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.
Far Cry 4 is the latest illustration that the best open worlds are those designed to function as playgrounds — where goals can be pursued even when impulsiveness thrives. While it received a good deal of help from a rock-solid foundation that is Far Cry 3, this sequel introduces more than enough new features that both games should be regarded as companion pieces to each other.
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.
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.