Blake "Grundy" Grundman
Somehow Jonathan Blow has once again managed to prove that his elevated opinion of his own abilities is 1000% justified. Though I am admittedly well within his target demographic, it is hard to shake the feeling that The Witness was a game that was made specifically for me.
Forza Motorsport 6 is a love letter to racing fans that greatly makes up for the shortcomings of the last installment in the series. There are more tracks, racing styles, and vehicles than ever before, complemented by a robust single player campaign. These features join an already stunningly beautiful graphics engine and their already state-of-the-art multiplayer and community tools.
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture has a subtlety and nuance that is extremely refreshing. Calling this a "game" is doing it a great disservice. It is an experience. Thusly, this might not be everyone's cup of tea. However, those that chose to invest their valuable time in this 5 hour gem will be rewarded with one of the most compelling experiences in recent memory. The truth is out there, just waiting to be discovered. Don't miss out.
When it comes to franchises that are worth revisiting in a new console generation, Valkyria Chronicles Remastered stands as a sterling example of how to do things right. Despite a few nagging mechanics that ultimately still feel a bit unfair on the battlefield itself, this is still an evergreen experience that stands the test of time. This should be required playing for all of the former Xbots that are newly joining the PlayStation fold.
It is one thing to have a variety of different item, crafting, spell and even botany dependent mechanics, but when all of those elements begin to cross-pollinate with each other, I found myself mentally checking out. It was just too overwhelming for my dudebro brain to process all of these tools at once.
As an immersive and anxious experience that also manages to be just as beautiful as it is terrifying, SOMA is in a class all its own. The stunningly well-realized world melds brilliantly with the outstanding score and sound design, begging the player to buy into the atmospheric world that Frictional Games has so painstakingly crafted. It genuinely feels like this is the natural evolution of everything that was started in Amnesia, just done with a bit more careful attention to detail and polish. This is an experience that completely justifies its budget price tag and more than validates the game's five-year development cycle.
Every year people justify not purchasing Madden using the time tested line, "Well it is just a glorified roster update anyway…" Unfortunately for those poor jaded schmucks, no such excuse exists this season. EA Sports has went all out to deliver changes to the core gameplay mechanics, resulting in an authentic football experience, with unparalleled levels of depth and complexity.