At the very least, Habroxia 2 is a very solid shoot-'em-up thanks to the number of elements that it manages to mash together quite well. The merger of bullet hell and twin-stick shooter in this kind of environment feels distinct, and there's some good depth to the shooting mechanics due to the options at your disposal. The branching pathways give the campaign some legs, since you have some incentive to uncover all of the pathways, and the new modes feel like more significant reasons to keep playing after the campaign is done. For shooter fans, Habroxia 2 is a great game to play and a good turnaround from the team's first efforts.
Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles is basically a game for the fans. Do you want to pick your favorite character and beat up your other characters? Or do you want to see scenes from the original story re-created in beautiful 3D? However, that is about all it offers. It's beautiful, plays well, accurately captures the source material, and that is the beginning and end. If you're curious about the uber-popular franchise, it's probably best to watch the anime or read the manga before diving in.
Back 4 Blood is a fun blend of the classic Left 4 Dead template with a reasonable inclusion of modern traits. The basic zombie shooting brings forth just as many memorable and chaotic moments as the developer's original series, and the game absolutely sings in multiplayer, but the solo experience remains engaging for those who only get along with bots. The modern touches add some depth that doesn't detract from what makes this kind of game so fun in the first place. The steps to increase replayability accomplish that without feeling forced. Despite a few minor issues here and there, Back 4 Blood is a solid debut, and those who wanted some progress in the genre are going to find it in buckets here.
Metroid Dread is a fantastic return to form for the 2D Metroid titles. Building upon the lessons of Samus Returns, it captures the feel of Metroid nearly perfectly. It's incredibly fun to play, balances the story and gameplay in the way a Metroid game should, and in general, it's just excellent. Its few flaws stood out more in retrospect than while I was playing the game. It's easily one of the best 2D Metroid titles, and it's a fantastic way to close out the ongoing storyline.
Overall, Xuan Yuan Sword 7 is a completely mediocre game. That isn't to say it can't be fun or doesn't have strong moments, but somehow, none of what it does really stands out. It's interesting to see a long-running franchise finally get its chance to shine outside of its home country, but Xuan Yuan Sword 7 doesn't do enough to set it apart from the crowd. There are a lot of interesting ideas here, and I look forward to seeing what the next entry shows off.
If you don't run afoul of the game's technical and server-related issues, you'll find Diablo II: Resurrected to be a good version of the classic action RPG. For those who have played with the 2000 PC classic countless times, this is a like-for-like copy of that title, only with a few more accessibility options and a new lick of paint so it blends in with modern releases. For those who are new to the game or are more familiar with Diablo III, keyboard and mouse players will feel limited, while the lack of modern quality-of-life amenities can dampen the excitement for the title. Either way, once everything clears up, Diablo II can become a great addition to any ARPG library, and if you're one who pays attention to the review score, you can bump up the number when the fixes roll in.
If you had a good time with the previous games in the series, you're likely to find the same level of enjoyment in Far Cry 6. However, many of the gameplay elements in this new game are awfully like the versions that were first established in Far Cry 3 and reused with minimal changes in every subsequent game. There's certainly more than enough content to validate the game as its own, full entry into the series. I wish for a future Far Cry entry that I can play without being able to pick out which things are exactly the same as the previous title.
Alan Wake Remastered is exactly what it says in the title, and that is a good thing. Alan Wake has received a thorough and clean remaster that doesn't compromise its original look and vision but enhances the gameplay by using all of the PS5's central features, including fast loading times and DualSense feedback. Its story and gameplay, while not perfect, still hold up well today. There is no story-driven game quite like Alan Wake, and being able to revisit this Xbox 360 classic on the PS5 is a dream come true - especially since this likely means that we will get that long-promised sequel.
In the end, Natsuki Chronicles is a solid shoot-'em-up. The action provides a nice balance between hardcore and novice-friendly gameplay, while the various tweakable options are welcome for players of all skill levels. Despite a lack of modes, there is some replayability thanks to an online leaderboard system and various difficulty levels and items to unlock; it gives players a reason to return despite the lackluster story. If you're a shoot-'em-up fan, Natsuki Chronicles is well worth checking out.
NBA 2K22 is generally a beautiful representation of next-generation console hoops, but it's a little disturbing that many of the newest things I noticed didn't have a whole lot to do with basketball. The on-court product is good, but it's not perfect. Basketball is still my favorite sport to watch, and I love the game, so I'll keep playing, but I can probably put the music and fashion career on hold - and I don't need to spend any more money.