Coming from the developers of Trine I expected a little more quality from Shadwen, the uninteresting environments echo the bland characters and gameplay that evolves too slowly. A level editor and mod support will give it some longevity and you might find some enjoyment from making a purely non-violent run through the game. But even the extra items couldn’t spice it up enough for me to find Shadwen anything other than a passing curio.
The campaign is great and if you allow the game to punish you for defeat it’ll bring more impact and consequence to the later battles. Sure, the story is ridiculous but it’s what you’d expect of a 40K and it fits the genre perfectly. With a multiplayer that has as much nuance and depth as each ship you can manage, Armada is well worth your time if you’re a fan of the 40K universe. For the Emperor!
Despite its issues I still feel Kholat is a genuinely disturbing experience, full of atmosphere, tension and visually impressive for an Unreal Engine 4 game. Its faults take it out of the really awesome category but I personally loved it and how it blended horror with unravelling parts of a real world mystery. As it is I believe Kholat is still worth playing but just be aware that frustration and tension will be present in equal measure.
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing 3 is a good-looking game but the lack of features from the previous entries are a sore point. Allocating skills and levelling up are hindered by a very cluttered UI that would put any newcomer off and the range of classes feels a little false given how similar some are to each other.
Order of Battle: Pacific doesn't exactly shake up the strategy genre, but its focus on the Pacific theatre is a welcome one and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it. A few neat features and the accessible nature of the game mean it's open for newcomers to the genre but also challenging enough for veterans.
I'm pretty sure this won't appeal to a lot of people. It can be bone-crushingly hard at times and difficult to get into. But by giving you the tools to craft your own escape and leaving you alone to sort it out, The Escapists is one of those classic hands-off games that encourages you to create your own story and incredible moments.
Coming so soon after the first entry Blackguards 2 is a surprisingly packed improvement over the original, giving you the chance to dominate and rule over South Aventuria with all the bitterness and rage such a task would need. It won't suit all newcomers to PC TRPGs and yes, battles can be brutal and unforgiving at times, but for those with even the slightest bent towards getting knee deep in stats and tactical battles then Blackguards 2 is a worthy purchase.
It's an experience that truly stretched different parts of my mind in more satisfying way than Portal. Though the puzzles frustrate at times, most are put together thoughtfully and in a simple enough way that you can go away and figure it out on paper if you need to (I needed to, frequently).
I can't say that I found it satisfying and many, if not most, themes went well over my head, but I can see why so many find this genre of discovery simulator so immersive and compelling. The Old City has a tendency to get into your head and bones after a few hours and as this is the first of a trilogy, I'm eager to see where Leviathan will take me next.
Never Alone is a beautiful game, full of fairy tale delight and educational knowledge. It isn't as patronising as that might sound as it keeps the two well-separated enabling you to take or leave as much of the cultural content as you like. It struggles though with being a compelling video game with its slow start, short running time and AI issues. It comes away respectful of its inspiration and educational as well, but won't last long in the memory as a gaming experience.
Aside from balancing the random elements of the game to make them less unfair, Crowntakers is a superbly focussed effort that can be enjoyed in short bursts or gorged on for multiple hour sessions. It's likely to be better consumed sparingly, like a good port, but it has a complexity greater than it initially appears. As a relief from overly-serious epic games about dragons and Frenchmen this is a welcome diversion.
The world and characters are forgettable and uninspired without any of that deeper lore and storytelling Dark Souls is known and loved for. But despite those criticisms Lords of the Fallen is still worth a look if you're after challenging combat and a grisly dark medieval world to explore.
The payoff for finishing the game isn't enough to make some of the levels worthwhile and it feels like Back to Bed is selling itself short by being constricted to just two campaigns. That said, Back to Bed is reasonably priced and if you're a fan of the art-style mentioned or want something a little different to play for a few hours then there's value here.
Unless torturing your reflexive skills and muscle memory is a turn-on then Infinity Runner may be better left on the Steam shelf until it re-emerges onto a portable device. Either that or just run into a field of hungry cows and run like you've never run before - that's a real first-person endless runner experience.
It means that for all Whispering Willows' atmosphere it can't deliver what it sets out to achieve. I don't often say games need to be longer but here, the experience needs more locations, more detail and more time to fill out its fiction to be able to tackle the themes it wants to tell.
It makes progression through the long and winding career mode a touch tedious despite the excellent racing experience the game crafts. The more you play it the more it feels like a patched version of previous entries and less like a new iteration of the series. It doesn't mean you should avoid Autosport if you're looking for a return to form from Codemasters and the Grid name. Far from it. But it's a warning that the stripped down nature of this entry has taken away a bit too much to feel a complete experience even though the actual racing is the best I've played in years.
There's not many video games that treat war with the respect its participants deserve. Metal Gear is too preachy and ham-fisted while Call of Duty & Medal of Honour are bombastic dude-fests disinterested in reality. Valiant Hearts, by using the war as a backdrop and avoiding too much direct conflict, pays tribute to the 16 million that perished in The Great War 100 years ago and does it with humour, pathos and melancholy.