If you had asked me just two weeks ago to name the biggest storytelling sin a game could commit, I would have told you it was making players ask questions without giving them a reason to care about the answers. Ask me today and I'll tell you something different. Lost Sphear buried me under convoluted logic and explanations, lore and jargon, only to cast it aside with a shrug whenever the details were inconvenient to the action. It answered my questions, but in ways so fundamentally disconnected and absurd that I regretted even caring in the first place.
Yakuza Kiwami makes it clear just how far the series has come, and just how far it still has to go. It's keenly designed to bring newly minted Yakuza fans more firmly into the fold by providing all the contemporary comforts they might expect, while also giving longtime fans more to chew on than a shot-for-shot remake ever would have. It's a patchwork, for better and for worse, and as much as I enjoyed my time with it, there's no denying that some of those patches are looking more tired than others.
Hey! Pikmin did exactly what it needed to do, without extending itself any further. It gave me a series of interesting places, a series of clever puzzles, a series of cute vignettes and soft storybook scenery. The worst thing to say about Hey! Pikmin is, simultaneously, a recommendation — it's perfectly pleasant, well-rounded, and didn't leave me dying for more.
If that's my biggest problem with it after clearing each of the game's five core endings, that should say everything. Nier: Automata is a game that's more than willing to make players feel small, both physically and conceptually. It wants to swallow them whole, and it succeeds. Nier demands patience with its antics — not to mention its definition of "ending" — but it's patience was rewarded.
I can lean back and pick out plenty of things about Owlboy that frustrated me, but its failings shrink in the face of its triumphs. I have no excess of affection for the 16-bit genre retreads but even as Owlboy lacks the tightness or consistency of many of the games it sits alongside, it’s far more approachable, far more endearing, and far more unique.