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Allow me to be candid for a moment. I work in healthcare and have small children at home. With the fear in the world of CoViD-19 and the surrounding hysteria and panic, these last few weeks have been nothing short of stressful. I’ve had travel plans cancelled, work schedules have been all over the place, and we’ve had some difficulty getting supplies for our home, including fresh food. My family is still in a good place, but the thoughts and worries have been constant clouds in my mind. Ori and the Will of the Wisps has been a welcome escape from these concerns. For a few short bursts of time, I was able to escape the crowded grocery lines and travel through Niwen, full of friendly faces and frightening foes alike, all placed in one of the most beautiful video game worlds to date. The credits rolled for me at just over 10 hours of play, but I expect to get a few more hours reaching towards the 100% marker in the first playthrough alone. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is available on PC and Xbox One via Xbox Game Pass, which runs at such a cheap price that this game should be a no-brainer for most people to play. For me, this is the first high profile release of 2020, and is a near-perfect Chapter One to what looks to be a very promising year.
I will always recommend this game and I already always do. As I said before this game means so much to me and the fact that XSEED brought it back and is even working on Rune Factory 5 is enough to keep a big smile on my face! I think if you were a first time player buying this game online and getting the $39.99 copy would be perfect for you. I personally got the Archive Edition to help support this game and so we can continue to get more Rune Factory games in the future. So thank you XSEED for brining back this loved and underappreciated series!
My spooky investigation of The Suicide of Rachel Foster was overall enjoyable, and being compared at all to some of its obvious influences is a compliment in its own right. Nevertheless, I walked away feeling like the story could’ve had more to give. I spent just over three hours at the Timberline Hotel, which could have been extended some to prevent feeling rushed in the final act. Retailing at $17.99 USD, the money-to-time investment ratio could be fairly compared to purchasing a movie. If story-driven or horror-themed walking simulators are your preferred brand, this shouldn’t be a game you miss. Otherwise, a Steam sale sometime this year will likely feature this game at a nice discount.
A sequel would do wonders for Tokyo Mirage Sessions. It would be fun if ATLUS took it in a similar route to that of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel. Without diving into any spoilers, we could see Fortuna Entertainment years down the road with a new cast of playable characters as the Mirages are breaking into our world once again, and throughout the story, we could run into many of the previous playable characters from this game and have them join our party as cameo members for an Idolasphere dungeon or something. Sound too good to be true? It probably is, and my biggest fear is this is a one and done series. But I hope not. There’s so much to love here, and even though it’s a few years old and doesn’t look nearly as modern as some of the other games coming out in 2020, it’s still one of the best JRPG experiences you can find on the Nintendo Switch.
The Pedestrian is a rewarding puzzle game with well-made brain busters that challenge the likes of Portal. This was originally a Kickstarter campaign, so if you’ve made the initial $15 investment to back the game, you should know that your money was well-spent. If you’re looking to pick this up on Steam, $20 is an appropriate price. The only barrier to being worth much more is the overall short length of the game. In case it’s unclear, I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of The Pedestrian.
While I cannot compare to previous entries in the MechWarrior series, I have to wonder if this is a giant leap forward for the franchise, or more like a lateral move. It has some fun moments, but these are quick-lived and generally get overshadowed by some of the more glaring issues present in MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. Newcomers to the franchise may have a hard time digesting this as I did, but fans clamoring for more Mech goodness will likely find a lot to enjoy in Piranha Games’ latest outing.
Few games have caused as much controversy and conversation in 2019 as Pokemon Sword/Shield, from the exclusion of previous Pokemon to the inclusion of gym missions and version-specific battles. For many, the question remains: Are Pokemon Sword and Shield good games, and more importantly, are they good Pokemon games? To both of these inquiries, I have to concede a confident “yes”. Pokemon has never felt better than it does in Sword and Shield, between variation of available monsters, flow of the storyline, larger than life moments and battles, and overall graphical integrity. I do understand the reservations many fans have, and share some of my own disappointment with them, but couldn’t help but smile while traveling through the Wild Area on my electric powered bike-ski.
The vast wilderness laid out in front of you, with a simple objective to deliver a package. It sounds boring, but it’s far from it. It sounds simplistic, yet it’s anything but. It’s a beautiful capture of the way games are meant to be. The best ones not only provide hours upon hours of entertainment and fun gameplay, but they make you ponder the important questions. They get you to fall for their characters and become so invested that you have to see what happens next as quickly as possible. They deliver upon the premise of being game-changing. That’s exactly what Death Stranding has done. Is it perfect? No. But it isn’t supposed to be. Writing this game off as so many people did initially is one of the biggest tragedies to happen in the industry in quite some time. You owe it to yourself to play and experience everything Death Stranding has to offer. Get lost in the moments that matter, and feel for these characters as we did.