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.
If you are totally new to this PC release and were simply waiting for PlayStation to bring it over to PC, you'll have a blast experiencing Spider-Man's story that rivals his big-picture adaptations and shouldn't have many issues at all, hardware permitting.
Cult of the Lamb has the potential to be one of the next big indie hits. The cute art style and comparisons to Hades and Animal Crossing: New Horizons will draw potential players in, but the game truly stands alone as its own experience with an intriguing story, a haunting score, and a world that grows more and more alive the longer you stay in it. The blend of gameplay styles also addresses some of the criticisms of both the roguelike genre and the farm management genres – runs are deliberately shorter so players can spend more time at the homestead, but the homestead isn't so much of a resource sink that players will feel they need to spend all their time cleaning up their camp instead of killing enemy cultists. Cult of the Lamb expertly balances a number of different mechanics, themes, and gameplay styles to create a fiendishly good time, making this game a hauntingly fun escape.
While I've joked while playing that Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was a great series of cutscenes with some fighting in between, the game gets away with its glut of cutaways because the story is quite good. Sure, people can see some of the twists coming from a mile away, but the core mystery is so intriguing and weird that you really want to keep playing to figure out just what the heck is going on.
Despite being so old, this is one of the more inventive and creative RPGs that I have ever played, and it really shows where some of Square's ideas for later projects came from. Those who have been waiting patiently for decades to experience Live A Live will no doubt be happy with this remake, and anyone else who is merely looking to scratch their itch for a new RPG to play should find a lot to like here, too.
Where dogs are usually considered "man's best friend," Stray suggests that cats may be robot's best friend. This is a game that wears its heart on its sleeve and expertly weaves its themes into everything the player does. There will likely be many people who buy this game because they want to play as a cat and their itch will be scratched, but there's also a high chance they will come away moved by its story of companionship and get caught up in its soothing and equally mesmerizing atmosphere. There are a lot of amazing looking games coming this fall, but Stray has already cemented itself as a contender for awards season.
If losing the cerebral, tactical piece-moving combat doesn't dull your interest – if that's not why you came to Fire Emblem in the first place – Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes has enough of the franchise's DNA to satisfy. And in some ways, zooming across a battlefield while triggering abilities like Assassinate or Nosferatu seems more in line with the chaotic, war-torn battlefields of Fodlan than what came before. I might not go so far as to say that Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is my ideal for what Fire Emblem could and should be going forward, but it is quite frankly a lot closer to perfection than it has any right to be.
The four games contained in Sonic Origins are excellent. More than 30 years later, they've aged quite well, and Sonic Origins is the best possible way to revisit them, or play them for the very first time. Playing all four games, I was taken aback by how Sonic Team was able to make each game feel distinctive. However, after all the reissues some of these games seen, long-time Sonic fans will have to decide if the collection's extras and changes are worth the price of admission. Of course, now that Sonic Origins has been released, I sincerely hope that Sega offers similar packages for other Sonic games. If the company ever decides to give the Sonic Advance games a similar treatment, I'll be first in line.
Capcom Fighting Collection is the best way to play many of these classic arcade titles as there have been enough adjustments to each title and adjustments to the ease of playing each one that it marks this collection as the best one of these re-release packages yet. It's a great step in the right direction for the future of collections of this ilk, and a great first collection for fans who might have never checked out one of these before. There are some repeats, but the new additions make up for it.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge distills all the components that made me fall in love with Konami's games as a kid while adding just a handful of modern features and extras to make the experience feel modern.
Ultimately, Mario Strikers: Battle League reminded me a bit of last year's Mario Golf: Super Rush. Both games offer a fun core gameplay experience but are ultimately very thin in terms of content which hinders their replayability. If you don't have a dedicated group who wants to play Battle League on the regular, the game could end up collecting dust on the shelf. Next Level Games has promised additional roster updates and other content releases after release, so hopefully the game grows into a more robust experience after a few months.
The Quarry is a charming and surprisingly intimate horror story that creates real stakes and successfully does away with the idea of plot armor. Although it has some annoying or even frustrating quirks, it's a worthy successor to a game like Until Dawn and highlights Supermassive Games as masters of their craft.
The original Pac-Man has been offered in countless ways on countless platforms over the years; at this point, some fans couldn't be blamed for feeling sick of it. Fortunately, Pac-Man Museum+ manages to offer a library with a surprising amount of variety. I thought I knew a lot about Pac-Man going into this game, but I walked away with a much deeper knowledge of the franchise, and all that it's had to offer over the years. I also came away with some new favorites that I might never have discovered otherwise. I probably never would have discovered Pac 'n Roll or Pac-Man 256, or remembered just how much I enjoy Pac-Attack. The lack of Ms. Pac-Man is disappointing, and the arcade customization could have been a little bit deeper, but this is a strong collection of games that should delight both long-time Pac-fans, and those new to the series.
Sniper Elite 5 has scratched an itch that I have had since Splinter Cell vanished nearly a decade ago. The stealth, level design, and sandbox elements have created something that will be incredibly fun to replay both by yourself and with friends. Although Rebellion still has to tighten up some areas such as the story and close-quarters gunplay, this is an extremely refined stealth game that has taken the series into a new era with a lot of meat on its bones.