Bayonetta 3

Therefore, while it contains a good number of gimmicks that hold it back from being as good as it could have been, Bayonetta 3 is not only incredibly satisfying, but also a wild ride that feels like the franchise’s boldest and biggest entry yet. After all, in this installment, the property is neither debuting nor being rescued from the brink of nothingness: it is firing on all cylinders as well as receiving the financial and creative backing that a series of its caliber deserves. With those parameters in place, Bayonetta 3 occasionally stumbles on its ambitions; however, when it hits the mark, which fortunately happens very often, it generates uncanny doses of amusement and ridiculousness. Consequently, even if its flaws may stop one from dubbing it the best Bayonetta game, this third chapter is still one of the best and most stylish examples of the hack and slash genre.

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Nier: Automata

Nier: Automata, then, is a bold project that does not completely land the tricks it tries to pull off. Its premise is nigh irresistible: a game that joins the flashy action of PlatinumGames, the underlying role-playing elements of a Square Enix classic, and a unique philosophical tale told through a daring structure coming from the mind of a director who is known to push the envelope. Augmented by a refreshing visual style and a historically excellent soundtrack, these variables amount to the type of package that gives fuel to the argument of videogames as art. Nier: Automata is one of the most prominent examples of that notion, because while entertaining in gameplay, it also forces its audience to engage with its layers of meaning in very intriguing ways, being a tale whose home had to be in an interactive medium. Sadly, when aiming for those heights, the title achieves its thematic ambitions at the cost of sheer fun. Therefore, it does not hit the mark entirely; but to those who will be dragged by its grasp, moved by its questions, and interested in its structural oddity, it will sure feel like the experience of a lifetime.

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Astral Chain

Astral Chain has the PlatinumGames signature all over it: barring a few exceptions, many of which are also products of the company, it is hard to find a Switch title that pulls off action gameplay with so much style, smoothness, and confidence. Yet, this is also a project that clearly attempts to push past the studio’s usual scope, not only betting on a more expansive and serious story, but also widening the framework of its missions to pair up abundant combat with investigations, platforming, and puzzle solving. Not everything that it tries clicks immaculately: the plot leaves hanging threads, its equivalents to dungeons can be visually confusing, and the platforming has a few rough spots. Nevertheless, Astral Chain is a flashy, nicely produced, and thrilling package of explosive action in a bleak but glossy cyberpunk future. And even if PlatinumGames has done better, at times it can be easy to perceive the title as a culmination of what they had done up to its release.

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Star Fox Zero

In the end, the magic of Star Fox is that it is always exciting. When first stepping into the game, the challenge of its missions make up for an adrenaline-filled ride to even the most experienced gamers. After a while, when clearing the missions becomes automatic, the thrill lies in the fact that players will delight in pushing themselves to maximizing the number of downed enemy ships so that absurdly high scores can be reached. In Star Fox Zero, that first wave of excitement is diluted because it is sometimes overwhelmed by the initially convoluted control scheme. But the fact remains that it is hard to find a gaming experience this invariably thrilling; even in the face of its many flaws, in the long run Star Fox Zero is a game that endlessly yields a constant rush of excitement that is unparalleled and that is bound to keep players coming back for more.

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The Return Of The Fantastic Mr. Fox

Star Fox Zero’s problems and its lack of creativity to develop a full package of settings, dialogues, and bosses of its own instead of borrowing a lot of elements from Star Fox 64 are blatant. However, it is unquestionably a game with far more qualities than virtues; a title that fully understands what is the essence of the series and then tries to implement it as well as possible. Its new ideas do not uniformly succeed, but its structural overhaul – with a Story Mode where players can, after unlocking the levels, freely select which one they want to tackle; and an Arcade Mode where the Star Fox 64 joy of aiming for high overall scores in individual runs from Corneria to Venom is recreated – show that this simple formula, when correctly captured, still works quite well in contemporary gaming.

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The Wonderful 101

In the end, though, instead of causing players to pity the title, those financial restrictions make The Wonderful 101 even more fantastic, because – most of the time – it is a very nicely produced game. The fifteen hours of its main quest are complemented by lots of great collectibles, not to mention the adjustable difficulty and the true challenge of getting great ranks on all the missions. The game strikes a surprising and unique balance, especially for the genre it is filed under, between gameplay and stellar storytelling, and its combat system is extremely well-built.

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Bayonetta 2

The elegant lady in black comes out to play with one thing clear in her mind: in order to surpass her prior adventure, she needs to be flashier and more ambitious than ever. And that is precisely what happens. Bayonetta 2 is bigger and better. It wisely assumes that anyone coming into this second adventure has already gone through the earth-shattering clashes of its predecessor, and then it proceeds to pick up right from where it left off.

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Bayonetta

Everything, its dialogues, the sexualization of its titular character, its flashy combat scheme, its progressively outrageous enemy design, and its overwhelming gore come up to form a creature that is simultaneously brutal and light-hearted. This is blatant violence without a drop of guilt; it is heavy darkness coated in pop accessibility; it is wicked elegance; it is doing everything that is ridiculous and polemic for the sake of entertainment; and it is the chance for players to perform the most eye-popping moves and maneuvers with the press of a few buttons or the delivery of some timely combos.

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