Considering Sly Cooper 4: Thieves In Time was made by a different developer than the original trilogy, it’s remarkable that it manages to live up to it in many ways. It’s not the strongest in the series thanks to a weaker plot and worse humor, but its time-travel focus is the star of the show. Fans of the series finally get to see all of the Coopers, and the ability to play as them is a great formula change. The biggest crime is that it was released at the end of a generation and missed its chance at the spotlight.
Following a sequel that shapes a series is no easy task, but Sly Cooper 3: Honor Among Thieves manages it whilst almost managing to surpass it. The real highlight of the third game is the story that it tells, which was easily the most personal Sly story with how it dealt with the consequences from the last two games in a mature way. Sly 3 is only slightly let down by its focus on adding more gimmicky characters that don’t really need to be there beyond Carmelita. Besides that, it’s the same fantastic gameplay with an even more effective story.
Despite loving the original release, Kingdom Hearts III Re:Mind manages to fix its biggest issue- a lack of content. What you have here is a mostly enjoyable short campaign, and a collection of 14 incredible boss fights that are more than worth the price of admission. Speaking of, the biggest problem with ReMind is its asking price, which is steep for what essentially is revamped boss fights. The content here is worth it, but if you’re not obsessed with finding out what happened to Sora or taking on some incredible bosses then it might be worth waiting for a sale.
Living up to a decade of anticipation is no small feat, but Kingdom Hearts III manages it by satisfyingly tying up the loose ends, introducing awesome new gameplay mechanics and having the series’ trademark fantastic presentation. The Disney worlds included here range from some of the best to some of the most boring, but they’re held together by the best combat system to date which is thanks to Keyblade Transformations. The only thing letting it down is a lack of meaningful side content, but beyond that Kingdom Hearts 3 is more than worthy of the years of hype surrounding it.
Has there ever been a remake as anticipated as Final Fantasy VII Remake? With so much pressure put on it, it’s a wonder that it does so well at living up to expectations but somehow it does! The highlight here is the cast of characters who are all loveable, dynamic and interact with each other brilliantly. The gameplay is no slouch either with the mix of ATB and real-time combat being a treat for both new and old fans. Although the ending and changes may be controversial amongst fans the future is bright and exciting for Final Fantasy VII Part 2.
With The Last of Us Part II Naughty Dog have succeeded masterfully in telling a story about love, hate, obsession and revenge. Importantly, there’s plenty of light to be found despite the darkness and violence. In making the player feel the same emotions as the protagonist and feeling what happens, it succeeds like no other. It’s a real lesson in narrative exploration. Everything is told with incredible acting, and in a stunningly realized world. Beyond the stellar story, gameplay is the perfect evolution of what was found in the original, with Ellie’s mobility making combat feel fluid, brutal and satisfying.