Bucking the trend of "bigger, badder, louder, faster," Samurai Shodown is a return to the glory days of SNK's beloved sword-slashing fighting franchise. The slower, more thoughtful combat style the franchise is known for is on full display here, challenging players not just to be better at fighting games, but also smarter. Wrapped in a beautiful overall package and given some interesting new roster additions, Samurai Shodown is probably the best new chapter we could have ever hoped for.
Making a spin-off to a beloved niche series that then drops its most popular character seemed like a crazy idea at first, but Judgment is a success beyond what I could have expected. Though it never quite escapes the shadow of its older siblings, this tale of a fallen lawyer and his refusal to let go of the truth provides an experience that has a lot to offer both Yakuza fans and newcomers alike.
A lot of people are probably going to sleep on, or not even know about, A Plague Tale: Innocence—and that's a shame. It's a gripping, touching, emotional, yet at times horrifying experience, one that feels quite unlike almost any other game out there.
While it's an unabashed Left 4 Dead clone that never extends beyond the conservative concepts and budgets that obviously constrained its development, World War Z offers up an enjoyable adventure that at times does a lot with the little it attempts. No matter whether playing the co-op campaign or competitive multiplayer, there's enough good to the game to make the bad not feel as bad.
Dead or Alive 6 is a solid new chapter in Team Ninja's long-running fighting game series that has rarely been satisfied with just being "solid." All of the groundwork that needed to be built here was built, but upon it was placed a mostly by-the-numbers experience that is too often just as frustrating as it is fun. While a reworking of the game could leave it in a much better place in the future (and on newer consoles), for now it's a good release for people wanting more Dead or Alive as long as they don't mind its value is limited.
Jump Force is the kind of game that would usually just come and go due to how unimpressive and flawed of an effort it is, and it's more than likely that that's exactly what it is going to do. And yet, buried beneath all of the bad is some honest amount of good. It's almost a shame that Jump Force wasn't more of a mess in everything other than its 3-vs-3 fights, because the game would be a whole lot more enjoyable if we were able to laugh at its terribleness more often.
The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince continues Nippon Ichi Software's tradition of visually compelling games that sadly feel a little lacking in the gameplay department. This adventure of a wolf in human form leading a delicate prince through a dangerous forest could have benefitted from a deep level of puzzles and polish—and yet, in the end, it may still win you over due to its style and sentiment.
More than just a simple remake of a cherished classic, Resident Evil 2 is a reinvigoration of the entire franchise, showing just how much life it still has left without the need to make drastic gameplay or stylistic changes. From start to end, this is a phenomenal showcase of old mixed with new, both giving players the chance to relive an important chapter in the life of the series under fantastic new conditions, while also potentially paving the way for Resident Evil for years to come.
Katamari Damacy Reroll brings the original Katamari Damacy back for a new generation, and all of its fantastic gameplay and heart is now combined with beautiful high-definition visuals. There's almost nothing new here save for mediocre motion controls, but then again, nothing needed to be added to make this quirky classic worth playing again (or for the first time).
While I still don't know that the world needs dancing games based off of the Persona series, it's obvious that Atlus could do way worse than Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight. Both games show clear effort in terms of visuals and animations, and if there's any RPG franchise with soundtracks you'd want to groove to, it's Persona.
What I hoped would be a decent collection of SNK’s early gaming efforts ended up being one of the most impressive retro compilations I’ve encountered in recent memory. While not every game included will excite more casual players, those who do have an appreciation for the library offered here will find them presented with a level of care, concern, and passion that is too rarely seen.
Death Mark may seem at first like a shallow horror take on the Japanese visual novel/adventure genre, but the deeper you dig into its tale of wayward spirits and cursed bystanders, the more its brutality is mixed with beauty. While it could have done more with the ideas it builds upon, it still results in an unexpectedly captivating experience that stands out from the crowd
While it isn't without some notable and completely unnecessary problems, the Switch version of Dark Souls Remastered is still a great way to experience one of the best games ever released. The ability to play the game wherever and whenever is wonderful, and it's nice to have this improvement on the original PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 release to contrast the more drastic overhaul the other platforms received.
Soulcalibur VI feels like a game that's fighting to make a comeback in a world where it isn't sure it's welcome anymore, and the downside of that is that many of its parts feel like they were under-developed to keep costs low. However, much more important is the upside, which is that a fantastic fighting game series has finally come back to us, and it's still just as good as we all remember.
You might not initially think that the story of a Yakuza member fighting for control of the streets of Tokyo would make a good template for a tale about post-apocalyptic warriors battling over resources (and pride), but Sega's Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise is the best game the beloved manga series has ever seen. While the experience does have some failings, they're nothing protagonist Kenshiro can't shake off.
It can be hard sometimes to make collections for retro games feel exciting, especially if those games have been released numerous times before. Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle bucks that trend not only by having games that are still enjoyable to this day, but also by including two titles that are finally being released on consoles for the first time. A few issues mars the overall package, but not enough to put a major damper on its offerings.
It's easy for me to understand how Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner captured the attention of players back in the PlayStation 2 era, as it offered, and continues to offer, some gameplay ideas and experiences that still don't exist in abundance to this day. Even back then, however, some of what it does would have been inexcusable to me—and playing the remastered Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner – M∀RS in our modern era, those weaknesses are just too hard to ignore.
Mini Metro was a surprise hit for me when I first played it on computers four years ago, and I was really excited to finally see the game hit a proper console. While the controls aren't quite as good as I was hoping they'd be, the game itself still remains enjoyable and engrossing, offering a more-than-worthwhile experience for anyone who hasn't played Mini Metro on other platforms.
In an era when so many other wrestling games continue to focus on style over substance, a legendary Japanese franchise returns to remind its rivals of how things should be done. While Fire Pro Wrestling World isn't without room for fixes or improvements, it's still by far the best video game wrestling experience to arrive in recent memory. It's been 12 years since the last proper Fire Pro game, but it was absolutely worth the wait.