wish some of the actual content of my P5R saves would have carried over. Despite these minor issues, I had a blast hanging with the Phantom Thieves again and working to make the world a better place. I would never have thought to ask for this melding, but it's a beautiful experience.
So is it the perfect game? No, unfortunately, it is not. But if you like werewolves, are familiar with the original Werewolf: The Apocalypse universe, or just want to hulk around as a giant wolf throwing people around like ragdolls then it might be worth your time.