It's not just the online mode: from play to unlock design, I did not have a good time with Toy Soldiers: War Chest. This anecdote might sum it up best: a friend back from a long trip watched me play a single mission. We sat in silence through interminable wave after wave, and about halfway through the hour-long mission he blurted out "why are you even playing this?" I didn't have a good answer.
I 100% enjoyed all of my time with The Beginner's Guide, despite a few instances of clumsy writing, up to the point where the last chapter slipped over into the epilogue. I feel like the tail end of the game is almost kitschy in how it plays out, and I believe that the game would have been so much stronger and braver for ending with the last voiceover of the final chapter. By continuing to go on and on with the narration, I felt like I was being robbed of significance by someone attempting to visually and emotionally sew up something that could not be repaired. This is all to say that you should play the game.
I believe that Armello has many of the pieces of an amazing game, but those pieces don't quite fit together just yet. I think that the development team, if given the chance, could iterate on this design to hit a perfect mix of computer mediation and boardgame excitement. While Armello misses the mark for me, I look forward to whatever they cook up next.
But at the end of the day, there just isn't that much here for me, even as a casual-sometimes-hardcore Halo fan. If you think Destiny could scratch the itch you have for Halo, pick it up over this game. If not, buckle in for an underwhelming mechanical retread with a so-so story framing the whole experience.
It denies the player a blank slate through which to make their own choices. Michonne is in a strange space between brand promotional piece and a true season of The Walking Dead game. However, all of that said, the compressed three-episode nature of Michonne could be to blame for that, and only time will tell if the full work coheres into something more than the slight thing we have in the first episode.
The Flame in the Flood gives us familiar territory. The world has gone back. There's jangly southern-style music with heartfelt vocals. There's crafting. But there's real wonder in those moments when you're just trying to get another mile down the river so that you can live a few more days. There's something special about staying afloat in all of that ruin. The Flame in the Flood is a beacon, something golden, in a worn-down world.
Like its forebear or Van Sant's Psycho, The Revolution carries many interesting pieces inside of a rough, and unlikable, exterior. The weight that it wants to carry proves too heavy a load for what the game is able to do. Overwhelmed, the game collapses.