There's a clear feeling of Martyr being spread way too thin across all the ideas at play, and pretty much every aspect of the game suffers as a result. If it could've trimmed some of the fat and instead focused on a select few features and mechanics, we might well have had a ground-breaking 40K release on our hands. Instead, what we're left with is a half-baked example of what could've been. Buried under its own ambitions to be everything at once is a solid Warhammer 40K story and a slow-burning, serviceable ARPG experience whose shortcomings may be more easily excused by fans of the source material the developers so honorably follow.
The asymmetrical multiplayer genre seems to be a real tough nut to crack with each heavy hitter coming out swinging, only to be plagued by nuances that trip up the experience and expose debilitating cracks in the mechanics. Unfortunately, it seems that Dead by Daylight suffers much the same fate. It's honestly really good fun, but the more you play the more its issues rear their head and become points of ire.
Two locations and four bosses doesn't sound like a whole bunch but don't be fooled - The Ringed City easily clocks in at four to five hours depending on how you fare with the bosses and other challenges. It's a meaty instalment and a welcome deviation from the practices seen in Ashes of Ariandel, while still interlocking with and continuing the complex narrative. The bosses are challenging and visually fantastic - besides a cheap NPC opponent - and the environments continue the Dark Souls tradition of being large, intricate, and engaging. The Ringed City feels like the climatic end that the Souls franchise deserves, even if we find ourselves hoping that this isn't actually the end at all.
Assassin's Creed: The Ezio Collection wasn't exactly heavily requested, but here it is anyway. While the trilogy is starting to show its age, this is unquestionably the best way to experience it if that's something you want to do. Some minor visual hiccups aside, each instalment of Ezio's story is present and intact here, and, quite frankly, having them all in a single package is an incredible amount of game for your money whichever way you cut it.
Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel misses the mark. It fails to fill a large, fresh environment with tangible reasons to stay there any longer than a few hours, and although the new weapons and gear are some of the best in the game, you'll want to play about with them somewhere other than The Painted World. Each boss battle feels generic and produces a dead end, feeling unrelated as a result. The experience constantly builds itself up but never climaxes, falling flat without spectacle leaving you to lug your new arsenal of weapons and gear back to the Firelink Shrine, your work in The Painted World apparently complete. The Arena finally constructs a functional environment for something long curated by the community, but removes something in the process thanks to reward-less matches that fail to emulate the underground fight club feeling found in the main game.
If you're a die-hard Duke devotee, then World Tour is probably your holy grail, bringing the original onto new hardware with some gimmicky yet functional additions, delivering the most definitive Nukem romp yet. For the Duke Nukem virgins among you, though, it's probably best putting this back on the shelf to wait for a drastic price drop. Although it's nowhere near the mess that Duke Nukem Forever was, this massive heap of fan service will fail to resonate with those unaccustomed to the breed of shooter found back in the 90s.
Through the combination of a simplistic but phenomenally effective art style and some incredibly fluid dialogue sequences, Firewatch proves itself time and time again as one of the most memorable games we are likely to play in a long while. It's poignant and very special, albeit disappointingly choppy at times. It may feel a touch short, but its story will feel firmly finished upon reflection, remaining naturally entombed in the Wyoming woods. This is a rare game that tackles strong morals and emotions under the guise of a beautiful walk through the wilderness that always manages to keep you on your toes, a walk you'll be hard pressed to ever forget.
Not A Hero is a thumping good shooter experience made all the more exiting through an intriguing art style; unrelenting gore and a relatively non-linear composition to pleasantly fleshed out levels. The humor, while likely to grind on you after a while, is rib tickling for most part. Its overall tenure is brief, never staying long enough for you to think too deeply about aiding a burrow-digging politician in murdering party opposers to gain power, and rightly so. While it won't have you mercilessly addicted to knocking out kickflips, it'll likely be one of the best 2 and a quarter shooters you play this year.
The endurance of This War of Mine: The Little Ones is limited and is certainly not something you'll want to play several times over and that's perfectly fine. It's a hard-hitting and unsettling look at the coldness and cruelty of the human condition and how the removal of social constructs unravels people so quickly that'll haunt you for a long time to come. Its premise is so bold it can often outshine its delivery, the idea it's conveying never feeling fully realized beyond the brief dips in pace. It's the most real feeling simulator of war out there and that in itself makes This War of Mine: The Little Ones quite terrifying and truly memorable.
A handful of matches with Stardust Vanguards is actually heaps of fun and will certainly be shortlisted among the usual titles picked for game nights. The hectic sci-fi vibe is brilliant and the soundtrack is a thumping thing of beauty. Sadly, things can grind to a halt after a few games and the things that got you going several rounds earlier aren't doing anything for you now. It's a specific game for a specific time and place, made even more specific thanks to its purely local set up which acts as both a blessing and a curse, in almost equal measure. It's hard to pinpoint why it suffers with fatigue quite so badly but, irrespective, it's fully worth having in your library, albeit just for that one night in with your friends you'll all remember for a long time to come.