Scott Ellison II
There’s simply more to do and see with Back 4 Blood. It recaptures the magic of Left 4 Dead with near-infinite replayability at greater depths. The lengthy roster and varied personalities of the cleaners are entertaining. The deck building system allows you to create a devastating hand, and the weapon modding lets you grow with the increasing challenge. As you progress through the game, the AI director keeps you on the edge as you barely survive each encounter. Turtle Rock does it again, Back 4 Blood feels like an evolution on the coop zombie shooter we haven’t seen in over a decade.
Far Cry 6 is a much longer game than its predecessors, where you’re looking at an upwards of 40 hours just to see the end of the campaign. It does feel like an amalgamation of the Far Cry games up to this point, and doesn’t do a lot new to set itself apart. So Far Cry 6 retreads a lot of familiar ground that the series is known for, but with a bold new backdrop that helps keep it exciting. Far Cry 6 adds some RPG-lite elements to its systems that thankfully don’t get in the way of the gameplay. Dani is awesome as a fully voiced protagonist. She brings so much personality as she sings along to the songs in the car, speaks her mind, and is just a total badass in everything she does. Far Cry 6 is a next-generation adventure, hindered only by a few last-generation ideas.
Blizzard had to strike a careful balance of changing just enough, but not too much, which is no easy feat. Though in a lot of ways it feels like unearthing a relic like that in which you find during your dungeon-crawling exploits. Its dated design is solved by its sequel or other games within the action RPG genre. Diablo II: Resurrected has the same deep customization it’s known for. In addition, the new visuals modernize it for both PC and consoles. No matter where you play, this is the best version of the classic dungeon crawler. This remaster made in such a way to ensure that Diablo II: Resurrected is played for the next 20 plus years.
HOT WHEELS UNLEASHED evokes the feeling you had as a kid playing with Hot Wheels, and cranks it up to eleven. This is the best Hot Wheels game ever made. It doesn’t matter who you are, kid or adult, you’ll be enamored seeing your favorites in motion. There’s so much to love here. HOT WHEELS UNLEASHED is such a joy to play, and hard to put down.
DEATHLOOP succeeds at the artistry of repetition with tight gameplay and the interplay between its systems. While the structure strays from what they’re known for, this is undeniably Arkane. In a lot of ways, this feels like a ‘Greatest Hits of Arkane’, offering a little something from all of their games. It’s a next-generation experience I won’t soon forget. I never tired of having to do the same kinds of things again and again. The loops are done are on your terms, giving you full agency. DEATHLOOP is the paragon of immersive sims, and standard bearer for the time loop sub-genre.
Truth Quest is aimless, offering little motivation to drive this mystery home. The short runtime makes it easy to chew, however. It does recycle a lot of content from the base game alongside the new activities, though it isn’t quite enough to keep things exciting. But if more Maneater is what you’re after, then Truth Quest has that in spades. This DLC just lacks the charm of what made Maneater so special, yet it remains fitting for the tone of the game. Maneater: Truth Quest is an inessential add-on, but there’s enough interesting things to satiate most.
The overarching mystery of the ringworld persists until you discover the truth. And with all of its system and randomness, Dice Legacy is challenging, enamoring, and rewarding. You’ll never get to settle on any one way of playing, always trying new things. DESTINYbit have made one of the best city builders the year. Dice Legacy is infinitely replayable that you’ll fall head over heels for.
Comanche fails to live up to the pedigree of its predecessors in just about every way. Not a barn burner of a release by any stretch. Though it manages to try new and exciting things with a modicum of success, it’s not enough. Half the game is inaccessible due to the multiplayer being dead on arrival, and you’re likely never to see it unless you coordinate. It has a short and unsatisfying campaign, but it does have a solid challenge mode that’ll really test you. This is a budget priced game, and there’s fun to be had, but you’d be better off spending your time elsewhere than with Comanche.
Golf Club Wasteland was a pleasant surprise, from the solid gameplay to the poignant stories that there are to tell. In the roughly three hours it took me to complete the first time, I was enamored by everything it would give me, and still wanted more. And thanks to the other modes, I did. I do wish the game was a little zippier, as getting around takes too long, and the lack of a quick restart in more demanding modes hurt those experiences. This is an emotionally dense game that earns everything it works for. Golf Club Wasteland is notably touching, and something everyone should play this year.
Twelve Minutes is a thought-provoking, intriguing puzzler. There’s a reliance on trial-and-error, even in purposeful repetition that felt painful to deal with. This resulted in reaching points of frustration often, which made the four or so hours feel that much longer. That said, I was compelled to see it through as each new discovery was made. As bizarre as it was, the ending has a swerve I didn’t see coming that I came to enjoy. The game is at its best when either the things you make a guess about or deduce, just work out, and your loop pushes things forward. If you can endure the obtuse design of its puzzles for the unraveling narrative, Twelve Minutes might just be worth playing.