There is no need to reinvent the wheel when you already have a winning formula. MLB The Show 23 doesn’t stray too far away from what has made the series successful, and that’s a good thing. Sets and Seasons is a bold but welcomed change in Diamond Dynasty, and revamped drafting and scouting was long overdue in Franchise mode. Road to The show once again disappointed, but Storylines managed to steal the show, rounding up another impressive entry for the baseball sim franchise.
All in all, while I am not a Simmer that prefers a generational style of play (I typically play with aging turned off and mostly as Young Adults, Adults, or Elders), Growing Together still has plenty of features that appeal to me, from its wide range of catalog items in CAS and Build/Buy through to the gorgeous (albeit shallow-feeling) world of San Sequoia, and an all-new Soul radio station to listen to. If a generational style of play does interest you, however, then The Sims 4 Growing Together will be exactly what you’re looking for. It brings much more (very needed) depth to the systems already in-game, with new likes and dislikes, Milestones, and Family Dynamics fleshing out how your Sims interact with one another. Storytellers will likely have ample fun utilizing all of these new features, and it has to be said that removing these gameplay elements would take a lot away from how individual Sims are now starting to feel all these years after its original 2014 release.
Yes, its main character won’t live long in the memory, the narrative takes some time to heat up, and the modern-day curse of technical hitches are noticeable. But as a whole, Atomic Heart is an electric and enjoyable FPS title with surprising puzzle aspects, and I can’t wait to see how Mundfish builds on this hot start in the future.
Hogwarts Legacy isn’t the perfect game, with the main story falling short in areas and technical issues providing some frustrating moments. However, it achieves a level of immersion that grips you into the wizarding world and doesn’t let you go.
In many ways, Dead Space is still the game you remember from 2008, but this is the way it was supposed to be played. Despite a few nitpicks, the Dead Space remake improves on the original in every conceivable way. Not only that, it reminds us of the potential the franchise has and makes us look forward to future chapters in the series.
Fire Emblem Engage feels like a step backward in ways that this writer appreciates. Gone are the lessons, and in their place is a genuinely affecting story with plenty of whimsy and epic tactical conquests. It’s a great way to kick off the year for the Switch, and also happens to be one of the best-looking games on the platform, too.
Like a friend that refuses to grow up, Need for Speed: Unbound brings the franchise back with all of its inherent silliness and ill-advised driving. And, just like that friend, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Its story is forgettable, and its characters are more than a little irritating, but it’s a solid arcade racer that hopefully acts as a springboard for the franchise.
Final Fantasy 7: Crisis Core Reunion is an emotional barrage of nostalgic gameplay and new challenges. The remaster has given the classic story new life, updating it in a way that both long-time and new Final Fantasy 7 fans can enjoy. While some graphical updates aren't completely smoothed out, every aspect of the game is sensitive to the original content while bringing it up to speed for modern consoles. I have always wanted to play this game as if it was new again, and this remake granted that wish.
A wonderfully exhausting exercise in futility is probably the best way of describing The Callisto Protocol as no matter the strength of my own resolve, I was constantly on edge and reveling in those fleeting moments where the game allowed me to breathe following yet another life-threatening fight. The constant fear and dread incited by the phenomenal visual and sound design are only complemented by the compelling story. The Callisto Protocol is, hopefully, the start of an exciting new franchise, and is another sign that survival horror is anything but dead.
Two Point Campus: Space Academy introduces a new degree of fun to its base game. The three added levels are the perfect combination of challenging, enjoyable, and unique, while additional courses add new spins on core mechanics. Ultimately, if you're a fan of Two Point Campus, this DLC can't be missed and will bring you back to the hours spent building a working university - only this time on an asteroid made out of cheese.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure has tonnes of heart, and just has joy bursting from every seam, whether you play alone, or in co-op. The scalable Unreal 4 engine impresses here, as we had the game looking, and running well on two spectacularly different devices. We only wished there was FSR support here, as it's an incredibly odd omission.
Marvel's Midnight Suns shines brightly in a year full of excellent strategy RPGs thanks to a heartfelt love for the license, and a huge roster of fantastically realized characters to go along with a unique card-based battle system. While there's definitely some filler to be found within the walls of the Abbey, this is an interesting new take on Marvel's mystical side, and one I can't wait to see more of.
Star Ocean: The Divine Force presents us with a game that may have once been a stellar JRPG title 20 years ago, but those standards just don't hold up in 2022. When compared to its contemporaries, it's just not on the same level, in any way. It's always been a B-Tier Square Enix franchise, but once upon a time, Star Ocean was an essential title. It's a shame that more effort has not gone into modernizing and revitalizing a beloved franchise.
It appears Warzone 2 is off to a very solid start. It’s worth mentioning there are some technical issues, with Al Mazrah’s huge map taking a little while to load, and the occasional stuttering (mainly on PC), but all-in-all, it feels more stable than Warzone 1 did during its rougher periods. Al Mazrah might just be 2023’s hottest destination if this early taste is anything to go by.
Pokemon Scarlet & Violet are a stunning glimpse into the future of the Pokemon video game series. Ambitious gameplay and thoughtful narratives create an experience that stands above prior titles. With performance patches to improve the games’ stability, this could be one of the most important generations yet. For now, though, it’s simply a very good one.
Those looking for more Gungrave or even that nostalgic wave of something similar to it will be most delighted – as I was. It pains me to criticize something that is clearly made with love and adoration, and I hope that Iggymob gets another chance in the future.
If you're a fan of Insomniac's original Spider-Man outing, or just want a thinner experience than the main game, you can do worse than Miles Morales. The PC port is outstanding in a lot of different ways, and yes, if you're on Steam Deck, you'll have a great time too.
While we felt like we had less agency and influence as a player than in earlier chapters of The Dark Pictures Anthology, The Devil in Me is still a worthy addition to the Curator's library – and our own. While we appreciate the experimental nature of the chapter, the direction of creative travel did worry us at times. However, there's no denying that Supermassive is still the best at what they do, and we look forward to season 2 of The Dark Pictures Anthology, and beyond.
We found Pentiment to be utterly addictive and would compare our playthrough to reading a great novel that we could not put down, which feels apt since the game is stylized as a medieval storybook. While the game looks simple, there's an incredible amount of depth and those who like to lose themselves in a good story will enjoy every moment. The game was a little bit too long when compared to other narrative adventure games, and this risks some players not making it to the closing credits, but we're mostly nitpicking. Like their protagonist Andreas, Obsidian has created a masterpiece that not everyone will appreciate, but those who do will remember for years to come.
Whatever this game is, it should provide a solid framework for the developers at Sonic Team to take and improve upon in the next Sonic game, whatever that may be.