Multiplayer First's Reviews
Tango Gameworks made something special here. I think it is my favorite looking game of all time. And while there were a couple of things that I can critique, the whole package of this product is so compelling that I can’t help but recommend everyone at least try it. I don’t imagine that everybody will get into the combat, and some might find it too difficult given the rhythm mechanics, but you should at least see the opening and play through the initial tutorial. If Microsoft was hoping to make a statement by dropping this game out of nowhere, they did a bang up job. Ironically I’m not a huge fan of the name, but Hi-Fi Rush is a shoo-in for my personal top five titles of the year. You should play it.
Without a compelling story or likable protagonist, or a compelling world to explore, Forspoken only has its combat to rely on, and while I always found that fun and engaging, it’s not enough to justify an open world for a decidedly linear game. It tries a lot of things and comes up short in most of them. There’s a really good game in Forspoken. It just needed to be refined, polished, and edited.
Simply put: It doesn’t matter if you’ve played and finished the original Dead Space or not, Motive Studio’s remake is a perfect reimagining of the franchise. This is how remakes should be, and I’m very glad Motive nailed it out of the park. Hopefully, this means that we’ll see a Dead Space 2 remake (which is the best one in the trilogy in my opinion) announced soon. Rejoice, franchise fans! Motive has resurrected the franchise and with style! Dead Space 2023 is a fantastic way to start the year for horror fans, and is one indoctrination worth experiencing.
With a truly accomplished pixel art style and a noir vibe that gets under your skin, Hell is Others is a compelling loot shooter that shows its flaws when multiplayer starts to take preponderance over solo play. It’s a shame that the brilliant concept is dragged down by something so inherently tied to its core gameplay that it’s impossible to dissociate, but if you persist and overcome the early and frustratingly unbalanced player versus player battles, this is a bloody gem that deserves several excursions to this cursed city.
When I beat Evil West’s last fight and watched the final cutscene, I went to the main menu, took some notes, and immediately launched the New Game +. I then replayed the first two levels and part of the third. I just wanted more. It might be the fact that it feels like the games I grew up playing. It is an imperfect game. But I loved it and I think it is exactly what I’ve been wanting without realizing it. The up close and personal brutality of a third-person brawler, with the pattern analyzing of a Soulslike and the frenetic action of DOOM. Not to mention the western setting which I am on the record as loving. I have not had a game where I so wanted to immediately play a sequel in a long time. I so hope that we get one as I think this is a world worth exploring and characters worth revisiting -- especially if Flying Wild Hogs is given a bigger budget of which I very much think this franchise is deserving.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion is a splendid remaster of a classic PSP game, that feels and looks like a modern-day video game. It’s combat brings some much needed quality of life improvements, and the visuals, outside of the video formatted cutscenes, are pretty top notched for a remaster that could have taken the easy way of just given us a resolution and frame-rate bump. There are some places I do wish were changed, but as far as staying faithful, Crisis Core does just that, and I can’t help but appreciate it even more than I did back then, as it certainly is a title that has aged surprisingly well. If you’re new to the world of Final Fantasy 7, then Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion is the perfect place to start your journey.
The game serves as an excellent foundation for (what is hopefully) the start of a franchise. The gameplay is fun, though with flaws, and the writing and story are hilarious, despite overstaying in some parts. And visually speaking, I think this might be one of the best-looking games I’ve played all year, thanks to its unique art direction. As a title that is part of this month’s Game Pass offering, I cannot recommend this anymore. And if you aren’t a subscriber and fancy the dark humor Rolland is known for, it’s well worth the price of admission.
The Callisto Protocol is a good first shot at terrifying you in space. While not as scary as Dead Space, and lacking the same kind of satisfying combat, there is still fun to be had amidst the sometimes enragingly-unfair fights and odd story pacing. After just eight chapters, the adventure is over, as it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Things are also setup nicely for a sequel, should sales meet or exceed expectations, so with any luck Striking Distance will have another chance to deliver a more refined adventure that truly terrifies us.
Them’s Fightin’ Herds has the technical chops to roll with the competitive fighting scene. Looks can be deceiving, and this game will probably be skipped by too many people simply because it doesn’t look the part. The small character roster won’t help things, either. Still, with a solid fighting core, Mane6 has a good thing going here, and hopefully the release of Them’s Fightin’ Herds fuels a continuous stream of updates.
Open world Sonic should have happened a long time ago. One can only hope that they decide to give it another shot. Should that ever happen, we can just hope that they learn their lessons making this one. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a new Sonic game or are interested in a light single player experience, you could do worse than Sonic Frontiers. You could probably do better, but you could definitely do worse too.
WRC Generations is a nice ride into the sunset as the WRC license transitions to Codemasters. As with most retirements, this one isn’t perfect. The campaign is cookie-cutter, and the presentation is still quite lacking. But the racing, the pure, unadulterated speed and brutality of rally racing, remains. That may be Kylotonn’s legacy for this series, that of making an uncompromising simulator which makes you earn a spot on the podium. At this last venture, WRC Generations deserves its own spot up there as well.
I could spend hours upon hours talking about God of War Ragnarök, but at the end of the day, the only thing that should matter to you is if it's any good -- and it is. It's better than good; it’s a downright masterpiece. I know that word get's thrown around everywhere, and a lot, but I genuinely mean it. The story is beyond anything I would have imagined, and by the time I finished watching every line of credit roll, I couldn't help but give everyone a standing ovation. Like the first game, God of War Ragnarök will forever be etched in my memory as a timeless experience. A remarkable, unforgettable journey that I’ll keep talking about for the years to come and probably for the rest of my life. I could not be more confident in saying this, but I’ve found my Game of the Year for 2022.
While I can strongly recommend Gotham Knights to any Batman fan out there, I will say that you should temper expectations a bit, especially if you’re going into this thinking it’ll be anything like the Arkham series. There’s a lot to enjoy about it, such as the combat, and the story that helps keeps you going, but outside of that, there is just too much left to be desired. The open-world isn’t particularly special in anyway, mostly serving as a way to pad hours with boring side activities that are forced to progress. Not the most interesting of gameplay loops that gets tiring well before the midpoint. Then there’s the stealth that just doesn’t build upon the working formula of the Arkham franchise, if not regresses it. It’s worth a play for sure, but nothing I would say that anyone needs to rush out and experience.
The other area where Bloodborne’s influence can be seen is the level design. The cobble stone streets of France evoke Yharnam in not subtle ways. Where Steelrising sets itself apart, however, is the sheer verticality. Aegis can jump which allows her to climb to the rooftops to get around (where the game will allow it, of course) and eventually she acquires a grappling hook that allows her to ascend in specific areas for even more traversal options. It’s not open, and most of these areas just lead to item pickups or chests that contain armor or new weapons. Unlike Bloodborne, the levels of the game don’t really change save for one section that takes you into mines so it all eventually looks samey. More variety in the levels would have made the later portions of the game feel distinct and would have done wonders for the pacing of the game. In addition to the repeated enemy variety the back half of the game drags a bit.
Session: Skate Sim is the best skateboarding simulator you can play today. It might not be the best skateboarding game, though, with so much focus on getting the feel of the ride just right. The learning curve is such a steep cliff that many more casual skateboarding fans (or especially those without huge chunks of time to dedicate to a game) will likely give up before being confident on these virtual decks. Still, Session: Skate Sim is a challenging simulator worth your time if you’re a hardcore skateboarding fan.
At first glance, NBA 2K23 appears to be more of the same, but the gameplay adjustments made by Visual Concepts are more than enough for this year’s game to be accepted with open arms. The changes in the shot mechanics and making it more difficult to create godly players in MyCareer might make some players upset but will be beneficial for the game in the long run. MyTeam is still a fun team-building mode, and with the removal of contract cards, should be a more viable option as opposed to a normal Franchise. The player ratings will be a hot topic, as I’m not sure how we can rate the Los Angeles Lakers among the top teams when their third-best player is a 78 overall, but that’s an issue that might never be solved. Ultimately, NBA 2K23 isn’t simply a carbon copy of previous iterations and should be viewed as a step in the right direction for 2K’s continued evolution.
Honestly, I just can’t recommend Deathloop enough to all you Xbox Series owners out there. It’s a fantastic game, that leans heavily into the identity crafted by Arkane Studio when they released Dishonored nearly a decade ago. It’s clever, fun, witty, and pure chaos at its best, what’s to hate about that?
Temtem was never going to usurp Pokémon as the best monster catching game. But if it gets at least part of the way there, then it should be considered a success. In that light, then, Crema has indeed succeeded. This is a great start, and with continued support and possibly some expansions down the line, Temtem could become a wonderfully addictive, challenging turn-based collect-a-thon with MMO elements mixed in. The creatures might not be as inventive, nor are there as many of them to collect. But Temtem has a charming world to get lost in, and while the battles can feel repetitive at times, seeing other trainers scurry about the area is a fun reminder that you’re playing something just different enough that this game can stand on its own.
Metal: Hellsinger seamlessly blends tight first-person shooter gameplay with a fantastic soundtrack and rhythm mechanics that will constantly keep you on your toes. The game’s eight levels progressively get more challenging, as you slay your way through hordes of demons and bosses. The original soundtrack is one of the best metal soundtracks I’ve heard ever and it makes the rhythm-based gameplay that much more enjoyable. While the short runtime is disappointing, it’s only because I wanted so much more time to experience it. Combat feels tight and is surprisingly good coming from a small indie studio, although the bosses leave a little to be desired. Despite that, it is absolutely worth checking this out.
Madden NFL 23 has some good new ideas, but is mostly more of the same. The graphics and presentation are fine, but only just. The football appears to have a mind of its own sometimes, while commentators don’t always have a response to the on-field action that makes sense. If Franchise mode is where you spend your time, then you are likely to enjoy the changes. Outside of that, though, Madden 23 feels awfully familiar.