Review – Yooka-Laylee

NOTE: This game is available on PC, PS4 and XBox One, and a Switch version is incoming. For the purposes of this review, I played the PS4 version of the game.

If you haven’t heard somehow, Yooka-Laylee is the work of Playtonic Games, a group of developers made up of former members of Rare, the developers responsible for games such as Donkey Kong Country, GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark. This game began its life as a kickstarter campagin, and it was billed as a revival of Rare’s work on the Nintendo 64 with fantastic platformers such as Banjo-Kazooie and its sequel, Banjo-Tooie.

For much of its opening hours, Yooka-Laylee actually does recapture a lot of the great things about those games. I got butterflies in my stomach while discovering its many quirky characters and worlds, as well as compulsively collecting the game’s collectibles. However, along the way, the game doesn’t just hit snags–it totally derails. One moment you’re dazzled by how fun this game is, and the next you are cursing it to hell and back. This cycle repeats itself from front to back in Yooka-Laylee.

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Review – Persona 5

Well, this sure took a long while! Persona 5 is an absolutely gargantuan game, and it took me dozens upon dozens of hours to fully form my opinion on it, especially since it’s my first Persona game. This game is available on both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. For this review, I played through the PS4 version. 

Ah, high school. Remember that? The drama between teachers and students, trying to cram studying somewhere in between your daily activities, gossiping about the popular kids and… An epic struggle against the dark recesses of the human psyche? Welcome to Persona.

Persona 5 is the long overdue next entry in Atlus’s Persona series, released around 8 years after the release of Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 on Sony’s PlayStation 2 system. As my first taste of the Persona sub-series of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise, my best way of describing Persona 5 is as a genre-bending JPRG that mixes in aspects of a visual novel, social sim and Pokémon style monster collecting (Although it’s worth noting that Shin Megami Tensei did it first, before Pokémon became a worldwide phenomenon).

Light to mild spoilers will follow in this review.

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Impressions from the Arms Global Testpunch Event

With this weekend’s Arms Global Testpunch wrapped up (There are additional times next weekend), I’m pretty surprised to say I’ve come out with a more skeptical opinion of Nintendo’s newest Switch game. I was really looking forward to Arms, and to an extent, I really did enjoy my time with it this weekend. However, there are some concerns that I have now after playing it, which I will address here.

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Review – Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart should be a game series that needs no introduction. From the early days of Super Mario Kart to the online chaos of Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 7, this series has been one of Nintendo’s strongest multiplayer franchises. By many standards, Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U was the definitive entry into this series, providing a diverse number of courses and online gameplay options.

To this day, I’ve dumped around 200 hours into the Wii U version of Mario Kart 8. It’s just that fun to play. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the enhanced port of the game to the Nintendo Switch, manages to make me fall in love all over again.

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Two Months Later, I’m Finally Ready to Say It: Breath of the Wild Is the Best Zelda Game Ever Made

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I’m a lifelong Zelda fan–one of my earliest video game memories was pouring hours upon hours exploring the sprawling world of Link’s Awakening on my large, monochrome Game Boy system. Since then, I have extensively played every game, and I have set opinions about what the “best” Zelda games are. I was struggling to place Breath of the Wild on my list after my first playthrough. I knew it was high up there–it’s a great game. But now, in the middle of my second playthrough, it’s clear as day to me now. Breath of the Wild is the best Zelda game Nintendo has ever produced.

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Call of Duty: WWII Sounds Kind of Interesting

Every year, like clockwork, Activision announces a new Call of Duty game to the collective groan of the entire gaming community. Still, it’s remarkable that they’ve been able to keep this annual release schedule thing going for so long. That said that this series has been in a quantity-over-quality slump for many years. It’s no doubt that these games are built on an intuitive, fun FPS engine, but so little changes from installment to installment that it’s hard to get excited.

This year’s title, the lazily titled Call of Duty: WWII seems like Activision trying to capitalize on the back-to-roots success of Battlefield 1, but while that Battlefield game was a creative take on a real-life event that isn’t touched upon very often, it’s hard to forget that World War II shooters are a very played-out thing. At the same time, it hearkens to a time when Call of Duty was actually good. Call of Duty 2 and Call of Duty: World at War are still some of the best FPS games ever made, and I am very interested to see what Activision pulls off here.

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