A guide for beginners, from A to Z trigger.
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The best game in the series yet.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the best game in the series yet. It streamlines many of the clunky aspects from earlier games and gives players plenty of motivation to keep shaping their island community.
As you'd expect, it also looks better than any previous entry, giving you even more motivation to fill up your virtual home and closet. The sound design reaches ASMR levels of brain-tingling comfort.
And yes, it certainly helps that New Horizons is an incredibly soothing escape from reality when we're all stuck at home in the midst of a global pandemic.
An unashamedly traditional Japanese role-playing game.
Dragon Quest XI is an unashamedly traditional Japanese role-playing game. Most of the characters are established RPG tropes: mute protagonist-who’s-actually-a-legendary-hero, sister mages, mysterious rogue and the rest.
Then there’s the battle system, which has rarely changed in the decades of the series. (There’s a reason that this special edition features a 16-bit styled version of the game: The mechanics and story work just as well in more... graphically constrained surroundings.)
While the story hits a lot of familiar RPG beats, everything takes an interesting turn later on. And through it, the game demands completion. RPGs require compelling stories, and this has one. It just doesn’t quite kick in until later.
This eleventh iteration of the series also serves as a celebration of all things Dragon Quest. Without getting too deep into the story, the game heavily references the first game, taking place in the same narrative universe, just hundreds of years later.
One hell of a game.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is one hell of a game. Developer Intelligent Systems made a lot of tweaks to its formula for the series' first outing on the Nintendo Switch, and the result of those changes is a game that marries Fire Emblem's dual personalities in a meaningful and satisfying way.
You'll spend half your time as a master tactician, commanding troops around varied and enjoyable battlefields.
The other half? You'll be teaching students and building relationships as a professor at the finest school in the land.
the first early access title to ever make our best PC game list
Hades was the first early access title to ever make our best PC game list, and the final game is a perfect fit for Nintendo’s Switch. It's an action-RPG developed by the team behind Bastion, Transistor and Pyre.
You play Zagreus, son of Hades, who's having a little spat with his dad, and wants to escape from the underworld. To do so, Zagreus has to fight his way through the various levels of the underworld and up to the surface.
Along the way, you’ll pick up “boons” from a wide range of ancient deities like Zeus, Ares and Aphrodite, which stack additional effects on your various attacks. Each level is divided into rooms full of demons, items and the occasional miniboss.
Hollow Knight is a 2D action-adventure game in the Metroidvania style, but it's also just a mood.
This was a real sleeper hit, and one of very few Kickstarter games to not only live up to but exceed expectations. Hollow Knight is a 2D action-adventure game in the Metroidvania style, but it's also just a mood.
Set in a vast, decrepit land, which you'll explore gradually as you unlock new movement and attack skills for your character, a Burtonesque bug-like creature.
Short on both dialogue and narrative, the developers instead convey a story through environment and atmosphere, and it absolutely nails it.
an indie roguelike game where you control mechs to stem an alien attack, defies conventions, and is all the better for it.
Into the Breach battles are short, and being a roguelike, designed to be very replayable.
Once you've mastered the basics and reached the end, there are numerous different mechs with new attack and defense mechanics to learn and master as you mix-and-match to build your favorite team.
If you're a fan of either puzzle or turn-based strategy games, this is a must-have.
the biggest shift in the series since the Nintendo 64's Ocarina of Time,
The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild signals the biggest shift in the series since the Nintendo 64's Ocarina of Time, and it might well be one of the best games of the past decade. It pulls the long-running series into modern gaming, with a perfectly pitched difficulty curve and an incredible open world to play with. There's crafting, weapons that degrade, almost too much to collect and do and a gentle story hidden away for players to discover for themselves. Even without the entertaining DLC add-ons, there's simply so much to do here and challenges for every level of gamer.
a completely faithful remake of the 1993 Game Boy classic, but the graphics and sound have been brought into the present
If Breath of the Wild shows The Legend of Zelda at its most ambitious and expansive, Link's Awakening takes things back to where the series started, in all its top-down glory. It's a completely faithful remake of the 1993 Game Boy classic, but the graphics and sound have been brought into the present, and a few quality-of-life tweaks have been made to smooth things out.
The visual style is charming and unique to the series; the combination of small, toy-like characters and tilt-shift perspective makes the game look unlike any other Zelda title. Despite its age, the puzzles can be challenging without making you tear your hair out. It's perhaps the best game you could pick to introduce a kid to the Zelda series, but it's also a nostalgic trip worth taking for those who played the original in all its monochrome glory.
It's vibrancy and attention to detail prove it's a valid upgrade
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe's vibrancy and attention to detail prove it's a valid upgrade to the Wii U original.
Characters are animated and endearing as they race around, and Nintendo's made bigger, wider tracks to accommodate up to 12 racers.
This edition of Mario Kart included gravity-defying hover tires and automatic gliders for when you soar off ramps, making races even more visually thrilling, but at its core, it's Mario Kart — simple, pure gaming fun.
It's also a great showcase for the multitude of playing modes that the Switch is capable of: Two-player split-screen anywhere is possible, as are online races or Switch-on-Switch chaos. For now, this is the definitive edition.
It quickly became the fastest-selling game in the history of the Switch
Pokémon Sword and Shield launched mired in controversy, as fans bemoaned the lack of monsters, the "recycled" character models and general performance issues. To a large portion of gamers, though, it appears that didn't matter. It quickly became the fastest-selling game in the history of the Switch, and garnered largely positive reviews from media, including yours truly.
It's true that Sword and Shield have issues, but the core loop of catching Pokémon, battling trainers and working your way towards becoming the best trainer in the land, is as compelling as ever. It might not represent the reset the series (in my opinion) needs, but the main campaign is still a damned good way to spend 30 hours or so, and its endgame and online content offerings will only improve with time.
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