Super Mario Party's new modes offer a welcome break from what some might consider the main attraction: the board game. They're faster, and they focus on two of the Nintendo Switch's strengths that make it such a special console in the first place — good Joy-Con motion controls and fun co-op play. For me, it makes this Super Mario Party the best in franchise history, even if I don't care for the staid board game.
The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep delivers on the faith its Kickstarter backers put into the project. It weaves combat, exploration, music, and puzzles into a game that stands out in a crowded market. It's unlike any other RPG, and with other old-school RPGs finding success these days — Pillars of Eternity, Octopath Traveler, and Dragon Quest XI — I hope InXile is able to come back to this fantastical world, just like it's doing with Wasteland.
Civilization is at its best when it enables you to tell your own stories. But at release, Civ VI didn't do such a good job at that. Rise and Fall fixes this in many ways, giving your better ways to expand your civilization without resorting to combat. It adds a quest-like element with a significant penalty or reward, and most of its news leaders add variety to the game.
World of Final Fantasy will please fans of one of gaming’s longest-running series. But I think it’ll also help find new players, who’ll get a taste of what we old fogeys have loved about Square Enix’s flagship for decades. With combat that’s simple but has some depth and a story that fits in the franchise’s lineage, this ramp up to next month’s Final Fantasy XV is a great way to enjoy a story you love while also sharing it with others who are experiencing it for the first time.
Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear fills in some of what happens to the Child of Bhaal between saving Baldur’s Gate and saving your soul from Irenicus, and it’s a hoot to revisit this world, using the old D&D rules from the 1990s. But Siege of Dragonspear hints at more — a studio that’s done with just enhancing older games and ready to carve out a place among the top storytellers in the RPG sector. Beamdog’s first effort at original storytelling is a good start, and I’m excited to see more in the future, even if it’s in the world of Baldur’s Gate.
Final Fantasy Explorers is a kinder, gentler take on Monster Hunter, and it's going to appeal to those who want to like that series — but don't care for its opaqueness or its hardcore gamer leanings. Final Fantasy fans are going to love the fan service, too.
Island-hopping in a fantasy world felt new to me, and this builds upon the already engaging strategy that exits in Warlock. The Exiled gives the series something akin to a true campaign mode, and I'm eager to give it a try with different Great Mages, different leader perks, and different factions. I do hope that in further updates — the original Warlock received a number of expansions — Ino-Co crafts some truly interesting factions. But even if the developer doesn't, I trust the mod community to come up with some spectacular homebrewed content. Even giant turtle killers. Score: 82/100 Warlock 2: The Exiled is out now for PC. The publisher provided GamesBeat with a Steam Early Access code for the purposes of this review.
As someone who hasn't touched collectible card games since the mid-1990s — and hasn't played Warcraft since it was still a real-time strategy game — I'm amazed at not only how quickly I picked up Hearthstone but also how much I've played it. It's easy to learn, easy to get into matches and play, and it's fun. It's led me to check out other digital card games — and I'm again surprised at how much I enjoy these.