All in all, I am really encouraged by this year’s game. They’ve made some significant improvements on some important legacy issues that have held the game back for way too long. There is a ton to do here and a lot of different ways to experience the core gameplay. Showcase remains a highlight and the expansion of MyRise continues to flesh out the series as a single player experience. I’d like to see GM mode get a significant rework next year to make it feel like a more fully fledged option and continued work on the physics around foreign objects if you are a fan of wrestling games at all, WWE 2K23 is an easy recommend.
While Like a Dragon: Ishin! Might not be the strongest entry in this venerable franchise, its emphasis on weapon combat and an interesting take on historical characters and events makes it one worth experiencing all the same.
In a vacuum this collection is decent.
Pretty early in the game players will get a bird companion who will also help with puzzles. She can be instructed to pick up and place items and will use other things in tandem with The Hunters bow to open new routes and solve puzzles. The Pathless is a very solid action-adventure game, one that arguably is something that Xbox lacks. While a two-year-old game won’t set the world on fire in sales; I can recommend this to those folks who may have been waiting for this release on Xbox, the bright colors and almost anime-like graphics and exceptionally well-done soundtrack make for a chill and mostly rewarding experience.
With an unforgettable cast of characters, enthralling story and a deep, enjoyable combat system, Trails to Azure is truly the full package. It’s not just one of my favorite games in the long running Legend of Heroes series, but one of the finest that the JRPG genre has to offer.
In the end, Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse is nice to see. I love that the series is making a comeback. I just wish we could get the original trilogy on modern consoles. Those games are lost to time and would benefit from just a remaster at this point. Still more survival horror is always welcome and we are truly living in an embarrassment of riches in the genre. I wish it was on the same level as others coming back, but for that we need the original trilogy. Make it happen KOEI Tecmo!
I can’t recommend Digimon World: Next Order and honestly I have begun to question why I liked it as a kid. I am sure it had to do with the later cool evolutions that happen but there are better games and even anime’s that showcase this better than having suffered through this game. While seeing some of the old faces brought back some nostalgia in the end it was just that, and the game was just a chore to play… literally.
The Outer Worlds: Spacer’s Choice Edition is a weird release. While Xbox owns the developer, Private Division still retains the distribution rights to the first game. Which means the normal free upgrade is not here. Instead we have the definitive version of a great game locked behind some weird monetary decisions. If you never played the original, this is by far the best package available. If you did and are looking to upgrade what is here is nice, but not worth another $60. If you own all the DLC this is a solid $10 upgrade. Still I wish it was more accessible or at least a save transfer existed. It taints an otherwise solid release.
Metroid Prime is one of the best games ever made and this new version retains everything that made it special. I have enjoyed revisiting this masterpiece so much and am so happy new players are able to experience it in its finest form. I hope this shows Nintendo that the Metroid series is truly one of the best in their repertoire and we see more games in the series. I cannot wait to see what Retro accomplishes with Metroid Prime 4 when it finally releases.
Grim Guardians: Demon Purge is exactly what I thought it was going to be and sometimes that is a good thing. Games don’t have to change dynamics to be fun and while the dual sister mechanic is fun, it isn’t game changing. I had a lot of fun with this title as I do most Inti Creates jams. I definitely recommend it if you enjoy anything they put out, or classic homages to games like Castlevania or Mega Man. This developer has done a nice job of taking the torch from Capcom and Konami respectively.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is a solid foundation for a new IP with fluid combat and fun exploration but fails to topple its spiritual predecessor due to oversimplification of customization and a lackluster PC port.
Just in time for the 35th anniversary of Final Fantasy, THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE impresses with its wealth of content and feels like a true celebration of its timeless legacy. Whether you are a beginner who has never played a rhythm game before or a veteran of the genre, if you like Final Fantasy music, this is one title you don’t want to miss.
Laying the groundwork for the Hogwarts that we know and love, it was great seeing the genesis of some of the more common things in the wizarding world. But the games presentation of its choices; in making them seem dire and dare I say ‘world shattering’ only to then have them add up to a big fat pile of nothing in the post-narrative game is just a cop out that sucks. But hopefully we can see this wrong righted as well as some Qudditch in a sequel, that is if JK Rowling can manage not to have the brand erased from existence.
Scars Above is a solid sci-fi romp with an identity complex. It wants so badly to be a Soulslike and instead feels more like a game that just borrows ideas without understanding what makes them work. I enjoyed my playthrough, but I wish it would have leaned into its own ideas instead of trying to mimic something else. The story is interesting, the game play is fun, but I wish it wouldn’t have taken so much inspiration from other titles.
Raiden has always been a shooter for the masses and I love that it continues to be around to this day. It won’t test your skills or reach the heights of others in the genre, but it is always a good time. I love seeing more and more releases in this series dropping for more consoles. I had a blast with this and if you have even a remote interest in the genre this is a must own. Now to sit and patiently wait for more Raiden to drop on consoles this summer.
As an entry level experience in the Dragon Quest universe, Treasures does a lot of things right. It nails the treasure hunting mechanic and provides plenty of nostalgia through it’s audio, visuals, and monster collecting action. Some variety in the main gameplay loop and a little more depth throughout would go a long way towards creating a more worthy feeling entry in the series, but there’s still a lot to love here. Hopefully we’ll get a sequel that can build on some of the mechanics. In the interim, fans of Dragon Quest who don’t mind a walk in the park now and then should check this one out.
Fire Emblem: Engage falters as a follow up to what I consider to be the best the series has to offer thus far. However, despite its failings with its lackluster story and characters, the deep customization and enjoyable combat makes it one well worth experiencing anyway.
Atomic Heart is a game I was excited to finally play, but went in with low expectations considering how long it was in the oven. The end result is easily one of the best games I have played this year and an experience I recommend everyone dig into. It won’t be for everyone, but for those that it is for it will be an amazing experience. There is just so much to this world and I had a blast exploring the world of Facility 3826. I am still digging into the side content and hope they continue to iron out its issues as time goes on. I cannot wait to see what is next from Mundfish, I just hope I don’t have to wait another decade to see it.
Remakes are a much harder thing to pull off than remasters. The original game exists and changing things can be a scary proposition to fans. Motive Studio has done an outstanding job of tweaking what worked and fixing what didn’t. This remake is on the same level as Capcom’s efforts with Resident Evil and will be considered one of the best going forward. This is a gold standard and I truly hope we get to see them continue this work with a new game in the series, or even a remake of the second game. I love this world and hope it is truly back and here to stay.
I think the lack of a structure makes this more of a quick play experience on the go than something where people will sit down and play. I don’t dislike Party of Legends, but it’s better in short bursts which is an issue I don’t think a lot of other party games have. It did however capture that feeling of playing motion control games on the Wii quite well and with the fact that all base Switch models come with two Joy Cons, I think there’s at least some value in this if two people are traveling together and want to have some genuine laughs.