Friday, May 1, 2020

Review Round-Up - April 2020

Take a tropical trip to an island paradise with Animal Crossing: New Horizons, SPC's Game of the Month.
SuperPhillip Central had four new reviews on the site throughout the month of April, and the selection of games is tremendously varied for such a small amount of games covered. There's stuff for everyone--an open-world game with superpowers, a collection of classic Disney faves, a life simulation perfect for these trying times, and a long-awaited epic remake of a PS1 classic. It's time for the Review Round-Up!

Starting off, we returned to the virtual simulation of Steelport to kick alien ass in Saints Row IV: Re-Elected for the Nintendo Switch. The game earned a C+. Following that was Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King, serving up an incredible collection bonus feature-wise, but not so much with games that have stood the test of time. The collection also received a C+.

While the first half of SPC's games reviewed didn't amaze with their quality, we kicked it into high gear with Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a game that astounding me with how many hours its siphoned from my free time. It established itself as a daily play for me, and got a fantastic A grade. Last and certainly not least, Final Fantasy VII Remake delivered a stellar part one to what will most likely be a lengthy episodic series. If it keeps its current direction quality-wise, we're in for something truly special. The game received an A-.

I conclude this edition of the Review Round-Up with some excerpts from this past month's reviews, and a reminder to check out the SPC Review Archive for every past review published and posted on my blog.

Saints Row IV: Re-Elected (NSW) - C+
...there's no denying that while some aspects of Saints Row IV are indeed dated, it remains a blast to speed through Steelport's streets, running up walls, leaping over tall buildings in a single bound like Superman, soaring through the sky, and unleashing your superpowers all over Zinyak's intergalactic army. It's some of the most fun I've had moving around an open-world setting. 
Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King (NSW, PS4, XB1, PC) - C+
As a collection, Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King is top shelf material with a lot of love poured into the bonus materials and added features, and is more than worthy of representing the beloved animated classics they're adapting in video game form. As games themselves? Well, it's a compilation of games that's half good and half not. I'll just say that The Lion King isn't the "mane" attraction here. At its current price of $20 for a physical release and cheaper for digital, if you have any semblance of love for either movie or fond memories or nostalgia of either game, you'll find something to appreciate with this well put-together package.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (NSW) - A
Animal Crossing: New Horizons takes the series and gives it some giant leaps forward in progress while sometimes also taking some steps backward in the process. The online being a major sticking point here. That notwithstanding, I can't think of a better game to play right now considering everything going on in the world, and I feel my New Horizons island really is a home away from home. I think in a few years I'll have the same level of nostalgia for New Horizons as I do with the original Animal Crossing. The only difference is that my nostalgia for the original Animal Crossing is rooted in the years I had growing up as a precocious teenager, while with New Horizons, my nostalgia will come from the unexpected and close connections I made to friends new and old through this game during these tremendously turbulent and uncertain times.
Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4) - A-
Final Fantasy VII Remake is a Final Fantasy game for a new era. Its battle system walks a fine balance between fast-paced finger-fu and tactical strategy, its story is engaging and excites in familiar and totally brand new ways with an abundance of increased and heartfelt character interactions, and it sets out to do almost everything it intended to do. While the pacing of the game can get bogged down at times, and some technical performance problems do hinder the experience a little, they don't slight the game that largely enough to be substantial burdens. Final Fantasy VII Remake has made a believer out of me for the development team's vision for the future of the franchise. I can't wait to see where Cloud and his party venture to next.
The first in a multi-part epic did not disappoint with Final Fantasy VII Remake's first arc.

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