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Hardcore Gamer

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2837 games reviewed
74.0 average score
80 median score
57.1% of games recommended

Hardcore Gamer's Reviews

Jun 18, 2024

Still Wakes the Deep is a standout title from The Chinese Room and is a must-play for fans of Lovecraft horror. The game utilizes all its audio elements to craft an immersive experience that's thrilling and chilling. The title has fun toying with your mind and peels back the layers of comfort that's brought during the start of the game. As the environment around you changes, so does your experience, and that's what a good story can do. From exploring the rig to hiding from enemies, The Chinese Room brings together its recognizable elements and puts together a strong sailor worthy of its sea legs.

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Jun 18, 2024

When compared to Elden Ring, Shadow of the Erdtree doesn’t quite live up to its lofty expectations. As a standalone experience, though, Shadow of the Erdtree is an absolute treasure that only helps to enhance the enjoyment of Elden Ring as a whole.

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Jun 13, 2024

It’s hard to keep something going for ten years, especially a Live Service game. The industry is littered with failed attempts at building ten-year plans. Despite Destiny’s many ups and downs and lack of consistent quality through the years, Destiny 2: The Final Shape completes Bungie’s ambitious ten-year plan and mostly sticks the landing. Its story is the most focused a Destiny tale has ever gotten, opting to focus on character interactions, linear level design and heartfelt payoffs. While this route meant a complete neglect of the series’ big bad, it did culminate in an epic finale to the Light and Darkness saga.

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Jun 4, 2024

There are so many games in the zeitgeist that focus on offering the most realistic or the most refined and polished experience on the market, but often this can be to the detriment of fun. Tiny Terry's Turbo Trip knows this all too well, focusing solely on bringing the fun factor. It's a love letter to successful mascot platformers of old while offering some much-needed fan service to the kid-friendly GTA-clone sub-genre that gave us The Simpsons Hit and Run and Lego City Undercover. It's not a game that's going to change your life, but it's a wonderful, action-packed romp that just might make a lazy afternoon a little more memorable.

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4.5 / 5.0 - Nine Sols
May 31, 2024

Nine Sols is a Metroidvania that does what many have failed to do within the genre and actually creates an experience that feels like an authentic, grueling, atmospheric and unique 2D Souls game. Artistically, it's hard to find any fault with it as the blend of Tao Tradition and Cyberpunk dystopia is captivating. The narrative is gritty, mature and uncompromising, which leads to an engaging story from start to end, and the gameplay is a refined showcase of combat, platforming and puzzle-solving. The difficulty settings may be a little askew, and some may feel that the central themes are too graphic and unsettling at times. But all in all, Nine Sols, in a stacked year, as far as Metroidvanias are concerned, does more than enough to force itself into the conversation, as it could be a contender for indie game of the year.

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4 / 5.0 - Capes
May 24, 2024

With its vibrant visuals, intricate gameplay mechanics and a narrative that both entertains and provokes thought, Capes sets itself up as a memorable addition to the superhero genre. While there are minor audio-visual sync issues and balance quirks in the combat system, the overall experience is overwhelmingly positive. This game promises hours of engaging gameplay and delivers a powerful commentary on control and resistance in a dystopian future.

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4 / 5.0 - RKGK
May 23, 2024

An anime-inspired 3D platformer, RKGK puts you in the shoes of Valah, a graffiti artists who uses their unique painting skills in order to help free the people from the evil B-Corp.

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4.5 / 5.0 - Zet Zillions
May 23, 2024

Zet ZIllions is a game that isn't afraid to head to crazy places, be it sentient planets sucking on pacifiers or more legit terrors from other dimensions. And not only does this make for some great characters, visuals and a wild world to explore, but this extends to the card battles and their spread of unique mechanics, making for a ton of fun as you work with them to create the best deck possible. It's a sheer blast of creativity that's worth checking out and makes the game stand out among all of the other roguelike deckbuilders. Truly weird and wonderful stuff.

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May 23, 2024

Duck Detective: The Secret Salami is a great addition to the Happy Broccoli Games roster as well as to the detective mystery game genre. While it does play it safe in its approach, the game brings out the lovable aspects of the genre with its authentic characters and unique investigation. The voice acting and music are engaging and tonally-accurate, while the game doesn’t fall victim to stereotypes and carves itself a place in the sand within the cozy mystery beach. Duck Detective: The Secret Salami is a must-play for those who crave a story-rich experience without the dirty work of digging too deep into the issue at hand (or feet?).

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3.5 / 5.0 - Hauntii
May 22, 2024

While its lacking narrative and world-building comes off a missed opportunity that, despite momentary hints, never properly materializes, Hauntii and Moonloop Games' admiration and understanding of collectathon-styled adventures is what keeps this latest journey through the afterlife feeling anything but lifeless. The two-tone aesthetic and use of light-and-dark contrast, specifically in the context of level design, is where the game is at its most cleverly-orchestrated. Despite its minimalist appearance, this is a game whose subtle suggestions to maybe venture off the beaten path now and again is never too far away. Complimented along the way by a possession-based mechanic that plays host to challenges, mini-games and even a couple of set-pieces providing just the right amount of variety. It may not go down as the most memorable or indeed the most fulfilling example of its genre or indeed this style of game, but Hauntii still proves that even flawed creations can still bear a welcome level of enjoyment.

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The remake of Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord respects its roots by offering a nostalgic and punishing gameplay experience. While it could benefit from enhanced character customization and a more forgiving approach to new players, it remains a solid choice for those who appreciate old-school RPGs and are looking for a game that challenges their strategic thinking and patience. For RPG veterans, Wizardry delivers a satisfying blend of complexity and nostalgia, demanding meticulous planning and resilience. For newcomers, however, the steep learning curve and high difficulty level might be daunting, suggesting that starting with the pre-made characters and taking time to gradually understand the mechanics might provide a more enjoyable introduction.

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May 21, 2024

Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 is a beautifully-crafted experience that excels in storytelling, visual fidelity and auditory immersion. Ninja Theory’s dedication to a realistic and sensitive portrayal of psychosis sets a new standard in the industry. The accessibility features, cinematic approach and thoughtful combat mechanics ensure that it can be enjoyed by a diverse range of players. Whether you're a fan of the original Hellblade or a newcomer to the series, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 offers a deeply engaging and unforgettable experience. Its blend of realistic graphics, compelling narrative and innovative sound design makes it a standout title of the year.

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May 20, 2024

Samurai Warriors 4 DX is the best version of the ten-year-old game. The performance is smooth with a stable framerate on both PC and Steam Deck. The large amount of included DLC is a nice incentive for those who are only familiar with the vanilla version or simply missed out on the original when it arrived. Most of the DLC consists of cosmetic items such as new costumes or custom character creation parts, though. Overall, this is a great port of Samurai Warriors 4, but unless the inclusion of all the DLC is a major point of interest, there isn't much reason to revisit this game for those who already have the original.

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May 16, 2024

POed: Definitive Edition is an excellent version of a middling game, with only some of its problems due to it being early days for the FPS. It's hard not to feel affection for what it's trying to do, though, and you can see as you play how it fits into the evolution of its genre. It would have been nice if the game had figured out an identity, either leaning into the weirdness or going for straight sci-fi action, but it's almost thirty years too late to fix that now. POed's legacy was almost nonexistent, that of a kind of ok-ish game that landed right in the middle of the FPS genre figuring itself out, and from a gaming history perspective that's more than a good enough reason to check it out.

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May 15, 2024

A masterfully-orchestrated series of puzzles that are both stand-alone and interconnected alike, a brilliant use of a more-restricted color palette emboldening its art-style and aesthetic. And best of all: one of the most curious, perplexing but ultimately satisfying mysteries to see fully unraveled and revealed in its truest form. Combined, Lorelei and the Laser Eyes stands as Simogo's best work to date. Even with a portfolio as creative as theirs, a release deserving of that most lofty of titles: magnum opus.

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May 13, 2024

Nearly two decades on, Braid still refuses to show its age. A game whose varied ideas and smart execution remain one of the puzzle genre's finest showings. The Anniversary Edition doesn't so much attempt to fix what was never broken to begin with, but instead adds a rich assortment of visual and audible enhancements, on top of what is surprisingly as in-depth and varied a commentary on the game as you can get. Those who may not have clicked with its gameplay at first go might not find much to entice them back in for a second try. But for everybody else -- not least those fascinated with the development, construction and inevitable design -- Braid, Anniversary Edition offers a compelling insight into what remains a classic of great puzzle design.

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4.5 / 5.0 - Animal Well
May 9, 2024

Animal Well is a stunner of a metroidvania, usually charming but frequently creepy, mysterious but by no means unapproachable, and filled from top to bottom with secrets that are always satisfying to uncover.

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4 / 5.0 - Cryptmaster
May 9, 2024

Cryptmaster is a commendable indie game that stands out for its originality in gameplay and narrative. While it faces technical and design challenges, the overall experience is enriched by its entertaining side characters, engaging plot and clever integration of language-based mechanics. The game will challenge your linguistic and typing skills and pull you deep into its mysterious world, promising adventure and amusement. The game might benefit from refinements in control responsiveness and visibility issues, but despite its flaws, these do not significantly detract from the engaging and enjoyable gameplay. Cryptmaster offers a refreshingly different perspective on dungeon crawling, making it a worthy addition for any gamer looking for something outside the ordinary dungeon crawling experience.

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4 / 5.0 - Heading Out
May 6, 2024

An impressive ode to the classics of the 1970s, Heading Out is a unique blend of genres with its own unique gameplay twists that make it worth checking out, whether you're a fan of high-octane driving or strategy-focused resource management. Dripping with style, a killer soundtrack and a ton of interesting stories along the way, it makes for one mesmerizing road trip, with the journey being one that Serious Sim should be proud of.

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4.5 / 5.0 - Botany Manor
May 3, 2024

Botany Manor is a genuine delight, a charming little adventure game with a nice story, a lot of creativity in its plant designs and unique botanical work, and amazing puzzles that feel like a throwback to the classics of yore while having their own beautiful twists based around thorough exploration. It's an absolute gem, so make sure you don't overlook it just because Victoran-era botany doesn't seem all that intriguing at first. As it turns out, it can make for one amazing game.

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