This review contains spoilers

It's a shame that this removes so many iconic moments from the original game, but it's all in service of creating a very different atmosphere. Even so, with a much darker tone, this game captures the gameplay feel of resident evil 4 so well, whilst in some ways improving on it with numerous QOL improvements and new mechanics like the great knife parry system.
I found myself driven to explore every nook and cranny of every area of the game, and it gives you a good couple of decently-sized areas to explore that become fully open to go around between several major plot beats. There's never a dull moment or confusion on what needs to be done, there's always something to do and something on your mind.
This is an outstanding achievement that only just falls short of the original; if only because that game was so forward thinking it reshaped entire sections of the industry. This won't have the same impact that game had, but it is one of the best third person shooters you'll play this year, or will have played in a long time.

Wasn't into this at first, but a couple of levels in when it starts shaking things up aesthetically and adding more mechanics (shout-out to the golf minigame), I started really vibing with it.
It's basically a maze game based in a place that's trying to convince you it was made by humans.
It's really cool, really atmospheric... But also really boring and really repetitive. Looking forward to chapter 2 to see what comes next in the story and how they evolve the gameplay, as well as what new settings they come up with!

As a preface, I would not have ever purchased this game, I was given a copy of it in order to do parts of my job and decided to then play it in my own time out of curiosity. If you are interested in playing this game then I implore you; I don't ever condone piracy of new, readily available games, but I believe you have a moral imperative to pirate this game. Support the quality of the product without financially supporting a game that lines the pockets of a transphobe and touts the disturbing rhetoric that this game does. I am a huge supporter of trans rights, trans rights are the social issue that I care about the most and it is awful that the creator of an integral part of the childhoods of much of the consumer base in the western world aggressively and blindly spouts hate towards transgender individuals. However, I would never tell someone not to play a game (simply not to spend money on it), but as I will get into in the review proper it will become apparent that the text of this game reflects none of JKs trans ideologies, likely as they weren't present in the original books, but it does spout some equally damaging and at times horrifying messaging.
Hogwarts legacy was controversial well before it's release, and whilst the team at portkey games and avalanche software did everything they could to distance themselves from the game, JK does still get royalties, but what of the game itself? is it any good to actually play?
Avalanche have almost exclusively made tie-in games, with their biggest endeavor being Disney Infinity, a game I am personally a fan of, but could not sing its praises. Most of Avalanche's library consists of games like Cars 3 the game or Bolt the game, generic and uninteresting cash grabs made by cynics who think gaming is a novelty, so surely hogwarts legacy is just another pit-stop on the Avalanche tour of mediocrity, right?
Well, somehow, they managed to pull it out of the bag. This game at no point reinvents the wheel, every gameplay system you can see having been taken from other places, but every system the game employs is really good, from the fun and engaging combat (despite some bullet sponge enemies and lack of enemy variety), to the farming sim/home builder room of requirement, which links out to a pokemon arceus style beast catching system. Every one of the systems, mechanics and minigames is really good, never great mind you, but a game chock full of really good and varied systems and activities that are all consistently really good is not something to turn your nose up at. Sure, there's a criminal lack of enemy variety and some elements (like the owl post) feel a tad superfluous, these end up being minor qualms in the face of a grand and great beast. The closest comparison I can give to the experience of playing this game is playing the witcher 3; with it's beautiful, expansive and detailed world bursting with things to do, where you just want to sit and watch all the crazy little things play out (especially in the castle) before heading out to a minigame to beat a high score or beat some bandits in a mission. This is a good game in the gameplay, in fact I am almost relieved that I am now in the post game as I no longer have to engage with the frankly concerning writing that carries this game's narrative.
A little bit after this game was announced, and after JK had begun her descent into her concerning obsession with stranger's genitals, it was uncovered that the lead designer of the game had, at one point, run an 'anti-sjw' channel on youtube, but hey, he's not writing the game, who cares, right? Well, this should have been our first red flag; fool me once, shame on you. A few months go by once again and the game hires Greg Ellis, who has ammassed enough controversy of his own, some of it in relation to supporting Rowling, over the years. Fool me twice...
No, we should not have ignored these warning signs. It has already been pointed out that, within the text, the Goblins of the Wizarding World are extremely antisemetic, and here that is dialed up to 11.
It's all well and good that you have a super diverse cast of characters, in fact that's great, there's every kind of person here you can imagine, there's even a prominent trans woman who is never needlessly clocked and deadnamed and demands respect around her; but what's the point of all of that if the plot of your game is that the hook nosed bankers who control the economy, based on a historically known antisemetic symbol, decide to rise up against the fact they are treated as slaves and are upset that their cultural artefacts have been stolen and locked away from them for hundreds of years, and they are treated unequivocably as the villains.
There are so many opportunities presented to this game where it could turn things around, the only 'good goblins' want nothing to do with the rebellion, no one ever questions if maybe stealing another race's cultural artefacts and putting them in places enchanted so goblins can't enter could be bad, no one ever even suggests that enslaving an entire race and treating them as lesser could be bad. Moreover, the general stance of this game is that rising up against those in power is inherently a bad thing to do, as the player if you choose dialogue options that go against doing as your teachers say you are told things like 'I wouldn't have expected that from you', all but telling you that you are behaving out of character. It even employs some familliar right wing rhetoric, of course the people rising up to try and justifiably gain what is theirs just want to 'wipe out all of wizard kind', this kind of rhetoric is sadly all too familliar from the real world politics of 2023, especially following certain protests in the last few years.
More concerning, still, is the treatment of life within this game. It's a strange thing, when you are punished for using the 'unforgivable' killing curse with a mere 'I'd rather you didn't do that', and then are allowed to use the explosion spell to kill someone, or burn someone to death slowly, and no one bats an eye. Let me be clear, there is no hyperbole in play here, this isn't Spider-Man or Arkham where in-universe you're just knocking people out. Over the course of this game you murder dozens of innocent humans, and you are congratulated for it. At first I believed this to be some kind of huge oversight on behalf of the developers, but toward the end of the game I was getting a little bored of the boss battle with rockwood and decided to use the killing curse on him. He exploded into a cloud of dust, never to be seen again. Shortly after professor fig confronted me about it, I expected a harsh telling-off for my callousness and the coldness with which I dispatched a named character. Instead I was told that he was a dangerous man, and I did what I had to, I did the right thing. And this was right next to another boss that I merely incapacitated and had arrested. I was told that my erasure of this man's life, a human life, was the right thing to do. And this was in and among the slaughter of hundreds of goblins over the course of the game.
So, to review; this game, based on a children's series and likely being played largely by children and young people, presents an oppressed group rising up against subjugation and the stealing of cultural artefacts as a threat to 'our kind', and tells you that you are free to indiscriminately murder these people, as well as humans; in fact if you think it is the right thing to do you are always justified in killing human beings. What am I to do with this plot? How can one ignore the frankly disturbing rhetoric on display here?
I'm going to have to stop here, I have other things to do with my day, but I do think that, despite it all, I will come back to this game. As I mentioned earlier, now that I'm in the post game I don't have to encounter the horrifying messaging of this game anymore.
The bottom line is that this is a good game, it's really fun, has so much to do, and is really visually pleasing, I would even go as far as recommending it, but please, I beg you, do not spend money on this game, not a cent. Rowling has said that every penny from this game will go to anti-trans causes and the racist rhetoric on display in the actual game is frankly disgusting. Pirate this game, steal it digitally, There are many multitudes of places where you can acquire this game without funding the people who made it. Think about what you're consuming. You can support high quality products without supporting awful people and awful ideologies.
This game should be an 8/10, but I simply can't bring myself to do it.

Oops I did it again...
Played this all the way through again just to get the 'one gun' achievement and to see the alternate ending. Honestly, I'd be happy if this ending was canon, and you can imagine it is and it wouldn't not work...
Anyway, the fact I leapt at the opportunity to replay this immediately after beating it the first time should tell you all you need about this game, 2023 starting out strong for horror!

An outstanding remake of a game that, if you asked me a year ago, I would have told you didn't need a remake. Dead Space isn't like Resident Evil 2 where the original was a ps1 survival horror that would push most modern players away in it's opening minutes. No, Dead Space is a game that you can puchase on Steam and largely feels pretty modern to this day; so how do you successfully remake it?
The answer is by adding... more. There's more story, a completely re-written script that overhauls character arcs and makes every character much more pertinent in the story, as well as adding voice acting to isaac, making him feel like he's actually participating in the story. There's more gameplay, the zero-g segments have been expanded and redesigned to better fit the later entries in the series, and the ishimura now allows you to go back wherever you like, whenever you like, and by giving you security passes as the game goes on it adds a metroidvania-esque element to exploration. It even has more of the great art design that the first boasted (though of course, like the gameplay, it's not on the level of the sequel).
And what does all of this 'more' result in? This is easily THE way to play Dead Space, and considering that it comes with the second game, which is my favorite game of all time, you can't lose! I just hope that this works as a good proof of relevance and EA let's them make an all-new Dead Space.
If you want to know more of my thoughts check out my review video:

2nd playthrough, thanks Epic for giving this away for free that one time.
This really is an outstanding game, and whilst it does suffer from a very bad case of gameplay and cutscenes that feel ripped from different mediums let alone genres, both are super engaging and entertaining. The feeling of strategising journeys and then adapting to whatever crops up as you go on every delivery never gets old and the game always keeps it fresh with new obstacles and tools to use. The story is well written and phenomenally performed even if it is Kojima at his most insular and convoluted.
The score and art design really stand out, the world returned to nature is so simple but so consistently breathtaking, and every single BT encounter is atmospheric, tense and gorgeous.
I can't wait for Death Stranding 2, I want to know why we shouldn't have connected in the first place, but for now I'm happy to keep filling out orders in this game, maybe I can 100% it now that I'm on Steam Deck.
Speaking of which, the game is surprisingly fantastic portably, taking small chunks of a journey or shorter orders on lunch breaks or commutes is a great feeling, and whilst it's a shame not to have the great sound design and music the vibrations the game provides do a lot of the same work. It does, however, dip and dive in framerate, it averages about 40-50fps but there were points during BT or MULE encounters where it dipped down to 25-30, but never down to anything any reasonable person would call unplayable.
Was worried the incongruity that permeates this game would make it grating to revising but honestly knowing that the experience would be that way may have actually improved the experience through expectation
Can't believe this game was done so dirty on release, more big budget games with different ideas that know how to deliver on those ideas please!

Very good! A little rough around the edges but the gameplay is moreish and approachable and genuinely interesting without ever feeling like it's trying to gross you out, which would have just felt insulting to the titular profession. It's a little short but with multiple endings there's plenty of reason to replay. It's a little over-reliant on jumpscares at times and seems insistent on undercutting itself just as it's really getting tense with it's atmosphere, but overall a good experience! A game that feels made for streaming but works well at home too.

It's so strange, what I loved about part one is that it feels like it's just more of the base game and that's why it works, but here it feels like the level design gets a little half-assed at times (and great at others), and the last quarter left me feeling a little unsatisfied, but it's still great!

It's a little too lore-heavy to the point where I kinda stopped caring but overall this is a great expansion that I can't believe it took me this long to play, it feels largely like an extended endgame which I don't have a problem with at all, I could play Doom Eternal forever, getting into the flow of this game is so satisfying and putting all the pieces together in every combat area makes you feel so cool, you can't not love it!

Playing this game, like, two months after release seems to have resulted in me playing a completely different game to what we all saw upon release. It's not perfect, there's still framerate issues and texture quality and pop-in in still a huge mess. However, now that most of the major bugs have been patched out, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is one of the best mainline Pokémon games I've ever played, the world is well laid out, it provides the kind of structured freedom many games struggle to capture, the world is varied and interesting and the story is easily one of the best in the series, as medium-height a bar as that is.
Most importantly though is that, for the first time since the DS or even before, this is actually a balanced game, I actually had to think and strategise and try when battling trainers and bosses. I started playing this series at XY, and whilst I've played plenty of these games now, every mainline game that's released in this series since I've started has been a cakewalk and I always end up beating them within 48 hours of getting them. Here, however, it took me almost a week, I needed to actually grind (which is much less of a pain thanks to the let's go feature), and it was so satisfying!
Will definitely keep playing this as time goes on, good to see that this series is finally on the up for the first time in years.

God, there's so much I like here but the whole thing just feels half-baked. I like the combat but it never meaningfully evolves past the first hour, I like the enemies but they show you all the interesting ones in the first third then just throw basic ones at you for the rest of the game (the final boss is just a boring bullet sponge you shoot for ten minutes until it falls over), the world and environments are atmospheric but feel like such a generic sci-fi setting with nothing interesting or unique about it, and worst of all is the story.
It genuinely feels like entire hours of story must have been cut from the game, every single character has one trait each, 0 seconds of development, and there are entire visual motifs that feel like holdovers from cut content (the jack-in-the-box HAS to have been a bigger part of the game in cut content, and the co-pilot that appears like twice and has no bearing on anything), it just feels like there were all these ideas and they either had to cut them or couldn't be bothered to do more than the bare minimum, not just with the story but with every single aspect of the game. The combat, progression, music and story all just feel like entire teams were just doing the absolute minimum to justify calling itself a AAA-style game.
It's not all bad, the types of levels have plenty of variety, the combat feels satisfying when you hit and dodge and block, and the gameplay is well paced, it's just a shame the story is not because it largely doesn't exist.
Was hoping I'd like this more on a replay, and I mostly feel the same, it's worth playing if you can get it on sale for like 20, but other than that I just can't recommend it in good faith. I will say that the PS5 is preferable over PC, it looks better (other than the shadows) and the controller additions from the Dualsense are... Cool.
I hope in future this studio takes their clear dev talent and puts it toward something they actually care about.

Surprise! The TikTok scary train game is actually decent! Definitely an early project by one person, but it's really fun and appeals to me a lot because you freely explore an open world in a big vehicle. If you want to know what it plays like, imagine Zelda Spirit Tracks meets Slender and that's the game.

Damn I forgot this game is great. Other than the lacklustre story it's got a bustling and storyful world that's brimming with content, some of the side-content is top-notch and the DLC, particularly Far Harbour, is outstanding!
Played the game modded from the start this time, played Whispering Hills, Fallout London, The Machine and Her and a few other DLC campaigns and loved all of it! Whispering hills really creates a totally different atmosphere to the game that still totally fits the art design, Fallout London is a great world that feels like vanilla content in its quality, and there was so much more great content I got to see!
Even four playthroughs through I still found new vanilla content in the open world that I've never seen before, and I think I might just keep going on this current save on-and-off for as long as I can!

The atmosphere is great, the character and enemy designs are GREAT, it's been a good year for awesome protag designs, this is a great modernisation of classic survival horror, this is very kinned with the Resident Evil remake, both aesthetically and in the gameplay. The gameplay is, however, where it falls apart a bit. Whilst the puzzles are always fun, the combat is unresponsive and unsatisfying, and the gameplay gets very repetitive, too repetitive.
It's also a shame, because I've been spoiled for the entire year by SIGNALIS, which is just a masterclass in survival horror.

This is fine
The gameplay has enough fun mechanics to keep it going and knows when to add new ones. The dialogue is annoying but not unbearable, there are some funny jokes, one in a hundred. Every Squanch game feels like the Devs came up with a good game and just asked Roiland to riff over the top.
There are some minor bugs but nothing game breaking, I do wish it was more difficult but I don't know if the gameplay has enough to it to make it being any more difficult still feel fun.
Anyway, won't be playing this again as I didn't realise there's no steam cloud saves for it so I've now lost all my progress.