Alex Santa Maria
- Halo: Combat Evolved
- Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
- Burnout 3: Takedown
For Honor: Marching Fire is in a weird spot. These are good updates, but I’m not sure it makes sense to shell out for the full package. While the new characters are fun, none of them change the game in such a way as to make them vital. Unless you’ve absolutely mastered the entire rest of the roster, you’ll find plenty to do outside of the premium options.
The few times that the RNG in BPM: Bullets Per Minute actually managed to put together a set of weapons and abilities that allowed for significant progress, the game shined, but it's just not worth the hours of suffering failed runs and mistimed shots. To borrow the game's own 90s shooter comparisons, playing BPM is like diving into Doom on Ultra Nightmare before learning how to play an FPS. The fun is still there, but it's buried under so many roadblocks and complications. The frustrating end result is a game with a great idea that bungles just about every part of the execution.
Beyond Mankind: The Awakening has few redeeming qualities. The story is nothing new, the gameplay has pacing issues, and the presentation is generations out of date. There are plenty of indie games out there that showcase innovative gameplay and moving storytelling for a relatively small fee, and with the bar that high, Beyond Mankind: The Awakening fails to even make the jump to try to meet it.
Hot Wheels Unleashed feels less like a cohesive racing experience and more like a framework where more and more Hot Wheels branded content can live as the months go on. This comes through not only in the lackluster presentation but in the currency system that robs players of any sense of urgency to complete missions. It doesn't feel satisfying to go through an hour of races and grind up currency to get a single box that contains a duplicate of an already-unlocked car.
There is a great game buried somewhere in The Falconeer, but it's trapped behind an open-world structure that does it no favors. Every choice beyond the aerial combat seems to backfire in one way or another, and while there are numerous unique enemies with interesting details, they all zoom by the player character at 90 miles an hour, so they go unnoticed. Story beats that sometimes defy fantasy tropes would pop up and intrigue, but there's no connective tissue to string players along. Even the combat isn't fun for long when it's shoved into busywork side missions made for the sole purpose of accruing gold.