Mafia: Definitive Edition is the best of both worlds. Its updated graphics bring Lost Heaven and its inhabitants to life without burdening them with modern game design elements. While the characters themselves haven't aged as well, Mafia: Definitive Edition, though based on a game that's nearly 20 years old, feels more refreshing than most open-world games.
Still, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is a project on a level of scope and ambition that Vanillaware was crazy to try to pull off. While the team continually pushes the complexity of the story to the breaking point all of the way through, there’s something oddly satisfying about a game that always feels like it should be falling apart yet never does. And, when you brush aside all of the narrative craziness, there are thirteen personal stories that at times can have a surprising level of emotional depth.
Spelunky 2 rests on the laurels of its predecessor, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It still retains all of the gameplay mechanics and level design that made the original such a satisfying experience. But as a sequel, Spelunky 2 feels a little too scared to expand its horizons. For a game that's all about taking risks, Spelunky 2 is surprisingly risk-averse.
Marvel's Avengers squanders the potential of what might have been a fun superhero romp by grafting on an annoying, overly repetitive games-as-a-service component. Playing as the cast of heroes offers decent thrills, and the campaign tells an enjoyable enough story, but odds are good you'll get bored long before you grind your way to the top.
Tell Me Why might be smaller in scope and less mechanically complex than Dontnod's Life is Strange series, but it's just as emotionally impactful. It's a compelling story with relatable, complex characters, and yet another example of Dontnod's unbeaten ability to make players feel something, anything, in a medium that's increasingly more mind-numbing.
Samurai Shodown NeoGeo Collection has most of what it takes to be a definitive collection of SNK's legendary fight game series, but just misses the mark in the end. All of the games thankfully play and feel as they should, and there's a tremendous wealth of quality bonus features included. Unfortunately, its basic approach to online versus means it'll be harder to find matches among the smaller playerbase. Still, for both older franchise fans, and fighting game players looking to finally dig into the series, this is probably the best Samurai Shodown collection we've ever gotten.
Carrion doesn't just flip the horror script—it's the ultimate power fantasy, packed into a tight, uncompromising space. It might utilize some video game tropes, but it doesn't seem too concerned with accepted video game values. It's a 2D side-scroller without platforming, an action game where you dictate the action. The Doom Slayer might talk a big game about ripping and tearing, but Carrion's meatball monster puts its money where its many mouths are.