Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong does an admirable job of bringing the World of Darkness tabletop experience to video games. Anyone who has been a fan of or curious about Vampire: The Masquerade but perhaps struggles to get a gaming group together, or wants something to do between sessions, will find Swansong a welcome substitute. The strength of the narrative-based gameplay, bringing a rare weight to choices, successes, and failures, will give any fan of narrative or adventure games something to enjoy, even if the tedium of exploration will likely wear on players at least a bit. Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong could have used another coat of polish before being released, but it does enough right that I hope to see the team behind it get another crack at the World of Darkness.
Despite its jagged, toothy edges, Evil Dead: The Game remains one of the more pleasant surprises of this year so far. Gripes are pushed to the background when you possess a survivor and use them against their team or rend a Deadite to bits with a chainsaw and even with some movement hang-ups on both teams, every match plays out relatively smoothly. If Saber Interactive keeps up with community feedback and delivers more DLC down the line, Evil Dead: The Game could solidify itself as one of the truly great asymmetrical horror experiences.
Once again, Nintendo has delivered a package of activities that are easy to learn and a blast with a roomful of people. Playing Nintendo Switch Sports really took me back to 2006, and it felt great to play something that made me feel the way the Wii did.
Trek to Yomi starts to come into its own only as it heads towards its finish. It's easy to admire what Flying Wild Hog set you to do with Trek to Yomi. It's an attempt to blend the appeal of the classic samurai film genre with the interactive moodiness of fellow indie games like Playdead's Limbo or Inside. It's partially successful in that regard, but while the ideas underpinning the game are solid, their execution leaves something to be desired. Ultimately, Trek to Yomi could have benefitted from more time studying the blade.
Citizen Sleeper has captured my imagination in a way that few video games do. Thoughts of characters met and what could have been have percolated through my mind since finishing a playthrough after roughly five hours, which I did with an urgency not typical of me. If you're looking for something different, something that feels both fresh and timely and often beautiful and sometimes horrifying with its implications, Citizen Sleeper is all of those things and more.
By all accounts, MLB The Show 22 is still a great baseball game, but it definitely isn't going to blow you away if you already put a lot of time into The Show 21. The changes that have been included here in the latest entry feel more iterative than they have in quite some time, which leads to the final product feeling a bit disappointing. Still, in all of the ways that matter, MLB The Show 22 is another strong installment, even if it doesn't quite feel like it has taken a next-gen leap just yet.
If you've never played Chrono Cross, you should, and there's little reason not to take advantage of the upgrades available in The Radical Dreamers Edition. If you already have access to the original edition, whether it's worth the double-dip comes down to how determined you are to play Radical Dreamers; I'd wager it isn't worth the price of admission. But regardless, however you do it, you should play Chrono Cross. It's just a shame this remaster isn't all it could have been.
In its quest to be the "definitive" LEGO Star Wars game, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga tries to do too much and suffers as a result. While the game offers players a variety of different game modes and level types, there's nothing that it truly excels in. The puzzles are OK, the vehicles are OK, the missions are OK, and the story set pieces are good but not great. Honestly, if not for the fact that the game still has that crucial LEGO Star Wars charm and humor, a lot of players would probably be very frustrated with the game experience. Even with its lack of polish, I enjoyed LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga because I love Star Wars and I love building LEGO sets. But people who don't share that passion won't get as much enjoyment from this flawed experience as I did.
If you had asked me my favorite Kirby game a few weeks ago, it would have been a toss-up between Epic Yarn and Planet Robobot. However, I can honestly say Kirby and the Forgotten Land is the best the series has ever been. Developer HAL Laboratory has put so much care and effort into this game, offering a compelling entry with so much to see and do. It took me more than 10 hours to complete the game's main campaign, but I only found myself at about 62% completion at that point. Length isn't important if there's no incentive to stick with the game, but Forgotten Land is so charming that players will want to spend more time finding every hidden secret. With lush graphics, fun gameplay, and a ton to see and do, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a must-play for fans of the series, or anyone that has ever wanted to try a Kirby game. This year marks Kirby's 30th anniversary, and the future for the series has never looked brighter.
Ghostwire: Tokyo is by no means a perfect video game. Ultimately, I was less interested in the story than the city it takes place in. I never quite found myself with skill points left unused, but the benefit of using them didn't scale particularly well as somewhere after level 20 it became increasingly incremental at best. And while it took much longer than it has for me historically, the game's open-world nature did eventually wear on me and I found myself skipping more optional content than at the start. It is, however, a perfectly fine video game, and an excellent example of what the PlayStation 5 can do in the right hands.
Rune Factory 5 may have one of the franchise's most involved storylines, but its overly ambitious graphics overshadow that effort with ease. By giving the game a 3D makeover, the franchise's customary charms are harder to make out in this new release. Still, at its core, Rune Factory 5 excels at the everyday tasks it asks characters to complete. From farming to fighting, everything is much the same here as it was in previous games. This time, though, Rune Factory's stale mechanics are easier to notice thanks to its flimsy visuals. Fans new and old will be left wondering where the series' allure snuck off to.
Once you tally up the new and the old, there's really not that much "new" about Tiny Tina's Wonderlands, or at least not new in terms of innovation. Cascading loot and relentless humor check the Borderlands boxes, but instead of coming up with totally revolutionary elements, all it had to do was shift things around and finally let us create a character. Future Borderlands experiences may not be set in fantasy settings of this kind, but they should at least look to adopt in some ways the fanciful and varied nature of Tiny Tina's Wonderlands.
The Xbox Series X|S and PS5 versions of Grand Theft Auto V and GTA Online are good, this isn't a bad game, it's just not as impressive as one may hope. It has some flashy new graphical effects, a menu redesign, and the 60FPS mode is remarkable, but it's all marginal. For newcomers with little to no experience with the game, this is going to be an absolute treat. For veterans, this may ring a bit hollow. It's worth picking up if you want to keep up with GTA Online and have the best possible version, but otherwise, there are no enhancements that demand you replay the story once more.
It can be challenging to wrap one's head around Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin. On the one hand, it is utterly steeped in Final Fantasy mythology. And yet, it's a far cry from a traditional Final Fantasy game. In a way, it feels like an attempt to apply the Final Fantasy VII Remake approach to a game much less suited to such treatment, with fascinating, if not entirely successful, results. Fans of heavily customizable action games will find a lot to love but might be divorced from the nods and homages to Final Fantasy history. It'll be the players who have a foot in both worlds that will most enjoy Stranger of Paradise, but despite some narrative pacing issues and a bit of bloat, most players will find it an enjoyable, action-packed fantasy adventure.
Phantom Breaker: Omnia is a long-awaited release of a dormant niche fighting game franchise that many players will be jumping into for the very first time. It's the best first impression you'll get for this fighter, but it's also one that can be overwhelming and hard to sift through for those not completely ready for it.
WWE 2K22 has a lot riding on it, and it shows. 2K22 has made video game wrestling fun again while retaining the wealth of creative options to make your experience more unique and personalized. My GM is pure gold, even with its unfortunate limits in place, and it should only get better from here. Meanwhile, 2K Showcase and My Rise offer their own distinctive ways to immerse yourself in the world of wrestling, and coupled with the impressive graphics, give you more than enough reason to keep jumping back in. Online play did have its issues early on and My Rise isn't as refined as I'd hoped, but despite those flaws, 2K22 will continue to be in my console's heavy rotation because of everything else it brings to the party, and I would definitely call that a success.
Triangle Strategy is a very solid tactical game that rewards smart decisions. The conviction system that drives the story reminds me of the older Ultima games, and I appreciate that positioning is as important as a character's abilities during combat. While Triangle Strategy suffers from some of the same issues as Octopath Traveler in terms of its slow pace, the game is still a worthy successor to the likes of Final Fantasy Tactics. This is a game that you'll want to pour hours into, even if some of those hours are eaten up by cutscenes and monologues.
While Chocobo GP feels very much like a Mario Kart clone, it would do the Nintendo game a major disservice to call these titles equal. Square Enix has a polished game here that races rather well, and its surprising difficulty will challenge racing veterans. However, it is just too cluttered with junk to enjoy. Its lacking story mode can be overlooked easily enough by most, but its limited local co-op will make it a no-go for plenty. But if you're strictly in this for moogles and magic, well – Chocobo GP might not be so bad.
Gran Turismo 7 is the game that longtime fans of the series have been requesting for years. Although what's here isn't drastically different in format when compared to some of the earlier installments, the overall experience that Gran Turismo 7 provides is incredibly comprehensive and feels like a love letter to both car culture and the 25-year history of the Gran Turismo franchise. If you're someone who has been playing these games since the days of the original PlayStation, Gran Turismo 7 is definitely one of the high points of the series and is worth picking up immediately.
Similarities to past games and references to Dark Souls 4 aside, it's difficult to directly compare Elden Ring to other FromSoftware games in the way that it's difficult to compare Demon's Souls to Bloodborne or Dark Souls to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. It certainly feels like FromSoftware's most ambitious and thoughtful game to date, however, and with all the considerations to different audiences, it stands to be a familiar return and a welcome jumping-on point for any Tarnished who hope to become the Elden Lord.