Last night at at Atlanta, Georgia’s Final Round fighting game tournament, the Dragon Ball FighterZ competitive scene concluded a saga not unlike on from the show it’s based on play out, as an exhibition match weeks in the making finally came to an explosive conclusion.

Dominique “SonicFox” Mclean is widely seen as one of the US’s strongest fighting game players, period. He’s dominated tournaments for years, and is currently ranked as the top player for several games, including Injustice 2, Mortal Kombat X, Skullgirls (he’s no slouch at Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite and Street Fighter V, either). So when he set his sights on Dragon Ball FighterZ, many assumed he was going to once again take over. They were right. SonicFox is currently the American Dragon Ball FighterZ player to beat, winning several tournaments and quickly gaining a reputation as being unstoppable. 

Meanwhile, Kishida “Go1” Goichi has emerged as the premiere DBFZ player from Japan. Goichi’s no newbie, either; he’s been a staple in the anime fighting game community, racking up wins in BlazBlue, Guilty Gear Xrd, and others. He’s also a top Street Fighter V player, earning fourth place in the game at Evo in 2016.

The modern FGC is a splintered-but-worldwide community, though, and it didn’t take long for the two to recognize each other’s skill. The rivalry began when Goichi won a tournament in Osaka, Japan. When he got on the mic to talk about his win, he specifically called out Mclean. “Next is you, SonicFox,” Goichi said at the tournament.

Mclean quickly responded on Twitter with his own challenge.

And after winning a major US tournament at Winter Brawl 12, Fox called out Goichi yet again. “Goichi, omae wa mou shindeiru,” – “Goichi, you are already dead,” a reference to the classic fighting anime Fist of the North Star.

After it was announced that Goichi would be traveling to America to play in this weekend’s Final Round tournament, the tournament’s organizers couldn’t pass up the opportunity. They quickly announced an exhibition match between the two would take place during the event, in which Mclean and Goichi would face each other in a first-to-ten match. The announcement even had promo art.

A match between an unstoppable force an immovable object is always one to watch, and the community waited anxiously to see these two champions face off. Yesterday evening, the two finally went at it.

The match wasn’t without its own drama, however. A few minutes after the match, the livestream of the event suddenly ended, replaced with shaky-cam footage of someone recording the match on their phone from far away. Someone had accidentally begun streaming the match under the main stream’s account on mobile, prompting the dedicated stream to end and be replaced. The issue was taken care of a few minutes later. Luckily a local recording of the match served as a backup post-match.

(SPOILERS FOR THE MATCH FOLLOW BENEATH THE VIDEO)

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The entire set went for an entire hour, proving DBFZ’s matches are on the long side. However, few would complain about the match being boring; DBFZ’s exchanges, mixups, and speed are such that even if you’re not entirely sure what’s going on, it’s fun to watch. And seeing players as gifted as Mclean and Goichi face off made the game look downright incredible. The combos are just the right length, showcasing a player’s practiced skill without being tiresome. The emphasis is more on the moments between those combos, as both players had a slew of “blockstrings” (strings of attacks most opponents must block consecutively without being able retaliate) at their disposal. Waiting to see when one player would dash to the other side to trick their opponent, or interrupt their blockstring by going for a throw, or anything that might get them the first hit that would lead to another combo, made for incredibly tense matches. If you can, I suggest watching the entire match.

While Mclean got an early lead, it was clear Goichi was simply getting his bearings. As the set went on, Goichi got a strong read on Mclean, blocking most of his strings and even reading his throw attempts. Mclean had a solid gameplan for each of his characters and could extend his combos by using other character’s assists and supers, but had trouble coordinating his team as a unit. He didn’t swap out low-health characters as often, which meant he missed out on health that was regenerated while characters are on reserve. Goichi had a far better handle on how to manage his team.

He also had trouble dealing with Goichi’s Adult Gohan blockstrings. The character is currently infamous for being able to lock down opponents with long strings of attacks that are nearly impossible to interrupt until Gohan runs out of assists and meter. Mclean relied on swapping out his characters defensively (something the game lets you do by sacrificing one bar of meter), but didn’t seem to have the timing on that move down, leading to several scenarios where he would defensively swap only for the incoming character to get opened up by a full combo. This put Mclean on the backfoot during most matches, and made it difficult for him to mount a comeback. Goichi quickly mounted a lead and stuck with it, eventually building enough momentum to roll Mclean several matches in a row.

Don’t worry about Mclean too much, though; he took the loss in stride.

Despite the lopsided 10-4 score, it was a riveting watch, and a fantastic showcase of how DBFZ is bringing various fighting game communities together, leading to “crossover” matches like one between top players from the anime and Mortal Kombat communities. And with the game currently ahead of even Street Fighter V in entrants at Evo, it’s likely the best DBFZ matches are yet to come. In fact, the proper DBFZ tournament at Final Round is still underway, and while all eyes are on Goichi, there are a number of strong competitors (including Mclean) who’d love to get in his way.

Myst, which Game Informer recently named one of top 300 games of all time, was a landmark title for video games, showing a whole new generation of players the magic of an old-school adventure. But it’s a little hard to play nowadays. Developer Cyan Worlds is hoping to make it a little easier this year.

The company has announced that, to celebrate the franchise’s 25th anniversary, it will be releasing updated version of every game in the franchise for Windows 10 “later this year.” The reason this hadn’t happened sooner (beyond the whole anniversary thing) was that Cyan had been unable to get the rights to do so for a few years. “As an indie developer, resources are limited for development, and acquiring rights isn’t always an option,” the company said in its announcement. “But we managed to finally talk to all the right people and departments and put some funding together to try to make it happen.”

Cyan also wants to make a physical package bundling all the games for collectors. Those interested in more details in that physical version should “stay tuned.”

Finally, Cyan teased that there could new Myst games in the future. “There will probably be more adventures in the Myst universe, but we’re reserving 2018 for remembering our journey, and making something special to commemorate the last 25 years.”

[Source: Official Myst website]

 

Our Take
I never played Myst growing up, but hearing the heated debates our staff had about it for the 300 meeting makes me want to reconsider. I’m a little skeptical about whether it holds up today, but hey, this is probably the year to find out.

XSEED has announced that they are bringing Ys: Memories of Celceta, to the PC. 

The game was previously released on the PlayStation Vita in 2013 and is coming to Windows PCs sometime this year. The western publishing arm of Marvelous spoke a little about improvements, saying “The title will receive numerous enhancements including improved visuals with a wide range of HD resolutions, unlocked framerates, fully customizable control bindings, mouse support, and more to ensure that it feels at home alongside other PC releases.”

It is part of an effort from Ys developer Nihon Falcom and the Ys’ series two localizing companies, XSEED and NISA, to get the series on PC. You can read our review of the Vita version here.

 

Our Take
A lot of people who are slowly assembling a PC collection of the Ys games are going to be super happy about this.

Top o’ the mornin’ to ya, Game Informer readers! St. Patrick’s Day is upon us and while some of us will join in the revelry, it’s also a good weekend to avoid the chaos by playing some games. Of course, you can always bring some portable game to the festivities and have the best of both worlds! Hope you all have a safe weekend, and that’s the bottom line, ‘cause Stone Cold said so. (Also, happy 3:16 day!)

Brian Shea (@BrianPShea)– I’m traveling to GDC this weekend, but not before I play a bit more Yakuza Kiwami and Overwatch. Once I pack my bags and hop on the plane, my gaming will be confined to portable experiences, so likely Pokémon Go, Pokémon Omega Ruby, and maybe some Mario Odyssey or the Breath of the Wild DLC.

Ben Hanson (@yozetty) – Oh man, this weekend I’d love to sit back and catch up on some games like Ghost of a Tale on Steam but I’m travelling up to Duluth, Minnesota to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It should be a good time, and maybe I can find a nook to go play Puyo Puyo Tetris on my Switch or something. Have a good weekend!

Leo Vader (@leovader) – Last night, I discovered a simple but satisfying competitive card game called Punch On in the Tabletop Simulator workshop! It’s in the prototyping phase but is already very fun and playable, and I look forward to getting some friends together to play more of it. I will also be sitting in solitude thinking about how I lost my Silent Assassin rating in the last 30 seconds of the latest Hitman Elusive Target and lashing myself for my misdeeds. I only need one more Silent Assassin for the final costume unlock!! It’s been eluding me for months!!!!! Help me Jon!!!!

Suriel Vazquez (@SurielVazquez) – I’ll be diving into a bunch of random stuff this weekend! My friends have gotten into Vermintide II, so I’ll be playing that. I’m also super-curious about both #Wargames and The Silver Case: 25th Ward, so I’ll probably peck away at both of those. I’ve also been entrusted to teach Javy Dota 2, so maybe we’ll party up and get started on that this weekend.

Kyle Hilliard (@KyleMHilliard) – I played and enjoyed Bloodborne back in 2016, but never saw it to the end. Last night, I randomly decided to jump back into that old save file, and was surprisingly able to find my footing again (thanks to Imran!). I plan on playing more of that, but I also want to take my kid to go see Early Man. I’ve got my fingers crossed it is still in theatres. I suppose I could just go and check instead of writing this up, but that sounds like a lot of effort.

Jon Bowman (@MrGameAndWrite) – I won’t have too much time to game this weekend since I’ll be heading to Chicago to celebrate St. Patty’s with my college buddies. I’m already lamenting my decision to drive rather than take a train and replaying Night in the Woods on my Switch, and I’m sure I’ll lament it even more on the drive back. I still plan on taking my Switch, but I refuse to take it anywhere other than the apartment I’m staying at to avoid leaving it behind somewhere and trying to piece together the night before to track it down, which sounds like a great idea for a screenplay, but a terrible nightmare in reality. 

Robbie Key (@RobbieKeyV) – After managing to smoke Bill Williamson out of Fort Mercer, John Marston and I are travelling to Nuevo Paraiso, Mexico, to take ’em out in Red Dead Redemption. I have no problem saying I’m enjoying RDR far more than I have with any GTA game, and I’m even more excited for the sequel that made Call of Duty break its traditional early November release. Other than that, I’m going to kick off my first time playing Superhot for a written and video review for my blog, a Halo 2 playthrough on legendary difficulty with my cousin, and maybe make some kind of delish dish.

Joey Thurmond (@DrJoeystein) – After leaving destruction in my wake throughout Crete and Atlantis, I’ll be continuing my adventures throughout the God of War series with Ghost of Sparta. It’s significantly better than Chains of Olympus so far with a great hook! I’ll also be getting around to trying Warhammmer: End Times – Vermintide with a group of friends with some Call of Duty: WWII peppered in here and there. I’ve got a load of writing to do over the weekend as well, which I’m excited to dig into!

What’re you up to this St. Patrick’s Day weekend? Let us know in the comments below!

Last week we kicked off our limited series Replay 300, where we play select games from our Top 300 list regardless of their history on Replay. In our first episode we played Super Metroid, and this week we’re headed to a different corner of space in Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II.

So join Andy, Reiner, Joe, Tack and myself as we take look back at the pulse-pounding gameplay and beautiful FMV cutscenes of a now twenty-year-old Star Wars game. After that, we examine a much more heavily contested Top 300 pick.

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We’ll see you next Friday for another peek at one of the best games of all time!

Bandai-Namco’s licensed tag-team fighter currently has the highest number of entrants of any fighting game at the EVO tournament, according to its organizer.

EVO, the biggest yearly fighting game tournament in the world, is the central place for a lot of competitive fighting game players. Mr. Wizard, the organizer of the tournament, tweeted out a list of games ranked by the order of Dragon Ball FighterZ is currently leading the player count, even over headlining fighter Street Fighter V.

According to Mr. Wizard, the current ranking is:

  1. Dragon Ball FighterZ
  2. Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition
  3. Tekken 7
  4. Super Smash Bros. Melee
  5. Super Smash Bros. Wii U
  6. BlazBlue Cross-Tag Battle
  7. Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2
  8. Injustice 2

Without numbers, the rankings don’t tell us much, and they tell us even less this far out from the tournament’s August 3 date. Maybe Street Fighter competitors sign up late, maybe Injustice 2 comes from behind at the last second and rocks everyone’s world, who knows. It’s still interesting to see where it stands right now.

What game are you most excited to see at EVO?

 

Our Take
I’m personally pretty excited to see Dragon Ball FighterZ played, as the competitive scene has gotten really interesting. I hope the EVO finals for all these games have a lot of surprises and people who aren’t considered favorites competing.

As faithful readers are well aware by now, this month marks G.I.’s
300th issue
. Like previous milestone issues, we decided to honor the
occasion with the noblest pursuit of video game journalism: a Top X Games Of
All-Time list. By “noblest,” I mean “most stupidly futile,” naturally.

Look, here’s the thing: All best/worst/sexiest/whatever lists are an intellectual farce. That’s
why we’re hopelessly drawn to them; our brains are hardwired to classify
and quantify
everything around us, and ranked lists trick us by compiling
their entries in a way that looks and feels objective – they’re numbered, after
all, and numbers don’t lie!

But no matter how hard
we try
, there is no way to transform a personal, subjective opinion into a
numerical representation of irrefutable value. Whatever fancy mathemagics I
employ to make my case, at the end of the day my favorite game still means
crap-all to countless other players out there, and your favorite game probably
means crap-all to me (especially if it begins with a “B” and ends with a “reath
of the Wild
“).

The problem isn’t just that the attributes which make a game
good or bad are entirely subjective (is it the gameplay? Tell that to adventure
game fans. Is it a meaningful story? Tell that to Overwatch fans, etc.). It’s
that “good” and “bad” themselves are subjective.

What does “good” mean in the
context of a video game? Fun? Challenging? Thought provoking? Emotionally impactful?
Is it all those things combined? If so, in what quantities? Everyone has a
different measuring stick for what’s “good,” and they all sport different sizes
and units of measurement. You might be measuring in meters, while I’m measuring
in fart
jars
.


Saint’s Row: The Third, a game where you play as a literal toilet, is #274 on the list, by the way.

If you’re thinking, “Hey, doesn’t all this apply to review
scores too?” right now, you’re 100-percent correct – and super late to the
party. I’ve been wrangling together G.I.’s Feedback section for over eight
years now, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve told respondents that a
review score isn’t an objective representation of a game’s quality, but rather
a subjective representation of the reviewer’s enjoyment of that game. I
also can’t count the number of times a Feedback letter has acknowledged this
differentiation upfront, only to follow it up with a “but” that negates
everything that came before it:

Dear G.I., I know that
reviews are subjective and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but YOU ARE
TOTALLY WRONG AND STUPID AND SHOULD ALL BE FIRED AND CANCEL MY SUBSCRIPTION
IMMEDIATELY!

Well, today I’m sharing my “but” with you.* We here at G.I.
took on the ridiculously impossible task of ranking the top 300 games of
all-time, and we did it in the fairest way we could – by  individual editors making impassioned and
entirely subjective arguments for each and every game in hopes of winning over the
wider staff to their point of view. We argued for weeks; first about what games
were on the list, and then about the actual ordering (oh god, the ordering
arguments…).

The monumental challenge resulted in a hell of a great read
that lovingly looks back at and celebrates hundreds of amazing, creative,
one-of-a-kind games. BUT…

Note: The following
entries are in no particular order, because I’ve done enough ranking to last a
lifetime and making a ranked list about a ranked list is so meta I could puke. Also,
I realize labeling entries “good” and “bad” is the exact same problem I was
just complaining about, but I have to call them something so give me a break
already!

Bad Call: Goldeneye
007 > Super Bomberman?!
Don’t get me wrong: My high-school friends and I played a ton of Goldeneye
back in the day, and it was as mind-blowing and transformative to my gaming
tastes as it was for everyone else. But better than Bomberman? You can still
dig an SNES out of the closet at any party, plunk that cartridge in with a
multi-tap and a hopelessly tangled mess of controllers, and have an absolute
BLAST – bomb pun thoroughly intended.

If you plugged Goldeneye in, on the other hand, it would devolve
into Stand By Me‘s pie-eating contest
as everyone tries to figure out the janky controls and squint hard enough to
make the blurry blobs resemble human beings. And yet Super Bomberman ended up
98 spots lower than Goldeneye. 98!

Bomberman is about as timeless as multiplayer games get. You
lob bombs at your friends, grab power-ups from exploded bricks, and scream
maniacally when the skull item inflicts you with diarrhea bombs. Yes, that’s real, and it’s spectacular.

Good Call: No Pay-to-Win
Bullsh**
Cultural significance played a big role in our rankings, as did the amount
of time editors logged into certain games. Part of the reason Overwatch cracked
the top 25 was because a ton of editors still play it on a daily basis.
Seriously, they have a problem.

Both arguments could certainly be made for a game like Clash
Royale, but it didn’t make the list. Why? Because it’s
EVIL
. We made a call early on that, in a list celebrating the best that
gaming has to offer, we should exclude games that ruin their design to
shamelessly extort money from their players. It was the right call, and I’m
glad we made it!

…And yes I know there are still a bunch of games with microtransactions
on the list – if we blacklisted them altogether, we never would’ve made it to
300! 

Bad Call: Did We Really Need Super Mario World 2?
Super Mario World is still one of my favorite games of all time, so when I
heard they were making a sequel, I was thrilled! Then I learned it starred a
whiny-ass baby Mario. Less thrilled.

In hindsight, I can begrudgingly acknowledge that baby Mario
doesn’t really make that much of a difference – you’re still running around,
jumping on platforms and dodging enemies like any other Super Mario game, with
some nifty bonus mechanics that are exclusive to Yoshi. But the childlike art
style never really clicked for me and it didn’t have the impact on gaming that
so many other Mario titles did. I mean yeah, it forced that one Nintendo
lady to knit crochet Yoshis
for the rest of her life, but is that the kind
of legacy we really want to celebrate?

Good Call: The
Stanley Parable As The Best Walking Sim
The so-called narrative-based “walking sim” genre has gotten a lot of attention
in the past few years. Some players love them for telling mature stories and
dealing with serious issues. Others find them boring and overly self-important,
and if I really wanted to inspect a bunch of random old junk for hours on end,
I’ve got plenty of real-life closets of my own to rummage through.

Anywho, those common criticisms of the genre simply
aren’t true
of The Stanley Parable. Galactic Café’s take on interactive
fiction doesn’t just pose intriguing philosophical questions – it’s also wildly
inventive, self-deprecating, and laugh-out-loud funny! And instead of treating
gameplay like an afterthought, The Stanley Parable experiments with its mechanics
and game design as much as it does its storytelling. I have enjoyed other
walking sims like What Remains of Edith Finch, and I’m happy we included a few
of them on the list – but I’m even happier that The Stanley Parable landed at
the top of the pack.

Bad Call: No Into The
Breach
To be fair, this wasn’t really a call per se – Into The Breach wasn’t even
out when we put together the list, and you can’t exactly call a game “the best”
when you haven’t even played it. Those facts didn’t lessen the sting of playing
Into The Breach a week after we went to print, however, and realizing it totally would have earned a spot. And
now the list is completely ruined and invalid. Oh well – issue 400 is only eight
years away!

Good Call: 2D Picross
Is The Right Picross
Kyle and I recalled this argument on the 300
livestream
, but it was certainly one of the weirdest arguments that took
place during our meetings, and an example of how you sometimes find yourself
fighting for games you never would’ve imagined.

Everyone was in complete apathy agreement that
Nintendo’s picture puzzle series deserved to be on the list, but which entry
was hotly contested. I, along with the other sane staff members, argued for the
obviously correct Mario’s Picross; it was the first entry in the series, it was
the most-played entry in the series, and it was a huge success for the Game Boy.
It single-handedly made picross into picross, and none of the other clones or
spin-offs would exist today without it. Furthermore, it’s the only Picross game
that actually had a theme, and it fit the gameplay perfectly – you kind of felt
like an archeologist as you studied the image and tapped blocks off one guess
at a time (I realize that’s not how archeology actually works, but you don’t do
it on a Game Boy either).

Kyle’s insane choice was Picross 3D, because according to
him, it’s the “better” game because it’s more complicated. And he was
surprisingly condescending about it – he even called himself and Reeves the
“Picross experts” on staff, as if the rest of us aren’t qualified to weigh in
because we’re dummies who can only handle 2D pixel puzzles.

And here’s the thing – I don’t even care about Picross that
much! I’ve solved hundreds of picross puzzles over the years, but is it really worth getting into a literal
shouting match with coworkers over which
entry
to include on the list?

The answer is apparently yes. And I won. Probably because I
scared everyone else into submission – but a win is a win!

And that’s how entry #248 was chosen.**

Bad Call: The Witness
Is Too Low
The Witness is probably the most ingenious puzzle game ever made. It takes
a dead-simple concept and spins it into hundreds of unique challenges, each
more devilishly tricky than the last. Then it layers on dozens of “oh sh**!”
meta-puzzles that you discover as you explore the Mad Puzzle Island of Dr.
Blow. I don’t think I’ve ever played a game with more mind-blowing, “aha” moments.
There is no filler here – it’s all gold, and slowly builds up your puzzle-solving
lexicon with surgical precision.

The Witness is ranked 21 spots below PEGGLE.

Another Bad Call:
Peggle Is Also Better Than Mario Odyssey?!
Okay, maybe the problem is just Peggle, which somehow rose through the
ranks all the way to 223, beating out Mario’s latest smash-hit
adventure
*** by a single spot. I mean don’t get me wrong, I love…watching a
ball bounce around? What were we thinking?! Is half of G.I.’s staff comprised of
cats? You won’t believe how high Chasing A Laser Pointer and Pooping In A Box are
ranked. They’re modern-day classics!

Let’s move on before my brain explodes.

Good Call: Not
Starting With #1 (Seriously, What Were We Thinking?)
For the Top 200 issue, and many other lists in-between, we laid out our
rankings in the magazine starting with number one. As such, you immediately got
the big payoff of which game reigned supreme, and then slowly lost interest as
you read about crappier and crappier games (oh boy, can’t wait to see what #195
is!).

The logic makes a certain kind of sense for a magazine’s horizontal format,
but I’m really happy we gave that up and turned it into a countdown. Even if it took us 300 issues to figure out…

Coming Up Next: Some
more really smart 
 wait, we ranked The Last Of Us WHERE?!

*I know how that sounds and I regret NOTHING. (back to top)
**I’m sorry I yelled at you, Kyle. (back to top)
***I realize linking to Metacritic as evidence is wildly hypocritical. Sue me.
(back to top)

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When a sequel for a video game is announced, there are typically one of two thoughts that cross our mind: A) I hope it lives up to the original, or B) how did that game get a sequel? Whether it’s because a game didn’t live up to its hype or people had already checked out on a series, sometimes sequels don’t get the attention that they deserve. Here are a few examples of some of the unsung sequels that deserve a second glance.

BioShock 2 
BioShock left us in awe after introducing us to the underwater, dystopian ruins of Rapture, but BioShock 2 expanded upon that iconic city beyond the reach of Andrew Ryan. It introduced us to Sophia Lamb, a tyrant of another type, and tasked us with exploring the slums of Rapture that were home to those who weren’t privileged enough to join the city’s aristocracy. 

In terms of gameplay, BioShock 2 had the smoothest combat experience of the entire franchise. BioShock 2 nailed the feeling of playing as a Big Daddy, finally giving us the ability to wield our own drill and stomp around Rapture as the nightmarish titan that terrorized us in the original. That is, until we heard the terrifying screech of one of the most difficult enemies in any BioShock game, the agile and dangerous Big Sister.

Those looking for the narrative jolt of the original BioShock needed look no further than BioShock 2’s Minerva’s Den DLC. This self-contained tale went beyond the stories of Andrew Ryan and Sophia Lamb, but didn’t lack any of the emotional impact. It was BioShock storytelling at its finest.

Check out our BioShock 2 review here.

Max Payne 3 
It would not be surprising to see Rockstar become a two-game studio, alternating between iterations of Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption. If that ends up being the case, let’s take a moment to remember the last great game that Rockstar made outside the GTA and RDR monikers: Max Payne 3. 

Here’s to you, Max Payne 3, and how you wrapped up the tragic tale of your titular character and give him some semblance of redemption. Here’s to Max and how he rocked Hawaiian shirts and a bald head, sipped on Mai Tais in Brazil, and cleared rooms filled with armed thugs without spilling a drop. Here’s to the airport sequence and how badass it felt to march through waves of mercenaries while Health’s “Tears” thumped in the background. Here’s to your frantic, bullet-time fueled multiplayer skirmishes. Here’s to you, Max Payne 3.

Check out our Max Payne 3 review here.

Mass Effect: Andromeda 
Okay, hear us out. There was no way that Andromeda was going to come close to the pedestal that the Mass Effect name has been put on. The original Mass Effect trilogy was an epic tale of Commander Shepard and a ragtag group of memorable characters forming unlikely alliances to try and save the galaxy from annihilation. Andromeda was a contingency plan to ensure a fresh start for humanity. That’s what Mass Effect: Andromeda did for this beloved franchise; it took humanity away from the comfort of being the alpha heroes of the Milky Way and made them into humble explorers searching for a new home. Andromeda’s story may not have enraptured us with the rich narrative and diverse cast of dynamic characters we expected from a Mass Effect game, but the story of Andromeda served the purpose of setting the stage of building a new civilization from the ground up.

Aside from some technical glitches, Andromeda offered one of the finer Mass Effect combat experiences, both in single-player and through an improved, wave-based multiplayer mode that never forced itself to be played, but integrated itself into the single-player in a rewarding and believable way. 

Check out our Mass Effect: Andromeda review here.

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
Like Andromeda, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords had an impossible task of following what many rightly regard as the greatest Star Wars game of all time. The sequel told a much darker story as the dark side spread throughout the galaxy after the events of the original KOTOR. The characters encountered throughout the game were vibrant and dynamic, none more so than the antagonistic duo of Darth Sion and Darth Nihilus. The story took you to places left relatively untouched in Star Wars lore, such as the remnants of Telos IV and the smuggler’s moon Nar Shaddaa, and explored them in compelling ways.

We could’ve seen the Padawan surpass the master with KOTOR II, but it was marred by technical issues and unresolved plot points. In the days before developers could release patches to fix these kind of errors, these detractions ultimately hindered the game from reaching its full potential and sitting side-by-side with its predecessor as rulers over the Star Wars galaxy. 

Halo 3: ODST
The best moments in Halo are highlighted by Master Chief and his cohort of super-soldier Spartans, but what about the regular joes down on the ground with him? Halo 3: ODST told the tale of an elite group called the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, the best soldiers humanity has that aren’t genetically augmented. ODST was the only Halo game that wasn’t played from a Spartan’s perspective, so jumping into the middle of a firefight against a group of brutes wasn’t as sound a strategy as taking a more intelligent, tactical approach. ODST also introduced the Halo universe to Firefight, a cooperative survival mode where up to four players faced off against waves of Covenant enemies. Firefight went on to be featured in the rightly appreciated Halo: Reach, but we remember where that idea came from.

Check out our Halo 3: ODST review here.

Call of Duty: Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts didn’t do much to reinvent the Call of Duty formula after breaking free from the Modern Warfare and Black Ops labels. It didn’t offer anything new in terms of narrative structure, deep characters, or memorable moments. What set Ghosts apart from every other Call of Duty was its Extinction mode.

Extinction was an episodic, cooperative adventure where you and up to three other teammates had to destroy the hives of an ancient race of aliens called Cryptids. Killing Cryptids gave players money that could be used to upgrade weaponry or abilities, which made destroying Cryptid hives much easier. Extinction culminated in intense wave-based encounters and monstrous boss battles as the story of how the Cryptids were awakened is unfurled. This mode went overlooked as it was an optional piece of DLC, but it led to some of the most exciting experiences in any Call of Duty game.

Check out our Call of Duty: Ghosts review here.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist 
This was the first Splinter Cell game where Sam Fisher was voiced by someone other than Michael Ironside. When making Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Ubisoft went with Eric Johnson to play Sam Fisher since this was the first time they were using performance capture to get the voice, facial animations, and actions of Sam Fisher at the same time. Longtime fans of the iconic, gravelly tone of Sam Fisher were immediately turned off by the drastic change.

It’s a real shame, because Blacklist allowed more freedom of playstyle than any other Splinter Cell game. If you wanted to handle a situation with the stealth and guile of a Chaos Theory Sam Fisher, you’re more than welcome to. If you wanted to go in guns blazing like the action hero Sam Fisher of Splinter Cell Conviction, marking multiple targets and taking them out in a split second, have at it. Blacklist paid homage to the entire franchise by giving players the option to handle every situation in whatever way they saw fit.

Check out our Splinter Cell: Blacklist review here.

Monument Valley 2
When the first Monument Valley game came out in 2014, it quickly climbed towards the top of the charts on the iOS app store. It gained even more mainstream momentum after appearing in the third season of Netflix’s House of Cards. Not much changed in terms of the visually striking puzzles for Monument Valley 2, but more depth was given to its characters. Still silent protagonists, the mother/child relationship was cultivated in touching ways as a journey of discovery unfolds. 

Check out our Monument Valley 2 review here.

Knack 2
Where some games on this list couldn’t live up to expectations, Knack 2 is one of the few games that never got its due because of the poor reception its predecessor. When the PlayStation 4 first launched, people were very excited to play anything that would showcase what the new hardware was capable of. Unfortunately, that excitement surrounding Knack quickly waned as its repetitive nature set in. Knack 2 stuck to its guns but found a way to keep its combat engaging throughout. Variety is the spice of life, and shifting from being a tiny Knack to use stealth to a giant Knack that can fight tanks feels much more satisfying the second time around. 

Check out our Knack 2 review here.

Picross 3D Round 2 
Picross in general is underappreciated under the weight of other puzzle games like Tetris and Dr. Mario, but the 3DS’s second take with Picross made a great game even better. For the uninitiated, Picross tasks you with using your wits and numerical logic to chip away at a cube of smaller blocks until you correctly create the intended sculpture. Along with that mechanic, Picross 3D Round 2 throws in colored cubes that can change shape as the puzzle goes on. This new wrinkle in the Picross formula adds new challenges to overcome for even the most experienced Picross veteran.

Check out our Picross 3D Round 2 review here.

 

What are some follow-ups that you think never got the following they deserved? Did this list motivate you to give some sequel a second chance? Be sure to let us know in the comments below! If you want to check out some other underappreciated games, give this list of the most underappreciated games of this generation a glance. You can also check out our list of the most underappreciated meta moments in games.

I don’t think I’m alone when I say Burnout Paradise is my favorite racing game of all time. It perfectly melded the sense of open-world driving, arcade racing fun, and crashing around an intersection as a wrecked vehicle with weirdo physics.

Since it’s been remastered and releasing today, I sat with Matthew Kato to talk about how the game holds up, what the remaster bundles and adds, and the thrill of crashing through things you’d normally go to jail for breaking.

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At the SXSW Sonic panel, Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka announced a new release of Sonic Mania with two new characters.

In addition to Sonic Mania’s playable characters of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel are being added. A competitive four-player mode and an encore mode, which has not been detailed yet. The release, which is set for this summer, comes out this summer with a physical release on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PS4. The cover is reversible for a Genesis or Mega-Drive sleeve, as well as including a 32-page art book for the game.

Additionally, Sega plans to produce five animated shorts in the style of the Sonic Mania intro and release them on their Youtube channel.

 

Our Take
I’m really excited about the shorts and I hope the level design supports the new characters and whatever new abilities they have.