Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered is awesome in so many ways, but it’s annoying in a lot of ways too. With the steep learning curve at the beginning, I can’t imagine anyone enjoying it who’s not a JRPG veteran. But for those of us that love the genre, there are some cool experiments to shake things up, and a massive world to explore with multiple protagonists. It’s a ton of content; easily over 100 hours’ worth. Anyone curious about the roots of modern JRPGs like Octopath Traveler and Bravely Default should really give it a try.
The ability to partner familiar Marvel superstars with a hero of your own creation is just part of Midnight Sun’s appeal. The card battle system perfectly balances easy-to-learn with tough-to-master. With a heavy emphasis on narrative and character, Marvel’s Midnight Suns is much more than an X-COM clone. The Marvel gang feels right at home in the tactical RPG genre thanks to the game’s smart mechanics. Fighting alongside iconic Marvel heroes never gets old.
If you are a big fan of webseries, you might be able to get by on the fact that you can play as Team RWBY. Unfortunately, RWBY: Arrowfell does not do justice to the anime. It’s a shame because the show is really cool. The world is really well-crafted and the action visually very interesting. The format of the game just does not lend itself to the series.
Fans of Vermintide will definitely enjoy Darktide’s slightly more creative approach to character building, and anyone into fast-paced cooperative shooters — lovers of Warhammer 40,000 or not — will have a great time. Best of all, Warhammer 40,000 Darktide has all the elements for an extended life, provided Fatshark keeps fixing bugs, adding content and rewarding its fans. Darktide is off to a great start.
Sports Story is a great idea that struggles to reach its full potential. While the soccer-focused tasks use the theme in fun and innovative ways, too many missions include menial tasks. On the pitch, the gameplay is basic and due to this, it doesn’t manage to string enough elements together to deliver a clinical finish.
The Knight Witch is an intriguing amalgamation of genres. Flying through stages and battling foes feels great. The unique approach to special attacks and the Metroidvania style progression work extremely well. While the narrative intrigues and includes some innovation, its presentation is simple. Regardless of this, the game is a blast and freshens up the shmup genre.
No, it’s not perfect but Espire 2 on the Meta Quest 2 is a blast to play. Innovative mechanics, great level design and two really engaging quests more than make up for the few glitches and incomplete multiplayer. If you love stealth games — or you just want to be Ethan Hunt or James Bond for a few hours — pick this one up.
The Oregon Trail was, and is, a landmark product in gaming history. Gameloft’s remake updates a classic and makes it relevant and fun for gamers in 2022, without sacrificing the original’s personality. Setting off for the West has never been more inviting.
Almost nothing about Gungrave G.O.R.E. feels like it was released in 2022. By sticking so closely to the original, it inherits all the faults of the PlayStation 2 game. It’s short, repetitive and while the combat system remains a highlight, it’s surrounded by story, mechanics, sound and art that somehow still feel dated and aren’t much fun compared to so many other, better action games. There are many devotees of the original, but I think they might be disappointed. However, if you’re a fan of chaotic third person shooters you might find Gungrave G.O.R.E. entertaining for a few minutes. Just don’t expect the fun to last.
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is a step in the right direction. Game Freak successfully reimagines the formula in an open-world format and improves on its previous experiments with this design. The ability to tackle any gym is refreshing and the three distinct story paths give more reason to explore. Unfortunately, the number of performance issues cannot be overlooked and these hinder what could have been a highlight of the series.
Evil West is the third in an unrelated trilogy of games that weave together the old West with supernatural elements. The West has recently been Hard, Weird and now, Evil. To me, this is the best of the bunch. It’s definitely the most fun. It combines an old-school shooter’s lack of fussy complexity with plenty of depth and engaging, fluid, frenetic combat. Add in a well-acted narrative and some iconic environments, and you’re in for a great time slaying vampires and taking names.
I’m utterly torn with Bloody Ties (no pun intended). On the one hand, I genuinely found myself enjoying my departure from Villedor in favor of a brutal, balls-to-the-walls tournament. On the other hand, no game I’ve played in the last decade has been as unstable as Dying Light 2. I’ve been forced to curse the sky and proclaim Techland’s latest DLC nigh-unplayable. When it works, it’s great. But these developers have some serious fixin’ to do.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me is a fitting end to the season. Each game celebrates the many facets of horror but this title resonates in a way that surpasses previous entries in the franchise. The voice acting is brilliant and this helps to make the characters feel authentic. As well as this, the improvements in traversal and inventory give it more gameplay options. While the movement is a little stiff and the concept is still cliché, the execution of its storytelling and characterization is to die for.
Does that mean Victoria 3 is bad? By no means. If you are a grand strategy fan, and you are one of those people who avoids war whenever possible (I know you’re out there), Victoria 3 is the game for you. What it lacks in breadth it makes up for in depth. There isn’t a more sophisticated nation simulator around, and the game will only grow in time. Much like The Sims before, Paradox games tend to have dozens of expansion packs. I will probably leave Victoria 3 installed in anticipation of those. This is a gigantic, excellent strategy game and for some people (nerds), it’s going to be a fave.
Harvestella isn’t trying to innovate anything. It’s a cozy throwback JRPG that stands apart by having a heavier emphasis on life sim elements. But it’s a story driven action JRG at its core, not a farming sim. Harvest Moon fans will probably be disappointed by its lack of farming mechanic depth, but fans of classic JRPGs who don’t normally love life sim games might really love it. Anyone who really enjoyed Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin, or the multi-gameplay-style of the ActRaiser games should really take note.
McPixel 3 is frantic fun. The mixture of minigame madness and point-and-click puzzles deliver ridiculous outcomes which continue to amuse throughout its relatively short run time. Frustration can build, especially with its often bizarre solutions, however, the humor quickly overrides this. Even though some jokes don’t land, it’s sure to make you laugh, particularly if you enjoy silly and slapstick comedy.