Øvredal is to be commended for simultaneously staying true to a beloved franchise and twisting its head around to face in an unexpected direction. Thanks to him, the film isn’t just a collection of scary stories. It’s a meditation on why the stories we tell ourselves shape us and why that’s the scary bit.
Metal Wolf Chaos XD is one of those re-releases where even though I can’t recommend everyone immediately rush out and buy it, I’m really happy it exists. It might not be the greatest game in the world, but it’s a unique cultural artifact that didn’t deserve to be locked away on Japan-exclusive Xbox discs forever.
While The Coming Race might not sell the need for this absurd series to continue, it at least provides a reason to go back and watch the original, and help its creators get the money they need to try to recapture their uniquely bizarre form of movie magic.
Hit-and-miss horror auteur Alexandre Aja knows how to deliver lean, mean horror action. Crawl is far less tongue-in-cheek than his Piranha remake, but it doesn’t build to a fever pitch or deliver dynamite setpieces.
There are many video games that have taken storytelling techniques from other mediums, especially film, so I found it surprising as I made my way through 198X that it’s more of a movie than a game. 198X finds a way to add interactivity to a linear narrative, interactivity that not only helps the audience better understand the story and characters, but also creates a meaningful difference in the experience between someone playing it versus watching it. That’s not something you can say for a lot of storytelling in video games.
The Black Order isn’t the kind of game that breaks new ground with new and exciting elements. It’s more like comfort food. It’s neither perfect nor original, but it scratches a very particular itch and lets long-time Marvel fans live out a very specific fantasy. It might not make a lot of sense, but you can finally see how Venom will fight alongside Mile Morales. That’s good enough.
While it’s a near shot-for-shot remake of the original, this version of The Lion King lacks much of the emotion and expressiveness that keeps people coming back to the first. ... Someone who’s never seen the original version could probably enjoy this strictly inferior clone. But why should they?
Jawline is a nuanced exploration of digital celebrity and the gap between “real” and online lives, issues that are particularly relevant during a mass reevaluation of social media. But it’s also a timeless, bittersweet film about a teenager with ambitious dreams and few opportunities to realize them.
Sea of Solitude isn’t the first game to explore mental health issues; 2017’s Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is one notable example. But those games are often rough around the edges. Sea of Solitude may tell a story that’s painfully personal, but it’s also incredibly approachable. The fantasy setting makes it easy to get into, as does the streamlined gameplay. Actually experiencing the story, though, is painfully difficult; it might even hit a little too close to home for some. Sea of Solitude is beautiful and dark and tragic — and if you happen to see yourself in it, those feelings only multiply.
Gato Roboto could have just been a Metroid clone — from the screenshots it certainly looks like one. But there is so much clever work in the game’s design hidden behind its very simple black-and-white aesthetic.
Super Mario Maker 2 is an excellent sequel, and I’m incredibly excited to see what the community does with it when it officially launches. I also really enjoy playing through levels on the go, something that wasn’t possible with the Wii U. But while there have been plenty of Wii U games that migrated to the Switch — including Mario Kart 8, Splatoon, and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze — this is the first time I’ve ever pined for the clunky Gamepad. It’ll probably be the only time, too.