It is a great game that had to smear itself in a layer of whatever-nothing to convince you that it belonged in a certain genre. But like the octopus pretending to be a rock, Metro Exodus is a brilliant creature in the guise of a worse one. With some time, energy, and emotional investment it springs to life.
I am not out here hollering for a specific mode of card game design, and I love that we live in a world where there are a plurality of games for people with different desires and likes in their card games. I am simply saying that Artifact has emerged into a world where digital card games finally seem to have figured out the sweet spot between mechanical complexity and friendliness for new players, and it has totally ignored any and all of those lessons in favor of a model that, to me at least, seems to be interested in attracting diehard fans of massive complexity and basically no one else. And maybe that works for Valve and the Artifact design team, but it sure as hell doesn't work for me.
It's a structure, like a gym or a concert, and we have our role to play in it. It is good for what it is, but it isn't more than that. This is a first-person shooter on a large scale, and if you've played one before and you're itching for the most-recent and best-looking Battlefield, then you've found it. Anything more or less than that and you're better off getting last year's model. It's probably gotten all the kinks worked out, at least.
And I guess, for some people, that might be the carrot that keeps them moving on. But when I reached that point in Horizon 4 after a couple dozen hours, I didn't have the drive to keep going and pursuing new paths. If you do, it is probably a game that will get its hooks in you like Need For Speed Underground 2 did me all those years ago.
Overall, I have some mixed feelings about State of Decay 2. It is a game that feels less focused than its predecessor despite making strong moves to deepen the experience in every realm. Focusing in on the details somehow made the game lose something; the steps the game took forward cost something fundamental and core to the experience.
Dead In Vinland scratches the same itch as Darkest Dungeon's less combat-focused parts and King of Dragon Pass's more personal moments. It's unique in the world of games, and it shows what the medium can do when it's committed to a distinct vision of what numbers-and-narrative can do when they're understood as intertwined and integral to one another.
I'm in a weird place because I know that Surviving Mars is probably excellent for someone who is not me. If you enjoy Paradox games like Crusader Kings II but not city builders, then this is probably a great bridge for you to relax and play. If you like managing numbers, resources, and people, then this is the game for you. What I wanted was a more freeform experience that allowed me to design and fiddle with Martian landscapes to my heart's content, and this is not the game for that.
Ni no Kuni 2 aims for a lot of different targets: world-spanning story, management sim, recruitment game and solid combat experience. Against all odds, it manages to hit them all in a way that very few games in its genre can manage.
If you commit and dig in, you'll be rewarded with that rare feeling of accomplishment in a videogame. Not because you leveled up or because you managed to get one over on the game, but because the puzzle feeling of Into The Breach makes the game appear to be extremely fair. I never feel like I've been tricked when I lose, and I never feel like I've done something out of bounds when I win.
Dynasty Warriors 9 exists at the nexus of a lot of different desires on the player community side and the development side. I just want to wander around inside a big space and win epic battles in long-ago China while coveting the throne. That's what I'm in it for, and that's what it delivers. If you're in it for that, you might like it too.
As a person who enjoys the stories and characters of the Final Fantasy franchise, I'm immediately more likely to be invested in Dissidia NT and what it's offering me. However, that's not enough; I need to love these characters and this complicated and opaque game type, and truly enjoying the heart of it isn't really possible for me.
Innerspace has all of the things I like in a game. It has an evocative plot, some well-executed flying and diving mechanics, and some tricky puzzles that genuinely require paying attention to the game world around you. All of this is, sadly, perched on top of a visual mode that made the game literally unplayable for me. A glorious few hours was all I could manage, but maybe you have the fortitude of eye and body to make it through the entire experience. I wish that I could.
If you're in for some meditative classic gaming, Hyakki Castle is for you. It's a game that knows exactly what it is, and it has no interest in punishing you or making you feel like you don't get it. It's a friendly, old-style game that wants you to succeed, and that seems to be less and less present now. It also has cat people in it.
While new content will drip in over the next couple years, right now you really have to take seriously that Destiny 2 is like a microwave: you know exactly what it does, and it does it well, but you can't expect it to do more than that. It's very hard for me to look at the past five or six years of console and PC games, and then the things that are announced for the next six months, and think that I want to fully integrate Destiny 2 into my life as my primary entertainment appliance. It would be so easy to do so, but the cost of committing to this thing over any other thing seems so high.
Ultimately, I want to enjoy Before the Storm as much as I did Life is Strange, but I think some serious shifts will have to take place between this episode and the next in order for me to really get onboard.
"Easy to learn, hard to master" is the worst cliché possible, but Windjammers really evokes that feeling for me. I feel very comfortable handing the controller to anyone with a passing interest in games, or no interest at all, and knowing that they will figure out how frisbee tennis works. They'll also have a good time.
Borrowing from roguelikes, your character has one life, and the game is mostly about preserving yourself and leveling efficiently so that you can defeat the appropriate bosses so that you can win the game. This was not something that I found particularly interesting in itself, but I tend to not be super excited about games that are fundamentally concerned about making numbers go up. Lots of people are, and if you're one of them, you should try out Kingsway immediately.
It is the lightest possible complaint to say that I had a great time with a videogame, and I have already ordered the PS4 version of the first game to go back and play. I've also read the first year of the tie-in comic book to find out more about this weird fork universe of DC Comics. I guess I'm now waiting for Injustice 3 to come out. I need to know what's up with Swamp Thing and the wild world of a nature worth fighting for.