I loved the Fox Kids Spider-Man cartoon from the ’90s, and I’ve been reading Amazing Spider-Man since 2001 (starting with the first Morlun story arc–still my favorite comic book story). I even own a page of original art from Amazing Spider-Man signed by the artist, John Romita Jr. Thus, it won’t shock anyone that Spider-Man is my favorite super hero, and I was really hyped when Sony first announced a new Spider-Man game from Insomniac Games. Particularly, I was excited by the presence of Mr. Negative and the cinematic nature of it all, which suggested it would be delving into the comics lore to deliver a really great narrative.
Aaand it turns out I was wrong. But at least the combat is excellent. Read more
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 frustrated me. It’s packed to the gills with content, so I could never claim Monolith Soft is getting lazy. In fact, I think they tried very hard with every aspect of the game’s design. But in spite of that, the game just isn’t that remarkable, at least not compared to its predecessors on the Wii and Wii U. It feels like more of the same, except with less excitement radiating from it. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a good game–just not a great one. Read more
Cuphead is literally a cartoon that you get to play and control. Everything is hand-animated to near perfection, and it is by default the prettiest video game that has ever been made. I have been hyped for this game since it was first announced at E3 2014, strictly on the strength of its groundbreaking visuals. And now that I’ve finally gotten my hands on it, I can say that the gameplay is almost as strong as the visuals. So thank you, StudioMDHR Entertainment, for finally giving me a reason to plug in my Xbox One again (for a few days, at least). Read more
It’s well established that I love Super Metroid and think it’s one of the finest games ever made. I never extended that same enthusiasm to Metroid Fusion or Metroid: Zero Mission. They’re both quality games, but to me, they just felt like “two games that wanted to be Super Metroid and weren’t.” By comparison, Metroid: Samus Returns never feels as if it had a goal of being another Super Metroid, and it works strongly to the game’s benefit. This is my favorite sidescrolling Metroid since Super, and a worthwhile remake of Metroid II on the Game Boy. Read more
Cosmic Star Heroine features one of the worst stories you will ever see in an RPG. It is bad to the point of exasperation. The good news is that almost everything else about the game is excellent! But the bads are so bad that they become a burden from which the game can never fully crawl out. Read more
Guys, full disclosure–if I could live inside a Super Nintendo RPG, I would. My bias for Japanese RPGs in general is just ridiculous, but any RPG that draws influence from the 16-bit era piques my interest. With that in mind, I Am Setsuna is the most disappointingly flawed game I have played since Lunar: Dragon Song. Every aspect of its design suffers from problems that someone should have spotted during development. The game sells for a reduced retail price, but that can only excuse the game’s small scale. It does not excuse a bland and forgettable experience. Read more
When it was first announced that Nintendo and Atlus were collaborating to create a game that crosses Fire Emblem with Shin Megami Tensei, absolutely no one in the universe was expecting Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE to be the final result. It takes the standard Persona formula of high schoolers dungeon-crawling, but it throws out the series’s dark tone in favor of an overtly energetic and colorful J-pop backdrop. You play as teenagers who need to balance their obligation of protecting modern-day Tokyo with maintaining their careers as budding idols. As Polygon’s Janine Hawkins points out, the whole game ends up feeling like a Sailor Moon spinoff. Well, as a lover of both JRPGs and Sailor Moon, suffice to say I was pleasantly surprised. Read more
Professional gaming outlets have been unkind in their reviews of Mighty No. 9, and a tinge of frustration or perhaps even anger can often be found in the writing. Frankly, I neither agree with nor even understand most of their criticisms. After the long wait, after the roller coaster ride of enthusiasm, disappointment, and general confusion, Mighty No. 9 is a pretty good game! It is that unique hybrid of Mega Man and Mega Man X that I have been expecting almost all along, and to top things off, the game is budget-priced. I hope this becomes the first in a new continuing series for Comcept and Inti Creates, because while not perfect, it lays the groundwork for some truly excellent sequels just as Mega Man did in 1987. Read more
When Naughty Dog first announced Uncharted 4, I was disappointed. I felt like the series had run its natural course and that another game at this odd juncture would just feel repetitive. Unfortunately, actually playing and completing Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End only confirmed that feeling. Even worse, the game just does not give the player a whole lot to do. More than half of the game is spent walking, climbing, and staring at scenery, with combat serving as an uncommon and not utterly redeeming intermission. Production values are top notch throughout–as expected from Naughty Dog–but the experience distinctly lacks the magic and excitement of The Last of Us or, yes, Uncharted 2.
(This review only covers the single player campaign.) Read more
Xenoblade Chronicles X is a game about turning your brain off and indulging in a 90-hour power fantasy. To try to claim much more about the game than that would probably be overreaching. It takes everything about the design of its predecessor and says, “Let’s do that again, but bigger,” in the most literal possible sense. The only thing that didn’t survive the embiggening process was the previous game’s story execution. The ultimate result is an absolutely massive game where you as the player are largely left to your own devices, for better and for worse. Read more