Monday, February 1, 2021

Review Round-Up - January 2021

The Ghost left his mark on SuperPhillip Central with Ghost of Tsushima being January's featured game of the month.

The first full month of 2021 is in the books, and with that comes the monthly tradition of the Review Round-Up! Let's take a trip back at the month that was with this look at the reviews published on SPC during January 2021, complete with links and excerpts of each review! It says something strong about this latest cluster of reviews when the lowest rated game gets a B grade.

The month started in a big way with a look back at the single player campaign of Guerilla Games' Ghost of Tsushima, which told a heartfelt tale and took players through an emotional journey. It earned the highest grade of the month with an A-. Following our strong start, we took a musical turn with the rhythm game goodness of Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory, giving a great performance and making this reviewer for an encore someday. The game received a B+ grade.

Another game soaring to the heights of a B+ grade was Ristar, our lone retro review of the month. It was wonderful returning to this Genesis platformer. From the stars to the links, SPC then took on the excellent golf simulation of PGA Tour 2K21, particularly the Nintendo Switch version. The game scored under par, earning a B for its efforts. Finally, we took the latest Spider-Man game for a swing with Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales--this time the PS4 version--which got a B+ grade to end the month on a good note.

To round out this Review Round-Up, here is the list of reviews, links to each, and excerpts for your reading and viewing pleasure. As always you can check out all past reviews ever published on SuperPhillip Central with the SPC Review Archive

The games planned for review this February will have a bit of a 3D platforming focus. You'll see what I mean later this month!

Ghost of Tsushima (PS4) - A-

Ghost of Tsushima is one part sensationally crafted story that paints a bleak picture of life in war-torn Japan, one part incredible combat that is both visceral and mechanically sound, and one part well presented to make for one wonderful open-world adventure. There is some sense of being formulaic with its structure and how discoveries are stumbled upon. Overall, though, Ghost of Tsushima ends up being one of the PlayStation's strongest open-world action games, and one that stands tall among PlayStation's impressive lineup of first-party titles. Another jewel in Sony's first-party crown, for sure.

Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory (NSW, PS4, XB1) - B+

Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory takes 18+ years of series history, most notably the sensational soundtracks, and puts them in one concise musical collection that can be enjoyed by any rhythm game fan or music lover. Those only interested in buying this game for the story should probably just catch the ending on YouTube or something, as the new story content isn't worth the $60 price of admission. Memory Dives and the occasional clutter that inhibits seeing and reacting to note prompts on time also detract from the game, but overall my experience with Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory was a positive one. I definitely ended my time with the game on a good note.

Ristar (GEN) - B+

What doesn't deliver a star-ache, or a headache for us humans, is Ristar as an overall game. Sonic Team may have left poor Ristar in the blue blur's dust, but there's no denying that the game successfully differentiates itself from the developer's other, more popular Genesis works. The fact that Ristar still plays as well today as it did over 25 years ago is a testament to Sonic Team for making one of the better, more innovative and creative platformers of the 16-bit era. It may be a short game, but it's also certainly a sweet one. With a wonderfully clever grab mechanic that pours over into all facets of the game from offense to traversal, Ristar remains a very worthy play that any platformer fan out there.

PGA Tour 2K21 (NSW) - B

[PGA Tour 2K21 is] honestly a superb golf simulation, offering controls that can be tailored to suit both beginners and veterans of the genre (and of course everyone in between). Swinging the club feels fantastic, and the system incorporated into the game featured is fun and especially refreshing coming off decades of three clicks gauges and swing meters. For a terrific round of golf, don't pull out a Callaway club: pull out PGA Tour 2K21 on Nintendo Switch from your bag instead.

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales (PS4) - B+

[Marvel's Spider-Man; Miles Morales] offers a greater amount of combat options, improved mobility, and a story that I was eager to press on and find out what was going to happen next. Technical bugs and glitches do bring the overall experience down, at least on the PlayStation 4, but overall, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales swings with the best of them and is a worthy follow-up to the original Spider-Man.

Two of Sony's first-party delights bookended the month of January here at SPC,
with Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales ending the month just right.

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