Mega Man 11’s iconic hero is moving fast, hitting hard, and completely stuck in a rut

It’s been eight long years since Capcom’s venerable Mega Man franchise last slapped a new numeral onto the end of its name, a span that’s seen the Blue Bomber’s NES contemporaries—most notably Nintendo’s own Mario and Zelda games—evolve dramatically in response to increasingly powerful technology and changing gaming…

Life finds a “meh” in Jurassic World’s lackluster theme-park builder

With apologies to “Life finds a way,” there’s a much simpler philosophical thesis lurking underneath the Jurassic Park/World franchise: You should never, ever try to run a Jurassic Park. Just don’t! It always starts fine, sure, but the next thing you know, you’ve got T. rexes chowing down on your legal team and Wayne…

Bloodstained: Curse Of The Moon is a brilliant ode to one of Castlevania’s best

Here’s something I never thought I’d say: Thank god for Kickstarter stretch goals. At some point during the crowdfunding campaign for Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night, Koji Igarashi’s much-hyped return to the form he so thoroughly perfected with Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night and its Game Boy Advance successors,…

A Way Out’s prison-break story shanks itself before it can even make it out of the yard

The best thing you can say about the cooperative nature of Hazelight Studios’ new digital revenge thriller, A Way Out, is that it ensures you’ll always have someone else there to help you cope. A game so beholden to its jailbird movie roots that it shamelessly and haphazardly lifts scenes from The Shawshank Redemption…

Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite epitomizes the simple pleasure of pushing buttons

No matter how good games get at telling poignant stories or expressing eye-opening personal experiences, there’s a more primal underlying truth from which they’ll always benefit: It’s really fucking fun to push buttons and make cool stuff happen on a TV screen. Few series exemplify that simple axiom like Marvel Vs.…

The ’90s are alive and better than ever in Sonic Mania

Sonic Mania isn’t your typical nostalgia trip. Yes, it borrows the look, feel, music, and even specific levels from Sonic The Hedgehog’s Genesis-era glory days, but there’s more to it than the cynical recycling of fondly remembered bits. Mania’s development team—an assemblage of developers from outside Sega who cut…

Hellblade’s battle with mental illness is an agonizing story only games could tell

As Hellblade begins and our main character, a Celtic warrior named Senua, paddles down the foggy river that serves as the backdrop for its opening credits, the first name we see doesn’t belong to a director or producer or actor. The first credit goes to the game’s mental health adviser, Cambridge neuroscience…

Arms is Nintendo’s next great game and a punishing lesson in fighting fundamentals

There’s a reason people who are really, really into fighting games love playing rock-paper-scissors. When you get down to it, everything from Street Fighter II to Injustice 2 is built on the principles of that ancient hand-game. Players are presented with a limited set of options, each of which can win, lose, or draw…

The Wind Waker-inspired island world of Rime is a beautiful puzzle worth solving

The titular sailor from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime Of The Ancient Mariner was forced to wear a murdered albatross around his neck as an ever-present reminder of the sin we are all chained to. The unnamed hero of Rime, developer Tequila Works’ latest title, isn’t forced to do anything as literal as sport a dead sea…