You don’t play a No More Heroes game for its story. You play it for its style, and No More Heroes 3 has style in spades. The best thing I can say about No More Heroes 3 is that its combat and open-world design stay out of the way, letting its style take center stage, occasionally facilitating some truly great one-off moments.
But Axiom Verge 2 doesn't let you forget that there's more to Metroid than backtracking. One of the most enduring things about that series is how isolating it can feel. And that's where Axiom Verge 2 finds its most powerful moments. After acquiring the aforementioned drone, I learned there's a second world I can explore called the Breach. It's uninhabitable by humans, but my little robot friend had no issue exploring it. At one point, though, I got stuck in the Breach, cut off from most of my bodily upgrades and vulnerable as a result.
Skyward Sword wanted to keep Zelda fresh and exciting, but it did this by making the things you already did as part of its formula feel good instead of finding new ways to do them. But for a series about exploring at your own pace, simplifying dungeons to make them more fun to complete wasn't going to cut it for much longer. The focus on action, on pulling off simple-but-cool things, only works on a platform built around how fun its controller is to use, and it only works once. After this game, Nintendo had to do something different.
That's a huge letdown, because the encounters feel tuned for co-op rather than solo play. Playing alone, I could feel the absence of other players; although enemies are tougher when playing with friends, having another person to divert a boss' attention feels more natural than having you and a boss circle a pillar as you whittle down its health, or slowly working your way through the unrelenting hail of bullets that some of the later encounters subject you to. You also get to revive your friends in multiplayer (you even get one self-revive), which makes some of the tougher fights a little easier.
Immortals Fenyx Rising's second DLC takes the game to an entirely new world, but it still doesn't stray too far from its old one.
Then, about three-fourths into my playthrough, I found a legendary warhammer with an unbelievably powerful perk. Whenever I used a Weapon Technique, it created an enormous bubble that slowed any enemy within it to a crawl. It didn't rely on a trigger, ailment, debuff, a percentage, or anything. When it dropped, I read the description in bewilderment. Was this thing for real? It was so out of line with anything else the rest of the game had given me that I doubted it'd be useful. But it was. It made tough encounters a breeze. It destroyed bosses. The rest of the game went by in a flash. It was the most fun I'd had with Godfall, and I held on to that warhammer even after it was one of the weakest pieces of loot I had, just because of that one perk. I wish I'd found more items like it, because it was a welcome change of pace.
Greedfall’s fantasy world doesn’t shy away from brushing up against real history, which makes it a refreshing change of pace in a genre filled with medieval fantasy and space operas. And when it comes to creating the kinds of worlds, plots and characters that make an RPG worth caring about, Greedfall does a remarkable job within its smaller scope.