Elden Ring

I’ll start this review for Elden Ring with some comparisons. The first From Software (Elden Ring’s developer) game I played was Dark Souls. I am not especially skilled when it comes to games, so I died quite a lot. I also became frustrated enough to stop playing fairly often. Strangely though, I grew to love the game; it was memorable due to the difficulty, sense of accomplishment I had when finally overcoming something, and its uniquely beautiful but melancholy in-game world. Elden Ring is a natural evolution from Dark Souls;…

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Tales of Arise

Back in the early 00s, the “Tales” series from Namco captured my interest with two incredible games – Tales of Symphony and Tales of Destiny II. These games, along with Star Ocean 2, introduced me to the “action RPG” style that would become one of my favorite gaming sub-genres. Essentially, these games still utilize the classic RPG stables like HP (character life meter), MP (available magic), and various stats to govern player strength. They also feature variants of fantasy world adventures, like swords, dramatic villains, and constantly battling monsters. The…

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Steam Controller

Right off the top: This is probably going to be a frustrating review to read. The reason is that I’m going to review the somewhat recently discontinued Steam Controller by Valve. So, yeah…reviewing something that is hard to buy now is one thing. But the other frustrating thing is that the Steam Controller is amazing. In fact, for me, it’s actually so good that it’s an indispensable part of my gaming set up. There are some games that I simply won’t play without it. Like so many people, I spend…

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Persona 4 Golden

I grew up playing turn-based RPGs, starting with the original Final Fantasy on the NES. I’ve always had a nostalgic fondness for the genre. I’ve found over time though, the specific turn-based combat style has not held up well compared to action (ex. Dragon Age) and strategic (ex. Pillars of Eternity) RPGs. Very few modern turn-based RPGs are able to hold my interest; one exception though is the Persona/Shin Megami Tensei series. If you haven’t heard of the Persona games, the gist is that characters can summon psychological manifestations called…

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South Park The Stick of Truth

Despite being a fairly short game, South Park: The Stick of Truth surprised me by how fun it was to play. It’s based to some extent on the fantasy genre personas the kids in the show adopted in the classic episodes The Return of the Fellowship and Make Love Not Warcraft. You create a custom, silent protagonist everyone (for the most part) calls “New Kid” and get to adventure around the town of South Park with Stan, Cartman, Kyle, Kenny, and others. The game does feel like you’ve been thrown…

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Age of Empires II

I can’t believe I still come back to this game from time to time. Age of Empires II, for those unfamiliar, is a real time strategy game that first came out in 1999 that involves building a kingdom and battling other civilizations. I played it a fair amount back then; I wasn’t a huge PC gamer in those days, but just by coincidence it was one of the few Windows games I’d played. Building and growing your little town is a lot of fun, and the danger of your neighbors…

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Kenshi

Kenshi is basically a game about survival and choice. It’s a true sandbox game, in that you can do pretty much whatever you want. You select a starting scenario, which sets you up with varying levels of money, friends, equipment, and locations. Then you’re dropped right into the world as a pathetic weakling at the mercy of Kenshi’s harsh environments and people. The story isn’t on rails like other games; it’s completely player driven and your tale sort of weaves itself as you play. The world essentially has lore and…

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Elder Scrolls V Skyrim

Considering the fact that I’ve played Elder Scrolls V Skyrim so much, and purchased so many DLCs and editions, I guess I have to say I love Skyrim. You can’t have played a game for hundreds of hours total and not admit it’s one of your favorite games of all time. But the game does have flaws. Most significantly, the combat is very shallow. Skyrim is the ultimate fantasy/RPG sandbox though. There is a tremendous modding community, allowing you to change and add significant fun content. If you’ve never played,…

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Ashen

I’m one of a specific type when it comes to this game. I’ve been waiting for it for a long time, but refused to spread out my game library across another store/platform. So I had to wait for a year for it to come to Steam. Now that it’s here, I bought it. The game is beautiful with a very compelling atmosphere to it. Unfortunately, I also found the game to be very hard. I struggle with games that have extremely punishing combat, and I’ve never been a fan of…

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Ni No Kuni Wrath Of The White Witch

My long term fondness for certain games is often driven by memories associated with them. For example, some of the old SNES RPGs like Final Fantasy III and Secret of Mana trigger positive memories from my childhood. Wrath of the White Which reminds me of some tough life events I worked through, so it’s a rare modern game that has similar nostalgia power for me. It’s also a really great game and successfully brings some of that 1990s-style SNES RPG flavor back. Here are the basics on this game: You’re…

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