Oh boy, where do I start? Anyone who’s been playing video games for the past 15 years knows of Shadow of the Colossus. This is a game that is often brought up as an example of video games as a form of art, and with good reason. Back when it was originally released for the PS2 in 2005, this game was an unmatched audiovisual masterpiece, let down only by the technological limitations of that console.
I first played this game when it was ported to the PS3, and I could quickly see why this game is so beloved. There is a solemn beauty here that you can’t really find anywhere else. The desolate environments, sweeping, melancholic soundtrack and magnificently crafted colossi all work together to craft a powerful feeling of awe. Hell, I get goosebumps just writing about it.
Fish and chips. Bread and butter. Cheese and macaroni. Peanut butter and jelly. Dragon Ball and fighting games. These are things that have gone together for what seems like an eternity, and they all compliment each other perfectly.
Dragon Ball has had a long history of ups and downs when it comes to its video game entries. I’m pretty familiar with this series, from the excellent Budokai and Budokai Tenkaichi games, to the forgettable run of titles on the last-gen systems, and the enjoyable Xenoverse games. FighterZ is kind of a breath of fresh air, in that it dials things back from the fully 3D Xenoverse and gives us a great classic-style 2.5D, side-view fighter.
For as long as I have followed Monster Hunter, it was always apparent that this series is following a clear trajectory. With each entry, the developers have been improving the games, slowly refining the core mechanics in their quest to make the perfect monster-killing sim. Up to this point, each main entry in the series has been better than the last, so a game as spectacular as Monster Hunter: World was only an inevitability.
This is a game that blew me away at almost every moment. It wowed me whether I was barely surviving through a fight with a massive monster, teaming up with other hunters to collect parts for that greatsword I really wanted, or just exploring its hauntingly beautiful world while picking bugs and flowers. With the improvements that have been made in World, in addition to everything it inherits from the previous games, it just feels like Monster Hunter has finally hit the critical mass to allow them to cross the threshold from ” good” to “amazing.”
Yeah, while I’m really bummed that Monster Hunter: World is skipping the Nintendo Switch, I’m also extremely excited for this game. I’ve been a fan of this series ever since Monster Hunter 3: Tri consumed my life when it was released on the Nintendo Wii, and I spent the whole weekend exploring the game’s demo, which was available over the weekend.
While Monster Hunter has always been awesome, it has also been a relatively niche series due to its complex mechanics that puts the focus squarely on the gameplay and nothing else. While very similar to its predecessor, Monster Hunter 4 did take a small step forward by streamlining many aspects and improving the game’s multiplayer mode, but there was still room for improvement. World seems to be the game that finally goes the whole way, providing visual cues and quality of life changes that I think will end up improving the experience a lot.
I’m sure I’m not the first person to draw this comparison, but Rec Room, originally released in 2016 for the PC and last fall for the PSVR, is essentially the Wii Sports of VR. It bundles several multiplayer mini games together in a wonderful showcase of what VR can bring to the table. And best of all? It’s totally free.
I’m not going to review the game at this point, since it is still in Early Access/Beta. However, I wanted to run through the game and encourage any PSVR owner who hasn’t downloaded this to give it a try.
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.