This type of call-and-response has always been the lifeblood of card games but Hearthstone's position as one of the first potentially mass-market CCGs with an excellent online infrastructure makes things exciting. As for the 'free-to-play' tag, this is one of the few games that will make Western players love the business model. It's as simple as that.
Strider's not really the kind of game the cognoscenti get excited about. It won't be winning any awards or the subject of a load of thinkpieces, and that's because it's nothing more than a simple design executed near-flawlessly. It's limited in the same sense that a cat is limited by not being a dog. Strider is a great game and it gets me totally pumped; it looks incredible, sounds amazing, and is tonnes of fun. If I ruled the world this would be on billboards, and they would say very simply: STRIDER'S BACK.
Despite Loot 2.0 and Adventure mode and the Crusader, Reaper of Souls doesn't quite reinvent Diablo 3 and the reason is simple. The core concept underpinning this experience, fun as it is in passing, makes for a game that plateaus quickly. Diablo 3's central problem is that it lacks long-term appeal and, despite Reaper of Souls having the best of intentions, it seems some things just can't be fixed.
There is apparently a 5GB patch incoming for Lords of the Fallen, which may make a difference, but at this point I'd advise steering well clear unless you're rocking an absolutely monster rig. Even then, is it worth it? From the not-inconsiderable amount I've played of LotF it feels like a game that lacks the finesse and precision of its inspiration, lacking any kind of multiplayer element and offering only a Diablo-esque quantity of loot to keep you coming back. Presuming that the game is patched to a workable state RPS will return to take another look in a week or so's time – but until then, you'd be better-served replaying the Souls games.
I said Valkyria Chronicles wasn't just a brilliant game, but a brilliant Sega game. There's an element of wishful thinking to that, but for me Sega has always been one of those developers that occasionally touches perfection – and with unexpected, original games. The mechanics Valkyria Chronicles uses are potentially dissonant, but the game is a unified whole as well as a work of real craftsmanship.
With that said, don't take away too negative an impression of GW3:D. Though what it adds doesn't do much for me, what it brings from GW2 is simply brilliant, looks better than ever, and has never been on PC before – and everyone should try Pacifism mode at least once in their life. Parts of GW3:D are wonderful. But the most telling thing is that they're all contained in 2D rectangles.
With the ability to play as a monster against a human team, Evolve offers something unique – and surely one of gaming's best-ever tribute acts. When you're fleeing from the hunters and get trapped in their containment field, swatting desperately while looking for an out, you think back to those Power Pills and how far we've come.
The structure underlying Bloodborne is not just original but coherent, and because of this the impact of everything it does is commensurately greater. This is total design. It feels wonderful to have a world like this and, over a week of solid play later, feel that there's so much more to discover. And it's awful to know that, in all likelihood, it will be a painfully long time until I play anything else that matches up to Bloodborne's breadth of vision, generosity of content, and - yes - genius.
Not a Hero isn't perfect, but it does enough to confirm that Roll7 is a developer to watch. This is a game where the design principles shine through in every second of the action, foregrounded by a winning combination of clever visual tricks and slick production values. At times everything comes together and this is a delicious, feedback-heavy and flowing system - at others you'll be chewing the analogue stick in anger. Bunnylord, in other words, is a candidate with flaws. But still worth your support.