It's a magnificent thing, and this story will be lingering in my thoughts for quite some time. Pentiment takes Obsidian's expertise in branching narratives, role-playing, and building evocative worlds, then packages it all up in an exciting and unique way. I was devastated when it was over, and I'm still not over that ending. But now I'm looking forward to playing it all over again, this time with another Andreas. Maybe one who speaks Latin, studied law, and spent his wandering years in Switzerland. There are some bad choices and disastrous consequences I'd like to avoid this time too. That's the beauty of being an artist: you can always scrape the parchment clean and start again.
Session is the skating game I've always dreamed someone would make, where performing even a 'simple' trick is significant and challenging. There are no mile-long grinds or 900-degree kickflips here: just real skating in its rawest form. It doesn't just simulate the sport, but the art of skating too. You need to get creative, looking at the everyday clutter of a city and dreaming up ways to make something rad out of it. That's what street skating is all about, and why Session is the best virtual expression of the artform yet.
Gran Turismo 7 is hard to fault. I can't think of another racing game I've accidentally played for 5 hours straight without leaving the couch. The racing is thrilling, the cars are a joy to drive, the tracks are magnificent, and the career is well structured. I haven't even talked about the photo mode, which is one of the best I've seen in a game. All the screenshots in this review were taken with it. I haven't fully dipped into multiplayer yet either, which has the potential to spawn a thriving competitive scene. There's just so much, and I can't imagine wanting to play another racing sim any time soon.
It's not the prettiest game, with distant scenery lacking detail, low-res cinematics, and screen tearing in busy areas. But the dizzying scale of the world, and the complete lack of loading times, is technically impressive. It's also worth noting that you need to be online to experience the career mode and progression—otherwise you're stuck with the freeform, rather empty Zen Mode. Most people play games online these days, but if you can't for whatever reason, your options will be limited. It's frustrating, because the actual riding in Riders Republic is heaps of fun. It's just been packaged in a completely off-putting way. You'll have to decide if the cringe is worth putting up with.
Twelve Minutes is a good adventure game, but its puzzle design makes it feel— mature, cinematic presentation aside—like something of a relic. If it was released in 1995, you'd be ringing up the LucasArts hint line for help and getting scolded by your parents for running up a massive phone bill. But it has its charms, and the way the story is gradually peeled back, growing more disturbing with each loop, is effectively done. There's a huge amount of emotion, drama, and conflict squeezed into this tiny, dingy three-room apartment. But also a lot of frustration as you struggle to determine precisely the correct sequence of events to let you move the story forward and finally get some closure.