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.
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.
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.
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.
Balls of Glory is a stellar addition to Zen Pinball 2. There are a few issues with each of the tables but for the most part they are very enjoyable to play and quite appropriate for players of all skill levels. Despite some of the PG censorship on two of the tables and some of the slightly repetitive sound effects this pack is well worth the purchase. There isn't much to dislike; Balls of Glory is inexpensive, a blast to play, visually stunning and feels totally connected to the franchises of which the table themes are based on.
Battle Chasers fans will be pleased to know that Joe Madureira's work has found a new home in the gaming industry that we'll certainly see more of. But perhaps more importantly, as someone who never knew about the source material before playing the game, I'll be keenly looking forward to its next entry too.