Turtle Rock Studios have made a triumphant return to the genre that kickstarted a whole zombie craze so many years ago. That return isn’t perfect though, issues with the controls, missing game modes and bugs have marred what is otherwise an enjoyable zombie killfest. At the time of this writing a few patches have gone out that have corrected most of the larger bugs, but there are still issues with spawning too many special infected at a time and other little issues. While these things can be frustrating, they don’t destroy the fun of Back 4 Blood when playing the game as it’s meant to be. That is playing multiplayer with a group of friends smartly navigating a nightmare filled world.
There are secret areas to explore, walls that can be broken by attacks, bosses hidden off the beaten path and so much more. And its these moments that make Death’s Gambit: Afterlife shine brightest for me, but if you are a fan of rouge-lites then you will find much to love here as well. It doesn’t really add much new to the genre but it checks all the boxes that rogue-lites require and there is nothing wrong with that.
WRC 10 is a game where fans will notice the tweaks and additions, while casual fans will ask why upgrade? This is common among games that focus on specific sports and genres. There is enough here though for diehards to consider upgrading. I am not thrilled that some of the interesting content is locked behind DLC, but even with that hangup the tweaks and additions make this version a worthy successor. This entry won’t change anyone’s opinion of the realistic rally genre, but for those that enjoy it, there are few better options on the market.
The beautiful graphics, unique characters and fun combat doesn’t take away from the fact that this is an old-school RPG at heart with new school wrappings. AA boasts a fun take on the traditional job systems found in JRPGs, I just wish it was given a story to match all of the great things it has going for it. Fights can drag on at times much like the JRPG’s of old, what helps is the amazing art and effects from the various attacks. But while fans of the older Final Fantasy’s and even Dragon Quest games may enjoy this trip of nostalgia; those folks raised on Persona 5’s and the last few Final Fantasy’s might be in for a bit of a shock. Astria Ascending isn’t a bad game, just a flawed one; but if you enjoy Vanillaware games and don’t mind a grind a lot of fun can be had here.
Diablo 2 Resurrected is a masterpiece in its own right; it evokes a freshness all the while hitting players with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. The sheer joy that is had when delving into dungeons to destroy the Lord of Terror and by extension is brothers (the expansion Lord of Destruction is included in this release with all of the classes/items and fixes that it brought back in the day. But players can play vanilla Diablo 2 but its not recommended for beginners) is indescribable. I am getting a giddiness just thinking about returning to the game, and not too many current video games can evoke that kind of feeling; and that’s where Diablo 2: Resurrected shines brightest.
Sonic Colors Ultimate is definitely conjuring up memories of the 3D Sonic era in its execution. This game was considered a hidden gem back in the day, but really is just one of the better 3D Sonic games. It still doesn’t come close to matching the excitement of the classic style or even the more recent Sonic Mania. Sonic just works best in 2D and while Colors does some interesting things with its game play, it still only serves as the best of a worse situation.
Flynn: Son of Crimson is just a solid game. It has all the charm I would expect from these games, but also backs it all up with tight controls and some interesting combat mechanics. Thrown in some exploration and nice upgrades in for good measure, and you have yourself a great action platformer that any fan of Shovel Knight would enjoy.
While I am glad to see MechWarrior make a return; its just not the one I’ve been waiting for. While the latest expansion Legend of the Kestrel Lancers adds new mechs, biomes and a linear story missions its still more of the same, so if one doesn’t like the base game…. Then the expansion isn’t going to do much to change that.
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania is a solid collection that is worth dipping into for new and old fans alike. There is simple a staggering amount of content to be found and the nuanced new physics will only apply to hardcore fans of the original. While the interesting content might be locked behind a paywall there is still more than plenty in the vanilla version to keep players happy. Now let’s not go another 20 years without constant Monkey Ball. The gaming world is always better when AiAi and his crew are present.