Sunday, March 1, 2020

Review Round-Up - February 2020

While replaying the Dragon Ball Z saga was nothing new, the way that it was presented to players
certainly was with Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, SPC's Featured Game of the Month!
SuperPhillip Central moves into March with a look back at the reviews published on the site in February. It's something I like to call the Review Round-Up, and in February, four reviews were posted. Let's call it "quality over quantity", and it's my firm hope that you agree with the "quality" part of that statement!

We started off strong with Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition, a heartfelt Metroid-style 2D platformer that was as much of a surprise in quality as it was that it appeared on a non-Xbox-related platform. The game earned a B+. Then, the featured game of the month was Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, a somewhat long-winded but enjoyable romp through both familiar, already tread territory with the DBZ saga, and all-new territory with a bevy of side missions that dug deep into the Dragon Ball mythos. The game got a B grade overall.

Following that was the latest in the Darksiders franchise with Darksiders Genesis, taking on a new isometric, top-down perspective for its adventure while retaining many of the qualities that fans of the series have grown to love. Genesis also got a B grade. Finally, we wrapped up with the mystery files and compelling cases of Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires' Conspiracy - Deluxe Edition, arriving on the Nintendo Switch with its abundance of perplexing puzzles and charming characters. It, too, received a B grade. Overall, a great month of games ranging from B to B+!

Now, let's take a look at some excerpts from each of SPC's reviews this month, and remember to check out every review ever posted on SuperPhillip Central with the SPC Review Archive!

Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition (NSW) - B+
Now, Nintendo Switch owners without an Xbox can see for themselves what the gaming world has known for over four years now: that Ori and the Blind Forest is a breathtaking game, most definitely worthy of playing. Seriously, you owe it to yourself if you have any semblance of a fandom for platformers or Metroid-style games to check Moon Studios' stellar outing out. What it lacks in super-satisfying combat, Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition more than makes up for in basically everything else--sensational, jaw-dropping visuals; a muted, ambient soundtrack that knows when to pack a punch when it's absolutely necessary; a heart-tugging, emotional journey; and immensely rewarding and great-feeling gameplay.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot (PS4, XB1, PC) - B
...while I think Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is a great Dragon Ball Z game, it's only just a good game in general. Some gameplay systems are too basic or work against one another, and battles can really test one's patience early on, especially with the sometimes wonky camera. Most outside players less familiar with the source material will probably not find as much to love about the game as a fan would. That notwithstanding, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is a game built for the fans first and foremost, and here, it certainly serves them well.
Darksiders Genesis (PS4, XB1, NSW) - B
Even with its tremendous lack of polish (and this will only improve as more patches are added to the game), Darksiders Genesis managed to hook me in from beginning to end and long after seeing the credits roll for the first time after my initial 15 hour play-through. I found myself routinely returning to levels to retrieve collectibles I had missed or couldn't yet acquire because I didn't have a needed ability from a later level. The combat is simple enough to learn, but the ins and outs will take plenty of time to get proficient enough to tackle the game's toughest challenges, such as the arena and ultra-hard Apocalyptic difficulty. What Darksiders Genesis lacks in polish and an overly capable camera, it more than makes up for in enjoyable exploration, rewarding combat, clever puzzles, and smartly placed secrets.
Overall, if you've already experienced what Layton's Mystery Journey had to offer on a previous platform it released on, then there's no real reason to play through the game again on the Switch, despite the sharper visuals, slightly altered or completely different puzzles, and new additions. While Kat and her adventure may stay in the shadow of her father's trademark top hat due to its disjointed case structure and easier puzzles, Layton's Mystery Journey is still a top notch point-and-click puzzle game that fans of the Professor Layton series will feel right at home playing. It's also a fantastic starting point for new players to take their first leap into the Layton franchise. 
War and Strife made one unlikely but altogether efficient duo in the stellar Darksiders Genesis.

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