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.
Far Cry 6 may not move the needle much in terms of innovation, but it executes what makes these games extremely fun to play. I settled right in within the first couple hours and couldn’t stop playing until the end. I am still cleaning up around the world of Yara and the promised DLC on the way will certainly have me back in big time. There is just a massive playground here that is extremely enjoyable to play. At the end of the day that is what is most important to me. I hope the series does change up in the future, but for now Far Cry 6 keeps what makes the experience fun and simply nails it.
While never having played a Xuan Yuan in the past, I can confidently say they have a new fan. As I stated above all of the talking, and explaining can turn off some folks, those that stay will be in for quite a thrill ride of a story full of Chinese mythology, politics and epic fights. While some of the translation is off during the script and on some combat abilities it was never enough to break immersion. The words that popped up were always close enough, that I was able to understand what was going on in the scene.
NBA 2K22 has a few things that make this upgrade feel worthy. The new play mechanics are excellent, and it continues to excel on the presentation front. The microtransactions are still super gross and I wish some of the other modes such as Blacktop would get a proper overhaul as they are starting to feel dated. Still being the only NBA game in town it does upgrade nicely. I found myself deleting the old version to play this one, and not being a huge NBA fan that is saying something.
Omen of Sorrow has more good things going for it than bad, the overall combat system feels fresh and new. The characters all feel relatable while at the same time being totally original. Fights can last longer than in other fighting games, not to mention the soundtrack is absolutely out of this world. But that’s where a lot of the good things end, the utter lack of content and the length of time it takes to actually find matches online really takes a lot of the wind from these sails.
As a fan of the original two BloodRayne games I am excited to see one of my favorite dhampirs back in the gaming spotlight. On the other hand, I wish that Ziggurat would have brought those remastered games from PC to console. Betrayal: Fresh Bites isn’t a bad game at all, its just not a great example of BloodRayne at it’s best; even with the new HD bells and whistles. My hope is that this game will give Rayne some attention and make the developers see that she is a character worthy of not only a remaster but a brand-new adventure.
Severed Steel is a fantastic ride while it last, there is a map editor for the brave but replay value is only going to be found for those that have the need to top a leaderboard or want to record some dope slo-mo montages. Anyone looking for a supremely easy to get into action game that blends the bullet-time from Max Payne with a bombastic soundtrack pumping techno music and all the slides and dives from 80-90’s action movies…look absolutely no further than Severed Steel. For a first game Greylock has nailed it and I can’t wait to see this gem on consoles.
F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch is one of the worst names for a game ever. Still the exploration is second-to-none. I wish the combat was more fluid or the enemy encounters tweaked a bit better. I feel like most people will quickly fall off once the difficulty ramps up. It is not hard due to challenge, but more because of functionality and that sucks. It tarnishes an otherwise incredible experience that could have easily been the next huge series in the genre. Still if you can muster through the challenge this is an experience worth taking.
Death Stranding: Director’s Cut is easily the best version of Kojima’s latest game. The new features and additions are more than worth the $10 upgrade for existing owners. Visually the game always looked amazing, but the new higher resolution just showcases the details even better. For anyone who enjoyed the original this upgrade is easy to recommend. For those that never played it, this is the version to get. I continue to think about this game on a weekly basis and enjoyed revisiting it with the new content.
Hot Wheels Unleashed is a game that tugs at my nostalgia for collecting these cars. I just wish the aggressive DLC plans and grinding for new cars didn’t sour that experience so much. When I was playing I was having a blast. The track design and handling are superb and when I got a new rare car I was super excited. Hopefully they tweak some of the requirements for unlocking cars and I hope the season passes are not overly priced for their own good. I would love to see this game flourish and become a staple of arcade racers. It feels like a renaissance of the genre, and I want Unleashed to be there for a long time coming.
Aftermath is an interesting title for this expansion to World War Z. The very definition of the word is the “aftereffects of some sort of significant unpleasant event, but honestly this expansion is anything but unpleasant. Sure, there are some frame drops, and the FPS mode is gimmickier than anything else but this is an extremely solid update. The addition of the extra class in the Vanguards, the extra story missions as well as the Horde XL update adding more hordes of the undead to take down and what you get is a very pleasant update to an already stellar co-op zombie shooter.