Matches here feel legitimately sophisticated. Each encounter will likely only use a fraction of the gizmos or locations on offer, allowing for substantial variation and applied skill. A well-performed match feels like an authored military thriller, precise and cruel.
The Old Hunters provides new riffs and deeper context to all the best, most memorable ideas in Bloodborne. The boss fight in the clocktower, too, completes a motif, this one in the form of a lesson. As this familiar figure rushes at you, intent on your demise, wielding a weapon you've never seen before, it's never been clearer: In Yharnam, knowledge can't save you. But a trick weapon might.
This is a game about that drive to connect, to see others and yourself clearly. It's an experiment in how a creator might put themselves into a work and make a game that speaks honestly about their real life to the people who play it. Through Freeman's relationship with Ichi, it also illustrates how the distance between people shapes the way they understand each other, and how collapsing that distance can be a profound risk. It's the same risk that permeates a project like Cibele, both in the creation and the playing. In sharing so much, with a friend or a lover or an audience, you give up just as much control. What if they don't like what they see?
Its charming, morally earnest rhetoric of Undertale conceals the coercive weaknesses of its systemic approach to those same moral issues. Its limited combat options and often obtuse puzzle solving, alongside the sheer endurance required to survive boss fights long enough to end them, add up to a system that doesn't point to any elaborate moral insight. It simply points to itself.
The feeling of connection might be an illusion, though, and that tension is what gives The Beginner's Guide its strongest moments. Even as it reaches out from within its prisons, it won't let you forget the bars. If it is a desperate desire to be known and understood, then its intentions come fraught with the same doubts as any authentic relationship.
Until Dawn distills the tone of teen horror perfectly with scenes that bounce between chilling and cheesy every few minutes. The characters are hapless and often stupid, and the dialogue is just stilted enough to feel a little campy. Until Dawn offers the rare opportunity to experience one of these horror stories from a position of power. The characters all start out fairly prissy, petty, and unlikeable—again, standard for the genre—and it's up to you to decide who you want to survive and who, if anyone, you want to "accidentally" meet an untimely death.
This is Not A Hero in a moment: a dark parody where every problem can be solved with bullets, and even Aunt Ruby is eager to get in on the action. Get to it, you sexy murder machines. Re-election time is just around the corner, and we've still got to deal with that scrotobiker gang BunnyLord keeps talking about.
That's the ultimate result of NecroDancer's genre experimentation: an invitation. An invitation to strap on your dancin' shoes, let the beat seep into the hole where your heart used to be, and follow the siren sound deeper and deeper into the dark.
The Legend Of Korra game is the "much, much worse" scenario, and the kindest thing to say about it is that it serves a similar function to the anemic stage performance in "The Ember Island Players." Through sheer inferiority, it's a reminder of what makes both the series it's based on and the games it imitates so beloved.