Season is an extremely chill game about leaving home for the first time, touring the world on a bike, and recording the wonders you find along the way. Also, the world might be ending, but no one is letting that ruin their day. While it’s filled with scenes of beauty, Season’s awkward pace and muddled message leave it feeling a little undercooked.
Forspoken is vibrant, experimental, and undercooked all at once. It feels like a throwback to the Xbox 360-era of Square Enix games that were weird and experimental, like The Last Remnant and Infinite Undiscovery, only with a much bigger budget and flashier visuals. Its traversal and combat mechanics shine, but they’re trapped underneath a story and setting that feels painfully average and completely unwilling to engage with more challenging themes.
Some publications call One Piece Odyssey the best One Piece game ever made. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the best anime game ever made. That’s not saying much in a consistently underwhelming subgenre, though. The long wait to get to the meat of the story and a genuine challenge makes it difficult to recommend to others, even fans.
Fire Emblem’s tradition of focusing on character relationships hit a peak in Three Houses, and we all kind of assumed that would continue into Engage. Sadly, that’s not the case. Fire Emblem Engage scales its social interactions down to a bare minimum, leaving a cast of underdeveloped characters in its wake. At the same time, it features some of Fire Emblem’s best tactical combat, making the game feel as sharply divided as its protagonist’s over-discussed red-and-blue hair.
Midnight Suns is easy to recommend for fans of comics, strategy, and roleplaying games. While Firaxis does go overboard with the base-building and crafting side of the game, I did enjoy getting to know my heroes better. This game truly shines thanks to its unique and memorable combat system. Thanks to the mission structure and DLC on the way, it feels like a game I’ll revisit again and again.
Despite its flaws, I found myself always craving one more race; I could drive faster, customize my car better, and drift in even cooler ways than before. While not perfect, Need for Speed Unbound is the best the franchise has been and years — and hopefully a sign of even better things to come.
Crisis Core Reunion doesn’t alter the story of the original PSP game, but it lands somewhere between a remaster and a remake on account of its gorgeous graphical updates and gameplay improvements. That being said, the limitation of the original game being on a handheld still shines through, becoming obvious through the game’s simple structure that uses mostly small confined environments and linear pathways. For anyone coming from the tremendously ambitious Final Fantasy VII Remake, Crisis Core is going to feel remarkably limited. Still, the overwhelming positives of experiencing the Crisis Core story on modern consoles make its minor flaws totally forgivable.
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet give you more choices than ever before. In exchange, it expects you to adapt to its half-baked open world and mostly optional new features. These latest games aren’t the great leap forward from Pokémon Legends: Arceus that fans were hoping for, but it is a small step.
Harvestella is the perfect game to cuddle up on the couch with, preferably in handheld mode on Nintendo Switch or on Steam Deck. While it doesn’t deliver the best JRPG or farming sim, it is the only game that delivers both experiences at the same time, delivering a unique entry in a crowded genre that manages to be a breath of fresh air.
This historical murder mystery isn’t what you might expect from Obsidian Entertainment, known for first-person action RPGs like The Outer Worlds and Fallout: New Vegas, but there is still importance placed on building your character and choosing how you experience the world. It explores the societal, theological, and artistic beliefs of one town during a time of rapid change, and it does so with a beautiful art style unlike anything else in video games. Everything about Pentiment feels as carefully designed as the illuminated manuscripts it draws inspiration from, delivering an enthralling mystery that is a wonder to behold.
For all its murky mechanics and slow pace, Tactics Ogre: Reborn still blends satisfying combat with a top-tier story in a way that few games can match. If you’re a fan of the tactical RPG genre and want a serious challenge, there’s simply no reason not to play this game. But newcomers may want to start with something more approachable, or at least keep waiting for that Final Fantasy Tactics remake we’re all hoping for.
Sonic Frontiers is a fascinating game, mostly because of how little it actually feels like the rest of the series. The game’s marketing has called it an “evolution” of the Sonic formula, and that’s certainly accurate, but it’s still hampered by some growing pains. Sublime exploration and intuitive mechanics constantly clash with Sonic Frontiers’ insistence on introducing mandatory mini-games and one-off gimmicks, many of which simply aren’t engaging.
Modern Warfare 2 is one of the most baffling Call of Duty games in years. It caters to newcomers, punishes veterans, and alienates everyone with overcomplicated menus. The campaign and Ground War are worthwhile. But Modern Warfare 2 still needs a lot of work to live up to its predecessors, and may not be worth your money just yet.
There’s still a layer of jankiness the series can’t escape in terms of visuals and tropey writing. But the compelling characters and gameplay mechanics overshadow the rough edges. If this is the last Star Ocean game, Tri-Ace has gone out with a bang.