Legacy of the First Blade's second episode, Shadow Heritage, is a familiar but engaging next chapter of Odyssey.
Legacy of the First Blade's first episode, Hunted, is a brief but effective foundation for a larger story yet to come.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition is a new way to play one of the absolute best RPGs in years. And whether you're diving back in on PC, or booting it up on the console for the first time, it's flexibility, personality, and charm make for an amazing adventure.
Vampyr is a slow burn of an RPG, taking its time to ramp up its intriguing blend of science and the supernatural in an elaborately gloomy version of London. When it gets going you can see the potential of the way it offers you more power if you consume its interesting citizens. But Vampyr never commits to this idea to the point where I felt I needed to make that sacrifice to succeed in its relatively simple combat, which leaves it feeling toothless and vulnerable to having a lot of its fun sucked away by technical issues, despite its genuinely engaging story.
Whether or not I was having fun with Sea of Thieves boiled down to the people I was playing with. Though Sea of Thieves has an excellent foundation for something truly great down the road, it has some glaring issues with variety, progression, and rewards that need tweaking. As it stands at launch, it's genuinely good fun with friends, but progressing to Pirate Legend is a long grind. Sea of Thieves needs a lot more briny depth before it's the amazing voyage we'd hoped for, but so far the great cooperative moments are a good start.
Rocket League's colorfully absurd cars-playing-sports concept works so well because the energy of its arcadey gameplay meshes with its deep team-based strategy and variety of modes. It's exceedingly rare to find a multiplayer game that's welcoming and approachable for new players and so intricate that the best players can earn a living by mastering its depths. Rocket League is a golden example of turning a good idea into something truly amazing.
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is a masterclass of atmosphere, storytelling, and the marriage of mechanical and conceptual design. While there are moments that feel shoehorned in to remind us we're playing a videogame, the care and attention Ninja Theory has clearly poured into Senua and her story has created something amazing. This is a game everyone should play, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to have lived inside the mind of Senua, however briefly.
For Honor has some dents in its shiny armor, such as the mediocre campaign, the frugal economy, and the snowballing victories in team modes. But it's hard to be mad too long when I consider that the melee combat system is second to none and a joy to learn, take your licks, and then learn some more. I could feel myself becoming a better warrior with this deep, flexible, and complete fighting system. The more I play For Honor, the more I want to play For Honor. I hope Ubisoft doubles-down on support, because it's something truly special.
Dead Rising 4 has the best core gameplay the series has ever seen. Its inventive and humorous ways to put down the dead are something I still haven’t tired of, and its surprisingly interesting plot is more than just a zombie-killing delivery system. Despite the technical blemishes that come with the series, its lack of co-op story mode play, and the fun-yet-unreliable multiplayer, Frank West’s return brings the series some fresh ideas, a ton of bloody mayhem, and a whole lot of cracking wise. Here’s hoping he sticks around for a while.
It’s rare that a sequel evolves on every part of the original concept so consistently for the better, but Titanfall 2 is that exception. Its feelgood movement is the foundation for both the engaging action and platforming gameplay of its strong campaign and its over-the-top competitive multiplayer. With bolstered progression, customization, variety, and a fleshed-out story, Respawn has made good on its original vision with Titanfall 2. And bottom line, it’s just damn fun to play.
The bottom line is if you haven’t played any three of these games, this is the best looking console version to date, and these enduring zombie-smashing games are still worth a playthrough. Outside of that, there’s nothing new in this Triple Pack to draw old Frank West fans back to experience the chaos again before he returns in Dead Rising 4 this December.
Necropolis pulls many ideas together to ultimately deliver a satisfactory, short dungeon-diving experience that’s best enjoyed with friends. Some of its ideas conflict with each other (such as permadeath and teammate revival), its procedural generation doesn’t offer much in the way of replayability, and its intentional vagueness can be frustrating, but it’s good for at least a few monster-smashing runs before it gets old thanks to enjoyable combat mechanics, cheeky humor, and the promise of mystery.
Hyper Light Drifter is a gorgeous, trendy hunk of stylish old-school sensibilities mated with the iconic hues of pixelated indie charm. It's a return to simpler control schemes, building on sound mechanical fundamentals rather than trying to wow with new ways of interaction within each and every checkpoint. Though its wordless storytelling took some of the thrill out of completing the campaign, Hyper Light Drifter is a joy to play, (and replay in the new game plus mode) its mechanical excellence and stylish veneer.
The Old Hunters is another shot in the arm of the same serum that coursed through Bloodborne's veins. Though diehards may pillage its secrets quickly, my approximate 15 hours spent delving its depths and gleefully employing each new destructive tool felt satisfyingly dense. The Old Hunters is an impressive return to From Software's oppressive and rewarding universe, and while it retreads much of the same path, it's very much a path worth taking.
At the end of my journey through Jotun, I was left wanting more of the excellent mythological world to explore and experience. Despite very minor frame rate dips and the occasional glitchy element, the beauty and wonder of Jotun unfolds like a storybook and deserves attention.