Gaming News, Reviews, and Articles

September 2019 Game Review Roundup

Gaming article by Samuel Guglielmo on Sunday, September 29, 2019 - 23:33
Feature

Borderlands, Gears, and PAX West Previews

It's back to school with September! Well, rather, you should be back in school already. And what do you do in school? Well certainly not school work of course. No, you slack off and play video games. How will you know what to play? Simple. Just listen to the one thing that's rejected by teachers everywhere: our opinions.

Yes, it’s the TechRaptor Game Review Roundup! Here we collect all of our reviews, impressions, and previews into one easy-to-digest article. So let’s dive right in and show you what we hit up in the back to school month of September.

 

Reviews

Children of Morta

by Robert N. Adams

Summary: Children of Morta serves as a fine ARPG for newbies and veterans alike. A beautiful world brought alive by beautiful pixel art, catchy music, and incredibly compelling gameplay that holds the whole package together. 9/10. You can read our full review here.

Metro Exodus: The Two Colonels

by Anson Chan

Summary: While the exploration and brief bursts of combat in The Two Colonels DLC could be expanded upon, Colonel Khlebnikov's character development makes Artyom seem dull by comparison. 7/10. You can read our full review here.

 

Hunt: Showdown

by Ron Welch

Summary: Hunt: Showdown is a unique mix of battle royale and hardcore survival games. The learning curve is incredibly steep and permadeath is fairly punishing. However, the core gameplay has that spark of horror tension and the art design excels in every aspect. 7/10. You can read our full review here.

Blair Witch

by William Worrall

Summary: Blair Witch is an instant classic in terms of a horror game. It pulls off tension-building, forces the player to creep themselves out and does it all with a minimum of jump scares. The story alone is a reason to play. If you're brave enough. 8.5/10. You can read our full review here.

 

Decay of Logos

by William Worrall

Summary: Decay of Logos has a few good ideas which are completely swamped in the terrible performance, glitches and bad design which make up the rest of the game. Despite trying to distance itself from the label of a Souls-Like it cannot help but draw comparisons to the much better series, a comparison which only throws its flaws into sharp focus. 3/10. You can read our full review here.

Creature in the Well

by Samuel Guglielmo

Summary: While it has a fantastic high level concept, Creature in the Well quickly realizes it has no idea what to actually do with it and becomes a repetitive slog before long. 5.5/10. You can read our full review here.

Creature in the Well

Fit For a King

by Austin Suther

Summary: Although Fit For a King is a brief adventure, you'll find no shortage of laughs. Exploring for treasure chests and collecting taxes has never been so fun. Fit for a King has a degree of freedom that many games don't allow, limited only by its small game world. 8/10. You can read our full review here.

 

Green Hell

by Jeffrey Lerman

Summary: Green Hell delivers a unique experience in the survival genre and adds a strong storyline on top. The impressive sound design immerses players in the rain forest through soft sounds and terrifying predators. 8.5/10. You can read our full review here.

Telling Lies

by William Worrall

Summary: Telling Lies has an interesting story but is let down by a lack of direction and a clunky UI design. Even interesting characters can save the game, and a watered-down epilogue which is supposed to entice repeated playthroughs just leaves a sour taste in the mouth. 6/10. You can read our full review here.

Gears 5

by Samuel Guglielmo

Summary: Gears 5's campaign is the best the series has seen, and Escape mode is a brilliant new addition. It's fun to play, beautiful to look at, and full of some of the best characters the series has ever seen. 9/10. You can read our full review here.

Astral Chain

by Austin Suther

Summary: Astral Chain features a perfectly realized world filled with wonderful characters and awesome architecture. It runs perfect on the Nintendo Switch and looks stellar, too. The predictable story is one of the only faults of this over-the-top, incredibly fun action game. 8.5/10. You can read our full review here.

 

Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to)

by Samuel Guglielmo

Summary: Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to) has the one major goal of making the world less lonely, and it manages that exceedingly well. 9/10. You can read our full review here.

Devil's Hunt

by Samuel Guglielmo

Summary: Devil's Hunt is absolutely awful. A barely functional, extremely boring, completely nonsensical character action game. 2/10. You can read our full review here.

Devil's Hunt

Borderlands 3

by Anson Chan

Summary: Borderlands 3 improves upon the Borderlands formula in every way possible, showing what a looter shooter is capable of when the basic requirements like a coherent story and cool loot are not just fulfilled, but exceeded. 9/10. You can read our full review here.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

by Max Moeller

Summary: Iceborne is as good as expansions get. It presents welcome tweaks to the original formula and monsters that will challenge even the toughest of hunters. If only more of the campaign explored this. 9.5/10. You can read our full review here.

The Sojourn

by Max Moeller

Summary: The Sojourn, despite its beauty and competent game mechanics, suffers from pacing issues and a lack of purpose. An impressive package initially, the game shows its cracks as it presses on. 6/10. You can read our full review here.

The Surge 2

by Joseph Allen

Summary: The Surge 2 boasts a much better combat system than its predecessor. Unfortunately, everything else is mediocre to poor. The game shows improvement, but Deck13 still isn't there by a long way. 5/10. You can read our full review here.

DON'T GIVE UP: A Cynical Tale

by Ty Brass

Summary: The fun combat and dialogue aren’t fun enough to make DON’T GIVE UP: A Cynical Tale stand out. It’s difficult not to compare a game that looks like this to Undertale, but even throwing that comparison out the window, this adventure is lacking. 6/10. You can read our full review here.

GreedFall

by Robert Grosso

Summary: Overly ambitious, GreedFall fails more than it seems to succeed, yet the game's heart and Spiders' passion shines through, making the game an enjoyable experience. 6.5/10. You can read our full review here.

Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX

by Robert Scarpinito

Summary: With its different approach to combat, Luminous Avenger iX turns you into a destructive yet nimble supersoldier. Later boss fights will really whip you into shape, but for the most part, conquering this challenging game counts as an achievement on its own. 7.5/10. You can read our full review here.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

by Andrew Stretch

Summary: Link's Awakening takes everything excellent about the original release and adds a fantastic shine to it. This already might have been one of the best Zelda titles to date, and it's only improved here. 9/10. You can read our full review here.


Previews/Impressions

Marvel's Avengers

by Andrew Otton

Summary: Square Enix recently released the footage they showed back at E3 2019 to the public. When I saw it at E3, and again after it was released, it looked pretty rough. Now that I have had the opportunity at PAX West 2019 to play the game hands-on and have some questions answered by the developers, I am much more interested in Marvel's Avengers than I was. The footage doesn't do that good of a job showing you what the game actually feels like, and it feels pretty great. You can read our full preview here.

Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince

by Ron Welch

Summary: Trine 4 doesn’t need to be hard. It trains you to solve puzzles and always builds on what came before. It’s a lot like the order of operations. Trine 4 hits that just right difficult curve that makes you think for a few seconds before sending you on your way. When the puzzling is perfect, you can really appreciate the beautiful levels and charming characters. I’m eager to see how puzzles become more complex down the road. You can read our full preview here.

Disintegration

by Andrew Otton

Summary: I left greatly surprised by what Disintegration has to offer and wanting to play more. It was only twenty minutes and just one game mode, so there's a whole lot more to learn about Disintegration before it releases. The first impressions, however, were great. The addition of those units to control is a great shakeup on the standard FPS gameplay, offering some more real-time tactics to engage with. You can read our full preview here.

Disintegration

Haven

by Andrew Otton

Summary: Haven's combat is a system that has a lot of potential to be pretty cool, and I can't wait to see what more it offers. Combine that with some great writing, awesome music, and a nice visual style, and Haven is ticking all the boxes. You can read our full preview here.

Indivisible

by Robert Scarpinito

Summary: Having that expert experience might help you grasp the combat better, but Indivisible takes things slow enough for anyone to enjoy. It provides a level playing field for new folks and experts alike. With more than a dozen characters to work with, there’s enough variety to last the entire story. Hell, even if it had just four characters, this is a curry I’d be addicted to until the credits roll. You can read our full preview here.

N1RV Ann-A

by Andrew Otton

Summary: Based on what I played, the tone is still great and mostly the same, the writing was a joy to read, and I just wanted to sit and keep playing. I think I went through VA-11 Hall-A in two, maybe three, sessions, and I imagine that's exactly how it will be with N1RV Ann-A. It was immediately engaging, and I was hooked right away. You can read our full preview here.

Spiritfarer

by Robert Scarpinito

Summary: All of this management makes me think Spiritfarer will be a fairly relaxed experience, although I’m expecting it to take me to emotional places along the way. While the half-hour I spent with it wasn’t long enough to impact me emotionally, I could see it happening across the many hours the final game will offer. I, for one, very much look forward to seeing more of what Thunder Lotus has to offer. You can read our full preview here.

KUNAI

by Robert Scarpinito

Summary: Overall, I left the booth at PAX wanting more of KUNAI. TurtleBlaze developed an intriguing demo here, and the folks running the booth promised that more weapons await. More weapons likely means more interesting upgrades, which I can’t wait to see. You can read our full preview here.

Shovel Knight Dig

by Andrew Otton

Summary: Shovel Knight has rapidly become, in terms of mascot, the Mario of the indie game scene, and anytime he'll be the star of a game is worth taking note of. The awesome artwork and frantically fun gameplay make Shovel Knight Dig something to look forward to. You can read our full preview here.

Cyber Shadow

by Andrew Otton

Summary: If Cyber Shadow wasn't on your radar before, you should put it on there now. While I did only have a limited time to play, it was faultless. I've struggled to think of something I didn't like with my short time, and I can't think of anything. I can't wait to play the whole thing. You can read our full preview here.

Wanderlust Travel Stories

by Andrew Otton

Summary: If you're looking for a relaxing experience, Wanderlust Travel Stories is worth keeping an eye on. You can read our full preview here.

Skater XL

by Robert Scarpinito

Summary: If you have a Skate 4-shaped hole in your life, Skater XL might flip your world upside down, and for the better. It’s still in Early Access, so it’s hard to say how the final product will shape up. Regardless, its current build feels like a great proof of concept. Easy Day Studios provides us with a lot to play with here, and I’m eager to see how the game will blossom in the next year. You can read our full preview here.

Raji

by Andrew Otton

Summary: Raji is incredibly promising, and I am definitely looking forward to its release. If you are looking for some crisp feeling hack and slash gameplay, or are intrigued by the idea of learning and seeing more about Hindu and Balinese mythologies, you should be interested too. You can read our full preview here.

Raji

Bravery Network Online

by Robert Scarpinito

Summary: I hope the story fleshes out this weird world further. Between the absurd character designs and the wild attack moves (e.g. “Lunch Invite”???), I’m left with many questions that I want answers to (like should I say yes to that lunch invite). Yet, even if I never get answers, I’m more than happy to accept this weird, intriguing world at face value, especially if the turn-based combat delivers. You can read our full preview here.

Liberated

by Andrew Otton

Summary: By concept alone, I am interested in giving Liberated a try when it comes out. If anything, I think the framework they have is great and hope to see more games use it. You can read our full preview here.

Stela

by Andrew Otton

Summary: The visuals, the music, and the constant tension while trying to avoid those unsettling monsters made Stela a great experience. Everything worked to engross me further in the game, and I am looking forward to playing the whole release. If you liked INSIDE, or any game similar to it, you should take a look at Stela. You can read our full preview here.

Trials of Mana

by Robert Scarpinito

Summary: Overall though, Trials of Mana feels like it could have the makings of a good JRPG. The new graphics and revamped combat provide the perfect stage for the narrative and character development to unfold. At the end of the day, those two factors make or break a good JRPG. We’ll have to see if Square Enix can deliver a compelling narrative that made Seiken Densetsu 3 so beloved. You can read our full preview here.

Session

by Andrew Stretch

Summary: What Session does bring to the table is very strong. The complicated controls admittedly take some acclimation. Once you're going, it's a great feeling. It might not scratch the arcade itch of getting a high score in Tony Hawk Pro Skater. The world of Session isn't your playground like in Skate. However, for someone who wants to find a great line to skate down and get some good footage, this is going to be the game for you. You can read our full preview here.

The Sims 4: Realm of Magic

by Courtney Ehrenhofler

Summary: Realm of Magic is by far the most fun I’ve had with a Sims 4 pack of any kind since the original. It brings back familiar concepts from previous generations of the franchise while still doing its own thing. The pack’s aesthetic and the new worlds it adds are fun and charming, and the new locations are fun to play with. The lack of depth to the pack is disappointing. It will ultimately hinder its replayability, but there's more than enough to keep you occupied and having a blast until the next expansion releases. You can read our full impressions here.

The End: Inari's Quest

by Samuel Guglielmo

Summary: I really wanted to love The End: Inari's Quest. I'm an absolute sucker for its concept, and everything about it really should appeal to me. But the truth is that there's simply nothing to the game worth playing. Clunky, broken, and boring, this is a quest that should have ended before it began. You can read our full impressions here.

The End

Amnesia Collection

by William Worrall

Summary: Overall, Amnesia Collection is a great port for the Nintendo Switch. While there are some issues with the graphics in Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, the rest of the bundle seems to operate almost exactly as it did back when the games were first released. The controls are mapped well to the Switch controller. Best of all the port managed to avoid adding any token motion controls. The games' ability to scare might be subjective, but their quality should be apparent. They work well both on the go and tied down to a TV. If you missed the series the first time around then the Nintendo Switch version is a great port to try. You can read our full impressions here.

Sparklite

by Jeffrey Lerman

Summary: Sparklite’s colorful art style combined with a great soundtrack already creates an action-adventure game I’m excited for. I look forward to exploring Geodia further and seeing what bosses the Baron has waiting for me. You can read our full preview here.

Project Genesis

by Robert N. Adams

Summary: I spent an ungodly amount of hours in stuff like Eternal Silence and I'm sure to sink a fair few into anything that blends spaceships and first-person shooting in such a fashion. I hope that the pre-alpha goes smoothly so I can really sink my teeth into Project Genesis. You can read our full preview here.

Anno 1800: Sunken Treasures / Anno 1800: Botanica

by Chris Anderson

Summary: At the end of the day, Sunken Treasures is definitely worth the price of admission. Botanica, unfortunately, would've done better as part of a free update. You can read our full impressions here.

Flotsam

by Robert N. Adams

Summary: As it stands right now, I think you'll get a solid 4–8 hours out of Flotsam easily enough. The true measure of a game like this, however, is in how the developers are going to expand upon the solid foundation that they've built so far. I'm excited to see what they come up with. You can read our full preview here.

About the Author

Samuel Guglielmo TechRaptor

Samuel Guglielmo

Associate Review Editor

I'm Sam. Been playing video games since PlayStation. Favorite games include Ace Combat 5, Perfect Dark, Final Fantasy IX, Metro 2033, and MonsterBag. Also loves books and can be found face first in one all the time.