Despite its long and circuitous course to arrive at port, Skull and Bones is the type of game that may change significantly in the coming months. But to evaluate it as it stands, fellow pirate enthusiasts may discover what I did – a flawed but beautifully presented historical fantasy in which one can take to the water and make a fortune, even if absolutely everything about the pirate life isn’t always pretty.
Suicide Squad is technically sound, and the action can be fast, frantic, and occasionally fun. The game could be considered a deconstruction and satirizing of the superhero concept. But for me, the whole thing feels mean-spirited, pessimistic, and glib. In other media, I’ve generally liked the irreverence of the Suicide Squad tales, but everything in this game feels less about laughs and more just joyless. I suppose it can be fun to piss all over any sense of genuine heroism in a comic book-inspired tale, but it can’t come as a great shock when some fans like myself just aren’t interested in the bloody and smug results.
Even so, I found a lot to love in Frontiers of Pandora, including the welcome addition of two-player online cooperative play, which lets players enjoy the game with a friend. With time, the many interlocking features started to make sense, and I pushed past any frustrations to find a remarkably large and rewarding game. Enter Pandora’s vast wilderness with patience and a willingness for a measured march to understanding, and I suspect you’ll uncover what I did – a flawed but still praiseworthy addition to this growing science fiction universe.
Insomniac has nailed that rarest of video game development feats. The team has landed a trilogy of games that all stand strong on their own merits but unite into a sweeping saga made better by experiencing its entirety. While more Spider-Man games will inevitably expand this mythology in new directions, there’s no need to wait. With Spider- Man 2, the developer has found what makes superhero stories worth telling (and retelling) and given its likable heroes the journey they deserve.
Concerns about the conclusion aside, I still had a wonderful time in Baghdad’s ancient alleys and palaces. Not everything is perfect, but the “less is more” design philosophy goes a long way to making this one of the most consistently engaging titles within the series for some time.
You might question whether a sushi restaurant management sim crossed with underwater diving is your cup of tea, but that would be missing the point. Dave the Diver is a unique and memorable vacation away from expectations, and it’s the very fact that you don’t usually play games like this that makes it so satisfying.
I constantly struggled against the controls, camera, and objectives as they were presented. And nothing about the story or characters of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum offers reason to push past the frustration. As a longtime fan of Tolkien’s fiction, it’s possible that I liked the game even less for the way it seemed to misuse the source material. It’s hard to have a more damning indictment than to say that this Gollum game isn’t for fans of The Lord of the Rings, but here we are.
After Us poses some well-tread but timely questions about our impact on the world and its living things. However, optional discoveries throughout the game suggest that Piccolo is trying to present a slightly more ambivalent take on the subject. Some of that is best left for the player to discover for themselves. I recommend After Us strongly as a piece of visual artistry. It’s less successful as an interactive experience, but none of its problems are so glaring that it should dissuade someone from discovering its striking and haunting world.
Developer Respawn Entertainment clearly took a measured and thoughtful approach to analyze what worked and what didn’t in its last Star Wars game, and Jedi: Survivor feels like a worthy attempt at evolution. It captures the magic of Star Wars as well as anything in the current canon, and it’s a stellar adventure in its own right.
While I applaud Tron: Identity’s unique structure, I never found myself drawn in and engrossed in the unfolding story. Everything feels authentic to the Tron universe, and fans like myself should appreciate new wrinkles in the setting. But even with some interesting ideas, I was ultimately a User who couldn’t manage to marshal a lot of interest in these Programs and their problems.
I may have found the campaign uninspired and its legendary difficulty a slog characterized by bullet-spongey foes. But an expansion to a game this big is more than just its opening story. Lightfall sets up some strong possibilities – narratively and in the gameplay sphere – for a rewarding year of adventure ahead. Despite some frustrations, Destiny 2 continues to make strides in catering to a diverse player base characterized by disparate desires. Lightfall is hit and miss, but any stumbles shouldn’t be enough to derail players’ enthusiasm for continued adventure or the excitement of seeing the epic conclude over the next year.
I encountered several minor technical issues over the course of my lengthy playthrough, such as pop-in while moving fast or long door-opening loads. And some of the game systems are more successful than others; a flood of useless low-quality gear rewards is one notable, if minor problem that sometimes stalls the fun. But for those who have long wished for a rich interactive playground to live out your own Harry Potter fantasy, Hogwarts Legacy casts an incredibly mesmerizing spell.
While Chained Echoes has the advantage of decades of distance from the games it looks to for inspiration, it’s a better experience in many instances than those vaunted games from which it arose. I prefer this combat, storytelling, and approach to progression and exploration to many of the JRPGs I grew up so enamored with playing. That’s the highest praise I can heap on a game so removed in time from the games to which it might be compared. Whether you currently count yourself a JRPG connoisseur or fondly recall the ʼ90s heyday of the genre, Chained Echoes is well worth your time.
For all its focus on supernatural magic and demonic threats, Midnight Suns is a fun-loving and thrilling ride. XCOM strategy fans won’t be disappointed; the format changes still result in a gratifying combat flow. But this is a more approachable and story-driven experience than Firaxis has previously attempted, filled with some of the most recognizable pop culture heroes of the moment. It’s big, boisterous, and a little bit silly at times, but just like the best of Marvel’s output in recent years, it’s also a rousing good time.
As Dusk Falls hides many secrets down the winding paths of its story web, and by its nature, you won’t get the full picture in any single playthrough, encouraging replayability. But you may also be tempted to play through one take on the story and then step away, content that you’ve seen “your” version play out. Either way, this is a weighty and gratifying excursion into interactive drama, confident enough in its writing to not rely on superpowers or fantasy. For players interested in the progress of interactive narrative frameworks, it’s a laudable success. But even for someone who never plays games, it works. That’s because good characters and storytelling make for a universal experience, and this is a project that has both.
Card Shark features an attractive art style, subtle writing, and a promising premise. But I couldn’t get past my dislike of the core gameplay encounters and the endless teaching segments. I applaud the effort to pull together a unique concept, but the accompanying frustrations mean I have to discourage a sit-down at this particular table.
The Witch Queen is an especially robust expansion, with a particular focus on customizing the play experience and rewarding longtime players’ investment in story and systems. If it’s not the most welcoming moment for players to jump in, that may be a price the developers at Bungie are willing to pay at this point. The long-running story arc that opened in 2014 is gradually steering toward a climax, and it’s possible the developers are increasingly interested in building a ride for those who have been in the vehicle for a while now.