Retro controllers are making a comeback thanks to retro enthusiasts. Many companies are finally catching on to this and making controllers compatible with older systems but with newer tech and sometimes better designs. NYXI might be a generic Chinese brand, but they’re the first to make GameCube WaveBird style Joy-Cons that slide onto the Switch and include a centerpiece to turn them into a controller. This got me really excited and I love my original WaveBird. The excellent purple (Indigo) color brings back memories that I wish I had as I didn’t play GameCube games until I was an adult.
The controller itself feels good in the hand. It has a nice weight, doesn’t feel super cheap, and looks the part. The button arrangement on the front is just like the original GameCube controller. There are a few changes such as added turbo buttons (I personally don’t ever use these) and there are two buttons on top where the Z button normally is on the GameCube to represent L and R. There are also two buttons where the grips are and these can be reprogramed to be anything you want. While all this seems fine the controller does have some flaws.
First off, the buttons don’t feel all that great to press. There’s a cheap hollow pinginess to them and the shoulder buttons are micro switches rather than rubber domes. It’s an unsatisfying feel and most people will be turned off by this. The controller buttons are also very loud. The large A button makes a loud clunking sound. This is a huge letdown despite how good it feels in the hand.
The analog sticks work just fine and the right stick has an interchangeable direction gate to make it like the default 8-way gate or a regular round one. The 8-way gate would be great for the N64 emulator on the Switch. As a bonus, the face buttons are backlit which was a really nice touch and looks pretty cool. I just wish the joysticks lit up as well. They of course make the Switch incredibly bulky when used in portable mode. Especially the OLED Switch. It makes the entire system nearly a foot long! Another small annoyance is the overly bright status lights on top. They won’t turn off and outshine the otherwise nice glow of the face buttons. It’s a distraction.
Are you ready for the worst part of the controller? The vibration function. One side is about double the strength of the other side. This makes no sense. You can adjust the vibration strength with a button combo, but I had to put the stronger side all the way down to match. This isn’t all. It’s incredibly loud. You can hear the motors vibrate and shake the controller. It’s some of the worst vibration functions I’ve ever seen. For the high asking price, I’d expect more. This definitely looks better as a display piece or for casual emulation rather than a main controller.
Overall, the NYXI Wizard controller is a note nostalgia trip, but for anyone who may not have fond memories might want to stay away. The buttons don’t feel that great, the controller creaks and the vibration function is awful. I do appreciate the backlit buttons and the interchangeable analog gate, but it’s not enough to offset the weaknesses.
Did you ever play Resident Evil 4 and want to just organize that inventory? It’s kind of satisfying getting all your items in the right spot, so someone thought that should be its own puzzle game. In Save Room, you organize weapons, health, and other items ripped straight from the game it’s inspired by.
There are only 40 puzzles in total and you can blow through them in just about an hour. On the left is a cache with a grid and on the right are the items you need to fit in there. There are just enough squares to fit every item exactly. You begin with just fitting small pistols and then larger weapons like shotguns and rifles. Shortly after this, you need to organize health items and grenades. Things get more complicated when you start out with too many items.
Well, just like in RE4, you have a health meter and need to refill your guns. You need to do this in a certain order as this is also part of the puzzle. You may have three health items, but can only use two so you must figure out how to combine herbs and also hurt yourself with poisoned eggs and fish to be able to use more health items. Later on towards the last dozen puzzles you start crafting ammo in addition to stacking ammo and reloading weapons.
This all sounds complicated, but if you ever played RE4 you know exactly what to do already. A few puzzles will get your brain juices flowing. Mostly the ones that needed me to combine certain types of ammo and reload or stack ammo in a certain order. I only had to look up a few puzzles online, but most are quick trial and error levels and you will be breezing through them.
This sounds like a great concept, but in the end, it gets old really fast and it makes you just want to play RE4 instead. The visuals are pretty ugly, there’s a single track that loops in the background, and that’s all there is to this. For the low asking price, I can’t really complain. I had my hour of fun, but it’s totally forgettable. This isn’t on the same level as Portal or even something like The Room series. You won’t be talking about this 10 years from now. I honestly can only recommend this to RE4 fans who want some sort of weird spin-off. Anyone else who never played RE4 just won’t care about this or even get the idea.
I’m not one to buy mice very often. Maybe once every 2-3 years just like keyboards. I already had the G502 Lightspeed, but what prompted me to spend $160 on a simple upgrade? Well, it’s worth it to me, but anyone who is seeking a high-end gaming mouse should look no further.
The mouse retains the signature G502 ergonomics and look. The X Plus means the mouse is a bit heavier at 114 grams over the original’s 104 grams, has better button switches, and has a removable sniper button that can disable it this time around. Best of all, the battery life has doubled with RGB off clocking in at 130 hours and around 40 with RGB on. The scroll wheel has also been updated. The RGB lights are now across the palm of the mouse rather than just the Logitech G logo. It’s a fantastic update and well worth the money in my opinion.
This may seem small compared to the original Lightspeed mouse, but it feels better and it’s the small things that matter here. The weight helps quite a bit, the buttons feel more clicky and less mushy, and the RGB effects are awesome. While the battery life has doubled the RGB lights are very bright, so turning them down to 50% can net you upwards of 50 hours easily. If you have the Power Play mat you don’t need to worry about charging ever again, but that’s another $120, and most may not care for that. Who games for 50 hours straight?
The addition and update to USB-C is really nice as well. You can use any USB-C cable as there is no weird proprietary shape for the port this time around. The software lets you customize the RGB effects, change power settings, and set macros or change what the extra buttons do. It’s nothing special, but the Logitech G Hub is nice and clean, and simple to use.
The G502 series has been my favorite mouse over the last 5 years and that doesn’t seem to like it will change any time soon. With a Power Play mat I can foresee this being the perfect wireless mouse setup. At the price of $160, it’s high-end, but well worth the price if you want great RGB effects, good battery life, and probably the best mouse sensor on the market right now. I don’t know who is crazy enough to have a 25,000 DPI setting on their mouse, but it’s there. I only go as high as maybe 4,000. The addition of USB-C puts this mouse in 2023 and beyond. I can’t recommend this one enough.
Obsidian Entertainment lit the world on fire with their game Fallout: New Vegas. Many considered it superior to Bethesda’s own offering Fallout 3. The Outer Worlds was considered a spiritual successor to New Vegas. The same type of play style. A first-person RPG with shooting elements, a large story, companions, quests, and worlds to explore. Many were calling it New Vegas in space, but is it really that and does it live up to New Vegas?
The short answer is no. If falls short in nearly every way. The game really does feel like it’s trying to be New Vegas with the funny humor in the propaganda posters, the overseeing mega-corporation that’s trying to take over the Halcyon colony, and you’re trying to get factions to agree with each other or side with them. The overarching story is pretty much forgettable and that goes for most of the game. The story, characters, and side quests are mostly boring. I hate to really say this as this game sat installed on my PC for a couple of years now and I would do a mission or two and quit because of just how dull the game is. The characters aren’t memorable, there’s no personality that stands out, and the overall mega-corporation humor that overshadows the game just feels like it’s in the background.
The game is also incredibly short. I did several companion quests, dealt with all the factions, did multiple side quests, and still clocked in at around 12-13 hours. If you blow through the main story you can finish it in 4-5 hours easily. I feel that contributes to the problem of the story and characters being uninteresting. There’s not enough time for them to develop. Your entire crew is all humans, and they all just feel like generic Bethesda faces that were run through a random generator and nothing stands out. I wound up skipping through a lot of dialogue because I just didn’t care. I loved the characters and overall story of New Vegas. It was fresh and interesting, but this just feels like a generic space odyssey.
So what about the gameplay? It’s tighter and more refined than New Vegas, but not by much. I hated the upgrade and skill tree system. They felt generic and half-baked. The game’s poorly balanced where it’s either way too easy and you mow down enemies or they swarm you and kill you on the spot. I felt like none of the items you can use helped at all, stats didn’t seem to matter, and the only thing that really did matter was your level in each respective category. You really want to get your speech levels high including engineering as you can bypass a lot of battles with speech checks. Most of the weapons in the game felt pretty generic and their weapon power didn’t seem to matter.
Weapons can be tinkered with and modded at workbenches. Mods can be picked up and attached to various parts of guns. They can add elemental damage, increase clip size, add scopes, and do damage to different types of enemies, but outside of this you can just tinker the weapon’s level up with you and future weapons don’t matter. There were no cool unique weapons found on bosses or for getting into a hard-to-hack safe. Looting like in Fallout feels pointless as there is so much given to you. By the end of the game, I had thousands of rounds of ammo for each weapon type. You can specialize in long, pistol, or heavy weapons, but I just wound up dumping points into all three. Add a few good mods and tinker the weapon up to your level and you will stick with the same weapons through most of the game rarely trading them out. You can equip up to four weapons, and I rarely ever used healing items until the final showdown where you are swarmed by enemies in every room you go into.
Another balancing issue is with the factions. You can gain and lose reputation and this will make guards attack you on-site in certain towns locking out quests and not being able to finish any in this case. I wound up pissing off a couple of factions and had to abandon the quests there and couldn’t go to the shops too. This is really frustrating and there’s usually no way to gain the reputation back. This can lock off companion quests and many side missions. Throughout the entire game I mostly just mowed down every enemy in my way and used my companion’s abilities when I was swarmed on occasion. You get a single ability to slow down time which is useless because it slows down time too much.
The only thing I really enjoyed was the visuals. The game looks like a last-generation title, but the worlds are unique and look really good. I was interested in discovering new towns and new enemies, but that was really it. Everything else was either ignored, forgotten, or skipped because of how uninteresting most of the game is. I don’t feel like this is Obsidian’s best work or their love letter to New Vegas. The game is horribly optimized, looks dated, and feels dated by being too safe. The game lacks any depth and most may not even enjoy the shooting. The story and characters are boring and unoriginal, and the game’s length doesn’t justify this type of game in general. Who wants to play a 4-5 RPG with supposed vast worlds to explore? You might enjoy blowing through the main story but that’s about it.
You can’t really call this a walking simulator or a platformer. It’s a bit of both. A Short Hike doesn’t have a touching story that tugs on your heartstrings that a lot of short indie “walking simulators” have, nor is it a skill-based platformer that requires precision timing. It reminded me of something familiar from the 32/64-bit era such as Super Mario 64, Donkey Kong 64, or Kingsley’s Adventure. This is an isometric “retro pixel” style 3D platformer with tons of charm and a fun island to explore. The entire game can be completed 100% in less than four hours, and the main story finished in one hour, but if you just race to the top of Hawk Peak to get the cell phone reception you need to hear back from your mother then you are robbing yourself of an entire game.
There are dozens of characters dotted throughout the island offering challenges, golden feathers, hints, and just plain silliness. The writing for the characters is very similar to 16-bit and games of yesteryear. Your main goal to progress is golden feathers. These are single jumps or stamina for climbing. I found 11 on my journey, but there were a few more I missed. You can do more than a single hop without the first golden feather. You really should glide around the island and explore. Some characters want sea shells, one runner is missing a headband, and there are treasure maps, chests with coins, digging spots, fishing spots, and a few other activities like Stickball and parkour races. You won’t discover these without talking to creatures and exploring. I love the exploration in this game. It’s not overly difficult and you can always figure out how to get to a seemingly hidden spot. Just upgrade your feathers.
Coins are used to buy feathers from a couple of characters, and you can sell caught fish to get more coins. This all sounds like a lot of game, but it’s packed into a single hour and somehow doesn’t feel overwhelming. The island seems big at first, but you will easily remember the landmarks and there are signs everywhere pointing to the different trails and landmarks. You eventually unlock shortcuts by watering spring flowers and using a pickaxe to knock through a tunnel. It’s incredibly satisfying to find all the objects for a creature and then run back knowing exactly where they are and get your reward and it’s always one step further to progress. No matter what you do in the game it will always push you closer to your goal.
Even after reaching the peak, you get an opportunity before finishing the game to complete everything. By the first full hour, I had almost all the feathers and I could go anywhere I wanted. I didn’t 100% the game, but I got close to it. The platforming itself is wonderful with great physics and tight controls. I never felt slippery and gliding never felt off or wrong. You do eventually get a sprint ability and this helps you get around the island even faster on foot. Thanks to the short length there’s a constant sense of progression with every action you do. The visuals are bright, colorful, and charming and the music is fantastic. There’s not much to hate about this game other than its length and lack of an overall story.
A Short Hike is one of the highest-rated games on Steam for a reason. It’s a bite-sized chunk of gaming goodness that merges the exploration and fantasy of adventure from the early days with better controls and tighter designs of today. It may only take an afternoon to complete, but it’s incredibly satisfying and isn’t something you will quickly forget.
Dead Space has been one of my all-time favorite games. I picked up the original game the weekend it launched thanks to its critical acclaim and revolutionary gameplay for the horror genre. I replayed the game a few times over the years and just couldn’t get enough. The HUD-less stats, holographic overlays, the dismemberment engine, the Necromorphs themselves, and the unique mystery around The Marker wouldn’t be really unraveled until the sequel. The remake brings Dead Space to a whole new generation of gamers and anyone else who played the game in the game in past will absolutely love this remake.
If you already played the original then you will know what’s in store. This is essentially a graphical remake with some balancing tweaks. Nothing new was really added outside of some suits. There are some side objectives and some of the level layouts have been tweaked, but other than new character models that’s about it, and that’s perfectly okay. The original game holds up well even today, and I’m glad not much else was drastically changed. Dead Space is mostly all about the combat as the story elements are tossed in as you play with only a few cut scenes that wrench the controls from you. There aren’t even that many scripted events. They were placed very carefully in this game.
As you start out you get the Plasma Cutter weapon which is the best weapon in the game once it’s maxed out. Each weapon has an alt-fire mode and the Plasma Cutter lets you cut horizontally or vertically and this matters. Necromorphs come in all shapes and sizes. The standard kind runs at you so it’s best to cut off their legs and then their arms. There are small little babies with three tendrils that shoot at you. Cut off the tendrils and it will run away. There are large dog-like ones that should have their arms cut off as they have no legs. Then there are large bosses peppered throughout the game that can be pretty challenging. There’s even a Mr. X-style Hunter that chases you later in the game and can only be killed with something powerful. These types are introduced throughout the game plus many more that I haven’t mentioned. Necromorphs will even sport armor later on so you can only cut off limbs that aren’t guarded.
There are plenty of weapons in the game and you will find that not all are very useful. I rarely used the flamethrower or the ripper as they aren’t great weapons unless fully upgraded. You will probably only fully upgrade a single weapon in your first playthrough as nodes are very rare and you have to rely on buying them at the stores if you want to upgrade faster. You also need to buy suit upgrades as well as use some nodes on your suit. It’s a balancing act and this encourages playing a New Game+ as there’s also a new alternate ending. Dead Space gets better the more you play and that’s really awesome. I actually am looking forward to the next play-through as I can finally upgrade other weapons and start maxing more out.
There are some puzzles thrown in that usually take up entire rooms. There aren’t many, but they do exist and offer a decent challenge. Most of Dead Space consists of finding the next switch as you need to restart nearly every system on the Ishimura and this involves using your Kenesis ability to move batteries into slots and or toss objects at enemies. You can also use your Stasis ability to slow objects and enemies down. These are essential tools and you will rely on them as the game gets tougher. And it really does get tough. The game starts throwing hordes of enemies at you expecting that you’re careful with your ammo and have upgraded something. You will need to have a balanced weapon loadout for long distances, short range, and area of effect to keep enemies off of you. There really is a strategy to killing everything as this isn’t Call of Duty.
The game is incredibly well-balanced. No two areas are alike and you’re always doing something new or different and the level of design is always changing. While the game is very linear each area throws new surprises at you or none at all when you’re expecting one. Enemies pop out of grates or ceilings in some hallways, but you may enter a new area expecting to be bombarded when nothing happens. Dead Space doesn’t play too much into the psychological horror despite The Marker messing with your head. You see signs of it throughout the ship, read it on text or audio logs, and this isn’t really explored more until the sequel. The game does a great job with traditional horror by always making you feel on edge and tense because you never know what’s coming next.
The upgrades to the actual game are great. The graphics got a fantastic boost and make the game look better than ever, the new character models are well done, and the game feels new enough for veteran players to really get into. This is honestly still one of the best horror games ever made and one of the most unique combat systems to ever be invented in the last 20 years. This is a classic and I’m glad there’s a better way to play on newer systems.
These two portables were a huge part of my early teen years. I pre-ordered the PSP when I was 14 years old. I used my allowance saved up for 6 months to slap down that $250. I hadn’t been that excited about a piece of hardware in my life. I made a wallpaper (see below) for it, prepped files to transfer to the measly 32MB memory card, and even picked out a case ahead of time. The Nintendo DS was more of an afterthought. I never got excited about it due to the less powerful hardware and then heavily criticized touch screen. People thought it would be full of gimmicky games and lack the essence of what made the Game Boy so great. I’ve owned both of these systems for many years now and have played a good majority of their libraries. I want to break down the categories into hardware, revisions, software, and then various game genres. Most people just pick the best-selling games and compare those, but the systems go deeper than that. Some genres were stronger on one system over another due to their button layout and unique hardware. I am honestly tired of these comparisons: The DS had Zelda and the PSP had God of War. It’s so much more than that.
This is the first thing that you will notice before even picking up the system, so it makes sense right? What system had the more attractive box, better pack-ins, and overall looks? This matters more than people think, especially for the casual gamer who doesn’t do extensive research beforehand or the non-gamers who make a spontaneous purchase.
The PSP overall had a much larger box than the DS. It even showed right up front what it included. You got a hand strap, 32MB Memory Stick Pro Duo for game saves, a UMD demo sampler, wired earbuds with a remote, a soft case, a cleaning cloth, and the system itself. For $250 you saw right there that you got some value for all that money. Not only that but the PSP itself was plastered on the front for all to see. The XMB showed a music, video, game, and photo symbol so you knew this thing could do multimedia. This was the last of the Sony of the ’90s where everything they created had value and they showed right up front what you were getting to entice buyers and it worked.
Unboxing the system felt premium and holding that sleek handheld was an experience I will never forget. It was sleek, and slim, looked futuristic, had a great build quality, and was comfortable in the hand. It was one of the best gaming unboxings of all time and nothing has topped that since.
The Nintendo DS wasn’t super appealing at first glance. The touch screen and the prominent stylus made you think it was a PDA or some sort (PDAs were still a thing back then) so it was confusing. Was it a game system or a personal organizer? The casual observer would be confused. The dual screens didn’t help either further pushing the PDA look. There was no video game shown on the front and the drab gray box was lifeless. There were no pack-ins either with the DS. While it was $100 cheaper than the PSP that sure made it appealing, but you didn’t get anything with it.
When you actually unboxed the system it was bulky, kind of ugly, and the screens weren’t very bright. A far cry from Sony’s bright LCD on the PSP, however, there was no ghosting on the DS like there was with the PSP-1000 model. The speakers sounded good and it had wifi as well, but another appealing factor was the backward compatibility with GameBoy Advance titles. This also acted as a peripheral port too. Great for rumble packs, and anything else you could imagine going in there.
The PSP was the first handheld to be a full multimedia station. This was before smartphones took off, so it was a very popular option for people wanting an MP3, video, photo, and gaming machine all in their pocket. It was fiddly with the videos as they had to be encoded in MP4. The PSP could also play WMA and MP3 files, but not FLAC or WAV. While the PSP could also display photos it seemed pointless without having a camera. While one would come later it was of terrible quality and nothing close to even what the first iPhone had. All of this multimedia stuff was great, but it came at a cost. Memory Stick Pro Duos were very expensive in larger capacities. The one it came with was meant only for game saves and DLC. If you wanted to do anything else you need to get a 64MB one or higher. Forget sticks that were 1GB. These cost hundreds of dollars and took a couple of years before coming down to an affordable price. This was Sony’s future-proofing the system, but it wasn’t appealing to early adopters. I remember my first large memory card was a 512MB and that cost $70 just one year later.
This was essentially where the XMB was born. What we got on the PS3 and PS4 and even a little bit on the PS5. Many Sony Blu-Ray players also used this menu system. It was simple and easy to figure out. Sony would later add comic support, web browsing (which was awful and slow), RSS feeds, and digital TV in Japan. It tried to do it all, but it couldn’t do it all very well. It helped show off the power of the PSP.
What you see is what you get. This is all there was to the DS’s software. This single screen. You could go into the options and set your birthday for certain games to recognize, but that’s about it. There was a simple calendar and analog clock. Pictochat was your only app and you could choose which game slot to play and DS Download Play, but that’s it. The DS didn’t focus on anything else but the games, and for the price, you expected that. I was surprised the DS had a menu system at all of how simplistic the overall design was. There was no need for more expensive memory cards as all games were saved on the game card.
This was the early 2000s. Everything was online or needed to be. The PSP had this in mind right out of the gate with what Sony called “Infrastructure” play or online play. Many launch titles had it, but they also had “Ad-Hoc” play which was wireless local multiplayer. Some games had the ability to play online locally with one UMD which was awesome, but very few games support this. Playing online was as simple as connecting to an access point, but this became impossible when later routers would implement WPA2 wifi security which the PSP did not support. Being able to go on a web browser was neat. Does anyone remember the hidden one in Wipeout Pure? Downloading DLC on a handheld was also really cool. You could later download comics, and RSS feeds, which were ahead of their time. Only smartphones were doing this. However, in the end, it was up to the game to support online play. Sadly, neither system supported a friends list, clans, rankings, or anything like that.
Surprisingly, the DS was capable of the same online play as the PSP, but mostly local wireless was implemented. You could play with up to four players off of one cart if the developers allowed it and even beam demos to your friends. This was utilized more than the PSP, and very few games had online play. The DS suffered from the same security incompatibility as the PSP later on but also had a feature the PSP didn’t have: DS Download Play. You could go to game stores and download demos of games which was really cool. Sadly, due to the lack of a storage option, you could not download or obtain DLC in any way unless it was in the cart and became unlocked by connecting to a server. Overall, the online capabilities of the DS were barely there.
The PSP is technically superior in pretty much every way. A faster CPU and GPU, more RAM, a bigger screen, an external wifi switch, larger physical media capacity, and a few more options. However, the CPU was underclocked for a good year to 222Mhz to save battery life until God of War: Chains of Olympus came out to overclock it to the full 333Mhz. A firmware update was required to even do this which shipped with the game. While the media capacity was larger, a UMD was 1.8 GB compared to a DS cart’s 512MB max capacity. That’s three times larger. This allowed for richer worlds, more content, and better visuals overall. The downside to this was spinning media on a battery. The UMD sucked the battery’s life down and thus games later in the system’s life opted for data installs as the prices of memory cards came down.
The physical design of the PSP while beautiful and ergonomic was also fragile. The system got dust under the plastic lens easily, the LCD could easily crack (I cracked mine only a few months in from just being in my pocket), the UMD drive failed, and while the battery was removable it was a fairly low capacity only giving users around 3-4 hours. The LCD also had serious ghosting issues, but many didn’t notice this as LCD screens were still expensive. While the PSP did a noble job on its first outing it had some serious flaws that were later addressed in newer models.
The DS had lower-powered hardware, but the battery lasted much longer. Getting nearly 8-10 hours on a single charge. There were no spinning media to worry about or a large power-hungry screen. The DS did have smaller screens and while they were clear, the backlight wasn’t that great on the first model. The touch screen was also prone to scratching. So in the screen department, it didn’t do so well. The DS didn’t have a sleep mode like the PSP did. The game had to support going to sleep so you could close the DS up. The DS was built better and felt sturdy however the hinge was a weak point. The stylus was also prone to get lost and when that’s gone you can’t play any games at all. A losable core piece of hardware is a downside.
In the end, they both have their strengths and weaknesses. The DS has lower-powered hardware, but the touchscreen forces gameplay innovation and creativity. The PSP looks sleek, but it is really fragile and the spinning media sucks the battery. You also need expensive proprietary memory cards. With the PSP’s largest strength being processing power, the DS just edges out on everything else.
Handhelds are notorious for hardware revisions. Some give better processing power they are, in the end, built to cost and are meant to be cheaper to produce. Both systems had many revisions with pros and cons. For starters, the PSP’s revision of the PSP-2000 or “Slim and Lite” reduced the screen ghosting by a lot, but made the PSP feel lighter and too cheap. It felt more plastic-like and had fewer metal parts inside. It came in many more colors and bundles but also didn’t come with anything like a value pack. This was just a core model. Sadly, the storage option wasn’t addressed and the battery was surprisingly shrunk down so you got less battery life. The only addition was video output which was nice but made no sense. However, Sony did double the RAM for faster loading times and better web browsing. The D-pad was also slightly improved. That was probably the second greatest addition next to the better screen. It was a modest revision, but nothing spectacular, and didn’t focus on the system’s biggest weaknesses.
Nintendo DS Lite
Nintendo released a strikingly slimmer Nintendo DS Lite. This thing was very sleek and gave off PSP vibes with how slim it was. Like the PSP-2000 not much was addressed. The biggest complaints were the size and chunkiness of the original model and that was taken care of. Brighter screens, a longer-lasting battery, and a longer stylus were added so nearly every issue of the original model was fixed. This is the perfect DS to get if you want GBA compatibility.
In the end, the PSP didn’t address enough of its bigger issues and added features that didn’t enhance the overall experience. While the DS Lite didn’t add anything new it focused on improvement.
The PSP-3000 was sony’s last full-size revision. It had even fewer improvements over the 2000 model only adding the best screen yet with half-reduced pixel response time, more brightness, and a better contrast ratio. However, the parts were cheapened even more and it almost feels like a toy at this point. The component video was added to the video output which is nice I guess. I never understood hooking a handheld up to a TV. It kind of defeats the purpose and it looks ugly. That was it. The lens on the screen reduced glare, but overall with was a severely cost-reduced model and that was clearly the goal. By now the PSP was at its peak and was quickly dropping in sales.
This is where Nintendo took a step back. They removed the GBA slot which rendered all DS accessories useless and had no backward compatibility. Instead, they added two cameras which were awful and pointless. I would have rather kept the GBA slot. We did get a more powerful CPU for the DSi shop and a new home screen. The doubled CPU power was nice and helped with DS games that suffered a slowdown on the previous models. We also got a four times RAM increase, and 256MB of internal storage for the DSiWare games, plus an SD card slot. While the GBA slot was taken away we did get an actual advancement in the software and hardware side of things, unlike the PSP. The last downside was shorter battery life due to the larger screens, increased CPU speed, and a better wifi card.
Sony PSP GO
This was Sony’s final outing and it was a drastic change. They wanted to really push the PlayStation Store by making a digital-only handheld. That’s great and all, but what about all that physical media out there? They promised a program that would allow you to download a digital game if you had the physical one, but there was no way to prove this and prevent piracy. In the end, you had to re-buy everything and this killed sales. They also introduced a new, more expensive, and harder-to-find propriety storage that came in smaller sizes than memory stick pro duos. The memory stick micro or M2 card maxed out at 32GB. Despite this serious downside the new compact slide-out design was reminiscent of phones in the day and was a huge hit with fans. Again, there’s a downside to this. The 4.3″ screen was reduced to 3.8″.
While Bluetooth was added to connect a PS3 controller to play on a TV Sony continued to alienate previous owners by now making the cable proprietary and removing USB support. This was to support the official dock as the PSP could act as an analog clock, MP3 player, and video player, however, this was too late. While it’s a super sleek handheld, and the 16GB of internal storage is a good start it’s not enough. There should have easily been 32GB of internal storage and SD card support. But Sony’s rampant frothing-at-the-mouth drive to deter piracy killed the sales of their system.
Nintendo DSi XL
This is probably the best version of the DS to get overall. It sadly doesn’t improve anything outside of larger screens and better battery life. If you want bigger screens get this. If you want smaller screens, get a DSi. I owned one at one point and loved the larger 3.25″ screens. The system feels heavier but still sleek and well-built. I can’t give this one to Nintendo this time due to how little they changed anything. At least Sony tried to re-design the entire PSP despite its many setbacks.
The power of the PSP was suited for action games. Lots of explosions, fun combat, and the analog nub helped with this. Sadly, the lack of a second stick meant camera control was left to the computer or other buttons. Action games were plenty on the PSP with a lot of bestsellers. Most of Sony’s AAA titles were in this category. While not all of them were knocked out of the park, many showed off the power of the PSP and it set it apart from the DS at least in that way.
Some notable games are the God of War, Syphon Filter, Pursuit Force, Grand Theft Auto, Jak & Daxter, Ratchet & Clank, Ace Combat,Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, Brothers in Arms, Coded Arms, Monster Hunter, God Eater, Killzone, Manhunt, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, Medal of Honor, Metal Gear Solid, Prince of Persia and the list goes on. These were massive franchises and most had the PSPs’ back. If you want to play action games there is no shortage on the PSP.
The DS did have some action games, but the lack of analog control and the stylus made it difficult to port games or stick known franchises on the system. There weren’t many 3D action games as the system was best with 2D platformers and RPGs. We did get a few noteworthy titles such as Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Dementium, Moon, Metroid Prime: Hunters, Call of Duty, Brothers in Arms, Ninja Gaiden, Contra, Okamiden, and LEGO, and that about sums up 3D action titles on the DS. It was slim pickings, and only a few of these titles were amazing.
Due to the PSP’s 3D capabilities racing games were huge on the system. If you were a racing fan this was the system for you. Nearly every major franchise landed on the system. ATV, MX, Burnout, Juiced, Need for Speed, Ridge Racer, Flatout, Split/Second, TOCA Race Driver, Gran Turismo, Wipeout, Outrun, Test Drive, Midnight Club, MotorStorm, Sega Rally, MotoGP, F1, WRC, NASCAR, Hot Wheels,Micro Machines, you name it. Not all of these were fantastic titles, but a lot of these games looked good and felt great on the handheld.
The DS didn’t lack any racing games, but due to the weaker 3D abilities of the system racing games weren’t the first stop for the system. Mario Kart probably dominated that genre single-handedly, but there were some third-party franchises as well. Burnout, Need for Speed, Asphalt, GRID, Sonic Racing, Trackmania, Racer Driver, Moto Racer, Dirt, Juiced, Ridge Racer, Diddy Kong, and a few others. While some of these franchises were also on PSP they were far superior. Some developers created all new experiences on DS over the PSP so they were their own unique games, but the ports weren’t very good and felt slow and boring. While there are a few solid titles on the DS it’s not the go-to genre for this system or its strength.
The PSP was a strong system full of JRPGs. Not many Western ones made it to the system with the biggest being The Elder Scrolls Travels: Oblivion having been canceled. Many franchises, nearly all of the popular ones, made it onto the system both 3D and 2D. Remakes remasters, and one-shots made it onto the system as well. Series like Star Ocean, Final Fantasy, Persona, Kingdom Hearts, Valkyrie Profile, Ys, Lunar, The Legend of Heroes, Crimson Gem Saga, Class of Heroes, Brave Story, Phantasy Star, Dungeon Siege, Untold Legends, Growlanser, Tales of the World, Blade Dancer, and many others. If you notice a lot of these are lesser-known series, and Final Fantasy most dominated the system. There were more RPGs released only in Japan that the West never got. Thankfully some have been translated by fans.
The DS was clearly the strong winter in the RPG department. While it didn’t see hardly any Wester RPGs, JRPGs dominated the system and were one of its strong suits. 2D RPGs and even 3D isometric ones were popular with pretty much every franchise backing the system. Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Mario & Luigi, Pokemon, Dragon Quest, Radiant Historia, Shin Megami Tensei, Lunar Knights, Nostalgia, Etrian Odyssey, Chrono Trigger, Lufia, Golden Sun, Rune Factory, Suikoden, Sonic, Luminous Arc, Phantasy Star, Avalon Code, Digimon, and the list goes on. As you can probably tell Pokemon alone would win this category. But you had Shin Megami Tensei games that weren’t Persona. Unique Final Fantasy games that weren’t remakes or ports. Quite a few one-shot exclusives. Dragon Quest never made it to the PSP, and neither did Suikoden. There’s so much variety here that any JRPG fan will love the DS in this category.
Puzzle games are great in any portable form and every handheld has had a good amount of them. The PSP was no exception with the puzzle rhythm hybrid Lumines being the first on the system. The PSP got a ton of original puzzle games and ports. Some of them are wholly fantastic. Games like echochrome, Lumines, Crush, Exit, Practical Intelligence Quotient, Downstream Panic, Mercury, and others were great games that fit the widescreen of the PSP. There were also a lot of bad puzzle games on PSP, and sadly more than good ones.
The touch screen was just screaming for puzzle games. You can physically manipulate them outside of buttons and it gave the genre a chance to add another dimension. There were so many puzzle games on the DS that it drowned the PSP in comparison. Brain Age, Big Brain Academy, Picross, Meteos, Tetris, Planet Puzzle League, Professor Layton, Henry Hatsworth, Scribblenauts, Peggle, Touchmaster, Polarium, Crosswords, Clubhouse Games, and the list goes on. There weren’t just traditional puzzle games, but word games as well. Sudoku, Crosswords, and many others allowed you to write answers. That’s more than the PSP could. This is a situation where the genre fits the system better here.
The PSP has a hardware advantage here. The system isn’t just stuck with 2D platformers. 3D ones were common on the system, but then another hardware fault bites it in the ass. The lack of a second analog nub means no camera control. This became a widespread problem in the system. 3D platformers were frustrated endeavors and the DS’ lower-powered hardware suddenly could shine because of this. Games like Death Jr., Daxter, Ratchet & Clank, Pac-Man World, Jak & Daxter, Crash Bandicoot, Toy Story, and many others were decent to middling. 3D platformers would have been a huge leg up for the PSP if it just had another analog nub. That’s not to say 2D platformers never made it to the system. Games like LittleBigPlanet, Mega Man, Prinny, Ghost & Goblins, N+, Castlevania, and many others made it to the system and performed better, but there just wasn’t a lot of them. The PSP isn’t anything to sniff at when it comes to platformers, but nothing truly stood out.
With the power of Nintendo’s already strong platformer games and a lot of third-party series the DS really did shine. It didn’t have to worry about clumsy 3D controls either. Games like New Super Mario Bros., Super Mario 64, Super Princess Peach, Sonic, Kirby, Mega Man, Spider-Man, Castlevania, Wario, The Legendary Starfy, Yoshi, Contra, Aliens, and many others. Super Mario 64 was one of the rare 3D platformers, but it worked well thanks to being tailored for the system. It might kind of feel like there’s cheating here because Nintendo has such a strong presence in the platformer genre, but what’s here is here. While the PSP may have had a larger variety of platformers, the DS had a much stronger sense of quality.
With the advantage of 3D and not needing to really use a camera the sports genre had an advantage here. Sony had their own sports series, plus third-party companies like EA and 2K could throw there’s on here as well. Games like NBA 2K, NBA Street, NFL Street, Tiger Woods, Pangya, Madden, FIFA, Fight Night, Hot Shots, Tony Hawk, WWE, NHL, Virtua Tennis, NBA Live, Pro Evolution Soccer, Football Manager, The Bigs, and the list goes on. There was a massive pouring of sports games on the system of nearly every genre. While a lot of them aren’t very good there is at least one decent title in every series on the system.
Now the DS was interesting when it came to sports titles. Developers had to be creative to put their series on this system due to the lack of 3D horsepower. Series like Tony Hawk were better on the DS (outside of Underground 2 Remix) because of this creativity needed. You also had series like Tiger Woods use the touch screen in unique ways. There were many series on the DS as well like FIFA and Madden, but they weren’t really any good. Nintendo had its own sports series like Mario Hoops, Mario & Sonic, and True Swing Golf, but again, nothing special. Many series were a one-and-done on here like WWE, Skate, Real Soccer, and some others that just didn’t perform well. The DS was a real mixed bag in the sports arena with only a few standout titles. This is where the lack of 3D power hurt despite the unique controls.
Rhythm games during this era weren’t very popular on handhelds in the West. They exploded in the East and you usually had to import them if you wanted the best the systems had to offer. This was mostly the case with the PSP. There was Rock Band Unplugged and Lumines in the West, but Japan, China, and Korea got the likes of Hatsune Miku: Project Diva, DJ Max Portable, K-On, and Pop’n Music. The PSP’s widescreen format was great for rhythm games as it allowed a wide playfield and the number of buttons worked out great. The power of the system also allowed for music videos to play in the background which most rhythm games did.
The DS may not have had the powerful hardware or widescreen format, but the touch screen was a more physical and unique interaction for rhythm games that matched the arcade. Games like Elite Beat Agents, Ontomarama, Rhythm Heaven, Lego Rock Band, Guitar Hero, and many more. There was a much larger Western following thanks to the touch screen, but many of the rhythm games lacked content due to the cartridge’s small size and no way to download DLC. A lot of the DS rhythm games were more experimental and thus many didn’t review them as well as PSP rhythm games. Guitar Hero was fine, but the grip controller cramped your hands. There were also more consistent franchises on PSP with yearly releases, but the downside was needing to import.
The power of the PSP allowed for great 3D fighters and many jumped ship from their console cousins. Franchises like Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Tekken, Dragon Ball Z, BlazBlue, SouCalibur, and many more made it onto the PSP. At least one entry in every major fighting franchise made it over and most were original titles. That’s not to say a majority reviewed well. Most of the 3D fighters reviewed with middling scores, and this was mainly due to the PSP’s not-so-ideal D-pad for fighting games. Despite the less-than-desirable score average, they made it onto the system nonetheless and many gamers ate them up.
The DS had some major franchises make it over like Mortal Kombat, Guilty Gear, Dragon Ball Z, Bleach, and Naruto, but it wasn’t as vast as the PSP. The DS was even less ideal for fighting games due to a lack of analog input, and the DS’ D-pad wasn’t much better. Some games added a touchscreen swipe system, but these just never felt the same. Sadly, the lack of power meant 3D fighters suffered, and 2D fighters looked squished on the small screen.
Well, despite this seeming like a competition each system has its strengths and weaknesses and some might play better to what you want over others. Some may only play RPGs on handheld so the DS would be the best system for you. Some may want more multimedia features so the PSP would be the way to go. While in the comparisons the PSP seems to have a stronger library it only seems that way at first. A lot of PSP games didn’t review as well as DS games on average. The lack of first-party support with Sony not releasing as many games as Nintendo did on the DS and the DS’ lack of power and unique controls forced developers to make games from the ground up. The PSP received a lot worse PS2 ports and movie tie-ins than the DS did. The PSP’s power was also a crutch that many developers leaned heavily on and it didn’t pay off most of the time. Each system is worthy in your collection, but this contrast and comparison may help those who are on the fence in one area or another.
Harry Potter is one of the biggest media phenomena of the 21st century. When the novels came out they were all over the news and I read them right from the beginning. While the novels were big the movies were even bigger and I don’t think Harry Potter would be where it is today without the success of the movies. I remember my family going to see every movie up until the first part of the 7th movie on Thanksgiving every single year. By the time the 7th movies were out, I was an adult and saw those with my now wife. I did get burned out on the series though so thankfully it’s great to know Hogwarts Legacy is 100% original content with all new characters and story.
The only thing the game follows from the books or movies is the lore, aesthetics, and visual representation of various architecture, creatures, and overall visuals. You play as a nobody 5th-year student who gets caught up in a giant plot of goblins finding a way to wield dark wizard magic. You must fast-track your education at Hogwarts while also fighting off this powerful new foe. The story drags you along on a breadcrumb trail where you slowly unveil the plot, the intricacies of the characters, and the mysteries. Portkey Games did a phenomenal job of making the story feel like one of the books. The slow unfolding of the story gives a sense of mystery and constant guessing. It’s a pretty good story and one of the best so far this year.
There are of course side quests and larger side stories involving various students at Hogwarts. One involves a Slytherin student, Sabastian, and the Dark Arts. Another is a girl named Poppy who just wants to stop poachers and save creatures, and then there’s Noa who wants to avenge her father’s death. The entire game has a massive open world consisting of Hogwarts itself, Hogsmeade which is the only major town in the game, and then the rest of the world itself consisting of various regions, secrets, and activities. The game can seem overwhelming, but the entire game is strung out to you very slowly as you play. It allows you to get the ropes on all the various systems in the place game with one of the biggest being combat.
Combat is probably the weakest and coolest part of the game. It plays similarly to an MMO with shortcut keys and hot bars. Each hot bar has four slots and you can have up to four hot bars. You learn spells through the story as you attend various classes. These are all the spells you know from the book and movies. Wingardium Levioso, Avada Kadavra, Repulso, Accio, and many others. There is only magic combat in the game so don’t expect to find swords and shields. Defense is dependent on a halo around your head that flashes red or orange. Orange means you can deflect attacks while red means you must dodge.
You can whip out spells at a lightning pace, but of course, they have cooldown timers so this means you need a balanced loadout and need to switch between hot bars constantly. This is something I didn’t like in the game. I can understand with a controller you can only have four hotkeys, but do what Dragon Age did and give PC players the ability to use maybe eight hotkeys and combine hot bars. I found myself always fumbling with the controls trying to quickly dodge, deflect, keep an eye on my timers, swap between hot bars, and keep an eye on the enemies, and then my health and magic meter. It’s too cumbersome and needs some balancing in the next game. The combat looks cool with fast and smooth animation, great sound effects, and tons of on-screen info being blasted into your eyeholes. There are plenty of boss fights, mini-bosses, world bosses, and all sorts of enemy types to shake a wand at. Goblins, beasts, and humans alike.
The next part of the game is exploration. This game is very similar to Skyrim in that manner. You will always find something no matter where you go. Once you unlock the ability to fly on a broom you can use Revelio in the air and it will mark stuff on your map. There are a lot of activities to do from filing out your field guide by finding flying books, interesting spots, and objects, there are secrets inside Hogwarts itself like hidden chests under bridges that require puzzles, but you also need the spells to complete certain puzzles and get to certain areas. You can pick locks (which has an absolutely awful lockpicking mini-game that can’t be skipped), but one of the major problems with all of this exploration is the lame loot. If you get ahead of the story you will mostly end up finding armor that’s behind you in levels. Exploring dungeons is fruitless as you will solve a puzzle and get a lame piece of armor or just 50 coins. I wound up ignoring side paths in dungeons because it just wasn’t worth it. Finding the best armor in the game will come to you eventually.
The third biggest part of the game is the Room of Requirement. Here you can decorate, expand, and craft. You can add traits to clothing/armor, and breed beasts that you can capture in the wild for more unique traits that can be woven into clothes. You can also plant seeds for using the three combat plants or creating potions. While this all sounds neat and fits into the world of Harry Potter it’s very tedious. I wound up not bothering to add traits to clothing as the loot you find it pretty awful anyways and you end up selling 90% of what you find. I would add traits closer to the end game when you stop finding a lot of armor that is at a higher level. I also didn’t bother brewing potions much as you must wait in real time for plants to grow or potions to brew. It’s pretty dumb and tedious.
You can fast travel between dozens of Floo Flames as you discover them and this makes traveling quickly essential. The various activities you can do are Merlin Trials, a combat arena, various puzzles, and of course side quests for people around the world. It really is a well-created open-world game and feels different from the dredge of crap we’ve been getting the last ten years. I always had fun exploring the world, doing tasks and puzzles, and seeing what secrets the game had. It really is this generation’s Skyrim or will be as close as we get to it.
The visuals, voice acting, and overall atmosphere of the game captured what we loved in the movies perfectly. The visuals are gorgeous with great lighting and tons of love and detail in every part of the world. Sadly, it’s so poorly optimized. Ray tracing is unplayable, and there’s stuttering in Hogwarts no matter how powerful your system is. Some patches have ironed most of the problems out, but they will never be perfect. The game still looks fantastic and I loved flying over new areas for the first time or seeing the seasons change. Portkey Games did a stupendous job making this game feel like a living breathing world.
Overall, Hogwarts Legacy is a wonderful open-world RPG with some flaws. The combat can be unwieldy sometimes and cumbersome, crafting is a chore, and the game is horribly optimized, but the characters are wonderful, the graphics are fantastic, and it feels like a living and breathing world of Harry Potter that captures all of the magic and love that we grew up with. You will spend dozens of hours having fun exploring the nooks and crannies that the world has to offer, the powerful beasts you can fight, and the creatures to capture.
The case that the Steam Deck ships in is fine on its own. The fact that a console ship in a protective case that’s used as the packing material in the box is revolutionary and should be done more. Sadly, the case for the highest-end Steam Deck is the only one that’s really great. Even so, there’s no storage inside the case, and as time has moved on and we’re one year into the Deck’s life many accessories have come out and you need more storage. Jsaux has come to the rescue with a larger case that has more room.
The case feels similar to the standard Deck case. It’s made of a canvas-type material and feels great on the inside. There’s a fold-out piece that stores SD cards and has a molded inlay just like the original case. Everything is the same there. What makes this case magical is that this molded layer flips out and reveals the bottom of the case that can be filled with a charger, cable, dock or anything else you want. The hinge of the flip-out layer has elastic along with the edge of the zipper. This allows the case to expand when large items are put in the bottom and zipped up with ease.
I was also to put the Jsaux dock, cleaning cloth, Anker charger, and 10′ USB-C cable and still had room inside. It all zipped up easily and didn’t put much stress on the zipper. There’s a nice rubberized handle to carry it around with and the grey color is nice too. The outer shell is also made of a tough foam so which will protect it from falls and drops so there’s no need to worry there.
Overall, the new case is fantastic and a must-have for those who have extra accessories for the Deck. Even if you just want your charger more protected and not on the underside exposed like on the original case this would be fine as well. Just know that this makes the case very bulky and heavy. It’s massive and may not even fit into most small bags because of this, but it is sturdy and protects the Deck nicely.
Resident Evil 4 changed the entire gaming industry. It was one of the most influential games of all time. It actually still kind of is. It showed how drastically you can reboot a game and honestly started the whole reboot craze and is the gold standard to live up to. Take a game that has tank controls and pre-rendered backgrounds and throw it into a third-person shooter with unique control and a well-balanced gameplay loop. It was talked about for years and inspired other games like Gears of War. Resident Evil 4 (2023) is a reboot of a game that mastered reboots. It has the highest standards to live up to. Thankfully the last two Resident Evil reboots were fantastic and took pages from RE4. So, what we get is just a better-remade RE4.
The story itself is supposed to have taken place after RE2. Leon is sent to save the US President’s daughter, Ashley Graham, and that’s about it. There is a new virus that got loose from Umbrella and the Los Plagas will come out of enemies every so often and it happens more as the game goes on. Their heads will pop off and a new tendril-like creature will come out in various forms. You can stop this before it happens when they are on the ground twitching. The characters in the game are pretty simple and have no time to become interesting. Outside of Leon and Ashley the other characters show up for just a few minutes in the game, so the story itself takes a back seat. It’s the weakest part of the whole game.
Right off the bat, you will notice an immediate change. Not only are the environments more detailed, but the opening scene has changed as well. We get an all-new voice cast (that’s much better), new music, and updated sound effects, and the overall feeling is more modern and less stiff. You can actually shoot and walk this time around which is a huge change in balance for the game. The knife has also changed as it can be broken but also upgraded. Crates can be stomped on rather than sliced so gameplay flows better. You can acquire boot knives that can be used to ward off enemy attacks up close. You will also notice that quick-time events are pretty much gone. These scenes are now fully playable with you in complete control rather than an actual cut scene.
All of these changes are for the better and add a whole new dynamic to the game. Combat mostly remains the same with enemies slowly lumbering towards you with various weapons. Enemies can throw axes, molotovs, and shoot you with crossbows. Some will shock you with sticks, others will carry shields, and then there are the bigger enemies. Rarely occurring, chainsaw-wielding enemies will appear that require explosives or heavy damage to kill. You need to constantly run and turn back to shoot. Using your surroundings is key. Lure them towards explosive barrels, or funnel them everywhere down a corridor so you can line up headshots. The level design is fantastic as you get little arenas that you can immediately scan and strategize with.
Every time an enemy dies they will drop something. Unlike the original game, this time around a whole new mechanic of crafting has been added. Enemies will always drop something whether it’s resources, gunpowder, health, ammo, or money. You need resources and gunpowder to craft various ammo types. Recipes can be bought from the merchant. You can also buy weapons, armor, resources, health, and various other items. Another new system is the side missions. These can be found posted on walls and convert the older challenges into missions. The blue medallions, tough enemies, shooting rats, or finding certain objects. These are traded for spinels which can be traded for rare items such as exclusive new weapons, treasures, and more. Cases are not just expanded now, but different case types will drop certain items more frequently and new charms can be attached to help lower the cost of sales, increase sell value, drop rates, and so on. These charms are won by completing target practice missions in one of five locations in the game.
That’s a ton of new things already and it’s so well-balanced. It’s a way to take the older systems and tweak them into something new and more fun. You can move around and technically kill enemies easier so with an added crafting system you always get rewarded. There are still treasure maps to buy and valuables to look for which are key to racking up coins. Certain valuables can have jewels inserted into them to increase their sell value so hang onto those gems! On to something much bigger is Ashley herself. Many felt she dragged the experience down. You have to always catch her when you hopped off ledges and she always got captured easily. Now you can send her away, hide her in lockers, and she does most actions on her own now. She’s much less of a burden.
Speaking of Ashely there are stealth elements in the game now by sneaking around and offing zombies, but this is easily ignored. It doesn’t work outside of a couple of zombies and then everyone sees you. The AI walking patterns are too random to sneak through areas, and this wasn’t intended in the original game anyway. While sneaking around zombies is possible sometimes there are new enemies in the game, but I don’t want to spoil anything. Original enemies are updated and look even more grotesque. That’s another theme of the remake. Horror is much more prominent in this game. Like in previous RE remakes the flashlight is added so Leon will whip it out in dark caves and there is a constant sense of tension and dread no matter where you go. The game relies less on jump scares this time around.
There are three acts in the game. The village, the castle, and the island which is split between a mine and a military base. My favorite part is act one which is the most iconic. The castle is okay, but the game gets insanely tough during the second act. Ammo is incredibly scarce. You must be very cautious about what ammo you use and when. Save more powerful ammo like grenades and magnum rounds for the mini-bosses and bosses themselves. Save your sub-machine gun ammo for large crowds and your rifle ammo for enemies are off. The pistol is going to be your main weapon throughout the entire game so always keep a stock of it.
The visuals are a nice upgrade over the previous remakes. Ray tracing has been added, but it’s not great. The RE engine is still insanely well-optimized for lower-end PCs and runs really well. However, there is still no DLSS support so it needs to be manually added through a mod, but even on the Steam Deck, the game runs fairly well. The visuals are top-notch and the art direction captures the vibe of RE4 in a more visceral and raw way. I love it. When you’re all finished with the game you can run through on a New Game+ which is a must as that’s the more fun way to play. Overall, RE4 (2023) is a massive update to an already iconic game and changes nearly everything wrong with it. I just wish the game was a little better balanced and it does get repetitive after so long. You are just walking around shooting zombies with a couple of simple puzzles thrown in. At least the exploration is fun and there’s always something new to look at.