There is so much more I want to say, but I do not want to ruin any part of this experience. Being such a huge fan of the original game, I could not be happier with how this sequel turned out. After being lukewarm on the first entry, this one squashes all my concerns and doubts about this remake. I do wish it wasn’t going to take over a decade to see it all, but this sequel gives me confidence in the finale. I cannot recommend it enough, but mute all keywords on Twitter, experience this for yourself, and enjoy what is easily an early contender for the best game of 2024.
If this review reads odd, I apologize; I always try to be real with y’all so I want to be upfront about the state of things with Helldivers 2. Yep, it sucks we can’t play right now due to stressed servers, the good thing is that the game is obviously hot but the bad is that it could lose the player base if this isn’t fixed quickly. Y’all know me, I am an optimist, I have high hopes for Skull & Bones and I am sure that Sony will step in and get this resolved and we can all get back to fighting for freedom and democracy together. But in the meantime, if you don’t mind maybe not being able to play when you want, or having random crashes and missing rewards then dive into Helldivers 2. These are all growing pains and can be resolved, at the end of the day this game is blast, made more so when you are playing with friends which is evident if you watch any of our gameplay videos. If you all pick this up and happen to be teamed with ZeroTolerance, just watch ya back because he is all about completing the mission, teammates be damned. LOL.
Banishers: Ghost of Eden is a unique title that just stumbles along the way. It has some severe pacing issues and clunky combat that really drag down the overall experience. I wanted to love it a lot more than I did. It feels like Dontnod’s usual unique take on a genre that feels just a bit undercooked. Still once it drops in price and perhaps receives a few updates, I think this could easily graduate to the status of hidden gem. There are a lot of cool concepts here that I really enjoyed. I just wish I didn’t have to wait so long to get to them.
Tomb Raider Remastered is a fantastic collection that checks all the right boxes. I adored these games and revisiting them has been a treat. I cannot recommend this collection enough if you are like me and have nostalgia for those original titles. They just don’t make them like this anymore. The sense of wonder and exploration mixed with the subtle music cues and adventure are truly unmatched. It was great revisiting these and I hope the next game in the series takes a few notes from the ones that started it all.
Lil Guardsman is a perfect palate cleanser in this sea of bigger releases in early 2024. Its heartwarming and genuinely funny story and cast of characters make multiple playthroughs a joy and not a chore to replay. I have become a huge fan of indie games in the past few years, and developer Hilltop Studios have come out swinging with Lil Guardsman. Perfectly walking that line between cozy and comedy, I loved every minute of this one and if you need a smile; I highly recommend it.
It’s really quite a shame because at its core, Uni 2 is a wonderful fighter with incredible depth and plenty of style to spare. The sheer amount of freedom in how I can control my character is second to none in all the fighters I’ve played but the awful PC port and the numerous game breaking issues on launch that have resulted in a dwindling player base makes it harder to recommend than it should be.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is full of potential. The game is a blast to play. The story is one of the best in a video game in a while, and there is a lot here for those that enjoy looter shooters. This almost feels like two games in one. I loved the campaign, but had little interest in the end game, while others will likely breeze through the story just to grind. I hope they continue the flow of content for both audiences because I would love to revisit it down the line. Also patch in that offline mode ASAP. Being mid boss fight for the server to disconnect is a huge bummer and makes me not want to play.
I hope Turnip Boy returns to this format because I think this is a better canvas for the ideas the developers have character wise, but I also think it allowed them to be more creative with gameplay than Turnip Boy Robs A Bank (which the review for should be up alongside this one). I think Turnip Boy is worth people’s time, it just comes down to dollar per hour value because I think I finished most of what this game had to offer in about 3-4 hours and while I think $15 is worth that, other people don’t.
In 2024 there is an abundance of games in both our future and our past. I can’t recommend Turnip Boy Robs A Bank when there are better games to play, even if the game released into Game Pass there’s better ways to spend time and much better ways to spend time doing what Turnip Boy Robs A Bank is trying to do and in my opinion only just succeeding at. A passing grade is not a compliment. I promise the Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion review is more positive as this game made me go back and actually finish it because I wanted to make sure I didn’t misremember the hour I played when it came out (the button layout was messy so I put it aside) and I was glad to find out I wasn’t wrong. Turnip Boy deserves better.
Phantom Abyss can be a run roguelite with its free-running, puzzle solving, and trap avoiding adventures. But throw in the phantoms of real-world players who act as a guide of what to do and not do through these temples takes things to another level. Mileage can vary though as a lot of the puzzles, temples and traps are reused and thus can make the game start to drag on and feel repetitive. Being in early access for so many years though there is quite a lot of content here that players can dig through before fatigue will set in. And with all the talk about Indiana Jones lately, why not start practicing your whip skills.
Despite its tumultuous development cycle, Granblue Fantasy: Relink is a grand achievement that impressed from beginning to end with its fantastic presentation and thrilling set pieces- brought together as a total package with a cast of unique playable characters and satisfying combat that I can see myself continue to “Zeta Dive” back into for many more hours to come.
With a full explorable River City, a story with multiple endings and the surprise Double Dragon fighting game; there is a lot on offer in Rivals Showdown. Unfortunately, it’s held back by an overly repetitive soundtrack which will start to grate on one’s nerves, and some very uneven combat until the late game. These games are usually good for some fun beat-em up action but it takes so long for this entry to hit its stride with the combat that by the end I was just running on auto pilot. I think there is a lot here for fans to discover but this isn’t going to bring in any new fans, especially when the last two entries in the River City Saga were much better.
Tekken 8 is an outstanding entry into the series with a ton of content for both online and offline players. This is how you pack a game with enough content to keep players invested. The plethora of modes, customization, and superb game play create a package that any fan of the genre should not miss.
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy is a compilation title that succeeds thanks to the quality and quantity of content on offer more so than the effort it has been given to remaster each individual game. Having said that, it’s a great way for veterans of the series to revisit these classics as well as a nice way for those who have been following up on these re-releases to finally catch up to all the mainline entries released thus far. Surely, this means we’ll get a new Ace Attorney game in the near future, right? RIGHT?! CAPCOM!?
Overall, I felt like Troublemaker is a solid but janky beat-em up. The atmosphere, presentation and story are all really well done, feeling like a Karate Kid type spin-off. It has its moments of over-the-top craziness but at its core tells a nice ‘slice of life’ story about an area of the world that I have never been. And if you were to tell me that this was an accurate depiction of Indonesia I would 100% believe you. Well minus the child fighting tournament that is school sanctioned of course.
While I enjoyed my time with Song of Nunu, I did have a few small gripes. I wasn’t a fan of the stealth sequences; not that they were inherently bad I just am not a fan of forced stealth in games and wish it would go away. I would have liked some more time with a few of the side characters all of which come from LoL but that’s simply because I am a fan. What I really can’t wait for is the team to make a game on the Noxus Empire, specifically Darius. Oh man, he’s in the forthcoming fighting game but I really want a solo game to use ‘dunkmaster’ Darius. But I digress, as a fan of League of Legends this game is really a no brainer, but for non-fans looking for a fun, action-adventure title then you should look no further than The Song of Nunu.
Last of Us II Remastered could have been a cash grab with the success of the TV show, but instead feels like a solid upgrade with a reasonable path for owners of the original. The added content is more than worth the asking price, and the game remains one of the most impressive technical feats of all time.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is hands down the best metroidvania that I have played in a long time. My gold standard has always been Castlevania: Symphony of the Night but Ubisoft has really knocked this out of the park. As a long time, fan of the series, I was elated to see the first trailer for this game and am so glad that the team stuck the landing. Sargon is a fantastic character in this universe and I for one am so proud of the fact that he is black and leading this game. I know that some people are upset at not playing as the prince but to those folks I just want to say give this game a chance, if you are a fan of the Prince of Persia series, I can almost guarantee that this game will make you smile. And after the banner year that video games had in 2023, it bodes well for 2024 that the first big game out the gate is as fantastic as Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown.
Listen, I have waited a long time for this game and Remedy delivered a masterpiece here, flaws and all. The new creation of their own Remedy Universe shines brightly with the amount of crossover on display here with their last game Control. It was almost surprising how much the Federal Bureau of Control comes up against Saga and the FBI over the course of the game. I say surprising, but it is actually exciting to see what the future holds for these games. If Alan Wake 2 is any indication, Remedy is just getting started and whatever the greater story being told here I cannot wait for more. Fans of Alan Wake and its spin-off American Nightmare are going to love getting to reap the harvest of those seeds sowed so long ago. But Alan Wake 2 is also accessible for new fans alike and I would admonish anyone who genuinely enjoys weird, deep stories to check this one out.