From that love comes a touching story packed into a beautiful setting with a delightful main character in Yarny. The care and devotion of the team at Coldwood to the craft of game development is more than evident at every turn. This game is not without its frustrations, particularly in puzzles toward the end of the game, but the brief fleeting moments of anxiety are easily countered by the overall warmth that Unravel exudes. This is a game I'll play when I'm having a bad day and want to turn it around.
Fortified is the kind of game that I want to keep playing, but it frustrates me just as much as it entertains me. It does everything it can to stand between me and victory -- as a good game should -- but it does these things in way that's sloppy, unclear, and lacking direction. I want to say great things about Fortified, there's a lot to like here, but those compliments are bundled with a few legitimate concerns.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is one of the best Super Nintendo games ever made, introducing Nintendo’s plucky plumber to the grand world of the Japanese role-playing game. Nintendo was so pleased with its performance that it has since created two separate branches of spin-offs in Paper Mario and Mario and Luigi that try to emulate that classic feel. Apparently the creative juices aren’t flowing quite as freely at Nintendo as they usually do, as the latest Mario RPG game Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam takes those two spin-offs and simply mashes them back together.
While Marvel's had a tremendous amount of success at the box office over the last decade, the comic publisher has been relatively quiet on the video game front comparatively. There have been a few exceptions to the rule, but Marvel has been almost singularly focused on the mobile game arena. Over the last three years however, TT Games has managed to release two Marvel games under the Lego banner to sate fans hungry for Marvel action on a console. Though TT Games has been delivering licensed Lego video game adventures for over a decade, Lego Marvel's Avengers feels as fun and fresh as it has in years. It also gives Marvel fans a new spin on stories and characters they've spent a great deal of time with since The Avengers hit theaters in 2012.
Every school had its weird class traditions or secret spots where teens gathered to socialize away from the rest of the world. Doing something dumb, like sneaking onto a closed beach, with your friends before you graduated is a time-honored tradition. Every school also had its weird myths and rumors about the local area, too. Maybe you had that house that was haunted, or a place in the woods where you could hear strange sounds under the perfect conditions. Oxenfree takes those elements and mixes them together to create a wild, dangerous night for a small group of friends. With a mystery that grows stranger and stronger the deeper you dive and characters that are instantly relatable, Night School Studio delivers a first effort that's spooky, sincere and enthralling.
We know a mature game by the things that rating systems tell us. Mature, PEGI 18, etc. These are labels defined by mostly surface things: blood and gore, suggestive themes, language and the like. But any child can see blood. Any child can hear bad language. Conversely, That Dragon, Cancer doesn’t have any of those things. Yet it may be the most mature thing I’ve ever experienced. It’s an invite to walk beside a family through the deepest waters of hope, despair, faith, humanity, loneliness, togetherness, joy, and sadness. You can’t give this to a child. You can’t expect someone to grasp this episode without the strength, patience and awareness to see, hear and feel what is meant to be conveyed. For my experience, it was almost perfect.
The plastic peripheral-slinging music game developers at Harmonix have returned to their roots with a modern remake of Amplitude. This 2003 hit was a sequel to the studio's first game, Frequency. After a very successful Kickstarter campaign last year, Harmonix was finally able to get this revamped version of Amplitude up and running in order to give its now broader fan base a taste of what things were like when they were just starting out. Likewise, fans who may have played Amplitude and Frequency during their original runs on the PlayStation 2 (including myself) will have something relatively different and new to enjoy as they soak up all that nostalgia. Best of all, it's nice trip back in time to the later days of the PaRappa the Rapper and Bust a Groove era, when music games didn't focus on having a pricey instrument replica in your hand and just focused on getting your rhythm down and matching notes.
I set out on another mission into the wilds of Mira, a gigantic world of untraveled terrain and unseen creatures where safety is never guaranteed no matter how prepared I think I am. The path to my next mission is clear, but there’s a lot of ground to cover between the peace of New Los Angeles and the unknown. I have a few teammates at my side and some new abilities to test, so there’s nothing else to do but set out. I must have had this conversation during my Xenoblade Chronicles X playthrough hundreds of times, as each return to the untamed world of Mira required such preparation. Xenoblade X is simply massive, the kind of game that a player like me who wants to explore every nook and cranny can get lost in for hours on end. Creatures of all shapes and sizes inhabit this world, making for plenty of opportunity to grow stronger with each battle and even more time spent in the wilderness. Xenoblade X thrives on its open-ended nature, to the point where the idea of reigning the player in is simply nonexistent.
Just Cause 3 is at it's best when you're freewheeling out in the open world, enjoying the chaos you can create with the vast array of explosives among the destructible environments. There are some truly awesome moments you can create when you're allowed to just enjoy the island and all the opportunities for crazy, over the top fun it presents. However, you've got to spend a lot of time doing repetitive and boring missions to be able to get the most out of these moments, and that brings the experience down. While Just Cause 3 offers more of the same action blockbuster excitement of its predecessors, it also doesn't do enough new to make it stand out from its contemporaries.
Seven years after the release of the last Rainbow Six game, we've seen a multitude of strictly online-only FPS games come and go as the focus on blockbuster solo campaigns have started to dwindle. It takes a lot for a predominantly multiplayer FPS game to entice players to keep coming back for the long haul. Luckily, Rainbow Six Siege's unique brand of intense, tactical shootouts are unlike anything else in the first-person shooter scene.