In balancing retro aesthetic with modern mechanics, Hyper Light Drifter stands out as a notable success. Its striking visuals, open ended design and fast, punishing combat makes for a unique experience, but the comparisons to other great videogames are also plenty. Think Fez meets Dark Souls meets The Legend of Zelda: A Link to The Past, and be very excited.
Until Dawn is a well-crafted tribute to classic horror films such as Halloween, Scream, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Nightmare of Elm Street and many more. In turning the premise of a slasher movie into a Heavy Rain style interactive adventure it largely succeeds, although shoehorning every cool idea from an anthology of Wes Craven and John Carpenter films into a single narrative does’t fully work.
Whilst widely regarded as one of the PlayStation 2’s best games, there’s also a sense that no one really knows what to make of Persona 3. In many ways it’s an accomplished title, and one of the underground hits that defined the final years of the PS2’s lifespan. But it’s also slow, repetitive and unrefined. It’s easier to define what’s bad about Persona 3 than what’s good about it, yet it is good. It must be good, they make movies about this game.
Prior to its release I’ll admit I was actually pretty excited for Rise of The Tomb Raider. Its predecessor, Tomb Raider (2013), was a great game, but also one with the potential to be expanded into an exceptional one. Unfortunately delivering meaningful progression is hard, and whilst Lara makes the same right moves she did last time, she also gets caught in a few traps when exploring the dangerous tomb of sequel making.
It’s strange how a developer that underwhelms in one genre can totally deliver in another. The example I’d usually cite is 5pb, who made the sub-par fighting game Phantom Breaker, screwed up their port of CAVE’s DoDonPachi DaiOuJou, and then made Steins;Gate – one of the most gripping and intelligent visual novels I can think of. But Dontnod Entertainment are now also proof that creating an immersive and interactive story is a completely different skill to making a solid action game. Life is Strange is from the makers of Remember Me, and whilst that was a game that could ironically be described as forgettable, the same is certainly not true for their latest title.
Simply going on quantity Rare Replay sets a new standard for the compilation videogame. The collection is made up of thirty titles spanning a length of time not far off the entire duration of videogame history. Beginning with Jetpack in 1983 and ending with Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts in 2008, it moves from retro to modern and strikes an interesting balance between old and new games.