As obvious as the game's criticisms are about the encroachment of the police state or the ease of character assassination in the digital age, they're worth reiterating until we, in the real world, find a way out of our predicament. That doesn't make me fault the game less for its heavy-handedness, but I give it credit for having arguments to make.
"Ori and the Blind Forest" will tax the dexterity of just about anyone who doesn't eat games like "Super Meat Boy" or "I Wanna Be the Guy" for breakfast. If that disclaimer doesn't give you pause, know that this is a game that made me want to hug the developers.
When I finished "Dark Souls 2," I felt utterly burnt out with the series into which I had poured over 400 hours. But "Bloodborne's" labyrinths and fantastic creature design ensnared me from the first. Whereas "Dark Souls 2" felt to me as if it was laboring under the weight of its forebears,"Bloodborne" feels like the swaggering culmination of them. From Software has, in the best possible way, brought the evil back.
What gives the MachineGames' Wolfenstein titles their own mojo is the casual way they pair generic gameplay with silver-tongued characters who reflect on their faults, speculate on their fates, and enjoy mundane occurrences like going to a pub and cadging free drinks. In this way the game's B-movie vibe is evocative of the work of those skilled filmmakers who embrace the silly or even the self-consciously stupid.
What sets "The Witcher 3" apart from most of the competition is its keen sense of humanity, which is calculated to be every bit as gripping as an HBO drama. At their best, the characters with whom you chat don't seem like they live in a vacuum only to impart useful information.
As an open-world game,"Arkham Knight," on consoles at least, makes fabulous use of the Unreal 3 graphics engine, rendering Gotham in romantically grungy detail. This is the first Batman game that I've played that feels adequate to the comic book's legacy.