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The Dead Space Remake is a stellar effort from Motive Studio that respects the source material but also makes just enough meaningful changes to gameplay to suit modern audiences and provide a fresh experience. It wasn’t an easy task, considering how the original is held in high regard, but the results cannot be denied, and they have indeed lived up to lofty expectations. One highlight of the game is its superb audio design, which keeps players on their toes, elevating encounters and maintaining tension levels high all throughout. Paired with chilling visuals and lighting that evoke an atmosphere of dread, the USG Ishimura is even more terrifying than ever before.
Overall, Monster Hunter Rise is another entry in the long-running series that does not disappoint. The core loop is as addictive as ever, and you'll find yourself grinding your way toward victory with improved visuals, buttery smooth frame rates, and the bells and whistles that come with the current-gen consoles. The only real fault with this release is that the Sunbreak expansion is not included. Add to the fact that crossplay and cross-progression are also not available, it does get the necessary minus points. Still, Monster Hunter Rise is a fantastic title that's made even better thanks to the improved hardware.
A Space for the Unbound is a narrative adventure that tugs at your heartstrings despite its simple presentation. The soundtrack of the game is stellar and really elevates the experience, going well with the ongoing scenes. The game deals with mature themes that may turn away some players, but all of it is handled with care and isn’t forced upon anybody. While some sequences tend to overstay their welcome, it’s a minor issue that can easily be overlooked.
Persona 3 Portable is still a title worth playing, despite the missing content from the FES version. The game is already complete in and of itself, featuring hours and hours of gameplay and tons of replayability. It’s a solid title in terms of the fun turn-based mechanic, the nearly addictive dungeon exploration of Tartarus, and meeting a cast of colorful characters that you will surely be attached to by the end of your campaign.
It’s really hard to find any fault with Persona 4 Golden. It’s so fun to play that the only reason you won’t be buying this title is if you still have your PS Vita or have already bought the PC port of it. In other words, replaying the game wherever you choose will still provide the same fantastic experience as before. Persona 4 Golden is still the timeless classic that it has been since it was first released. We’ve gotten to the bottom of it, and the bottom line is that Persona 4 Golden is solid gold goodness you must own.
Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- Reunion is a nostalgia-fueled balancing act of mechanics that worked and flawed creative choices. Despite some annoyances, the odds tipped in favor of a fun return to this prequel to a beloved franchise. Nostalgia wins, in the end, to provide a bittersweet homecoming with familiar characters and an improved combat and crafting system to match modern sensibilities.
Need for Speed Unbound is a great entry in the series that has been hard-pressed to find a successful formula for its past outings. While the visual mix of graffiti and realistic visuals may not be for everybody, it’s hard to discount the fact that the racing experience is quite solid. Online multiplayer could use some work, and the game is being anchored right now by its fun and engaging single-player mode, so fans looking to take their rides online might be slightly disappointed at the proceedings.
Chained Echoes is a fantastic game that hearkens back to the good old days of the 16-bit RPGs and adds its own flair to make it stand out from the bunch. The turn-based combat system is very involved thanks to the Overdrive mechanic, and the art style is simply eye candy, which is music to the ears of all old-school RPG lovers out there. The first few hours of the game can get a bit messy and confusing, events-wise, but really gathers itself and goes on to tell a solid and heartfelt story across multiple characters that is punctuated by stellar gameplay. The experience has been mostly bug-free and the game has simply been a surprise, as I’m sure many didn’t expect such a gem amidst all of the big triple A titles this month.
The Callisto Protocol excels as an atmospheric survival horror title, at least in its early parts of the game. However, because so many of its inconsistent combat mechanics could’ve used more balancing, the aspects that made the title stand out ultimately worked against it. Moreso, the unsatisfying conclusion squanders the mystery that’s been set up at the start of the title with its impressive cinematic cut-scenes. I commend Glen Schofield and his team for sticking to the overall concept and experimenting with new mechanics, however, many of these creative choices snowballed into a frustrating time for random horror fans looking for a good scare.
Evil West returns to the glory days of action games with a fun and straightforward approach to the genre. The combat is frenetic, simple, and fluid enough to create the ultimate vampire slayer. You also have straightforward characters that scratch an itch and then some. While there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, I feel that they could’ve done better by utilizing the current-gen console’s power to push its visual style and charming characters to a higher standard. However, due to its frame rate issues and lazy enemy variants being thrown at you in swarms, Evil West may be an annoyance in higher difficulties.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns is a stellar outing from Firaxis, and it’s a great choice for those looking for a deeply strategic game that has layers of systems working together to provide an engaging combat loop that will keep you looking forward to the next one. Depending on your tastes, the Abbey section may or may not be to your liking. Due to the fact that it was a section that required a lot of reading and dialog, the bad writing really struck a nerve with me and made the whole experience quite tedious. In the end, though, the fun of the combat sequences can make you overlook all of this, giving you that “one more game” itch to scratch.
Goat Simulator 3 doesn’t take itself seriously, and that’s a good thing. While it’s definitely a blast, it’s hard to recommend this because your enjoyment of it depends on your tolerance for the concept. For me, it ended after a few hours before I got bored, but the fun can definitely last if you’re taking advantage of the online multiplayer feature. That being said, while there are a lot of activities and jokes to be had, if you’re the type of player that enjoys having a defined path to follow, Goat Simulator 3 is probably the furthest from it. It would be advisable to check out some videos about the game first before diving in.
The Devil In Me, the last installment in this anthology, tries to innovate the tired formula but doesn’t really succeed. The developers have experimented with new features such as adding an inventory system and improving their existing QuickTime events, but at the same time, they shoot themselves in the foot by overdoing certain aspects that could have made for a better horror game. The Devil In Me works as part of the complete set. However, as the season-ender that would collectively blow our minds, it definitely could’ve done more to push the envelope.
As a fan of the series, I really looked forward to Gungrave G.O.R.E but was left disappointed by the experience. While the DNA of Gungrave was present, it really lacked some of the crucial aspects that made the previous games fun and entertaining. Gungrave G.O.R.E isn’t exactly a bad game, but there are some decisions here that make it feel frustrating and stuck in the past, which is sad because there’s much that could have been done here thanks to the advancements in technology over the years.
Tactics Ogre: Reborn is a fantastic way to experience the classic, with a number of quality-of-life upgrades that make the game respect your time and commitment to it. Its visuals may be a hit or miss, especially to the HD-2D-loving crowd, but the voiced performances really bring the game to life. Hardcore fans of the series may not appreciate some of the changes made, but the game still keeps the same depth and strategic approach as before, offering a meaty package that can take over 50 hours to play through.
The Chant has some good ideas, but unfortunately squanders its current-gen pedigree by delivering a straightforward survival horror that doesn’t innovate nor entertain. Featuring underwhelming visuals and repetitive combat mechanics, its short playthrough can be a challenge. What we have is a forgettable by-the-numbers survival horror game that tried too hard to become other games when it could’ve stood on its own with its charm and ideas. Truly a missed opportunity.
Sonic Frontiers is a great new adventure for the blue blur. While it suffers from the overly-used open-world gameplay mechanics, it is certainly a fresh experience to see Sonic run around in vast expanses of land while interacting with classic Sonic elements. Despite its hitches, Sonic Frontiers is the jolt that the franchise needs and is a step in the right direction, despite this step being marred by generic open-world tropes that can get tedious as players progress through the game. It’s serviceable enough for both newcomers and fans and will certainly dictate how the franchise progresses moving forward.
The developers have created a myth of epic proportions through a divine marriage of storytelling and gameplay, renewing the franchise with a tale of hope that ties itself up well enough to offer a satisfying and exhilarating conclusion. God of War Ragnarok is Santa Monica Studios’ way of raising the bar, creating a new challenge for themselves on how they will manage to top this one in their next outing. It is easily one of the best games of 2022 and quite possibly one of the best franchise sequels of all time, taking its rightful place in the gallery of legends.
Valkyrie Elysium is a very rough time, which is a shame considering its pedigree. Despite a few bright moments like its fast-paced combat, the game is bogged down by questionable design decisions and repetitive gameplay that sour the whole experience. The fun combat system can only do so much to carry the weight, but alas, everything else feels average and fails to live up to its storied past. A deep sale is recommended before even trying it out.
Overall, New Tales from the Borderlands is a great addition to the series, and despite switching developers, it hasn’t skipped a beat. Borderlands fans will certainly enjoy the many references that will get you past the fact that you can’t fire too many guns in this one. Even if you’re not a fan of Borderlands but enjoy story-centric Choose Your Own Adventure books and games, basically titles like any of the old Telltale releases, you’re in for a treat. The game feels distinctly more Gearbox now than Telltale – not necessarily for better or worse, but it’s a more refreshing version of the game genre that can easily get stagnant if not done right, and New Tales from the Borderlands is hilarious world-building and storytelling done right.