When the journey was over, with the credits rolling, I found myself left deep in thought, reflecting on what I had just seen unfold and the meaning of the journey I had embarked on. Quite whether this grand conclusion actually presents more questions than it does answers, I’m still not sure. In any case, I do think Somerville at least succeeds in delivering that punchy, thought-provoking crescendo and conclusion it was always building towards. I just wish it hadn’t been such a slog to get there.
I’m very high on Stray overall, as you can probably tell by now. It might not quite have the substance and complexity in design to elevate the experience to genre-leading heights, but there’s so little to fault and so much to love about it that I’m certain, cat lover or not, it shouldn’t be missed. Stray is a superb achievement for a debut project from a studio in BlueTwelve that I cannot wait to see more from.
Unless you’re a hardcore Valhalla fan or someone who is particularly enamored with finding a collecting the (admittedly cool-looking) new armor sets, wait for this one to go on sale to satiate your craving to plunder.
Overall, though, I enjoyed my time with Dying Light 2 and found it an entertaining open-world experience that I want to keep playing beyond the 30 or so hours I put into the main storyline. Techland has plans to support Dying Light 2 with five years of post-launch DLC, which is a pledge I’m certain it will deliver given its resume with the original. My hope, then, is that its future content doubles down on the intrigue of the new choice/consequence branching dialog but delivers better and more varied questing to make the unfolding of these stories more engaging.
Also, again, it’s just so damn fun to play. And I think for a developer whose games have always been so clever and innovative to behold but not necessarily entertaining without a fair dose of punishment along the way, that’s hugely important. Deathloop is still signature Arkane in terms of exemplary immersive-sim design, reminiscent of BioShock and Dishonored, but it also puts a giant smile on your face each and every time you play. Quite whether that’s enough to see it succeed at a mainstream level remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt it’s another stellar title on the resume of an esteemed studio. It might even be its best.
Still, despite those shortcomings, there’s no question that Ghost of Tsushima Iki Island is an entertaining overall experience and I’m confident most players will find it worth the asking price; in particular, because the story strengthens Jin’s character arc by shining a light on an aspect of his youth not particularly well explained in the base game. For that reason, it works as an adventure played alongside the base game, and equally as an engaging new chapter for those playing it after the fact.
It’s a throwback to old Assassin’s Creed I’m sure fans of the franchise, rather than just fans of Valhalla, will love. And for that reason, in combination with the fact that it tells an interesting story, offers a great reason to reboot or reinstall the game for those who haven’t returned since completing it last year.
The concept of Biomutant’s story and world has so much potential. I really think it could have benefited from having a smaller scope with more effort spent on bolstering its narrative, characters, and opting to really flesh out its tribal system. It ends up being a by-the-numbers RPG experience that leans on repetition and fetch questing when I was so hoping the experience of playing it would prove as unique as its unusual premise.
I’m sure hardcore Valhalla fans hungry for a new adventure won’t necessarily be upset to hear that Wrath of the Druids delivers more of the same. Certainly, if you loved the main game you’ll appreciate more content to sink your teeth into. For everyone else, play the free seasonal events until there’s a discount.
For the time being, then, Valhalla is a superb but familiar open-world experience. It’s sure to excite fans of the series with another impressively content-rich and beautiful sandbox to explore, and it might just interest newcomers and lapsed Assassin’s Creed players with the intrigue of its setting and more streamlined overall design. Ultimately, though, it falls just shy of true excellence — a high benchmark to meet, but one Assassin’s Creed should be held to after so many years of trying to get it right.
Put aside your reservations about free-to-play mobile RPGs, gacha mechanics, and weeby storytelling: Genshin Impact is totally unique. I came in a skeptic and now find myself genuinely relishing hours more time spent chaining elemental combos, grinding for new characters, and the intrigue of its ongoing story.
Ghost of Tsushima features a level of charm that gives it a soul and personality lacking from so many AAA games lack these days. Even if it ultimately suffers from repetition by the game’s end, and despite a lack of variety in its quest, the magic of that initial exploration and the beauty of its world will stick with me for a very long time.
Valorant is likely to make a big impression on anybody that enjoys competitive shooters, even if it is a little light on content at the moment. Genre newcomers will need to stay patient to push past the initial difficulty curve, but its exhilarating combination of gunplay and agent abilities is accessible enough that reaping its rewards shouldn’t take too long.
Despite the fun that I’ve had playing Warcraft 3: Reforged and for how it has reminded me what an incredibly influential and brilliant game it is, there’s no way I could recommend anyone outside of the absolute hardcore Warcraft fanbase to purchase it.
I love that CD Projekt Red's solution to getting more players on board with its free-to-play card game was to produce a massive standalone RPG with all the spellbinding storytelling that's become a signature of The Witcher brand. It's the sort of thoroughness and commitment to quality they've built a reputation on, and Thronebreaker now paves the way for an exciting new genre of card games that incorporate a similar design ethos.