Stormblood doesn't do much to shake up the general design Final Fantasy XIV has followed since its relaunch, but never before have its familiar elements worked quite so well. You'll find some boring sidequests, yes, but it makes up for that flaw with an unforgettable story filled with moving cutscenes and acting, great new primal fights and dungeons, two wonderful new combat classes, and new lands that reward the explorer in us all.
After months of missteps, Legion shows World of Warcraft finding its footing again and asserting its relevance after more than a decade. Many elements make this an expansion worth enjoying, including class halls, gigantic zones filled with memorable stories, better socialization, the actiony new Demon Hunter class, and world quests. The one big question mark is whether Blizzard can maintain that energy after launch, but so far the outlook seems promising.
Blood and Wine ends the saga of Geralt of Rivia in style, bringing with it a tale of charming vampires and troublesome friendship set in a stunning new landscape that departs from the bleakness we've known until now. The expansion also brings some welcome gameplay enhancements, including mutations, the ability to dye armor, and a vineyard for growing herbs. Most of all, it leaves Geralt in a good place.
Full of emotion and high adventure, Final Fantasy XIV's Shadowbringers expansion brings MMORPG storytelling out of the shadows. Two great new combat classes, two cool new races, and a nifty system for running dungeons solo round out the experience of FFXIV's best expansion to date.
The Banner Saga 2 doesn't change much of the experience that made the original such a well-loved surprise two years ago, and that's a good thing. The improvements may be small, but they're also substantial: the new combat units, the introduction of a second caravan story to follow, and the obstacles in the battlefield add up nicely. While beautifully written and populated with memorable characters and twists, the story does slightly suffer from a case of the "middle episodes" that may leave you eager for more. On the bright side, we know that more is on the way in a third and final installment.
The turn-based combat may be a little disappointing, but Torment: Tides of Numenera manages to live up to the legacy of Planescape: Torment by offering a fascinatingly weird and well-written tale. Thanks to a wide variety of options in conversations and the influences of its tidal system, it offers decent opportunities for replay value and a memorable tale each time. This is the rare game that leans almost entirely on its setting and writing for its appeal, and the miraculous thing is that it usually succeeds.