I don’t usually do this (console game reviews), but I feel like I have something to say about TSA:NMH, a game that I was anticipating greatly. A game that meant so much to me as a Suda51 fan that I had bought the special deluxe collector edition from europe and I planned on buying the normal edition to have it at launch as well. I knew this wasn’t going to be No More Heroes 3, but controlling Travis Touchdown as you went through a bunch of different game worlds seemed like a cool proposition. Ultimately, TSA is a deeply disappointing title, both gameplay and story-wise and playing it frustrates me to no end. This review can’t be spoiler free, so beware.
The Executive is a really neat idea of a beat them up/RPG where you play an office worker with martial arts powers fighting against werewolves, skeletons and other demons in a series of increasingly difficult levels while idly accumulating wealth from different divisions of your company that you upgrade alongside your stats and special abilities. Although I was disappointed by the endgame and some of the mechanics felt obtuse to me, I had a lot of fun with it!
Battle Chef Brigade is the combination of a light 2D monster hunting game and a match-3-like puzzle system where you collect food in order to cook great dishes in Iron Chef style competitions. It’s oozing with great style and characters and the mechanics are really interesting. I had a ton of fun with it and wish I could’ve spent even more time with the game. I have to say that it was a bit too stressful for me.
Severed is one of these grand gaming experiences that could be enjoyed on consoles - and it is on Switch after all - but available on your iPad. This is a double edged sword. On one hand, it’s a fully featured -hardcore- game with enough content to last you a long while, deep enough mechanics, an interesting style and a cool soundtrack to boot, on the other hand, it’s not exactly the kind of experience you’re used to on your iDevices. If you only get a few minutes of play here and there during your commute you might have a weird time but if you manage to give this game the time it deserves, it’s just great! After catastrophe strikes your family, you set to find them in strange locales armed with a sword, fighting in first-person encounters by swiping at enemies and solving puzzles.
Livelock is a neat Action RPG set in a destroyed world where you play one of three robots with a small range of skills and weapons in order to overthrow evil robots at the order of an AI overlord. I had fun with it, going through the whole thing almost with each class. I didn't try to go for high scores or find every collectible, but I still had a good time shooting tons of robots regardless.
It was a weird surprise to see a new version of Titan Quest rise from the ashes of the series after all this time and the announcement of a new expansion sure was even more of a surprise to me. Titan Quest: Ragnarok continues the main story into the Nordic lands, adds a new class and probably reworks balance for a great number of skills and items. Is it the expansion I've been waiting for? Probably not. Is it a great reason to go back into Titan Quest? Absolutely.
The latest Grim Dawn expansion didn't fix everything that bothered me about the action RPG; I still don't like how skills and masteries synergize with each other and the two new classes - Necromancer and Inquisitor - don't fix that much. They add some interesting mechanics to the game, but otherwise it still feels like a slog to play. I managed to get through the new story content, but I'm not chomping at the bits to go back to more Grim Dawn.
While Diablo 3 remains one of my favorite games right now, the Necromancer pack wasn't the greatest thing in the history of the universe. It adds a new class and a bunch of other cosmetic things for other blizzard games, a few new areas and some items and quality-of-life fixes to go with all of that. We're very far from Reaper Of Souls, an expansion that brought a ton of new gameplay systems, fixed itemization and made the game endlessly enjoyable, alongside a new act of story content.
Starward Rogue is a bullet hell action RPG roguelike where you move in procedurally generated levels, fighting enemies, gathering keys, power-ups, money and items all in service of getting to the final boss, defeating complex foes with hellish projectile patterns, and get stronger in the process. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but I feel like the roguelike elements have been wasted for a game that feels completed when you finish it for the first time.
Grim Dawn was released a little while ago, but before it came Titan Quest, an action RPG that I've spent countless hours playing, both the normal game and expansion that came after that. In some ways, it was better than other ARPGs, some ways that even stand true today, regardless of the progress in the genre. I was delighted to hear that some bizarre version of THQ was re-releasing it, with updates. Engine changes, of course, but balance changes on items, skills and enemies as well! TQAE definitely feels like the old game that it is, but I would rather play it than many other available ARPGs.
Crucible Mode is the first DLC for Grim Dawn, a game I have enjoyed very much. A battle arena for this ARPG where you could - according to all documentation I've seen on it - start with a fresh level one character? That sounded like a good idea! That being said, I was sorely bummed by it, even if I gave it the time to try and see if there was any enjoyment to get out of it. Sadly, there wasn't much. Bad design decisions made the core concept fall flat for me.
Super Chibi Knight is a zelda 2 inspired game, which is interesting, but the execution is kinda lacking. The game has its charm but I really didn't have fun playing it, so I think that I gave it a fair shake, but poor controls and weird difficulty made me just stop after only a few hours.
Space Marshall is a neat action RPG on iOS where you play a space cowboy that goes after various criminals using guns and explosives. It's not entirely perfect, but I had a good time with it, especially since the mix of twin stick controls and touch screens doesn't always work. I could see this game work on other platforms as well, but it doesn't detract from the experience; A nice shooter with unlockable gear and replayability - perhaps a bit too much.
Grim Dawn is the spiritual successor to Titan Quest, an Action RPG that I've played for a great number of hours back in the days. Backed from their own website, then on kickstarter, it came out only a short while ago and I've managed to play through most of it as two different classes. It's a really neat game full of interesting mechanics that keep the genre fresh and leave the nostalgia simmering below the surface. I had a ton of fun with it, even if - as usual - some aspects did leave me a bit frustrated and could've been ironed out a little.
Victor Vran is a great game, it's the follow up to the Incredible Adventures of Van Hellsing that I always wanted, an Action RPG with tons of contents, reasons to explore the arsenal at your disposal, challenges, crafting, loot and a weird almost moba-like core mechanic. I completed the game in about 18 hours, but that's mainly because I messed around all the challenges and secrets to find before finally going to that last boss, I had a really good time with it.
Path of Exile is still a 5/5 game in my book, but this expansion by itself isn't that great. I'm not a huge fan of precise trap-dodging in action RPGs, especially in ones where lag spikes are quite frequent on my end. Luckily, dodging stuff isn't the only new mechanic added in PoE:A, with subclasses to unlock, more gear to find and more ways to find it, this adds another layer on top of an already pretty great game while bringing a few more bits of new content.
There is a really neat free to play third person action-RPG at the core of Warframe. Something that might have stuck with me for hundreds of hours in other circumstances. Almost everything was there; The mechanics were solid, the core gameplay was fun, there seemed to be enough customization/progression options and overall this grindy feel that came from the whole thing made me think this was going to be my next 'filler' game; A game that I'd play whenever I had free time with nothing else to do. Sadly, it all broke down after a while and the came couldn't keep me interested a single second more.
Devilian made me feel gross; Devilian made me feel like I had clicked on one of these stupid 'come play with us my lord' flash ads that would creep on the internet if I disabled ad-block for a few seconds; Presented as a free-to-play action mmorpg, my interest was piqued by the mix between Diablo-like gameplay and MMO systems. This game is not entirely without merit, but there are a few glaring flaws both in the way it plays and how it markets itself. I had a few good moments with it, but not much more. I'd rather play Path of Exile or Diablo 3 when the next season starts.
Gauntlet isn't half-bad, I quite enjoyed my time with it. I have never played the original arcade classic, but this version is a tough little action-rpg where you kill tons of enemies, dodge traps and solve simple puzzles in a dual joystick shooter-like style of gameplay with light character customization. The lack of real progression and the clunkiness of the controls in some spots made me put it down, but I still had a good experience and would shoot the food again.
Apotheon is a bit weird. It has the trappings of a metroidvania, but some of its elements feel more like Dark Souls-ish systems, and the basic controls didn't feel good to me at all. I gave it a fair try, but I didn't enjoy it very much. I'll take a few seconds to say that it has a cool graphical style and potentially neat concepts, however.