Written by Tabitha Dickerson and published on May 5, 2020.
Recommended: There is a lot to like about the Remake of Final Fantasy VII, and some true moments of brilliance within the boss fights. Some great lines were removed, and some cringe inducing ones as well. The writing is a mixed bag. When it's really good, it's really good, but when it's bad... The combat is a blast and puts a new spin on an old system, adding a surprising amount of depth to the game. I don't think I'm a fan of most of the story changes they're making this time round, and it doesn't feel like much of a remake, so much as a complete reboot of the events of the franchise. Is it bad? By no means, but I can't guarantee that stalwart fans of the original are going to enjoy this one. If you can get past that though ... its pretty good.
Written by Tabitha Dickerson and published on May 3, 2020.
Recommended: Bloodstained lives up to its claims. While feeding off the lifeblood of previous titles from the same developers, it manages to almost stand on its own. The story is a little generic, with some obvious twists and turns. The art direction is sensational, and some of the bosses look so much better in 3D than they did in the 8 bit prequel game. The music while not memorable is still enjoyable and fits every section of the castle. Worth a look.
Written by Maiyannah Bishop and published on Apr 2, 2020.
Not Recommended: Sundered is the most disappointing game I've played to date. I've played games and had worse experiences, and I've played games which have had more glaring design flaws, but none quite so disappointing. Sundered is a beautifully-wrought disaster of a game which marries an absolutely gorgeous art and animation with detailed sound design and atmospheric music ... with some of the most slipshod and lazy-feeling design I've experienced in a long time. Where there was the promise of a metroidvania is more a bullet-hell button-mashing brawler, devoid of any feeling of taking skill or granting any accomplishment. Aggravating maps full of procedurally-generated tunnels that don't last long before they get repetitive, and bosses that feel more akin to battles of attrition than tests of skill. Not really worth it except on a deep sale, if you're willing to put up with an experience that's fairly uninspired and rough in every aspect outside art direction.
Written by Trever Bierschbach and published on Feb 16, 2020.
Recommended: Hnefatafl is the ancient strategy game developed in Scandanavia, and popular across Europe until it was replaced by Chess as the more fashionable game to play. I got my set at GenCon from an artist known for his hand-carved Viking horns, and it's a beautiful and fun addition to our game library. It's easy to learn, and challenging to master. If you're someone who likes classic and old games like Chess, Backgammon, or Othello this game will be right up your alley. You can pick up a copy at almost any store that sells quality board games, or check out Where the Gods Live to see the artistic pieces done by Brian Marshall.
Written by Maiyannah Bishop and published on Feb 2, 2020.
Neutral: Darkest Dungeon spins a tale of insanity and despair that looks and sounds brilliant, but is something of a veneer western town, with quite plain mechanics underneath. Worth a play if you can stand a decent amount of artificial difficulty. It isn't going to sell you on it, if you aren't.
Written by Maiyannah Bishop and published on Dec 31, 2019.
Neutral: The Long Dark's recent updates have added some more to the game, but it's a game experience that increasingly is being shown as somewhat shallow. A somewhat zen and immersive survival experience falls prey to a pressure to make it more challenging, and the game does so by giving you challenges you have little chance to survive. The story is plodding, staid, and kind of bog-standard stereotypical mysticism which handles its themes extremely heavy-handedly. There's still plenty of fun to be had here in the survival mode, but its been dulled since initial release.