Uncharted 4 confidently closes the book on the series, and goes out on a high note, without feeling the need to go over-the-top with its conclusion. The things that it does well are much bigger, and much more important than the few niggling things that it – along with its three predecessors – gets wrong. Naughty Dog has increased its powers of misdirection exponentially, advancing the series in its skillful and peerless storytelling, whilst leaving the gameplay more or less unchanged. Thankfully they have not left it untouched, and this is clearly the best – and last – of what is now an unrivaled quartet of games.
If you’re a fan of bullet-hell, synthwave, neon, the eighties, samurai swords, or creepy bunny masks, then you owe it to yourself to play Furi. If you’re a fan of none of the above, but you like masterful game design then you should play Furi. It respects you; it doesn’t pander to you, it’s subtle, and at the best of times it will make you feel like a skilled and masterful warrior, because by the end of it, you will be.
Every now and again a game is more than the sum of its parts; Hyper Light Drifter is a game that is precisely the sum of its parts. Taking inspiration from the very best, Preston and his team at Heart Machine have delivered an experience that shines. Occasionally obscured by the lack of a coherent visual language, the game relies on your willingness to invest a little bit of your head, your heart, and your guts and bravado. Given how good Hyper Light Drifter is, I don't think you'll find that very hard.
There is a clarity to proceedings that invokes the memory of a time when games were uncluttered with narrative baggage, when a single, simple idea was front and center, and gameplay spoke louder than all else. In that sense, playing Boulder Dash now is a nice little hook, and it will keep you entertained for a short while, but with irritating barriers to progress, and a lack of any depth or nuance, it will be a short while indeed.
There's potential here, and a lot of the game's promise is steeped in maybes and the possibilities that lay behind future updates; right now, Eternal Crusade is an undercooked, bare-bones affair that can, at times, produce a compelling shootout, but on the whole remains a rote and subpar game. For those outside of the Warhammer faithful, there's no real reason to play Eternal Crusade when there are the likes of Destiny, Battlefront, and Overwatch out there that do far more, far better.
In the end what you’re left with is an interesting curio, a relic from a bygone era by a talented developer. Whilst it’s clear to see the game’s ambition and the fact that it’s utterly unique, it’s also encumbered by a bizarre control scheme, some experimental storytelling techniques that don’t pull together well, and some cringe-worthy navel-gazing dialogue that disappears up its own bottom.
To say that it’s repetitive would be akin to calling an online shooter or a sports game repetitive: whilst it absolutely is, it all comes down to whether or not the fun can sustain the repetition. I can’t say it did, really, though being reminded of my old history teacher was scary enough I suppose.
These additions have been layered on top of a very old chassis, and while they do stave off boredom for a little while, it feels like chugging cheap energy drinks to prolong the inevitable crash. When there are games out there like Rez and Geometry Wars that reinvent that chassis, it’s difficult to play something like Xenoraid and feel… well, much at all.
The puzzles are very simple; the set-up and plot have all been done before; point-and-click has been done before, but that isn’t the point. The point is that when lovingly-crafted animation, when warm and sharply-written characters and lines of dialogue, and when simple, uncluttered play converge, you’re onto a winner.
All that to one side and what I’m left with is a passable, extremely repetitive game that offers up brief bursts of catharsis muddled in a misguided sea of queasy colors, and all wrapped up in a convoluted and uncompelling plot. The game isn’t terrible: there is, mechanically, nothing all that wrong with it, and if you like Musou games – and have exhausted the likes Dynasty Warriors or Hyrule Warriors – or if you’re a fan of the Fate series, then there’s some service here for you.
This had ‘perfectly fine’ written all over from when I first booted it up, but then it muddied the waters with a forgettable plot and tried to drag me away from the eye-reddening, ‘I should probably stop playing this now’ core of the game. Should you get it? If you like match 3 games then it’s a decent one, but then, if you like match 3 games you can get lots of them for free on your phone – which is surely a better home for them anyway.
It’s a game made by a small, four-man Swedish studio called Elden Pixels, and one that doesn’t contain an ounce of cynicism or irony; it’s made by retro enthusiasts who genuinely want to relive the glories of yesteryear. On the game’s Steam page, it is billed as a “retro game in a modern coat.”