Trek to Yomi is an enjoyable, heavy, and atmospheric side-scroller whose presentation along can place it with the greats by way of Flying Wild Hog titles that’s hampered by poor combat. The engrossing story, immersive and highly cinematic presentation, and an excellent score are all indicators of greatness and Trek to Yomi seems to be on its way to being one of 2022’s best Indie titles; only time will tell.
Though it may fall short of its predecessor, Distant Worlds 2 is laudable sequel to what I feel is one of the most enjoyable and unique 4x titles on the market. That’s a hard gig to follow and though there are plenty of balance-related issues and more optimization can be done and I imagine that were Distant Worlds 2 given the same 4-5 years post-launch that Distant Worlds: Universe had, I imagine Distant Worlds 2 could very well be a quintessentially perfect 4x experience.
In Conclusion, Creative Assembly’s Total War: Warhammer III is their Warhammer-franchise swan song and it exits stage left in a massive, yet dignified manner. With eight unique factions, most with their own extraordinarily unique sub-factions (with the exception of the Daemons of Chaos), a huge, multi-tiered campaign map, a complete overhaul of sieges and how they work, dozens of unique and absolutely gorgeous battlemaps, the best music in the franchise, and housing one of the best-told and designed tutorial prologue- with a little more work, some clean-up for balancing, Total War: Warhammer III could very-well unseat the reigning Total War king, Total War: Shogun 2.
King of Seas more than earns its keep given its price-point (it comes in at a very respectable $25 USD on the Xbox/Microsoft store) as it is an enjoyable, casual gaming experience with combat that is easy to grasp, isn’t tedious, and has numerous diversions, from trading to resource gathering and exploration. Even with the minimal issues that I personally had with some of the design choices, King of Seas is still a wonderful and worthy title in the ever-growing pantheon of indie games that are sweeping the market in lieu of standout AAA-titles.
With a little time and a lot of patience, plus a heap of optimization by the developers, Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground’s blend of turn-based tactical gameplay and lite rogue-like elements could easily join the cast of greats- with its stellar music, unique and well-designed playable races, and lore-rich setting, Storm Ground falls just short of that trifecta of excellence found in more prominent Warhammer titles. With hope, we will see updates in the near future to help smooth out the experience, but as it stands at the time of this writing, Storm Ground can be bland at best and perfectly skippable at worst.
With its stunning views, excellent combat, and fantastic audio design that is marred only by the incredibly slow pace of dialog, Biomutant is easily one of 2021’s more exciting titles. Few games in recent years have encouraged multiple playthroughs the way that Biomutant does and that in and of itself is a feat to behold; engaging combat, smart environment design, and an enjoyable leveling and crafting system are held up only in its initial run by odd pacing. Fewer still can say that the subsequent playthroughs are actually better than the initial experience- a rare feat indeed. As it stands, Biomutant is an enjoyable experience, if not perfect, but given time may sit in the pantheon of greatness with the very titles that gave it inspiration irrespective of their specific genre.
All told, Alder’s Blood is shaping up to be an extremely strong stealth + tactical RPG set in a horrific Victorian setting. With just a little love from the developers, working on difficulty curves and addressing the plethora of technical issues, Alder’s Blood could be a fantastic cult Indie hit. Time will tell and with their upcoming patch addressing the critical save game bug, a small step will go a long way to the enjoyability of it. Good hunting, folks.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War is an excellent representation of how Rebellion has grown as a studio; their best writing yet, with interesting and intriguing plotlines, excellent combat, fantastic variety in enemies, adherence to the rare concept of cooperative campaign gameplay, and some of the most atmospheric elements I’ve seen in a game in years, it is their best offering yet. While there might be limitations in loadout choices and some mindboggling sound effect decisions, Rebellion’s Zombie Army 4: Dead War is a must-have for any shooter fan looking for a splendid time with friends.
All in all The Last Autumn is a fantastic addition, both in lore and in gameplay, to the Frostpunk base game; capable enough for newer players to jump in and get a solid feel for it while having more than enough content for seasoned players, The Last Autumn is worth every penny. While I would like to see better optimization in the long haul, The Last Autumn is still an engaging and gorgeous experience. Managing the new mechanics in lieu of managing your settlement's temperatures is smartly done, the new buildings are gorgeous and help with the overall narrative, and as its base game before it, provides players with a weird sensation of both relaxation and tension. The Last Autumn smartly expands the lore of Frostpunk and is a must-play expansion.
I think that it's moments like these that SD Gundam G Generation Cross Rays really plays upon, and plays upon them very well. Sure there are tactical aspects to your decisions, including customizing your troop gear, but where SD Gundam really grew on me … was in its ability to bring forth some of the most precious moments in my early Gundam fandom, and for that I say "well done."
BATTLETECH, released to critical acclaim 18 months ago, has been kept relatively fresh with the dripfeed DLC that Paradox and Harebrained has put out. From its stellar launch, brutal DLC, or its pinnacle send-off with Heavy Metal, has brought long nostalgia to the fore and kept it there. Though the Heavy Metal DLC offers a number of different loadout possibilities, it sadly, brings little new to the table by way of meaningful content. What content it does bring is exceptional, well-crafted, and exceptionally detailed and adds plenty of replayability; there is just that slight, tight tug of desire and longing.
Though full of frustrating elements, like snakes and leeches, Green Hell has some incredibly memorable elements that tie well together with the lush forest and oppressive weather effects. Though the UI aspect of crafting is a bit off-putting, the organizational aspects are interesting, engaging, and immersive and lend well to the overall experience that Green Hell provides you with. While veteran survival players may only spend a dozen or so hours in the game, Green Hell’s approachability, storytelling, and immersively gorgeous graphical fidelity make it one of the most accessible and forgiving survival titles of today.
With The Surge 2, the franchise is finally hitting the upward swing that a non-From Software title deserves in the hardcore action-RPG/Hack-and-Slash genre. Here’s to more titles in the Surge universe …
Repetitive gameplay loops aside, Subdivision Infinity DX is actually a fun little game. While the story might not be Witcher III level of depth, it is a fun little science fiction jaunt into a sector of space that has been a bit … destroyed. From drones to mercenaries, to what amounts to a nasty case of ship-based AI illnesses, the story is fun, rarely takes itself too seriously, and moves from scene to seen with solid pacing (which is why backtracking and replaying for resources is so jarring). The various ships feel nimble enough that flying through debris fields while chasing down drones can leave some memorable memories, and for a small game that is an incredible feat. As a straight-forward space-based arcade title, Subdivision Infinity DX is a darn good game, especially at its price point.
Double Damage Games has nailed it out of the park with the near-perfect evolution of Rebel Galaxy Outlaw. With its stunning graphics, detailed universe, and stellar gameplay, it is an upgrade in every sense of the word from the original Rebel Galaxy, but it has not lost touch with the core of the original title. Strong quests, side missions, customization options, and scope will firmly land RGO as the best space game of 2019.
While it is no genre-defining title like Command & Conquer, Conan Unconquered is more than just a worthy successor to a team of developers known for their storied past. Excellent graphics, if troublesome user interface, and a pacing that will have you both glued to the seat and your heart beating with the very drums of war. Conan Unconquered should without a doubt, be in every RTS fan’s library.
Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the World is a unique look at the Atelier franchise’s worl outside of the mainstream titles. Lighthearted as it may be, it still feels shallow, though well-designed and full of things do to on a casual level. While fun, interest easily wanes after an hour or two, though its art, voice acting, and overall scope should not be taken lightly. Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the World is a niche title best suited to those that are deep in the fandom of the Atelier Franchise.
Outward is a fun, challenging, if empty and slightly misguided, open-world roleplaying game where death is not only common, but guaranteed (do not be like me and accidentally drink the salt water; you will die … fast). Beautiful but hollow, Outward is an absolute must for those looking for something different, but be warned, you might bite off more than you can choose.
Given the countless possibilities within each campaign of Stellaris: Console Edition, I foresee it reigning supreme as the pivotal example of how to bring strategy to consoles. Well done Paradox.
From a technical standpoint, the port to PlayStation 4 that supports 4k textures, is excellent; it is smooth (minus the wooden, garbage-like animations), bright, and full of intense colors and detailed hand-drawn textures, but a new paint job is not enough to fix what is wrong with The Legend of Heroes: Trails Of Cold Steel … and that is that it is old.