Game Informer's Reviews
When the first Mortal Kombat debuted more than 30 years ago, the series quickly became known for its trademark blood, gore, and violence. While that is still at the forefront thanks to Mortal Kombat 1’s Fatal Blows, Brutalities, and, of course, Fatalities, the longer the series has gone on, the longer it has rightfully become just as known for its genre-leading approach to single-player content and incredibly tight fighting mechanics. In making strides in both areas, Mortal Kombat 1 moves the series forward to continue what has already been a terrific year for the genre.
Lies of P's greatest strength is how it rewards and empowers you at every turn to venture further through this twisted tale of puppetry and monstrous humanity, despite its oppressive world and formidable enemies. I struggled to pull myself away from Lies of P, even when it had me fuming. It delicately balances the fun of a Soulslike with the challenge the genre demands and only falters a few times. That it maintains that balance within the confines of a fairytale most know best because of Disney, flipping it on its head to tell something more in line with Carlo Collodi's original The Adventures of Pinocchio, is another achievement of Lies of P. But above all that, Lies of P uses the familiar, the highlights, and the lessons learned from the authors of the Soulslike subgenre to create something unique, fascinating, and exhilarating. Neowiz aimed for the stars, much like the ones its Pinocchio wishes upon, and hits them with machine-like accuracy.
Following the innovative and pleasantly surprising NBA 2K23, I expected Visual Concepts to build upon its success and introduce even more improvements with its latest entry in the long-running basketball series. But instead of mirroring the Black Mamba's gradual rise to permanent relevancy, NBA 2K24 sadly feels like a stop-gap – a quick hit to temporarily satisfy diehard fans. If this continues, the series could veer closer to a forgettable imitation of Kobe's signature move: a fadeaway into obscurity.
I was ready to love WrestleQuest, and some enjoyment can be found for those with the patience and fandom to fireman carry them along. But the imaginative ideas die by a thousand cuts that hold Muchacho Man and his friends back from world title contention. The game has cool ideas; it just needs more refinement and a serious reexamination of certain systems before it’s ready for the big time
Sea of Stars is a stellar throwback that appeals to fans like me who love 16-bit RPGs, but it also functions as an excellent entry point. Annoyances that hindered early games that inspired Sea of Stars are nowhere to be seen. Simple actions like moving around the world feel great, the story picks up quickly, and farming experience is effectively unnecessary. It all leads to a smooth, consistently thrilling adventure with fun combat, all in a gorgeous and inviting world.
This is a shame because there's a fun game here – it's just trapped in a hollow shell. Its final sin is having a miserable story hardly even worth bringing up. It's boring and bad; we can leave it at that. There's room for games that want to recapture some old glory – to remind you how cool games used to be – but to do that, you have to add something new to the conversation. Neon White is a great example of a game that did this right. Bomb Rush isn't interested in adding anything new. It just wants to have the same conversations we've been having for years. Jet Set Radio was cool. Go play that instead.
Armored Core VI is a solid return for one of From Software’s long-dormant franchises. It still carries many of the mech genre’s old contrivances, like its generic mission structure and predictable plot. However, it modernizes mech action meaningfully to introduce it to a new generation. While legacy fans may have some complaints about the “casualization” of Armored Core, I am ultimately glad the series is back and firing on all cylinders.
The improvements to the fundamental gameplay in Madden 24 continue to pay dividends with some of the most authentic football the series has ever seen. But, like an ill-timed penalty, the dreadfully slow menus and funneling toward tedious minigames wipe out any forward progress and move the series backward overall.
Delivering something different and unique in a genre clogged with games set in real-world wars and battles, or at least meant to emulate them, is a commendable effort and pays off here for Ascendant. Immortals of Aveum is a great first outing, mixing the fantasy genre’s vibes, storytelling, and world exploration with the gunplay of a modern shooter.
At several points in my lengthy journey through the Gothic delight that is Blasphemous 2, I worried the monstrous foe in front of me would spell an end to my journey. But without these frequent frustrations, the triumphs wouldn’t be as great. Blasphemous 2 takes inspiration from those that came before it, but by intertwining a gorgeous art style, enticing exploration, and rewarding combat, it rises above the horde of Castlevania-inspired action titles.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is unforgettable and one of the best experiences I’ve had in games. I may have just finished my lengthy first playthrough, but I’m already eager to delve further and push the boundaries of what’s possible in this exceptional world that Larian created.
Capcom is trying to have its cake and eat it, too, with Exoprimal by using its story to lure more general fans while hoping the loop keeps hardcore multiplayer fans for the long haul. I’m not sure that will work; I have little motivation to return now that I’ve seen credits. But I had a fun time while it lasted. Exoprimal’s creative subversion of expectations impressed me in more ways than one, and its approach to telling a robust narrative within a multiplayer framework is an example I hope other titles study. I just hope it’s enough to keep the game from going extinct.
Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons has some aggravating design choices that prevent it from reaching the heights of similar comebacks like TMNT or newcomers like Young Souls, but this is a respectable return for the Lee brothers. If you’re hankering to punch goons in the face, a good time can be had as long as you bring a measure of patience.
With credits behind me, I’m excited to discover more of Monoth’s secrets and collectibles I haven’t yet found, and I’m especially thrilled to play more with my 7-year-old nephew. Illusion Island doesn’t overhaul the platformer genre, or the Metroidvania formula for that matter, but its distinctive no-combat focus on simply moving through Monoth keeps the trip amusing, brisk, and gratifying. I would have liked more challenge; this is a simple adventure that might not capture the interest of platformer enthusiasts with little to no preoccupation with Disney. But when met on its own terms, it’s hard to deny Illusion Island is a jubilant love letter to these characters and platforming.
Remnant II is most successful as a tour through a series of disparate dimensions, each contending with their own battles against the villainous Root plaguing their world. The gunplay is solid, the co-op with up to two other players works great, and the lore is fascinating (if you want to dig deep). Remnant II’s plot, characters, and progression are where it falls short, but I like its third-person shooter take on mechanics and ideas borrowed from the Souls games.
Mr. Run and Jump may look unassuming on the surface, but the challenges that await will have you screaming in frustration until they have you shouting in triumph. Though the trial-and-error style of each difficult room sometimes wore on me, after each success, I couldn’t wait to see what hurdles I needed to clear next.