A good horror game can make rifling through old postcards and personal letters a compelling experience. But The Medium seems entitled, in that it expects me to be titillated by its character design and atmosphere but won't give me enough context to actually care about them. Between that and its tired puzzle-based progression barriers and dull character powers, The Medium fails to justify its existence.
Between the lack of marketing leading up to its release, its poor pacing, and the thin writing and investigation mechanics, Twin Mirror smacks of a game that just wasn't given enough time. With some polish on the game's earlier moments and more thoughtful dialogue, it could have stood a real chance. Unfortunately, between the stilted narrative development, cheerless puzzles, and wooden, small-town cliches, there's less here than whatever remains of Sam's journalistic career.
It's not a terribly long game, but neither should it be. Kill It With Fire's short gameplay matches its light tone, and keeps the premise from wearing out its welcome. Despite its low stakes, it is high spirited, and about as complicated and deep as it needs to be. If you've ever wanted to upend furniture and mow down a hedge maze just to get a spider, you'll feel personally targeted by this one. It's revenge fantasy chicken soup for the arachnophobic soul.
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.