In 2005, Capcom released what I consider to be one of the best games of all time: Resident Evil 4. Injecting just the right dose of action into the mechanics of its slow and clunky predecessors, it pioneered innovative concepts that would be imitated to death in other games, including later games in the franchise. That template would be reused to some success (See Resident Evil: Revelations), but it also felt like Capcom had no idea where to take the series after that. The best example of this is the directionless mishmash of ideas that made up Resident Evil 6, a game that tried to incorporate several different design directions, but failed at all of them.
But if that failure was required for them to bounce back with a game like Resident Evil 7, I’d say it was all worth the wait. Not only is this game a triumphant return to form for the franchise, it is also one of the best horror games of the past few years. All that it took was to shed the convoluted baggage that the series had built up over the years, bringing us back to the core elements of Resident Evil: you, in a spooky house, with a bunch of monsters trying to kill you.
A New Frontier is the third entry into Telltale’s episodic adventure series. Based on Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, this series has consistently been a treat, providing deep character-driven storylines that adapt to your in-game choices. The first season was particularly strong thanks to its fantastic characters and situations, while the second season is not far behind.
I typically hold off on playing Telltale games until all of the episodes have been released, since I dislike the wait for a new episode. The final episode of A New Frontier came out back in May, and I finally got the chance to play through the whole thing now. Like its predecessors, A New Frontier is heavily story driven, and enjoyment of it hinges purely on if you like the story and its characters.
Back in the Wii U days, a game like Super Mario Odyssey would have been the single big holiday release for Nintendo. Instead, we are extremely lucky that it’s coming out this early. In the span of a single month, we are getting a slew of third-party releases that will culminate with the release of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 in December. I personally am planning on getting Doom, Rime and Rocket League, in addition to the two titles I mentioned above. Somewhere in there, I have to also find the time to catch up on Arms and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle.
NOTE: This review is for the remaster of this game that is included as part of the recently released remake collection of the first three Crash games, Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy.
If it’s not apparent from this blog, I was always a Nintendo kid in the 90s. That said, even I had some experience with Naughty Dog’s break out platformer, Crash Bandicoot, and hell, I even feel some nostalgia for it. Unlike most other games though, Crash is a game I never beat, since I didn’t actually own a PlayStation–I just played a lot of it because my cousin owned it. By extension, I also haven’t revisited the game since, which makes playing this remake (Don’t let them trick you, it’s not a simple “remaster”) all the more interesting, since I don’t really remember much about the game.
Crash Bandicoot was a headliner in PlayStation’s early days, taking advantage of the vacuum in the still fledgling PlayStation lineup for mascot platformers like your Sonics and Marios. Crash, however, took a very different approach to translating the experience of a platformer into a 3D space. While Super Mario 64, which came out in the same year, totally reworked its core game mechanics, Crash plays like a 2D platformer dragged kicking and screaming into a 3D space.
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.
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.
Note: For the purposes of this review, I played the PS4 version of this game. This game is available on PS4 and XBox One
OK, everyone. Final Fantasy XV is a gargantuan game to tackle, so I’m going to start with a couple of TL;DR points, in case reading a huge review isn’t your thing:
Final Fantasy XV is a good RPG. A great RPG, in fact. It truly deserves a place in the same pantheon as the other great Final Fantasy games. However, it is a complicated one to tackle. It is such a massive game, so vast in scope, that it inevitably misses some of the numerous targets that it tries to hit. Did anyone ever really expect that this game would live up to its decade old hype? I don’t think any game can. The point is, there are annoyances, but Final Fantasy XV is really, really good. OK? Good.
First announced all the way back in 2006 as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, XV was born as a PS3 companion game to Final Fantasy XIII. Production went slowly due to the game’s ballooning scope, until production was eventually rebooted on the then-next generation consoles, and in 2013, the game was re-branded as the next numbered entry in the series. With that re-branding, the game ended up becoming its own entity in the Final Fantasy canon, and shed its relation to XIII. I will hold back on the spoilers in this review, since I will be writing another, separate article to tackle the story by itself. So if you’re worried about spoilers, don’t worry because I will only mention specifics where it helps me describe the gameplay.