With Blazing Chrome you kind of get what you get: it's an hour and change shooter that pays extreme homage to the Contra series. JoyMasher has already proved that they "get" the bygone eras of retro gaming with Oniken and Odallus, and now they have yet another triumph to add to their resume.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers is more XIV, and right now that's something I'm still happy with. The story delivers with its effortless whimsy and urgency, the battles are filled with spectacle, and the core fundamentals have only gotten better over time.
I appreciate that the Yakuza studio wanted to try something different with Judgment, even if the biggest deviations are the absence of the bankable character Kazuma Kiryu and the addition of some detective busywork. Given that said work is typically brief, this is an easy one to recommend to Ryu Ga Gotoku acolytes and folks with patience.
Bloodstained is occasionally frustrating, refreshingly open, and as promised, wholly Castlevania. Hopefully some polish is on the way for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night as to not alienate folks who are new to the genre, but as any Castlevania fan knows, partial jank comes with the territory.
Cadence of Hyrule really surprised me. It takes the best parts of Crypt of the NecroDancer and makes them more accessible, which really comes with the territory when you're paying homage to The Legend of Zelda. Although it may still take you a while to pick it up, the familiar and welcome open world format is a much better way for new players to acclimate.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey: Fate of Atlantis' track record isn't too shabby so far, with two out of three of its add-ons delivering. While you can take or leave Legacy of the First Blade, this wacky romp through heaven and hell is just seamless enough to fit. It's great to see Ubisoft finally embrace the wilder, more mythic side of the series.
Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth hinges on a few hefty qualifiers. You have to dig JRPGs for one, and be willing to accept random battles in 2019. You also have to not be sick of Persona 5's characters, which for some, is a tall order. For everyone else, there's plenty of fun to be had. It also gets major points as one of the potentially final big 3DS releases from a major publisher that is best served on the 3DS platform. As stylus-based touchscreens are phased out, Persona Q2 is one last rallying battle cry.
Trover Saves the Universe is still going to be laugh-out-loud funny no matter how you approach it, but the additional context and enhanced mechanics when using a headset make it a little bit sweeter. Just approach it as more of a comedy experience that happens to be a platformer.
I didn't expect a whole lot from Blood & Truth and came away smiling. No it's not the best showcase for how far the VR industry has come as a whole (especially when the lead tech is a controller released in 2010), but it's the type of popcorn project I'd like to see more of from a major publisher in the space.
In most circles, Team Sonic Racing probably won't unseat Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (or Transformed's ever-enduring legacy if my house is any indication), and that's fine with me. Plenty of folks will enjoy the Sonic focus and many of the tracks would have been fantastic as Transformed DLC. I just wish it wasn't as limited in scope out of the gate.
Despite just offering a taste of what's to come with Vader Immortal, the first episode has me hooked and I want more. More opportunities to witness Mustafar's glory without the need to gain the high ground, more lore dumps, and more Vader being Vader.
I was pleasantly surprised with the shooter chimera that is Rage 2, which ended up being open world mini-Doom 2016. It's not going to make anyone a believer in shooters or the free roam format, but folks already predisposed to those vices will find plenty to sink their teeth into.
Despite clocking in at just a few hours long, A Hat in Time: Nyakuza Metro is an instant recommendation. It's pretty much everything I want out of a Hat DLC, and the exact formula I'd want Gears for Breakfast to keep replicating if said DLC never stopped coming. I hope it never stops.
It's a small price to pay for low-stakes arcade open world antics. Shakedown: Hawaii might play similarly to Retro City Rampage, but it takes place in a markedly different world. It's more than enough to warrant giving both games a shot, and a worthy successor to a now-seven-year-old game.
My complaints with Mechstermination Force are straightforward because that's really what the game is, a boss rush shoot-fest. If the stars align and you can find someone who really enjoys 2D shooters, give the game a go: even its fleeting joy is worth the entry ticket. Hell, it's worth it if you go alone, so long as your expectations are in check.
Days Gone ups the open world survival ante but doesn't have enough cash to pay for the rest of the rounds of betting, making it one of the weirdest AAA releases in recent memory. If enough people buy it, its stronger moments will likely be immortalized in YouTube videos for years to come. Yet, most people will probably remember it as the open world zombie game that didn't bring much mechanically to the table. With some tweaks to the pacing, it could have reconciled its warm, frank look at humanity and been something special.
Legacy of the First Blade was a fine questline, but often relied too heavily on nostalgia while making liberal use of the existing world map. Fate of Atlantis by comparison actually feels like a premium creation while forging its own identity: it requires no caveat, it builds on Odyssey. This isn't something I'm cautiously optimistic for, I'm ready to dive into the rest with both feet.
The thing is, I would have played SteamWorld Quest for 40 hours, flaws and all. It's brief in more ways than one but charming as hell. I hope Image & Form continues to make games and, to go one step further, never stops creating SteamWorld experiences.
And that's pretty much it. Despite the marketing of a more "serious" tone this is still very much EDF - a bug-shooting Dynasty Warriors-esque hack and slash at heart. Given that it's a standalone game you can also just jump right in (not that you'd need to keep up with EDF lore regardless).