The Order: 1886 is more cohesive than the 15-year story arc of Quantic Dream's last effort, but cohesion doesn't automatically result in a compelling experience. It succeeds so well in playing out like the middle episode of an unmade series that it forgets to delve deeper into the otherwise fascinating Arthurian lore and its 19th century context.
I was excited to get back to Yharnam, despite all the lives I would soon lose, let alone all the Blood Echoes I would waste. And I was also sad upon the realization that I haven't felt this kind of impatience and excitement in a game in a long time, not since my initial playthrough of The Last of Us. That was two years ago.
In The Phantom Pain, Hideo Kojima and Kojima Productions have pulled off the rarest kind of balancing act, delivering a story that will satisfy many franchise fans while also being the most beginner-accessible Metal Gear game to date.
The ideal entry point for any Persona 4 newcomer (and the franchise as a whole) should be the PlayStation Vita enhanced remake, Persona 4 Golden. Yet if you cannot foresee making a 70 hour commitment to that JRPG, Persona 4: Dancing All Night is more than suitable as a gateway experience to the series. It’s themes on teen angst and the value of friendship are in line with the main game, more so than the fantastical Persona Q or the outlandish Persona 4 Arena. It’s not without its tough challenges, but any superb game in this genre should be demanding. As one of the better and more charming rhythm action games to come out in recent years, Persona 4: Dancing All Night is not only an apt and engrossing spin-off, but it’s an effective side story that will help pass the time while we impatiently wait for Persona 5.
The slime army awaits, wide-eyed and smiling as worlds collide in this inspired Dragon Quest spin-off.
Like the modern-day protagonists of the series who adventure through accumulated memories and experiences of their ancestors, Syndicate greatly benefits from the design and development experiences from all the Assassin's Creed games that have come before it.
There's beauty in both success and failure in Bloodborne. A one-second lapse in concentration can place you at the receiving end of a fatal combo but if you can maintain a persistent presence of mind, a triple-digit killstreak is not unheard of. Being tested by new foes in these new lands is an unquestionable joy, as is the ability to bring these newfound armaments and treasures into the main game. The Old Hunters is Bloodborne from another time and place, and with more difficult bosses and confounding stories to unravel, it's a fitting complement to the original, gruesome adventure.
Xenoblade Chronicles X excels when it emulates and improves upon the best parts of Xenoblade. X shines when it comes to combat, exploration, and vehicle systems, making this sequel more engrossing than its predecessor. Its richness makes it easier to overlook the shortcomings from both the technical limitations of the Wii U and the inconsistent soundtrack. Even without the multiplayer, there is plenty to do and see in X, but with that as an added component, the game should make a lot of Wii U owners happy well into 2017.
Speaking of being a moving target, one notable issue that holds Siege back from excellence is its less than ideal hit detection. There is an odd and often frustrating discrepancy between the amount of successful hits you think you got versus what the replays claim you got. Assuming Ubisoft has big competitive gaming plans for Siege, this issue needs to be at the top of the fixes list for the next patch.