As much as I wanted to enjoy it, Skull and Bones feels like an underdeveloped, unpolished, and unnecessary game that was better left on the cutting room floor. With awkward quests, little incentive to explore, and far too many problematic features, it’s left us wondering how this took 11 years to release and how quickly it’ll drown in its own seas.
If there’s any way to summarize Tomb Raider I-III Remastered, it’s that it’s amazing to realize just how well those classic games have aged over the decades. I've enjoyed powering through the games with the new modern art, but it's the level design and gameplay that keep bringing me back. With minimal changes to the formula, the modernized appearance is all these games needed to gain a new lease of life. Tomb Raider was ahead of its time back in 1996, and this proves that even today Lara Croft still has what it takes.
Banishers isn’t going to appeal to those who demand continuous action and top-tier combat. The fact is, there are just so many games that do hacking, slashing, and shooting so much better. Banishers is for those who want to be told a scary story and face some difficult moral choices along the way. It’s for those who relish the opportunity to play as a pair of seventeenth-century supernatural detectives and solve some spooky mysteries while coming up with a solution to an inevitable, and much more personal problem. Banishers felt like we were living in a Washington Irving story such as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, so if you think this sounds like a vibe, then we’d highly recommend it.
I’m rooting for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League though. There is enough here to suggest that Rocksteady has a grasp of what could make this game great. It will take effort and some big releases, but despite having an uneven experience overall, I’ve left relatively favorable. It has a rebellious spirit that makes it endearing. For all the noise around the game, from those fighting loudly in its corner and those trying to tear it apart, I’ve left with an unceremonious “Yeah, it’s pretty good” with a tinge of hope to boot. There is a world where the game has a future, and it’s a multiverse I’d like to live in.
If the goal of Persona 3 Reload is to modernize a classic JRPG from the PlayStation 2 era for a new generation of players, then it is undeniably a success. While there may be some legitimate disappointment over the lack of content from Persona 3 FES and Portable, what is here is more than enough to cement Reload’s status as a solid remake that delivers the now definitive version of Persona 3.
Yakuza is a unique series, and for a long time, it felt like the only reason it worked in all its glorious surreality and heartfelt storylines was Kiryu. However, Infinite Wealth proves Yakuza can exist past Kiryu’s legacy, and Ichiban is the right man to bring about Yakuza’s new generation.
Ubisoft Montpellier has brought an invigorating energy, with a breathtaking art style, impressively expressive combat, mindstretching platform puzzles, and deeply challenging bosses. When it is all coming together in an audio-visual crescendo, it’s a thing to behold. This ode to Symphony of the Night and other greats in the genre understands what made those so good, and finds new life. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is an absolute triumph, charting the future for this fallen franchise. Here’s hoping it finds its audience because it would be a tragedy to have something this good lost to time once again.
A new lick of paint and some enhanced accessibility improvements bring the Super Mario RPG remake into the 21st century. While the game was already a great outing back in 1996, new players should have no problem jumping into Mario’s first RPG title, hopefully opening the door for next year’s Paper Mario remake and potentially more RPGs later down the line.
WarioWare: Move It! is the embodiment of fun. It’s the kind of game that pulls people together, quickly turning the quietest gatherings into laughter-filled frenzies. If you’re expecting a meaty gameplay experience that will have you hooked for hundreds of hours, then you’ll definitely come away disappointed. But, if you’re after a whacky party game to play solo or together with friends and family, then WarioWare: Move It! is a great addition to your Switch collection.
Circling back to everything that made the original shine while adding not only new gameplay innovations, but captivating new characters marks a bold step forward for the series, for Remedy, and the industry at large. Alan Wake 2 is a towering accomplishment that will keep you hooked from start to finish and leave you with a little darkness you’ll be thinking about for years to come.
While Super Mario Bros. Wonder doesn't revolutionize Nintendo’s beloved series, the charming 2D platformer successfully pays homage to its roots, paving the way forward with unique twists that keep the gameplay feeling fresh. Mario Bros. Wonder may not take the crown from Super Mario Bros. 3 or Oddysey, but the latest outing encapsulates the very essence of what a 2D Mario game should be. It’s silly, whacky, and most importantly great fun. The fact that Nintendo can still deliver a great 2D Mario game 42 years after the first title hit our screens back in 1981, really is a wonder in itself.
When Insomniac taps into the heart of its subject matter, be that Peter or Miles, it’s glorious. Being a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is compelling. You’re equally important in saving the world or helping someone cross the street, a dichotomy this game understands beautifully. That’s why it’s a shame the main narrative gets tangled in its own web of disparate elements, falling just shy of greatness
Despite the lackluster combat, Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a brilliant homage to those that came before, highlighting just what makes the franchise so popular. With any luck, Mirage will set a precedent for future releases, incorporating the best aspects from Assassin tales old, and new. It’s not perfect, but Assassin’s Creed Mirage is about as close as the franchise has gotten for years, hopefully highlighting a new age for the Hidden Ones’ future.
Though it’s not as good as the classics, Forza Motorsport is still the best entry in the series since the beginning of the Xbox One era. The massive strides made on track and creative RPG leveling mechanics let it appeal to both racing game veterans and newbies alike. It’s just a shame that the bizarre AI behavior and frustrating FPS restrictions in multiplayer hurt what is an otherwise superb racing experience.
EA FC 24 emphatically puts any concerns to rest by delivering the most complete and satisfying depiction of the beautiful game seen to date. The gameplay that fans know and love has been tweaked and polished to make for a deeply enjoyable 90 minutes each time the whistle blows. An overhaul to Manager Career reinvigorates the fan-favorite mode and adds depth that has been sorely missing when compared to its competitors. Meanwhile, women’s players and the new Evolutions help Ultimate Team take significant strides when it comes to the freedom of sculpting a dream squad. However, given that this is set to kick off the next chapter in the series’ history, the lack of truly substantial changes on the pitch to match the slick new look keeps EA FC 24 from achieving Icon status.
Starfield is truly impressive, and when it allows you to breathe and live out your fate in the stars, it’s a consistently compelling journey. However, the main story and the central mystery act as a black hole, threatening, but never quite succeeding to drag it down into complete oblivion.
Payday 3’s high-octane action and extravagant heists make it another iconic entry into the heist shooter franchise, but it is ultimately held back by a lackluster user interface, matchmaking issues, and online DRM. While these problems can be addressed in later patches — as Starbreeze proved with its post-launch support for Payday 2, the game ends up feeling a little half-baked in its current state.
CD Projekt RED has repeated its excellence of great DLC for their RPGs with Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty. Much like with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the developer has crafted a meaningful expansion on the base game. They’ve clearly learned from their mistakes, listened to the community, and expanded the game to provide a larger-than-life experience to its devoted fanbase.
Mortal Kombat 1 not only reboots its own universe but everything you know and love about fighting games. The way a story is told and how it’s presented. It shows that it listens to its fans and does so by refining its addictive gameplay with noticeable nuances and then slapping on a new Kameo system that serves as more of a game-changer than a game-breaker. There is a ton of content to enjoy here and NetherRealm has peaked at the right time with fierce competition coming before and after its release. The team will have to test their might to supersede their own work from here on out.