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Slant Magazine

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612 games reviewed
65.0 average score
70 median score
43.3% of games recommended

Slant Magazine's Reviews

You’d think that the bigger an enemy is, the harder it would fall, but because the only determining factor of difficulty is the gap between your level and theirs, there’s no sense of scale to combat. The only tactic you need is that of attrition: The longer a battle drags on, the more meters you’ll fill, and the flashier the attacks that you’ll be able to unleash, like interlinking with allies to briefly enter a more powerful form, or executing a chain attack that laboriously unleashes a series of uninterruptible commands. Your sword-sponge enemies have millions of hit points not because it makes for interesting combat, but because it stretches things out long enough to make players feel as if they’re more than cogs in the system. These flashy combos are a good way to illustrate the importance of teamwork to the plot, but in terms of gameplay, they only continue to demonstrate how overly engineered every inch of the conflict is.

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Aug 3, 2022

“I’ll hack the machine and you’ll destroy some stuff,” says B-12 at one point in the final act. With that line, the game unintentionally reveals what it thinks of its cat protagonist. Despite being flesh and blood, the cat never needs food, water, or sleep; never hisses in anger at having to undertake a task; never bristles at the sight of a Zurk horde, at least not outside of one cutscene; and, aside from a few seconds of slower-than-usual animation, never seems injured by any major falls. Which is to say that if Stray had made even more room for moments that were alive to what it’s like to be a cat but also feel as one, then it might not have left us with the nagging feeling that the critter at its center is a calculated means to an end.

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Jun 26, 2022

That misstep is surprising considering how perfectly calibrated the rest of the game is. Though Neon White’s heavenly setting encourages perfection and players are required to earn a certain number of Gold medals to advance the plot, those are attainable even with the occasional mid-run mistake. (Ace medals, and a spot atop the global leaderboard, are reserved for pros.) It takes a bit of time to get used to playing at the game’s frenetic pace, but once you understand that each enemy and obstacle has been deliberately placed, it gets easier to read how the game wants you to move between them, and that’s a blissful experience.

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May 25, 2022

Elden Ring is FromSoftware taming the monster they created, not by filing down its teeth and claws, but by giving players the weapons and armor to endure it. It’s the first of their games to not feel like a brick wall but a doorway, with allies in every direction all reaching out to help you tread carefully to the other side. The result is a paradigm shift, a seemingly once-in-a-generation recalibration of old ideas and taking them to the next level.

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Apr 18, 2022

Sephonie’s thematic scope is admirably wide-ranging, but its wordiness only crowds a game whose mechanics are tenuously connected. For a game that concerns the interconnectedness of all things, it’s unfortunate how awkwardly some of its pieces are glued together.

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Mar 31, 2022

Playing Weird West, it’s hard to shake how much more gracefully other games of this type avoid similar pitfalls, with the abbreviated scavenging of Void Bastards and the easy-to-read interface of Desperados III, another western with a top-down perspective, immediately coming to mind. The latter game also supports far more complex maneuvers despite lacking the sort of pointless granularity that has the player comb through indistinguishable shelves for a handful of ammunition. By contrast, Weird West is a slog dying for an extensive streamline.

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The Forgotten Land may not nail the world-building or plotting, but it’s not snoozing when it comes to Kirby’s transformations. In fact, the new optional Treasure Road activities highlight his absorptive arsenal better than in any previous game. These short stages help players learn how to maximize the various functions of each copy ability, whether that’s for light environmental puzzles—such as the Drill ability to burrow under barriers—or to do battle armed with chakrams, axes, flames, and more. Between the Road and the relatively lengthy main quest—six zones with five stages each and a post-game area that remixes harder versions of earlier levels—The Forgotten Land really gives Kirby’s powers a workout.

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Mar 16, 2022

Where other isometric games of this sort heavily telegraph areas and objects that you should return to later, the levels here subtly fold in on themselves in ways that are both slyly hidden and obvious in hindsight. Tunic appears unassuming and even a little routine on the surface, but it constantly reveals how clever it is every time it encourages us to take a closer look.

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Mar 14, 2022

That these abilities are purchased with the “kudos” earned from an efficiently fought battle shows yet again how Triangle Strategy always follows through on consequences—even good ones. In the world of this game, even something as casual as a thank you becomes a test of your character, and in the player’s hands, the fruits of such gratitude can become yet another weapon with which to win an exceedingly bloody war by any means.

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Mar 12, 2022

It’s been a long-standing complaint that WWE doesn’t know how to make new stars. WWE 2K22 is still a fine wrestling game, but the most frustratingly realistic thing about it is just how hard it is to make new stars here too.

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There are dozens of stories across Horizon Forbidden West that are every bit as cool, engaging, and thoughtful as that one. That makes it somewhat disappointing that the main story doesn’t quite hit the same heights in the end, as there’s a sagging middle that takes a little of the wind out of the finale. But it’s not something that’s worth sweating over, as the company that Aloy keeps consistently makes the trek work taking every step of the way.

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Feb 22, 2022

Details like the cause of the disease and how it spreads are unclear, though it doesn’t appear to be fatal. Much of the game involves simply existing in the midst of this incident, experiencing the story while trying to hold certain relationships together as things grow more grave. The slow progression of the disease lends itself to tear-jerking melodrama, but the characters’ horror is quiet and largely internal. Occasionally, they verbalize their fears, but mostly their memories just gradually and inevitably falls away, like leaves in autumn.

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- Sifu
Feb 6, 2022

Though Sifu features a few dialogue choices and scenes throughout its campaign where you don’t have to fight anyone, its surface-level engagement with martial arts film iconography betrays a lack of humanity that feels typical of works created well outside of the culture that they intend to depict. The game’s story grouses about the downsides of seeking vengeance, but this is plainly the work of people who like to fast forward to the fight scenes.

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Dying Light 2 is constantly introducing new abilities through its missions, and in such clever ways that that players become naturally acclimated to them. Consistently, the world here overwhelms us in lockstep with the dazzlingly dense gameplay. This is game about choice and consequences, and it rewards the player for exploring and engaging with the City’s environments. Unlike the derivative setting of last year’s Far Cry 6, the City is a character of its own, alive with lived-in detail and a refinement of the use of environmental storytelling. And it’s all the more incredible for making us feel as if we can change it for the better.

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In the end, this is a fundamentally a grind-heavy game, as players rerun the same 12 mission types over and over again in various locations, slowly unlocking new lore about the alien forces. But by introducing difficulty “mutation” modifiers and offering a wide variety of team compositions, Rainbow Six Extraction is able to mask its most routine elements and continue, even at lower difficulties, to keep players excitedly on their toes.

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Dec 15, 2021

Infinite wants so badly to feel like a fresh start—to deliver onto players a familiar setting that they can revel in but with a host of new tools. But that fresh start comes at the expense of all the big, beautiful, and ambitious ways in which the last few titles in the series made us want to take part in the Covenant War.

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Dec 4, 2021

That emptiness only becomes harder to ignore when the story foregrounds itself, pulling you back for chats with your AI partner or scattering insipid post-apocalyptic lore documents all over the levels. For all of Solar Ash’s sense of genuine, thrilling speed in its mechanics, the game fails to muster any sense of accompanying narrative momentum, content to warm over imagery and ideas from Anno Hideaki’s Neon Genesis Evangelion, Shadow of the Colossus, and countless media inspired by each. Solar Ash reaches for awe and splendor somewhere beyond its overall poverty of imagination, succeeding occasionally yet also suggesting that the wordless storytelling of Hyper Light Drifter had been the right way to go.

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Dec 3, 2021

When The Circle comes calling again, encroaching on Nara’s meager existence, she also needs Forsa to stand a chance of fighting the cult, and even the ship has a deep recognition that it’s the product of reprehensible crimes. Their bonding over shared pain should be ridiculous, but in practice, it’s absolutely enthralling. All this runs parallel to the Lovecraftian cosmic horrors at the game’s heart, but even as unnerving as that material gets, it’s all the more effective thanks to the very human and understandable reasons they’ve been allowed to exist. There are dozens of space shooters that will take up more of your time, and very few of them are dedicated to making this much of an impact as an engrossing, thoughtful adventure.

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Nov 11, 2021

There are excellent RPG gameplay ideas powering Shin Megami Tensei V, but they’re left stranded in search of a worthwhile role to play.

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Vanguard, then, feels more like a tasting menu than a balanced meal. You get to sneak through ducts, scramble up walls in a decrepit department store, commandeer a dive bomber, and wield a flamethrower in order to clear out some anti-aircraft bunkers. It’s high-quality stuff, but it’s unlikely that it’ll all be to any one player’s satisfaction, and there’s no option to skip through chapters of the campaign or to get more time as Lady Nightingale. But in fairness, that’s what the very customizable multiplayer modes and offerings are for.

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