Sea of Solitude stands out as heartfelt, almost painfully sincere, so much so that I hesitated to actually put a score on this review at all. It felt almost crass to do so, like being allowed to read a relative's diary, only to give it a thumbs-up or -down. Though engaging gameplay and meaningful messaging aren't mutually exclusive in games, Sea of Solitude is squarely one of a growing number of titles that challenges the notion that "fun and entertainment" should be a game's main priority in every case.
Outer Wilds proves there's still a sense of genuine adventure to be gained from games that commit to a set, fixed structure and design, rather than the kind of sprawling, endless expanses many contemporary titles set out to become. Playing it brought to mind my favorite bits of Dr. Seuss' Oh, The Places You'll Go...except with more of the sun exploding.
In the end, Zanki Zero: Last Beginning is a credible and entertaining adventure, but its potential to stand alongside its developers' best works is hampered by its systems and story's inability to come together and elevate the experience beyond the sum of its parts.
The Caligula Effect: Overdose is still definitely a flawed, frustrating work. Its shortcomings are many, and might still be too intractable for some, but the refinements and additions have,for me at least, papered over the cracks just enough to make it worth putting up with. Patient and curious JRPG enthusiasts will find plenty to appreciate, if not necessarily love, if they try for a quick stay in Mobius.
Taken on its own terms, though, with God Eater 3 we have a pretty hunting game that moves like lightning and makes its stylish combat feel like something worth mastering. Players willing to adjust their expectations will find plenty to fill up on, but those seeking a novel new taste rather than a bit of comfort food may want to keep looking.
Nevertheless, though, Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition excels in the places that matter most to Tales game, and in doing so earns the timeless adulation lavished on it by its fans. I can't tell you if it's the best Tales game, but it's everything a Tales game needs to be, in order to be considered great.
When it's firing on all cylinders, Ace Combat 7 absolutely soars as a return to form for a series thought dormant. It'll be interesting to see how Bandai Namco might take things forward from here on, but for now, the series is flying high and steady once again.
Given that we live in a time with a seemingly unprecedented number of absolutely fantastic anime fighters, that might be a big ask for some. In the end, the game's biggest sin may be not embodying U.A.'s "Plus Ultra" spirit, and simply settling for being a decent, good-looking fighting game take on a popular anime franchise.
My gripes aside, Surviving Mars might be the most fun I've had with a city-building game since SimCity 2000, and Haemimont has accomplished this feat by drilling down into the details, and zooming in on the kinds of small-scale community-building that I'd always felt the that city-builders with a grander scope lacked. The promise of robust modding support from launch could also ensure that the game has legs, or even that some of my complaints could be addressed by fans soon after they get their hands on the toolkit.
"Expanse" might be a bit generous, though. While it's hardly unusual for a VR game to be a bit on the short side, a couple of hours and change for the campaign from start to finish (not including a few frustrating sniper-deaths) pushes the limit. On the other hand, I'm happy that it was over quickly, the better to move on to games that I enjoyed. A score attack mode also exists for those who really want to squeeze every bit of blood from a stone.
Ultimately, Girls und Panzer: Dream Tank Match isnt the perfect primer for Girls und Panzer, nor could anyone expect it to dethrone contemporaryporary tank sims, but taken on its own merits, it's a solidly-built, roundly enjoyable foray into the fun-loving world of Girls und Panzer, delivering a ton of fan service and some engaging combat on top.
Despite the rough edges, Dimps' work is easy to like if you're a Sword Art Online fan hungry for something new to advance the franchise with. Though ultimately held back by the jank, it's definitely worth checking out, if for nothing else than a welcome change of pace and setting.
In the end, Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series' finale is more a whimper than a bang, but it's not disappointing enough to taint the good times I've had so far with this crew. I can only hope that the narrative seeds planted here turn into something substantial in the future, as this is a family I'd like to stick around with, if I can.
Total War: Warhammer 2's inability to solve some longstanding franchise-wide issues don't really dampen the sense that this is the biggest, and one of the best, executions on the same formula. Adding that this is only the second game in a planned trilogy ends up only making me more excited to see what's in store for Total War: Warhammer 3.
All in all, though, the game remains an impressive, if flawed, effort. Toting an interesting setting and some standout design choices, ELEX goes farther than any previous Piranha Bytes game in making the case for sticking with it in pursuit of a certain old-school ideal of RPG gaming, even if it can come at a cost in polish and presentation.