Scott Ellison II
The combat is intense, frenetic, and never bogged down by the managerial aspects. The story is solid, and the characters are okay, but the BattleTech lore that begins to unfold throughout steals the show. MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries captures the essence so beautifully of what made the MechWarrior: Mercenaries games so great two decades ago. It’s a welcome return for a singleplayer campaign of this storied franchise. MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries skips all the pretenses, and lets you manage the finances and the intricate details of your own mercenary units to stomp around the galaxy at your leisure.
The shift from random sniper dude who I don’t care about to shadow sniper with cool tech is a big step in the right direction for the series. As is the segmented contract system, which is something I want to see a lot more of in DLC or sequels. Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts is inventive and rewarding, with so many ways to tackle the contracts, challenges, and bounties – this is a game that celebrates its replayability. While there’s rough edges, this is the most satisfying game about being a sniper for a modest price. Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts executes with enough precision to reach its target.
Need For Speed Heat is bathed in neon while offering a great sense of speed, fantastic customization, and generates a great level of tension when being pursued by the cops. The car selection covers a wide variety of eras and types that’s never boring, and there’s more than enough to satisfy everyone. Between the actual races and roaming around challenges, there’s hours of things to do you’ll never tire of. Need For Speed Heat is the best racing game of the year, hands-down.
Thief of Thieves: Season One is interesting, but on the Switch is hampered by a myriad of issues on every level. The story comes to a satisfying close, but the inevitable tease to season two is an exciting setup. I look forward to being around these characters more, and performing more heists with them. Thief of Thieves: Season One is fun, intriguing, and tells a great interactive story. You should just do so on any other platform but the Switch.
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition is exactly what it says it is. For all the effort that’s gone into this, it’s kind of insane to get all this game for a mere $20. It plays incredibly well, looks even better, and hasn’t aged a day. Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition is next to perfect. It’s time to strategize like it’s 1999.
It should come as no surprise that Unity of Command II surpasses the original in every way. Its one-screen UI is still the one to beat, and reflects the original in all the right ways. There’s a lot new to the game, and it offers so much depth where there’s so much to talk about. I adore the strict turn-based time limit, as it gets you to think in a different way. Unity of Command II is wargaming at its finest.
While it doesn’t break boundaries or define this generation, it is extremely refined to be the best version of itself. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare offers an engrossing campaign along with a multiplayer suite you can’t quit. It’s a game that’s heartfelt and genuine in its presentation. I’m so terrifically excited for what’s next for the story, and the multiplayer is calling my name. Infinity Ward has cemented the Modern Warfare series as the best of Call of Duty, and this is one not to miss.
Tight, responsive controls met with highly detailed environments puts Lonely Mountains: Downhill in a class all its own. I take issue with some of the decision decisions to purposefully block your view, or how hard it is to unlock new bikes, but they’re never enough to take away from my enjoyment. The terrain, physics, visual style, and sound design are deserving of awards. This is a game that’s challenging but fair. Lonely Mountains: Downhill is wonderful, top to bottom.
With a unique control scheme, Into the Dead 2‘s combat is simple yet compelling. You’ll encounter different zombie types, dodging attacks, and avoiding pockets of zombies as you run from one area to the next that’s always exhilarating. There’s so many levels to play, and ways to experience the game that it begs for “one more run”. Into the Dead 2 is a shining example of a mobile to console game done right.
The most disappointing part of The Bradwell Conspiracy is the illusion of choice at the ending, where there's only one outcome despite how things are worded to you. I enjoyed a lot about my time: unraveling the mystery, interacting with my NPC partner, and solving puzzles that felt innovative. The game is clever, interesting, full of style, and most of all, flawed. It lacks polish in a lot of areas that I think can be patched, but for the time being I'm reserved to recommend. I liked The Bradwell Conspiracy more than it would let me, and this is an intriguing universe that I hope we haven't seen the last of.