Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Reviews
I'll still be exploring islands that I haven't touched and meeting NPCs whom I haven't yet met. This big, beautiful, bloated world has no end in sight.
"Mega Man 11" makes the series feel new again, rather than stuck in the past. It keeps everything that makes the series challenging and rewarding, and flawlessly incorporates the gear system into its design. Even after 11 classic games, this latest sequel is one of the best in the series.
Episode one can be a slow burn at times, but it sets the tone for the rest of the series nicely. While not a continuation of its predecessor in any way, it stays true to the series while adding enough to make the formula feel engaging to the player. I'm looking forward to seeing where the new series goes.
It has all the trappings of a triple-A game at first glance, but it doesn't quite manage to distinguish itself from the rest of the series. This is especially apparent when compared to its predecessor that took the series in drastic new directions. In an overcrowded fall season that is packed with $60 games, "Shadow of the Tomb Raider" needed to do more.
This is the Spider-Man we know and love, but so much so that it's to a fault. "Spider-Man" for PS4 does more than enough to make comic fans and webhead fans happy. It clears the middling bar for Spider-Man games. It's the best Spider-Man game ever made. But, its uninspired narrative keeps it from reaching the heights of the "Arkham" series. Admittedly, that's a tough series to top. This is just the beginning for this new vision of Spider-Man and his journey, and his best tales may be waiting around the corner.
"Sonic Mania Plus" is a speedy return of Sonic the Hedgehog, and this time he brought even more friends. The new and improved cast does plenty to enhance the game and its many stages. This is the best version of the game to check out whether you're adding to "Sonic Mania" via DLC or picking up the beautiful physical copy. If you gotta go fast, this is the best way to satisfy your need for speed.
"God of War" is the culmination that the series always had the potential to be. Better yet, it's just the beginning of a new legend forged by the God of War.
For now, it's a wonderful social experience that kept me wanting to see more. And when I wasn't playing, I was looking forward to returning to the open sea.
There are few open world games that can match the pure escapism of the "Far Cry" presentation. With a few sanded edges, the gameplay can match that presentation.
Whether you're hunting by yourself or bringing on a full squad of hunters armed to the teeth, "Monster Hunter: World" is a wonderfully unique gaming experience. Even after dozens of hours I still feel like I'm scratching the surface with each new mission. That experience comes with a steep learning curve, but sticking with it just might get you to your new favorite game.
"Mario Odyssey" is the perfect blend of wonder, creativity and nostalgia. This is the truest evolution of video games' most iconic character. When the world seem bleak, "Mario Odyssey" is a wonderful, whimsical counterbalance that's custom made for escapism. The video game world doesn't just need more Mario. The world needs more Mario.
There are plenty of first-person shooters out there, but there's nothing else quite like "Wolfenstein 2." This is a game that pushes what a narrative can be in video games. If you know someone who loves historical fiction, but isn't really into games, sit them down and watch you play through the game on an easy difficulty. "Wolfenstein 2" deserves all of its praise, but none of it does it justice. This is a rare game has to be experienced first hand.
"TFBW" has everything a good sequel should have. It builds on the groundwork laid by original while staying true to the classic and hilarious South Park tone. The original was no slouch, especially considering it was the first RPG set in the South Park universe, but "TFBW" surpasses it in every way. It's not just the best South Park game. It's one of this year's best RPGs.
Since nobody really expected "The Evil Within" to get a sequel, expectations for "The Evil Within 2" were basically nonexistent. It was up to Tango Gameworks to show us why we should want this sequel, and they have accomplished this. It succeeds where the previous game failed, while adding more to the formula that could win over those who didn't care for the first game. For those looking for something creepy this October, or for those who want to give the series a second look, "The Evil Within 2" is worth your time.
Anyone who was Team Sega in the 90s remembers the "Sonic" series fondly. "Sonic Mania" is tailor made for this audience. Sonic's first spin dash through a loop of rings brings a wave of nostalgia that Sonic hasn't been able to muster in decades. This game makes up for lost time and reminds gamers why the Blue Blur is one of the most beloved game characters in the medium.
It's difficult not to recommend "Mega Man Legacy Collection 2," but it's just doesn't quite reach the nostalgic overload of its predecessor.
"Splatoon 2" is entirely held together by its premise and gameplay. It's charming. It's different. It works and it's fun. But once a closer look is taken at the limitations of the different modes, an embarrassingly outdated set of online features and lack of onboard voice chat that those bright colors start to fade. "Splatoon 2" has the potential to be one of the best games of the year, but Nintendo needs to start taking notes on how modern game makers create an experience for a competitive scene.
Creative, unique and just plain fun first-party games continue to be the best reason to have a Switch. This is the beginning of a new franchise, and an excellent starting point for this fresh new idea. "Arms" is poised to appeal to kids who are new to games, experienced gamers and can even support a competitive esports scene. There's room for "Arms" to grow, but this is already the new big thing for the Switch.
"Injustice 2" does everything a fighting game sequel should do. The original "Injustice" was a great game that added some new ideas to the fighting genre. "Injustice 2" just polishes areas that needed to be polished when it comes to the gameplay, and added a gear system that's never been seen before in the genre. The game has plenty of content for DC fans, hardcore followers of fighting games and casual gamers just looking for a fun experience.
"Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" is so complete that it made me wonder how the original Wii U release even made it to shelves in its original state. This is everything kart fans could want from the series: fast action that can be enjoyed by beginners and seasoned veterans, plenty of unlockables, an assortment of tracks and fun modes for parties. This is the new pinnacle for the "Mario Kart" series. Nintendo was smart to take us on another lap around the track.