- Half-Life 2
- World of Warcraft
The Girl and the Robot is a truly family-friendly, engaging, simple story about the relationship between a little girl and her protector, both trapped and attempting to find freedom. While it offers very limited features, reused and simple graphics, and a nearly nonexistent score, the overall aesthetic proves consistently charming.
Stellaris won't expand strategy to a mass audience; while more accessible, it won't appeal to people who like building things in reality rather than in concept. But if you're like me, on the fence between 4X and grand strategy titles, you'll enjoy the heck out of the single-player campaign.
Just Cause 3 offers the tantalizing tease of a terrific open-world adventure, with weapons and tools that make blowing up the bad guys hilarious fun. The wide maps and great selection of missions, although fairly repetitive, means you always have something engaging to look forward to. Unfortunately, technical problems ranging from serious connection issues to NPC failures make the game nearly unplayable at times, and if the bugs don't drive you insane, the loading times will.
The Need for Speed reboot improves upon several of the more recent installments in the game, which were plagued with problems more serious than these. But I was disappointed when my pure joy in the look and driving feel of NFS drained away over time, sucked out by boring treks across the city and one too many encounters with unfair A.I.
Assassin's Creed: Syndicate is a solid entry in the series, with a great setting and two likable protagonists. It gets its badass female character just right, and it nails the fun with carriages and zip lines. The Victorian London cityscape offers a huge gameplay map, but many ways to get around easily. The amount of fun, if mindless, gameplay Syndicate offers bumps up the score quite a bit.
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer feels like a minigame for fans of the series. It features some of the best characters, gives you the chance to play house with their possessions, and offers the opportunity to put your unique design flair all over the village. The selection of items grows as you complete the game, which makes it feel even deeper than the broad selection of villagers you can choose. And its control scheme is simple and perfect.
If you're not into nostalgia for titles from the 16-bit or arcade eras, you should probably avoid this game (and, at at the very least, subtract 15 points from the review score). But if you are … this is definitely the action-RPG for you.