As much as I'd like to see the full Pokédex in a Pokémon game, what would be the point? Every Pokémon deserves a detailed treatment, and Sword and Shield don't achieve that. It's nice to hunt Pokémon in a more expansive playfield and I plan to completely fill out the rosters on both games. But its potential remains not entirely realized, as tantalizingly out of reach as our ability to catch 'em all.
Obsidian is on to something good with The Outer Worlds. The writing has an irresistible humanity, and the factions, skill system, and dynamic companion interactivity offer a beautifully complicated depth that makes me mourn the loss of Fallout 4 all over again. With it, I don't have to miss Fallout: New Vegas anymore—I can just enjoy what its core features have become. So far, this new horizon looks promising.
It's a shame that Borderlands and I are no longer a good fit. What I miss most of all is its personality. The aesthetic and surface changes to the series don't make it a stranger; the change in temperament does. We just don't have as many laughs as we used to. Better to cut things off now, and remember the relationship for what it once was, because it doesn't get any better from here.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood is a stylish detour that allows the series to safely explore some new directions while setting the scene before the next game. But it's not taking the risks where it really counts. In an era where right-wing extremism is an increasing threat, and the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred, the visible politics of Wolfenstein can't shoulder the weight of the game alone.
Far Cry never felt like just a shooter or just another open world game to me, but rather, a combination of many genres that offered balance between the cozier, more relaxing parts of the game and the high stakes, overstimulating pace of the main storyline. I guess maybe that's why, as I approached this review in the wake of Far Cry 5, I oddly felt the need to pin it to a single identity. I'm disappointed to see the series scale back at the expense of other features but New Dawn does a fine job of reinforcing that creative decision and offers some small hope that the writing may continue to improve. If outposts are your favorite part of the series, then you'll likely enjoy Far Cry New Dawn.
That being said, Life is Strange 2 boldly covers subject matter that so often is tiptoed around or completely ignored in entertainment, and it's refreshing to see the studio address topics like racism and police brutality head-on. While I'd like to see some technical aspects polished up (the facial animations still lack a decent range of expression, for example), Episode 1 is a solid start on this new saga in the series. I look forward to seeing what becomes of the Diaz brothers as they continue to head towards Mexico over the course of the next four episodes.
Give me a female lead who wakes up, pisses out her diaphragm and does a shot of Jager while she's still on the toilet. Give me someone who is messy, who makes mistakes not out of a misguided and entitled sense of right and wrong, but because human beings are flawed and have complicated motivations. It's a tall order in an atmosphere where AAA games are designed just as much by their investors as they are their writers, but in the case of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, I still wish they'd actually get their hands dirty.