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Mortal Kombat 1 Review Review

Gory Glory by Brian Shea on Sep 15, 2023

Mortal Kombat 1 brings the tight gameplay of its predecessors to the next level. Every punch, kick, throw, and special move feels impactful in the dances of death in which its characters participate. Once you get a few fights under your belt with your character of choice, the gameplay really starts to sing as you learn how to chain together combos, specials, and this entry’s new addition, Kameo Fighters.

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Lies of P Review Review

Master Of Puppets by Wesley LeBlanc on Sep 13, 2023

Lies of P developer Neowiz proudly calls its The Adventures of Pinocchio-inspired action game a Soulslike, drawing direct attention to its From Software inspiration. The proclamation is a bold and risky move. While there are great contenders in this action subgenre, even the best are a few marks from what From Software creates and I went into Lies of P with that expectation. But then I put 40 hours into Lies of P in just five days, something I rarely do with any game. And then I doubled back on a save to get a different ending. And then I started New Game Plus because I wanted more. Lies of P masterfully wields familiar Soulslike combat and worldbuilding and infuses it with a few twists to set it apart from its various inspirations. The result is a pondering and memorable exploration of a fairytale everyone knows built within a deeply rewarding action game. Simply put, Lies of P is utterly fantastic.

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Starfield Review Review

Overwhelming Scope by Matt Miller on Aug 31, 2023

Even in the increasingly crowded marketplace of big, expansive games, Starfield stands out. Leveraging the gameplay Bethesda popularized with The Elder Scrolls and Fallout games, Starfield expands the breadth of exploration to a galaxy of solar systems, planets, and ships. It populates those environments with a rich palette of activities and missions that tap into the outer space fantasy. It’s a staggering span of content to wrap one’s head around. At times, that scope threatens to impair the focus and pacing, and moment-to-moment gameplay is not always a strong suit. But players can expect to uncover hundreds of hours of experimentation in a richly imagined sci-fi playground, and that thrill is worth experiencing.

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Blasphemous 2 Review Review

Absolution by Brian Shea on Aug 17, 2023

Steeped in religious themes, the narrative of Blasphemous 2 tells of a land unable to overcome the curse placed on it by a higher power, regardless of how repentant its people are. Playing Blasphemous 2, I sometimes felt the same, as I wondered how I could possibly overcome the challenge before me. But like the denizens of The City of the Blessed Name, I persevered. And though the curses being thrown around my house each time I died were of a different variety than those cast in Blasphemous 2’s story, I loved nearly every minute of this challenging Metroidvania journey.

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Disney Illusion Island Review

Joy In Simplicity by Wesley LeBlanc on Jul 27, 2023

Disney Illusion Island puts Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy front and center in a Metroidvania adventure, and the result is mostly successful. Where most platformers dole out fun using the adrenaline-inducing triumph of challenge, Illusion Island is instead built around the joy of movement, thanks in part to its combat-less exploration, and the delight of controlling some of the most recognizable mascots in the world. It plays a bit floaty and simple, especially for seasoned fans of the genre, and I wanted my platforming prowess pushed more, but Illusion Island is still always fun.

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The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie Review

The End Of An Era by Cameron Hawkins on July 11, 2023

For almost 20 years, Nihon Falcom has created one the richest ensembles of original characters, history, and politics in video games with The Legend of Heroes. Across three narrative arcs (and counting), I’ve explored myriad diverse locations, cultures, governments, and organizations, making the continent of Zemuria the most lived-in world I’ve ever experienced in the medium. Trails into Reverie, the latest entry in the long-running franchise, is a bittersweet culmination; I must potentially say goodbye to some of these characters for good after the series successfully captured my heart.

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Final Fantasy XVI Review

Victory In The Land Of Gods And Monsters by Wesley LeBlanc on Jun 21, 2023

Final Fantasy XVI is bombastic, indulgent, and extreme, breaking far beyond the limits of what I thought an action-oriented Final Fantasy could pull off. It represents a pivotal shift for the series, ditching any semblance of turn-based move selection, active-time battles, or anything else in its history in favor of a fast-paced, extravagant, combo-heavy combat system that continued to grow more robust throughout my 60-plus hour journey.

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Diablo IV Review

Heaven-sent by Marcus Stewart on Jun 06, 2023

Diablo IV successfully tempts me to gleefully indulge in sin at every turn. A thrilling hunt for rare loot feeds my insatiable greed and lust for power. The satisfaction of slaughtering thousands of foes, supernatural or otherwise, leaves little room for remorse. Whether taking down the forces of darkness alone or with friends, this is a massive and deeply engrossing action RPG that keeps me coming back for more dozens upon dozens of hours later.

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Street Fighter 6 Review

A Clean Reversal by Elijah Gonzalez on May 30, 2023

It’s no secret that Street Fighter V got off to a disastrous start, and despite years of course correction, its flawed foundation made a comeback difficult. By contrast, Street Fighter 6 is a thorough response to its predecessor’s failings, defined by well-considered central mechanics, formidable single-player offerings, and a plethora of smart decisions that make for a powerful opening punch.

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