Multiplayer First's Reviews
I have no experience in making games, but I imagine crafting a AAA experience on a new IP is not an easy task, and Don’t Nod manages to do that and then some. Prepare yourself for the first surprise hit of the year, and if the game’s quality is any indication, this looks like the start of a new franchise — one that I can’t wait to dive into yet again. Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden is one haunting you owe it to yourself to experience.
Being a looter and a GaaS doesn’t mean you have to follow the genre’s norm, and Rocksteady had a real opportunity here to really be different from other Gaas looter shooters. There are some excellent mechanics in Suicide Squad that other looters should have, but in the end, they don’t do enough to carry it through with what’s there for the post-game. That is unless you like turning your brain off entirely, but that doesn’t make the criticism disappear. The studio chased after the promise of what GaaS could bring but, in doing so, forgot what made people love them so much. There are still moments of that seen in the campaign, and I would still recommend any fan to play it at one point. But here, right now? Probably not, at least not at the asking price for an incomplete experience.
I will admit, after spending some time with Granblue Fantasy: Relink across two different preview events, I wasn’t convinced Cygames had done much more than produce a by-the-numbers JRPG adaptation of their popular mobile and browser-centric franchise. But I suppose that’s the difference between being dropped into the middle of a game and starting from scratch. There are a lot of fully fleshed-out characters and systems to get used to and master, over a hundred different weapons to level up and upgrade, plenty of quests to undertake, and as much lore as most fans might be willing to sift through. Yet the main campaign doesn’t overstay its welcome. Relink also has a beautiful, if slightly technically underwhelming, look to the world. In short, Granblue Fantasy: Relink is a great JRPG, and even if you’ve never played Granblue Fantasy before if you enjoy action JRPGs at all, you owe it to yourself to give this one a shot.
Tekken 8 joins a full roster of fighting games, and competes with the best of them. Naturally, as we couldn’t take the game online during our review period, it remains to be seen how effective Bandai Namco and Akira were at implementing rollback netcode. All Tekken fans should buy Tekken 8 without hesitation, and most fighting game fans will find something to like as well. Though the year may have just started, Tekken 8 will probably compete for fighting game of the year and barring any surprises, should be the runaway winner.
Like a Dragon’s Infinite Wealth delivers a captivating RPG experience that surpasses its predecessor in every way. With refined mechanics and an expansive world bursting with content, players are treated to a gaming experience of remarkable depth. The emotionally charged narrative, filled with unexpected turns, adds a layer of poignancy, making the journey in Infinite Wealth a memorable exploration of both gameplay and storytelling excellence. It may not be on everyone’s list of games to play, but it definitely should be. As for this reviewer, it makes a strong early claim of being my personal Game of the Year.
There is no objection needed here, as Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy is just what we wanted to see with the re-release of these three classic games in the series. You may not have the convenience of the second screen from the originals, but pretty much everything else is better here than in the past. The visual upgrades for all three are impressive and are very much in line with other modern games and releases, while the gameplay for the trio still holds up very well today. While the Ace Attorney series is definitely not for everyone as a visual novel game, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy is yet another winning re-release for this franchise that will have fans itching even more for a new entry in the franchise to be announced.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown may not have had the strongest response from fans upon its initial announcement, but Ubisoft really knocked it out of the ballpark with this one in the end. Coming in at about the 20 to 25-hour mark for a well-explored playthrough felt just about right for this type of game to avoid overstaying its welcome. Taking Prince of Persia and mixing it with the Metroidvania genre was a brilliant move, as the gameplay and abilities from the series mesh very well with this style, and it makes me hope this is only the beginning of this franchise’s foray into this new direction and is not just a one-off experience.
Like a Dragon Gaiden is a solid and quite unexpected addition to the franchise, filling in the gaps and giving fans more to muse over before embarking on the next chapter, of which you have a demo available in this game. It’s a worthy companion to past games, bolstered by a substantial narrative focus and combat that remains gripping and fun, although the Agent style may be more of a bullet point than an actual absorbing addition.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a mesmerizing journey into a place that is very much unlike anything out there. It’s fantasy and technology boldly clashing and offering a sprawling, remarkable world that deserves all sorts of acclaim. The more you explore, the more you realize just how amazing this planet is, the windy peaks making for some jaw-dropping vistas, the parkour navigation and Ikran flying a contrast that ironically couldn’t work any better.
Modern Warfare 3 is a solid, albeit underwhelming entry in the Call of Duty franchise. The core gameplay is tight as ever, but a lack of thrilling new content, a mediocre campaign, and some questionable progression mechanics prevent it from reaching the same highs that games before it has. If you played a lot of Modern Warfare 2, you might enjoy the numerous improvements on display, but you won’t find too much new to sink your teeth into. Call of Duty found its niche a long time ago, and while some ideas like an open-world zombie mode can do their best to make the game feel fresh again, it ultimately retreads much of the same ground of the games whose shoulders it stands upon. It’s funny to think about, but the shake-up that 2019’s Modern Warfare brought to the franchise seems to be in desperate need of a shake-up of its own.
As hard as it is to believe, it has been over a decade since the last traditional Mario 2D platformer that isn’t a re-release. Clearly, Nintendo has been biding their time as they have now given us one of the greatest entries in the series to date with Super Mario Bros. Wonder. Outside of the lackluster boss battles, everything else in this game is superb and truly exemplifies what a great Mario game should be. While some people may be awaiting a follow-up to Odyssey, Super Mario Bros. Wonder rejuvenates the 2D side of the series with a game that is perfect for people of all ages and should not be overlooked in the twilight years of the Nintendo Switch.
Project Wingman: Frontline 59 is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it is an arcade fighter pilot game in VR, something we haven’t seen much of lately. But the conversion is not complete, and only a small portion of the game is even playable in VR. This is especially baffling as the original release on Steam was completely in VR. Throw in a subpar graphical experience, and the whole package is rather uninspiring. There is a decent-length main campaign in addition to the new bonus VR missions, though, so if you’re okay with soaring in the skies in flat-screen gaming, then it is still a good amount of content for the price.
More than an attempt to cash in on the growing popularity of a series that started out in a somewhat niche way, Risk of Rain Returns is a welcomed remake that offers enough quality-of-life improvements and new content to be relevant and appealing to both fans and newcomers to the action roguelike genre. It plays great, has enough content and diversity to keep you entranced for weeks, and the new additions might just be what the game needed to appeal to a crowd that wasn’t attracted by the original. While not perfect, it’s a blasted good time where every frustrating death is nothing but an invitation to another run with renewed confidence.
All in all, Spider-Man 2 is a worthy sequel to both of Insomniac’s previous entries and delivers a complex story that will please all fans of the webhead. Several interesting abilities for both Peter and Miles differentiate their combat styles, so you’ll need to deploy different strategies with each hero. Sidequests are a bit uneven between Peter and Miles, with the former confronting more serious criminals like the Flame. While Spider-Man 2 was marketed as a Peter Parker and Miles Morales duo adventure, the main story of the game feels more Peter-centric and falls short of truly embracing Miles as a second main character. Whether we like it or not, Spider-Man 2 is a Peter Parker story with Miles operating as a glorified secondary character. The Mary Jane Watson stealth missions make a return, though MJ is a much more formidable fighter in the sequel than before. Insomniac’s sequel introduces a few new villains, but the developer’s decision regarding previous villains is questionable, to say the least. Ultimately, Spider-Man 2 checks off the major boxes as an exciting sequel with a compelling story that will hook you in from the get-go. Go get’em, tigers.
When your dwarf is filled with joy and bursts into singing while mining, a little of The Lord of the Rings atmosphere springs to life. Exploring some areas without any care in the world is another moment when the game feels enticing and hints at the sandbox gameplay that could have been. But suddenly, you are reminded that the whole place is a procedurally generated mess with barely any memorable locations, combat is dull and flawed, mining is extremely limited, and the repetitive walks to the base with the goal of storing your recent loot become tiresome. Return to Moria is one for diehard fans only, and even those have to consider just how passionate they are about dwarves and survival in dark places.
If you’re a fan of slow-paced, story-driven games, this is a good place to be, with robots small and large, friend and foe waiting for your arrival, and quite a few landscapes to explore and instill a certain sense of dread, even if the layout design is excessively on the inflexible side. The Invincible may not mark a leap for the genre, but it is a well-rounded and interesting step for walking simulators.
RoboCop: Rogue City is a complete, single-player game, with no DLC currently in sight. Its rendition of Detroit, satire, gory violence, witty and occasionally campy writing and voice acting, all feel ripped straight out of the original movie, while giving us a standalone story that you’ll likely want to see through to its conclusion. Rogue City is a fun interpretation of a 1980’s franchise which has laid dormant since 2014. It’s not perfect, and is a bit rough around the edges, but if you want to feel like the resurrected police officer, this is your best bet. A good-length campaign with solid voice acting and a genuinely entertaining story all add up to a violent, cinematic first-person shooter that doesn’t overstay its welcome. Fans of the original will get a kick out of RoboCop: Rogue City and should pick it up this holiday season.
One of the most glaring issues with Quantum Error is that it really has no idea what kind of game it really wants to be. In some places, it tries to be a straight-up FPS that feels like a relic of a few generations ago. In other places, it tries some unique things with the firefighting elements that could have been cool if they did not feel so clunky along with the horribly designed stealth sections that would make anyone cry due to how poorly they are executed. Taking all of that and mixing in the countless bugs and glitches found in the game, Quantum Error becomes one of the worst games of not only this year but the generation thus far that you will want to avoid.
With a playtime that deserves all praise, easily clocking in at over 20 hours if you don’t rush through it, Alan Wake 2 is absolutely worth the time and money. It’s a remarkable achievement that is meant to be both devoured and enjoyed slowly, despite what this sounds like, plunging into all the details, exploring every beat of the locations without rushing through the main goals, as to appreciate the colossal work that has gone into it. This is a terrific television series gone videogame, with a sophisticated plot that grips every fan of survival horror and never lets go. The fantastic looks help, but the perfect pacing and intriguing mysteries keep you going despite some frustration that may arise from the Angel Lamp puzzles. It’s one of the greatest survival horror games ever made, this shouldn’t be skipped. A fantastic example of how different types of media can crossover and create a very special outcome, it was absolutely worth the wait for Alan Wake to come up with a plan to escape the Dark Place and write an outstanding story about it for us to read, watch, play, and above all, enjoy.
Ghostrunner 2 takes what was already a great game and takes things to the next level in the even more ambitious follow-up. The gameplay itself is largely the same as before, but now you have even more abilities like the shuriken that make the adrenaline-pumping combat even more satisfying upon surviving each battle. Traveling outside of Dharma Tower with the motorcycle was a refreshing change of pace that we really hope to see expanded upon even further in a hopeful sequel (or as part of its post-launch plans). Ghostrunner 2 is not only a fantastic follow-up to the original, but one that could easily be enjoyed by those who have never played the first one as well.