Unlike Crash 1 and 2, no part of this game made me want to die.
Bursting at the seams with charm and never gets stale.
Far less miserable than Crash 1, but still marred by some utterly exasperating moments, particularly on the road to 100% completion.
There is a transcendent bliss that comes with the gameplay of Doom 2016. It has the most enthralling gameplay loop of any FPS I've played, and there is a wonderful sense of depth to its combat. The diverse hordes of enemies and their unique attributes, combined with an equally diverse arsenal at the players disposal leads to fast paced bloodbaths that are as strategic as they are action oriented. On higher difficulties players are asked to consider the attack patterns of multiple different enemy types, prioritize targets, watch their backs, stay mobile, choose the right weapon for any given moment, choose the right weapon MOD for any given moment, be cognizant of their ammo and health, be cognizant of the locations of powerups, health, armor, and ammo around the arena and choose when to grab them, choose when to pursue glory kills to recover health, choose when to chainsaw enemies to replenish ammo or just eliminate a problem, and choose when to use the BFG to avoid being overwhelmed. All of it feels incredible.
A story exists, but it is clearly a barebones backdrop for the action, which is fair enough. Environments are more visually appealing than I expected, but players may still feel some amount of visual fatigue by the end of the game. The soundtrack is... certainly fit for purpose. I confess that there were definitely times when it started to grate on me, but it suits Doom, and I greatly appreciated the occasional choral pieces in later areas as a refreshing break from all of the hard metal.
Crash 1 has unfortunately, even on the N. Sane Trilogy, aged like milk. The 3D that was once such a selling point is now one of the primary things holding it back. There's so much about Crash 1 that just feels... bad. Depth perception and hitboxes feel off. The few instances where the player has to run toward the camera feel like terrible choices with the benefit of hindsight. Boss fights are either very easy or frustrating for the wrong reasons. This game is halfway between 2D and 3D in the worst way possible, and some of the level design (The High Road) just feels absurd.
Persona 4 Golden
Vanilla P4 is already a 5-star game, and easily the game that is the most important to me personally. Golden is that same game with a bunch of new additions. Most of those additions are great. The ability to restart from the beginning of a floor upon a game over, rather than the last save removes a huge amount of frustration. Various gameplay additions make the game substantially easier, but there's always hard mode. The new slice of life scenes are a joy, just like the old ones. The sheer number of them does however make the game even more bloated than it previously was, and sometimes those scenes put the rest of the game on hold for long enough periods to cause some irritation and exhaustion. The new social links and their connections to the overarching plot are... a mixed bag. They don't feel like particularly meaningful additions, nor are they highlights. The new dungeon is actually pretty terrible, and feels like it doesn't accomplish anything that it's trying to do. It also drags out the falling action of the plot to a degree that kind of screws up the pacing of the end of the game... not that it was great previously. The new sidequests added in Golden are also terrible, with many of them being based on what were previously the worst quests in P4. Thankfully the less impressive additions to Golden are harmless and optional, so Golden is simply P4 but with more. I wish that I could recommend it over the original game with the same immediate excitement as I can with Persona 5 Royal, but I will still say that P4G is a great way to play P4, especially now that it's on PC.
While part of me still wishes for an actual RPG remake of FFVII, we got a pretty damn good action game remake. The battle system, especially on hard mode, is extremely well considered and rewarding. Sidequests and "filler" in the main story are of questionable quality, but don't ruin the experience by any means. The true success of FF7R is in how faithfully and beautifully it brings the environments and characters of the original game to life. I can't wait to see the likes of Junon, Cosmo Canyon, and Great Glacier. Ditto for the rest of the party.
Persona 5 Royal
Takes an absolutely fantastic game and makes it even better. The new content is all aces, the additions to the battle and progression systems are great, and the minor tweaks to things like Morgana's bedtime agenda are all welcome. It's a little unfortunate however that Royal falls victim to the usual issue Persona re-releases often face, where the quality of life improvements and new additions end up making the new version of the game quite a bit easier.
There is however one massive, unholy exception to this and I can't let it slide. One of the returning boss fights that appears around halfway through the game is now unacceptably terrible. It is extremely clear that no play testing occurred, because the resulting difficulty spike is unlike anything in the entire game. This one boss exists as a game-breaking outlier that almost ruins the game all by itself. It absolutely needs to be patched and I'm amazed it hasn't been already.
Head and shoulders above other Animal Crossing games. The crafting and Nook Miles are crucial additions that give players much, much more to do.
Not a bad way to play your way through the story of DBZ.