Crusader Kings III is a massive step up in all regards featuring many QoL changes and improvements. While some features, such as the character designer, are sorely missed, the major improvements, refinements, and the like, ensure that fans of the series will almost certainly enjoy the new title. While it is more welcoming to newcomers than prior entries, it may still be too dense for those not interested in the heavy political focus of the franchise.
With the build-up of two prior games to firmly provide a foundation, some truly dark and disturbing moments, emotional highs, strong character connections, and overall glimmer of hope, there is no doubt as to what the final score could be for Muv-Luv Alternative. To consider it anything less than wonderful is to short-sell it due to its powerful moments and well-written plot.
This is what an expansion for this series should look like - something that doesn't feel minor and can impact choices in many areas of the actual main game itself; even ones not directly related to it. While Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon is certainly not quite as epic as other expansions in the series, there is no denying the positives it brings, either, making it well worth the investment for those that have been enjoying the Crusader Kings II experience so far.
What more can really be said? Everyone was expecting a nice and self-contained story at best, a bit of a romp, and nothing exceptional. Getting a well-crafted story, developers learning how to up their game to create intense battles from their prior experiences, and so many other improvements, was simply not expected. There is a distinct rift in quality between the base game and this expansion, and considering A Realm Reborn was already very good, this new rift showcases just how great Heavensward is.
Stormblood is simply amazing. Not much more can be said about it. With a very well-crafted story, some tense and epic battles, two new classes, and wonderful zones, saying anything else would ruin so much of the expansion and what makes it great.
The reasoning for such high praise of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn should be obvious. At the end of the day, the simple fact is that Square Enix actually put in effort and care and managed to craft something that truly is Final Fantasy through and through. It would have been so easy to declare this game a lost cause or just do the minimal amount of work to make it viable, but, instead, the developers dedicated themselves to turning this MMO on its head - and they succeeded.
Quite frankly, this practice is unacceptable. This particular expansion shouldn't be punished since the problem is broader and more wide-spread. How making an admittedly large patch then charging full price for it is a bad Paradox! Bad boy! There are people out there making workshop content and mods for free that affect far more and aren't some minor fringe either. Meanwhile, with a full team, Paradox manages to change one, admittedly large, nation? Why not sit down with all the other religions and give them their own little iconographies? Or work in something else? Anything else! This is a mini-expansion and the result of a sad, yet likely unstoppable, practice.
Honestly, this review could go on a lot more, but so much of it is attention to details and improvements on the prior title that it would miss the point. That point being that Total War: Warhammer II is a game where you can have a T-Rex throw down with a Wizard. There are great strategy elements, the new vortex victory is a great refresher from normal conquest types, and the new races are all great; but reading this review means missing out on the dino action. Still reading?
To say that personal frustration isn't involved would be a lie. To say that said personal frustration seems to come around because a game wasn't properly balanced between the multiplayer and single-player aspects, with it being tilted a bit too heavily towards the top dogs, would be true. As a single-player title, ARK: Survival Evolved can get quite tedious and annoying having to handle tasks meant for multiple people solo. As a multiplayer game, having to submit to survive and not have everything ruined is annoying, as well. Hopefully, a better balance can be found, but, for now, the game just feels wrong for what it's supposed to be.