Over the last month, my social life has suffered, my diet has gotten worse, and I have spent many an hour sitting on a beanbag and yelling into my headset. When I’m not in this fictional Washington DC, I’m sure as heck thinking of it. The Division 2 is that good. The cocktail of great features, compelling mission design, and immediate fun is a potent one that leaves me wanting more every time. Massive and Ubisoft have done exceedingly well in their launch of The Division 2, though it remains to be seen whether they can support the community with exciting updates in the long run. Time will certainly tell, but at the moment, The Division 2 is a game I would unreservedly recommend.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing through Yoshi’s Crafted World. It’s smooth to play, easy to pick up and put down while also offering a degree of challenge to those who might be a little rusty in the platformer department. While I don’t think it necessarily does a whole lot in terms of taking the genre to the next level or revolutionising it in any way, what it does do is actively showcase the solid foundations of its predecessors while also making small quality of life improvements to the gameplay. At this stage of the franchise’s development, I think that’s a reasonable place for it to be. I’m also curious to see where the series progresses from here on out, and what future improvements will look like to an already well-rounded bundle of dinosaur shenanigans.
I have spent A LOT of time playing FromSoftware games. Ever since I fell in love with Dark Souls, I’ve poured copious amounts of hours into each game without batting an eyelid, and Sekiro is no different in this regard. Much like Bloodborne, it’s refreshing to see the Japanese developer step out of their comfort zone and try something new, with the end result here being a resounding success. Its combination of deep combat, excellent boss fights, and enthralling level design has left its mark as my favourite game to come from Miyazaki and his team. If you like any of From’s previous work, you owe it to yourself to try Sekiro, and even if you don’t and want to give it a try, I can’t recommend it enough.
Everything DMC fans want is right here. Stylish combat returns in full force, complete with three characters to master with unique mechanics and playstyles. The game looks gorgeous and has some of the most dazzling displays of theatrics you could hope for. Even the story is good, but who gives a damn when the gameplay is this fantastic!? I haven’t enjoyed myself this much with a game in years, and you’d be remiss not to check it out. DMC5 is a tour de force of fun, and if you’re looking for some over-the-top goodness, this is the jackpot.
One Piece: World Seeker is an encouraging step in the right direction for licensed anime games. It’s not outstanding in any way, and it doesn’t push any boundaries, but the open world design feels refreshing, the gameplay is fun enough, and, in this particular case, the pull of the One Piece franchise is enough to warrant attention from the gaming mainstream. There are still many teething and performance issues that will need to be fixed if World Seeker is going to be considered a design template for future titles. However, for now, I’m cautiously optimistic about what the future holds for titles like this, and that’s a far better feeling than I’ve had about anime video games in a long time.
You don’t really need me here to convince you to try playing Final Fantasy VII. Even if you’re not a long-time fan of the JRPG genre, you’ve likely already heard about the refined Final Fantasy combat system and the unforgettable story of this classic. With the added bonus of the modern quality of life features, there’s no real reason not to go ahead with this if you’re still on the fence. It’s arguably the best way to get you into the series short of Square Enix finally granting me my wishes and giving us all the splendour of Final Fantasy VIII on the Switch.
I know a director isn’t the be-all end-all of a development project, and the idea of videogame “auteurs” has been romanticised to a ridiculous degree in this industry. That said, given that this is the first (and last) major release for the game without Tabata on board, his absence was notable. At no point was the game ever broken, it’s execution was definitely “competent,” it just felt incredibly uninspired. Even the story, arguably the biggest draw-card given the overall mysteriousness of Ardyn in the main game, was cryptically conveyed. Maybe it could be put down to a “B-team” in the studio working on this last piece while their new IP is in the works, or a new director trying to find their groove in the wake of their predecessor. It’s certainly not a knock-out, however, and I’d only really recommend playing this for the sake of completion.
My real question is: Why? Why was this made, and for whom? If ToeJam & Earl: Back In The Groove was intended as a remake, why try to emulate the original so closely in appearance and design while making everything measurably worse? If it was intended to be a sequel that only had a passingly similar design then, again, why make it so close to the original? Especially when the original is so much better in basically every regard. I’m not exaggerating when I say that in the process of writing this review, I ended up playing the original for far longer than this new version. At first, it was just to see if I remembered the game utterly wrong, as being something fun when it wasn’t. But it is, and I kept on playing it because it was preferable to this…”alternative.” The original is a great “arcade” experience, even by the standards of today, and you should definitely go play it if you want that nostalgia hit. Back In The Groove will just bore you at best and make you uncomfortable at worst.
Kirby’s Epic Yarn is a game that still holds up today, so it’s no surprise it’s just as great on the 3DS with the release of Extra Epic Yarn. Much like with Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey earlier in the year, I’m excited that Nintendo is still offering us the opportunity to play these older games we may have missed. With the coming release of Yoshi’s Crafted World, as well, there’s no time like now than to revisit the title that ushered in this fresh approach to platformers by Nintendo. The new features might not add much to the overall experience, but if you haven’t played it before, do yourself a favour and boot up the ol’ girl for one last good old fashioned adventure.
The Caligula Effect: Overdose has a lot of interesting design elements to set it apart from the crowd: the combat, the story premise, the recruitable school body. While these sort of unique elements are normally enough to secure my interest, the performance issues and poor character development make it difficult to get invested in. It’s certainly far from approaching the lofty heights of the Persona series, but it may still be able to catch your interest.