The fantasy genre is always one of nostalgia for a world long gone, the vague, wistful ancestral memory of weary travelers and simple taverns, of brooding castles and dark-blooded wars. But also nostalgia for a real-life youth spent whispering about orcs at the back of geography class. Somehow, Pillars of Eternity captures this personal emotion with flair and empathy.
I'm still far from the end. I will check in with further thoughts as I progress, but at this point I can unhesitatingly recommend the Witcher III as yet another on the crammed top shelf of excellent RPGs we've seen in the past 18 months. Buy it, buy it, buy it.
Just as in the previous story, Dragonfall consumed my imagination for the whole time I was playing it. When it was done, I missed the characters and wanted it to continue. That is perhaps the ultimate sign of a well-told story. As a game, it's pretty good – balanced, challenging combat that calls for a variety of tactics to respond to different situations; viable paths for combat fans, mages and even charisma-junkies; plenty of relevant activities to keep the player engaged during non-combat 'downtime'. But as a story – a piece of interactive fiction that takes a substantial corpus of existing source material and spins an engrossing yarn about power, betrayal, revenge, duty, family and loyalty – it is a supreme work.
The things that upset me about the game stem from the exact reason I love it - I disagree with Paradox's description of the Centurion-class Battleships, for instance, but only because I'm a huge nerd, and therefore perfect for this game. It's definitely a "your mileage may vary", but I feel comfortable in saying, entrance to the grand strategy rabbit hole has never been easier. But be warned - it's still a deep rabbit hole.
Once you understand that, however, I've not got much bad to say. Time will tell if it hits the market with the impact that Planescape: Torment had. I would guess not, just due to the games industry being a different beast these days. But in quality of writing, and in its ability to make you care about characters and force you kicking and screaming to actually think about things like good and evil, and the value of life, Tides of Numenera is every bit on a par with its illustrious ancestor.
Steel Division: Normandy '44 really is my game of the year so far. As a realistic wargame based in a familiar setting with nods to all of the tactics and considerations a real-life battlefield commander needs to keep in mind, from supply to morale, it is second to none.