Author: Colin Buchanan

Colin is a queer, neurodivergent media critic who joined Noisy Pixel in 2021. You can also find him writing with AniTAY at https://www.anitay.org, or his own personal musings about anime at arcaneranger.tumblr.com.

“It’s not a lake. It’s an ocean.” These are the cryptic final lines of Alan Wake, Remedy Entertainment’s 2010 cult-hit action-horror title that has left players hanging for thirteen years. While American Nightmare, the game’s mini-sequel, gestured at answers to what this meant, and 2019’s Control established a much deeper shared universe for the studio, we’ve been waiting for two whole console generations to finally get a full explanation. And I’m so happy to tell you that Alan Wake 2 is here to deliver that and much, much more. Diving Back into the Shadows: The Alan Wake Saga Continues The…

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The recent launch of Cities: Skylines II has been met with a highly polarized response mainly due to the game’s extremely demanding system requirements, coupled with consistently poor performance if the game is pushed to maximum settings, even on the best gaming PCs currently possible. When we reviewed it, I had a computer that was just over the “recommended” level, and I was able to maintain 30-45fps on Medium settings. Still, many gamers with significantly better computers have been frustrated that the game isn’t optimized for those higher-end machines. Developer Colossal Order has, in an official forum post, acknowledged and…

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The biggest reveal from the 2023 London Fan Festival was that the game is going to be receiving a Final Fantasy XVI crossover event that will feature Clive and Torgal fighting alongside the Warrior of Light. A trailer was shown with a new boss fight against Ifrit, and both a Torgal mount and minion, and additional crossover gear was teased but not shown. Producer and Director (and Producer of Final Fantasy XVI) Naoki Yoshida stated that the quest line will have players teaming up with Clive, but that the story would be accessible to players who have not yet experienced…

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Cities: Skylines owes its existence to a close call. Publisher Paradox and developer Colossal Order, known for the Cities in Motion series, were initially hesitant to proceed with the project. The fear of the revived SimCity’s dominance in the market nearly led to the cancellation of Cities: Skylines. However, history had different plans. The troubled launch of SimCity (2013) paved the way for a newer, fresher challenger, so with player feedback from that disaster in mind, Skylines was released in 2015 and quickly sold over a million copies in its first month. Now, Cities: Skylines II is upon us…

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I think I could literally hear the internet let out a collective sigh when we found out (from an internal leak, no less) that Atlus was developing yet another Persona 5 spinoff. Personally, I’ve never understood the issue – it’s not like they’re making these games instead of Persona 6, and I’ve enjoyed all of them. Tactica actually intrigued me even more than Persona 3 Reload, which was leaked at the same time. After all, a new title in my mind has more potential than a remake, and with it now exploring a genre that Persona has never touched before and using a very similar aesthetic…

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PC

Have you ever thought about the drastically different life you might have had if you’d made a single decision differently? I’ve certainly got my own version of this – I met the partner I moved halfway across the country for through the Friendship is Magic fandom, so if not for my decision to watch a children’s cartoon that I’d already been a little skeptical about, I’d probably still be living in the Philadelphia suburbs where I grew up. In that other world line, what’s that version of me doing? Would he still be writing? Would he have stayed at that…

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The original Frostpunk exploded onto the scene in 2018, a city-builder developed in Warsaw by 11-bit Studios that tasked players with not only building a thriving city but keeping its inhabitants from freezing to death during a volcanic winter. Players would have to scout around their cities as well in order to claim resources and survivors, all while battling against a persistent reminder of the cold that threatened humanity with extinction. Now, in Frostpunk 2, the team is looking to take the challenge of the first game and expand upon it – the frozen hellscape still presents a clear danger. Still, their goal…

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Developer Colossal Order and publisher Paradox Interactive have released a statement informing players that the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and S versions of their heavily-anticipated city-building sim Cities: Skylines II are being significantly delayed to Spring 2024. The statement reads: We are hard at work preparing the game for our release on October 24th. While doing so, we have realized that we need more time to reach the quality targets we have set for Console. As we want to provide the best experience for our players, we are updating the release window for Xbox and PS5 to Spring…

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You wash up on the beach of a mysterious resort island. There’s nobody else there. It’s unbearably hot, and the sun is huge in the sky, but the only thing to do is look around. Upon entering the building, you encounter three middle-aged people arguing loudly, who turn their attention upon you. They scream at you to bring them food, fix the elevator, get their bags, and make them comfortable. You ask where you are, what’s going on, and what’s the deal with the huge sun in the sky, but none of them are willing to answer these questions. They’re…

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Disgaea has been around for a long time, and I’ve been there with it. The biggest jewel in Nippon Ichi Software’s anime-styled crown, the series has, in some ways, come a very long way from its original outing on the PlayStation 2, but in others, stayed very close to where it started. If you compare the original to Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless, what you’ll likely find is a series that has heavily expanded but is still instantly recognizable. If you’ve been living under a rock, the Disgaea games are a series of tactical RPGs with one main appeal…

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When I reviewed Cyberpunk 2077’s current-generation port, along with its massive Patch 1.5 update, I had a lot to say about the state of the game. It still felt like it was supposed to be bigger, but it was getting closer to the original vision the team wanted from the beginning. However, at the time, Phantom Liberty hadn’t yet been announced, but after its reveal, it’s clear CD Projekt RED is willing to make it right with players and deliver a memorable experience amidst a rocky launch.  Before jumping straight into the Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty content, this DLC is…

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Spoiler Warning for Yakuza 6: The Song of Life and Yakuza: Like a Dragon. Earlier this year, when I reviewed Like a Dragon: Ishin!, I noted that while a baseline level of franchise quality had been maintained, the feel of the whole game had noticeably been stepped down, likely because of the switch to Unreal Engine 4. With Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio stating their desire to switch entirely to Unreal moving forward, I was a little bit cautious about approaching whatever they did next. https://youtu.be/PgG9oov10ko Thankfully, it seems like all it took to right the ship was to step back and reassess. The…

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If you’re looking at the title of this game and scratching your head, let me explain how we got here. Love Live! is a Japanese multimedia franchise revolving around fictional high-school-aged idols that form groups and compete against groups from their rival schools. The centerpieces of this musical empire are a loosely connected group of anime series, of which there are currently four iterations, and a mobile rhythm game that ties them all together, called School Idol Festival. https://youtu.be/_jf6gHxPk9Q Yohane the Parhelion is a spinoff of the second Love Live! anime, Love Live! Sunshine!, which takes the cast of that show and…

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Ubisoft debuted a brand-new Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora story and gameplay trailer during the September 2023 State of Play presentation. In Frontiers of Pandora, players will take control of a Na’vi taken from their home as an infant and raised by the RDA human mega-corporation. They enter an emergency cryosleep and wake fifteen years later, separated from the corporation after they leave the planet at the end of the first film, and must find and connect with the Na’vi tribes of Pandora to survive and discover the life and culture that was taken away from them. The game will be…

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Sony’s September 2023 State of Play opened with a brand-new gameplay trailer for Bennett Foddy and Devolver Digital’s upcoming title, Baby Steps. This title is a comedic, three-dimensional take on the developer’s legendary QWOP flash game, tasking players with getting from one location to the next while individually controlling their leg muscles. The trailer showed several instances of the player failing and falling, the character reacting humorously, and meeting another character who attempts to encourage him. The game is described as having “fully-simulated physics-based walking,” “a lengthy trek up a mountain-sized mountain that you can explore at your own pace,…

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CD Projekt Red has announced that the massive 2.0 update for Cyberpunk 2077 will launch on September 21, 2023, a few days ahead of the September 26 date for the Phantom Liberty DLC expansion. As of Patch 1.6, Cyberpunk 2077’s previous-generation versions on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were no longer being supported, and that will continue for both this patch and the DLC, which are coming exclusively to PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and S consoles. This update will completely rework the game’s perk progression again after a similar change was made in last year’s Patch…

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Komani announced they will publish the WayForward-developed action shooter Contra: Operation Galuga, coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and PC via Steam in early 2024. The game will be digital only with a physical release aimed post-launch. Contra: Operation Galuga aims to provide a dose of nostalgia as Bill Rizer and Lance Bean rejoin the action to fight against the notorious Red Falcon terrorist group. Galuga Island, once peaceful, now stands torn apart by conflict, with humanity’s fate hanging in the balance. In Contra: Operation Galuga, players can opt for cooperative play in Story Mode, accommodating up to…

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Nintendo closed their September 2023 Direct presentation with the announcement of a full remaster of Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. This GameCube title saw a huge update to the format presented in the original Nintendo 64 game. These first two titles in the series were straightforward RPG titles, presenting narratives that expanded heavily on the world of the Mario series and introduced brand-new characters based on the series’ iconic monsters. This entry is also notable for being the game that took the “paper” concept the furthest, giving Mario the ability to fold into a paper airplane, go “flat” to…

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At today’s Nintendo Direct, the publisher announced a new title in the long-dormant F-Zero high-speed racing series; the first title to be released since 2003’s F-Zero GX on the GameCube. F-Zero 99 will take the classic gameplay from the original Super Nintendo/Super Famicom game and apply a battle royale twist to it, similarly to the previous Super Mario 99 and Tetris 99 titles. Players will race against 98 other players, and collisions will generate special points that can be built up to access the “skyway”, a special lane above the rest of the track that will allow racers to zoom to…

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Bandai Namco has revealed SPY x ANYA: Operation Memories will be headed to Nintendo Switch in 2024. The publisher has confirmed the game will also launch 0n PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and PC via Steam in 2024. In SPY x ANYA: Operation Memories, players step into the shoes of Anya Forger in the upcoming console game, marking the franchise’s first venture into the world of gaming. In this adaptation, players will join Anya on her latest school assignment: the creation of a captivating photo diary filled with cherished memories. On weekdays, players will accompany Anya as she navigates the challenges…

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