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F1 22 is in a bit of a strange situation because while it doesn’t add drastic changes or updates to the game, it still is the best F1 game out there that’s as easily accessible to newcomers as well as F1-heads looking for a deep experience. One thing it adds is F1 Life, a lackluster experience when compared to Braking Point, which I would expect to make a return next year. Other than this, F1 22 will feel overly similar to last year, especially for casual players that won’t pay too much attention to the finer details and will simply enjoy the game for what it is – a fun and exciting racing experience. F1 22 is far from a bad game, but its current offering this year features a laundry list of changes that don’t do too much to change the overall experience unless you know what to look for. Some will like the consistency while others will rue the lack of updates, and it will really depend on how much these mean to you when thinking of that eventual purchase.
Sonic Origins is a fun romp and a trip back in time to when things were simpler. Getting some of the best Sonic games out there in one package is a sweet deal, and that alone should be worth the purchase. You’re also getting an Anniversary Mode to go with it, which adds some nifty features that shake up the gameplay experience. If anything, Sonic Origins is a good compilation of Sonic games but is a bit pricey for what you get. Adding insult to injury is the fact that the Deluxe Edition locks players out of some bonus items that really should have just belonged to the base game. Still, Sonic Origins is a great time for fans and newcomers alike and is a worthwhile way to experience the adventures of the terrific trio.
Deliver Us The Moon, I would say, deserves a place up there with the likes of Firewatch, What Remains of Edith Finch, and Gone Home. It presents an engaging story and an even deeper sense of immersive storytelling seen through the collection of codex, environmental cues, and exciting set pieces that propel us to find out the answer to the ultimate mystery. While it is a short experience and replayability is relegated to completing your codex, Deliver Us The Moon is a title that should be experienced to be believed. With good use of gravity mechanics and actual cues for adventure, your first run of the game will surely be a blast.
Your dose of nostalgia, especially from 90s fighting games, will be realized with the Capcom Fighting Collection. With ten unique games to choose from, it’s definitely worth the price of admission especially if you’re a die-hard fighting fan looking for a great time by yourself or with competitive play. As a fighting game casual, I still found myself enjoying the single-player options that many of these titles offered. Whether it be for the more popular titles like Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo and Hyper Street Fighter II or the more obscure ones like Cyberbots and Red Earth, the Capcom Fighting Collection is a superb compilation that shows the great lineage of Capcom titles.
OlliOlli World: VOID Riders adds a ton of value to the base game with a new technique, new cosmetics, and new backbreaking challenges to keep you playing. It makes an amazing game even better, with the caveat of getting good if you want to enjoy the elite rewards. VOID Riders is a great expansion that adds more of what made OlliOlli World an already fantastic experience, and that’s definitely not a bad thing in our book.
The Quarry doesn't hit the same highs as Until Dawn, with very simple QTEs and the lack of good and genuine scares that do the game a disservice. It is unfortunate because the star-studded cast delivers the goods but isn't enough to lift the game to the heights that it aimed to reach. I commend how The Quarry attempts to stand out with its accessibility and slightly revised mechanics, but for all intents and purposes, it is an overpriced version of Until Dawn. The Supermassive formula is begging for a refresh, and The Quarry is its latest victim.
There’s a lot of enjoyment to be had with Metal Max Xeno Reborn in the long run, but it’ll take a long while before you get there. The moment you’ve established your base of operations, recruited all your survivors, and maxed out your tanks, there’s a real cathartic way that the post-apocalyptic world of Dystokyo comes to life with its intense bounty hunting and fetch quests. However, the game terribly suffers in its early to mid-game, which can be a bit of a disappointment due to its rushed tutorials and unforgiving difficulty spikes. As a longtime JRPG fan, it really reminds me of old-school JRPGs that had a bit of jank but had their unique charm. As with classic JRPGs, it also comes with its quirks that make the game frustrating, especially when starting out and getting lost in the process. It gets better in the endgame if you last that long.
For fans of the series, Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong would hopefully quench your thirst until the eventual release of Bloodlines 2. However, I feel that newcomers to the series will have varying degrees of enjoyment regarding the lore, and if you’re not a fan of reading, it’ll be a bumpy start. The magic of Swansong is that succeeding playthroughs will definitely get better as you learn more of the lore and paint a complete picture of the whole mystery. If you have the patience for all that legwork, more power to you to be able to unravel every one of its mysteries. It also really doesn’t help that the puzzles are quite obtuse and the visuals aren’t as inviting as something like Vampyr or Detroit: Become Human.
Card Shark is a rather unique game with an interesting premise, but I strongly suggest you try out the demo before committing. The aesthetic and narrative are entertaining enough, but require you to learn a rather tedious mini-game system whose costs outweigh the rewards. There are a few strange design decisions that prevent the enjoyment of Card Shark, as a simple manual save could save us a lot of grief going through the journey. The tutorials are quite obtuse, but the early quests keep it easy that when it starts to combine variations of techniques, there’s no way to review old tricks to keep the momentum going.
Sifu is a definite must-experience beat-em-up for 2022, and for those who have passed on this title because of the crushing difficulty, you can rejoice in the fact that the developers have added difficulty settings that allow you to experience the game at your own pace but still keep the overall experience. While the original really pushed for the aspect of lifelong mastery through its difficulty setting, the new update really opens up the game to a fuller experience that a wider base can experience instead of being intimidated by it. There is more to Sifu than this, boasting its atmosphere and immersion to breathe life back into the beat-em-up genre that’s really been relegated to retro games or remakes of retro games.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a great in-between game, something that can be greatly appreciated after the deluge of heavy and tiring games from the past couple of months. Offering charming gameplay that is simple to pick up and understand, players will find some respite here that is easily worth the price of admission. For some, the idea of countless fetch quests might be an immediate turn-off, and with such a simple core loop, the game does little to deviate or add something new to the mix. Instead, it doubles down on the basics, making it feel like a game that doesn't look like but plays similarly to previous console generations.
Trek to Yomi often feels like it prioritizes looks over gameplay and to a certain extent, that's fine. The game flawlessly executes exquisite camera angles that give off a highly-cinematic feel that is a joy to both watch and play. While its close-up visuals are average at best, the game exceeds at framing scenes that look 'gram-worthy whenever the screenshot button is pressed. Its combat system, while decent, boils down to repeated patterns at easier difficulties but gets excruciatingly difficult at the next level, without finding a good middle ground that makes the experience feel satisfying. That said, it is very easy to pick up and play but will require players to prioritize timing over dexterity.
Road 96 is an enjoyable narrative journey that makes the most of your first run to the best of its presentation. While it may not win over gamers of certain political mindsets, its strengths are more derived from how it made a narrative game entertaining enough that doesn't forget that it's a video game first. I'm always looking for creative ways to tell a story and these vignettes that chronicle a country's turning point through the eyes of its disillusioned youth are what inspire me to continue perusing interactive media as it pushes the boundaries as a storytelling medium. Long story short, Road 96 is certainly a journey worth taking.
MLB The Show 22 is the latest installment in the long-running series and, like most annual sports games, introduces some new features that make it an arguably better product than last year. One of my gripes from last year was that MLB The Show 21 didn't really take advantage of the more powerful hardware of the PS5 and Xbox Series and it's mostly the same complaint I have now. Maybe next year? Similar to the likes of NBA 2K, many will most likely flock to its campaign mode called Road to the Show, and while it is a competent mode, there's very little difference from last year's outing, which is getting rather old at this point. Other features like Diamond Dynasty and March to October make a return, rounding up a full-featured installment.
Despite its rather straightforward platforming mechanics and forgiving gameplay, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga succeeds in recreating the mainline films in a package that is enjoyable for even the general audience that isn't a fan of LEGO or Star Wars. Fans, on the other hand, will get a kick out of the game, taking them on a wild ride across the galaxy in a comedic retelling that's oftentimes funny and mostly entertaining. Iconic characters and locations make an appearance here and most, if not all, of the classic scenes from the movies are faithfully recreated brick by brick.
Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition is quite the curious case. On one hand, the game is an absolute classic that everyone needs to experience, and this release just does that. By releasing on more modern platforms, especially on the Switch (which is probably the best way to play this game), a brand new audience can come to realize the greatness of the RPGs of old wrapped in a shiny new package. On the other hand, the remaster isn't something you'd expect for a game of this stature. Maybe it would have been wrong to expect more, but I certainly expected more from it and was disappointed, mainly because of the performance issues, something that is inexcusable given the technology we have currently. Some may overlook this, but it doesn't change the fact that it exists.
Personally, I appreciated A Place For The Unwilling due to its atmosphere and unique way of interacting with the world. The title really makes you feel the alienation and awkwardness of being a stranger in a strange land, while always having you be on your toes for an unseen danger. However, from a gameplay perspective, it is marred with inconsistencies that rob the game of its enjoyment.
Stranger of Paradise: FF Origin is a surprisingly fun game that has very competent systems and features that work together to bring a good technical action RPG. Anchored by a deep job system and excellent combat with precise controls, hunting down Chaos can be quite fun if you let it. Despite its ridiculous premise and story, the game can easily attract both fans and newcomers to the Final Fantasy franchise and action RPG titles in general. There is a possibility that some players may feel overwhelmed with its many systems, but seeing it through is rewarding enough.
Weird West is a game that I enjoyed because of its unique take on both the Western and Weird sci-fi sub-genres, making it an impressively immersive RPG experience. What sullied my experience were the multiple glitches on top of the repetitive quest system, preventing me from completing the story because I played the game the “wrong” way. Weird West is designed to be free-flowing but these glitches are fundamentally the antithesis of what they’ve designed the game to do. I’m a patient gamer when it comes to gameplay bugs, but when glitches stop story progression because of something the game has been designed to do, it’s really a red flag going forward. It can be patched eventually but until then, minus points for now.
Overall, Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach is a solid entry in the long-running series that has garnered a cult following throughout the years. It is the best-looking game in the series and really excels at creating a tension-filled atmosphere that will keep you on your toes. Despite its many bugs and glitches, the core gameplay remains enjoyable as long as you can learn to put up with some of its questionable design decisions that can pile up to be a source of frustration while playing the game.