There simply isn’t anything else like it, even if it does follow some of the more rote open-world playbook rules when it comes to progression and collectibles. A choppy framerate in intense sequences is really one of the only things holding the experience back, but like a fisherman without a hand—or a leg—it doesn’t stop me from heading back to the open water for more.
Even being aware of Saints Row The Third's issues and having played the game more than enough in the past, I still found myself wanting to keep playing it and really enjoying myself when I did. If you've not played Saints Row before I can't see this one leaving a better impression than the fourth game, but if you're familiar with the franchise this is still a good, if a messy, time.
Even though it was a short game, The Inner Friend lingers in the back of your brain long after you put the controller down. It's an emotional journey exploring childhood fears and trauma, and might just have you pulling out your favorite stuffed animal for a reassuring squeeze.
SuperMash is an unfortunate example of a concept working better on paper than in execution. Whilst the mashing system is fun to mess around with and watch the first few times, that magic quickly wears off and all you're left with is the poorest imitations of great game genres.
John Wick Hex is a fantastically unique adaptation of the film property, and even if it doesn't quick stick the landing, I have to applaud Mike Bithell and his team for bravely trying something different with something as loved as John Wick. The gameplay is sharp and tight, brilliantly adapting the inner workings of John Wick's mind into a gameplay mechanic and making you feel like a top-tier assassin when you pull it off. While a bit rough around the edges John Wick Hex is a great licensed adaptation with a bold fresh take on the existing property.
Trials of Mana is an escape from reality many of us can use these days. The plot is easy to follow, generally lighthearted, and as mentioned combat is about as easy as it comes. The beginning eight hours or so are very slow-paced, but once the first chapter is cleared, things really pick up. The graphical overhaul leaves a bit to be desired, but the audio work makes up for this, even with the occasionally cheesy dialogue or overdone acting. While RPGs have come a long way since the '90s, Trials of Mana stays true to its roots as a game most everyone can enjoy.
Put simply, Sakura Wars isn't going to be for everyone. It's oddly paced, character-focused, and anime-inspired, but that's also some of the best things about it. If even a tiny bit of you is interested in that description, there's a chance you'll really enjoy the craziness that Sakura Wars puts on the table.