Happily, Death’s Door, the new action adventure game about a hard-working, soul-reaping crow is very much a love letter to the old Zelda games. Its mechanics are satisfying in a chip-off-the-old block way, its visuals are a delight and its story line is touched with assured, easygoing humor.
“Subnautica: Below Zero’s” conventional sci-fi story line, which revolves around a greedy corporation looking to get ahead in the weapons business, never raised my interest. But the painstaking effort it takes to get Robin from one minor narrative point of interest to another made me appreciate its small, very human scale of success.
For those looking for a blockbuster, family-friendly experience, “Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart” checks the boxes. It is hyperkinetic and full of cutesy-looking characters that wear their emotions on their sleeves. If you’ve seen one of the trailers then you basically know what you’re in for: something totally familiar but with next-gen graphics. In other words, from a marketing perspective, it’s a safe bet.
But as someone who went out and got a PlayStation 3 just to play “Demon's Souls” (2009), and, moreover, loved Housemarque’s last two games, Returnal makes me rue the influence that Souls games have exerted on the industry. In my view, Returnal’s severe difficulty level does a disservice to its entertainment value.
Although “The Medium” is billed as a psychological horror game, I found it to be consistently unsettling rather than scary. There is a vengeful monster that Marianne must deal with intermittently, but except for one breathtaking scene where he chases her through different realities — resulting in shifts in perspective that strike like tidal waves — I didn’t think much of him. Nothing robs a creepy game of its power as forcing a player to confront the same monster too many times so, thankfully, the monster encounters are nicely spread out. “The Medium” might not have the most nightmarish adversary but its blanketing, foreboding atmosphere and uncompromising ending amply makes up for it.
I’d wager that Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales will be remembered as the year’s most ingratiating family-friendly video game. It is a feel-good, unabashed spectacle that controls well, looks great and has a hyper-efficient story line that never tries to overdeliver.