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.
Dreadnought in many ways successfully brings the World of Tanks formula to outer space with sci-fi flair, and the vertical movements of the ships add some depth. It's often fun, but if you want to advance at a reasonable pace you'll have to deal with an unreliably active PS4 player population and an XP system that requires a lot of grinding to unlock new ships.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a standout RPG that manages to keep its story, combat, and exploration interesting over the course of at least 70 hours of adventure through an impressively varied and rich world. Getting from place to place can be confusing, but outside of that and a multi-hour progression roadblock near the end this is an excellent game full of tough, memorable battles and a positive message.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 doesn't deviate much from the established LEGO template, but its wide variety of settings, heroes, and abilities make it constantly fun to play, especially in co-op. The combat is still quite simple and it's sometimes difficult to tell what you should do next, but the story is lighthearted and fun enough that mild annoyances like these fade into the background.
Hand of Fate 2 doesn't change much of the concept that made the first game so appealing, but everything here – whether it's challenges, smarter deck building, companion characters, and better combat – marks a major improvement over what we saw in 2015. Repetitiveness can still be a problem, but it takes much longer for it to show up. This time around, this is definitely a hand worth playing.
The combat of Overgrowth is exhilaratingly fun with everything's working as it should, but that's not very often. You also have to get used to the wonky and weird way it interprets both combat strikes and landings. It's a shame that everything else about Overgrowth, whether it's the story, the level design, or even the physics system, feels undercooked. It's not hard to find some fun here, but it's fun you'll soon forget.
Aside from its creative hats and hat-based abilities, A Hat in Time never exactly feels like an inventive platformer. But it does its job well, even while suffering from the occasionally awkward camera issues that 3D platformers are often known for. It stands out, though, for its infectious and endearingly goofy personality, its creative and widely different levels, and its enjoyable platforming. And, of course, all those hats.
Hob is a beautiful Zelda-like puzzler with fun combat elements that takes place on an enchanting world where nature and machinery alter the landscape as easily as a twist of a Rubik's cube. The wordless approach to the story creates some confusion and the fix camera sometimes results in unnecessary deaths, but never does the time spent with Hob feel wasted.
The outstanding classic-style RPG Pillars of Eternity makes a surprisingly virtuosic transition to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 with the Complete Edition, bringing both systems all of the content that's been released on the PC version so far. For an RPG of its complexity, it's surprising how pleasingly intuitive its gamepad control scheme is, and its easily legible text makes it feel just as good to play from the couch as from a desk. It's a memorable experience that suffers from only a few technical hiccups, most significantly its long and frequent loading times.
Absolver is a beautiful martial-arts fighting game that allows for an impressive degree of personalized play with its innovative combat deck system, which lets you learn skills from combat with other players and NPCs. Unfortunately, it only comes with a single PvP arena mode at launch, and its fascinatingly nebulous campaign breaks off early and abruptly. It feels like an early access game with a ton of potential, but it's not quite there yet.