Mike Mahardy


38 games reviewed
76.1 average score
80 median score
57.6% of games recommended
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Aug 23, 2022

Even so: I can’t help but marvel at the scope and imagination with which Creative Assembly has brought Warhammer’s fantasy world to life. And maybe I can forgive Immortal Empires for occasionally not working properly because it’s so packed with factions that already bend the rules by design. There are leaders whose army buffs I haven’t even touched, and parts of the world I haven’t yet set foot in. But if my past few campaigns have taught me anything, it’s that there are trees falling everywhere, and they’re making quite a lot of noise.

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Unscored - Risk of Rain 2
Jul 24, 2022

Has Risk of Rain 2 had as much of an impact as Mario 64? Of course not. Its scope is decidedly narrow and its ambitions are confined to a small world focused on frantic combat in a straightforward, never-ending gameplay loop. But did Risk of Rain 2 reframe a game that I still consider close to perfection? Absolutely. Should Hopoo ever make a Risk of Rain 3, I’m hard-pressed to imagine what it will look like — my imagination swims at the thought of universes the studio hasn’t shown me yet.

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Mar 3, 2022

I’ll always have those moments on the battlefield where Triangle Strategy is willing to meet me halfway — just like it did when it sent me Narve, the wandering mage, who showed up at my encampment the night before a pitched battle, plucky and sincere, to offer his services. His elemental spells were weak, but he had potential. In the morning, I put him next to Rudolph, the bandit whose skill with a bow and affinity for bear traps made him a staunch protector. Narve struggled against a few elite enemies, but Rudolph watched over him. They both emerged unscathed, and became fast friends.

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Sep 23, 2021

Death Stranding is replete with questions of whether any of this is worth it - the solidarity and togetherness of it all. If catastrophes will keep piling up, and humans will continue to isolate, and communities will continue to fracture, then what's the point of ever coming together? For all of its preaching, the game doesn't end with tidy answers. To tie a bow on these questions in a final cutscene would undercut all of the work its gameplay has already done more elegantly than its thousands of words.

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Unscored - The Ascent
Aug 10, 2021

One particular mission ended in a robot boss that was resistant to the types of weapons I had spent all of my upgrade materials on thus far. OK, I told myself, that's on me. I should have been prepared. The problem then became finding the requisite components to upgrade an energy weapon I had neglected. In order to do so, I had to slog back through previous environments and take on side quests that ran the gamut of quality: One sent me on a prolonged fetch quest in search of a suitcase, while another tasked me with gathering testicles from slain enemies. One hour and countless frustrations later, I was ready to once again take on that robot boss.

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Nov 1, 2018

Diablo 3 remains a clever, rewarding, and oftentimes brilliant action-RPG that has made a near seamless transition to Nintendo Switch, six years after its original release.

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Dec 15, 2016

I Expect You to Die captures the tension, revelations, and exhilaration of a last-second escape in virtual reality.

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9 / 10 - Titanfall 2
Oct 24, 2016

Titanfall 2 is more measured and intelligent than its predecessor, but just as fluid and kinetic.

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Oct 6, 2016

Gears of War 4 makes the best of the franchise's multiplayer modes, but delivers a lackluster campaign in the process.

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Sep 26, 2016

In its third year, Destiny is showing signs of exhaustion, as it retreads old ground and struggles to find inspiration.

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Sep 5, 2016

Mother Russia Bleeds brings an older genre back into the limelight, with clever boss fights, intricate stage design, and complicated storytelling themes.

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Aug 27, 2016

Despite some rough edges and frequent moments of boredom, Master of Orion is an engaging reboot of a classic sci-fi strategy title.

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Jul 1, 2016

Despite a slew of problems, Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma uses complex story techniques in a suspenseful tale about human nature.

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9 / 10 - Overwatch
May 25, 2016

Overwatch meshes vastly different ideas and schools of thought into one frantic, exhilarating, layered shooter.

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May 14, 2016

Despite some visual impediments and a mediocre interface, Tastee delivers intelligent turn-based combat in a variety of intense scenarios.

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May 5, 2016

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End blends its gameplay, characters, and world into a magnificent whole, making it the best game in the series, and a new watermark for storytelling.

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Apr 13, 2016

Despite a cloying story and poor dialogue, Bravely Second is a sweeping adventure.

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Apr 4, 2016

Dark Souls 3 is a harrowing trek through a dark and gorgeous world, and despite a few missteps, is well worth the challenge.

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5 / 10 - ADR1FT
Mar 28, 2016

Adr1ft is a gorgeous game with a moving personal story, but its systems clash against one another, creating tedium and boredom throughout.

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Mar 14, 2016

In trying to capture the essence of a precise sport, Casey Powell Lacrosse instead results in a tedious grind against poor AI and frustrating controls.

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