For likely many others and I, the only hopes for this Dead Space remake were to be able to play through the game once more (hopefully with a jump scare or two) in a way that didn't feel ancient and clunky. The Dead Space remake far outstrips those minimal expectations, and though it may be premature a cliché to say it's raised the bar for remakes, it's certainly established a dominant foothold in 2023 and in the upcoming string of horror remakes fans have to look forward to. It's again not perfect, but it strives to be better than the original, and that's something other remakes should look to copy.
All of this makes Winters' Expansion a decidedly mixed bag of tricks, though the same could be said about Village, too. It's a bit frustrating to see just how little it moves the story forward once all is done, but one wouldn't expect Capcom to give up too much in a DLC anyway. While it's true it'll offer you a different in-game perspective, it's more effective overall at shaping perspectives of this saga's characters and the future of their storyline.
Even though it's not without some faults, A Plague Tale: Requiem is likely one of the better games I have played this year. In a time where story-driven action games are starting to become more sparse, Asobo continues to prove with Requiem that it's very much capable of assisting with carrying the torch within this genre. I'm not sure if we'll see future Plague Tale titles come about in the future, but given the leap that has been seen with Requiem, I'm definitely hoping that this isn't Asobo's final outing in this space.
Reviewing a big online multiplayer game like Dragon Ball: The Breakers can be difficult because an asymmetric horror game can often gain a lot of traction in its future by expanding on its mechanics, cosmetics, characters, and so on. Even for Breakers, the game is already hinting at its "second season" which will introduce Great Ape Vegeta to the matches, but the latest entry is just missing too much at present when it comes to bringing fans back on the regular. This isn't to say that the game is a failure, just that it could have been so much more and still has to deal with technical issues as well as cosmetic problems.
Ultimately, I enjoyed Gotham Knights for what it was – a basic superhero game that provides players with plenty to do. It will not live up to the standard of the height of the Batman: Arkham series, but it's still a fun game, especially if you want to just tune out and beat up some nameless thugs. There is plenty of room for improvement in Gotham Knights, but this game provides a solid enough foundation for future installments, and I enjoyed a game that looked at the wider Batman family rather than focusing on just one character.
At about 10 hours, New Tales from the Borderlands is a solid successor to the first title under Telltale, and its story has all the right emotional beats. I cannot count the number of laughs the episodes drew from me, but towards the end, the game's uneven pacing was hard to ignore. Paired with its stale quick-time events, there is more New Tales from the Borderlands to improve on, but this sequel is a step in the right direction.
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope is kind of the ideal video game sequel. Ubisoft has refined all of the best elements of the first game in ways that feel fun and satisfying while delivering new elements that make it stand on its own. The story is better, the graphics are smoother, and there are way more elements of the Mario franchise present this time. Most importantly, the combat is engaging and actually made me want to keep picking battles with opponents on the map. It's hard to believe that Ubisoft has managed to create such an endearing spin-off series, but I truly hope that there are plans beyond this game and its forthcoming DLC.
I hope the allure of what makes Overwatch as a game and a unique world can be seen to newcomers despite the negative cloud that is surrounding much of it. In terms of play, Overwatch 2 is more fun to play than it has ever been. We are in luck, however, as Blizzard has clearly been keenly listening to the community since the launch of the game didn't go very smoothly, and the potential for more fixes and fine-tuning seem like it's their biggest priority.
One playthrough of Scorn took between seven and eight hours to complete, and that seems like plenty of time to be immersed in the game's world. I for sure have theories about the game's story and its implications, but none that come close to allowing for any confident explanation of what transpired. I applaud Scorn for its ability to skirt around labels and explanations, but it's as exhausting as it is memorable, so for the time being, one playthrough seems to suffice.
NBA 2K23 is bogged down in a lot of problems courtesy of predatory monetization and an overzealous RPG game taking priority over the actual basketball-ing, but it does have great qualities as well. There is plenty of content ensuring there's something for everyone to play and the game leans into its simulation aspects in a risky, but effective way. If the series can hone these good qualities and leave behind its outdated monetization schemes, 2K could garner another level of respect and become something that rises above the other sports games.
Some scattered FPS drops and behind-the-veil repetitiveness may hamper Metal: Hellsinger at times, but those infrequent hang-ups do little to detract from the overall experience The Outsiders have created. It's easy to say this game should inspire others to pursue this genre mashup, too, to create similar experiences, but The Outsiders got it so very right with Metal: Hellsinger that perhaps it's better to let this one marinate for a while before a truly creative iteration of this comes along.
While the home base aspect of the game is underdeveloped, the combat at the core of The DioField Chronicle is a breath of fresh air. Paired with a story steeped in intrigue and drama, The DioField Chronicle will likely satisfy fans of the genre while possibly charting a new path for it in the future.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R is a great experience for fans already familiar with the original series and those that are jumping into the fighter as a result. There is a lot to love in that regard as the personality from the original manga is in full force, but there's much less of that "bizarre adventure" that is also at the core of Araki's series. The fighting has been improved, and there are plenty of characters to mess around with, but more fighting does not always equal more fun in this case.
Splatoon 3 builds on a successful formula with some new features, weapons, maps and modes, but doesn't stray too far from what made the previous games so fun and interesting. With Splatoon 3 being the first new Splatoon game in five years, the franchise follows the lead of other shooter franchises by making only minor tweaks to its gameplay and experiences, mostly through the addition of a few new weapons and maps and by addressing some user experience complaints fans had about Splatoon 2. As players progress through Splatoon 3, it's clear that the game is simply bigger and better than its predecessor with more for players to enjoy without feeling too overwhelming.
The best thing I can say about The Last of Us Part 1 is that it meets Naughty Dog's previous claim: this is absolutely the definitive edition of the game. Not only do the improved graphics, lighting, and animations make for a better throughline experience, but they also add more emotional resonance to Joel and Ellie's story than ever before. In the brief history of the PS5, The Last of Us Part 1 is one of the most visually impressive games that I've played so far and it makes me that much more excited to see what Naughty Dog does with its next wholly new project for the platform.
Despite a handful of nitpicks, Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed has been a fun trip down memory lane. This updated remake of the classic alien shooter doesn't bring a whole lot new to the table, and by modern open-world standards, it definitely feels dated in some areas. Still, if you're someone who grew up playing the original Destroy All Humans! 2 like I did, I'm hard-pressed to think that you won't have a good time coming back to this extraterrestrial adventure in 2022.
The mystery at the core of Soul Hackers 2 is promising and its combat is solid, but repetitive dungeons combined with serious pacing issues make it tough to actually enjoy. The music and art direction are, as typical for Atlus games, stellar, but behind that style, there, unfortunately, isn't as much substance as one might hope that is worth the time invested.
Digimon Survive really just gets in its own way. Fans of the anime will find it familiar, but will be able to appreciate what the extra layer of violence adds to it. Getting through it is the tougher ask. Dialogue options leading you away from where you want to go (and potentially disconnecting you to the characters), key battles being few and far in between, and asking you to jump back in multiple times despite all of that seems like rubbing salt in the wound for those who already had notable issues.
Ultimately, Saints Row may not be the grand return to the franchise that fans were hoping for, but that doesn't mean it's not worth giving a look. Despite a poorly-paced story with average characters, it still has a ton of content and a sandbox that is ripe for hours of co-op fun.
Ultimately, Hooked on You has some funny aspects to it that are worth checking out for Dead by Daylight fans, but for everyone else who might not be familiar with the lore, this feels like a weaker dating sim that isn't able to truly feel like its own game that's independent of the main series.