Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a respite from the current state of the world. I find my general anxiety slowly subside as I run through my town, water my plants, and build furniture for the sassy chicken gentleman living down by the beach. It’s exactly what I need right now.
Having been smitten by the core world-building gameplay of Death Stranding, I am stunned to realize that many of the game’s strongest, most appealing gameplay ideas (specifically the world-building and cooperation) are tossed aside in the final acts, in favor of a much more linear, scripted, cutscene-ridden experience. The freedom and sense of ownership I enjoyed while creating this world are dashed in favor of explaining and wrapping up a story that never had much going for it to begin with.
Of course, the classic question remains: Is Torchlight 2 better than Diablo 3? But I’m not sure that it matters. They’re both pinnacles of action RPG design that coming at the genre in different ways. And having both on the go via the Switch, where a lengthy commute can be whiled away while smashing rock elementals with big hammers, is a gift to us all.
The lack of map diversity doesn't take away from the visual splendor of the game, though. While much of Three Houses is seen from an overhead perspective, initiating combat zooms the camera in, showing off gorgeously animated soldiers in combat. During a particularly tense battle, Claude, the house leader of the Golden Deer, tosses an arrow into the sky before catching it and firing off a critical hit to take out a pesky enemy pegasus moving in on my healer. These flashy moments happen all the time and are unique to the two dozen classes in the game, so there's always some new animation to get pumped over.