"Scéal is an interesting experiment in visual style and storytelling. It creates a unique atmosphere and explores a rarely-touched setting, that of Irish folklore. While it has little to no core gamer appeal, as a casual experience it holds up pretty well. It could have benefited from having more than one area to explore across its three chapters which would have maybe added to its play time as well, but it’s a fine and well-enough crafted project for its modest goals. And the music is pretty great."
"I took no pleasure in writing this. In fact, writing this piece was almost as miserable an experience as playing through Syberia 3. It really pains me to say this. The series was among my favorites in the genre and I was looking forward to seeing it continue. It looks and feels as if it was designed and made in the mid-to-late 2000s, just as the genre was shifting toward 3D environments. However, this didn’t stop recent games such as Dreamfall Chapters to deliver a more polished experience (on the same engine, no less). If it were just an issue of graphics I wouldn’t be bothered but the lack of either time, resources or effort invested shows and permeates throughout all aspects of the game save overall world design and music. Frankly, I can’t fault it for lack of trying, I can see the game wanting to be good, but it’s just not enough. And sadly, patches can only solve a pittance of its issues."
"Rain World was definitely not what I was expecting and it’s not going to be what a lot of players will be expecting either. It subverts your expectations and delivers something different and unique but not very approachable. While it looks amazing and is originally animated, your exploration and desire to delve into it might be seriously hampered by its crushing difficulty and unforgiving failure penalties. It could have been an indie darling, talked about in mainstream gamer communities but the developers wanted to deliver another experience entirely. The end result is a solid piece of video gaming, lovingly crafted and with a lot more depth than it may seem, but it will probably remain a cult classic, bearing the tried and true “not for everyone” label."
"What a ride, what a send-off, what a missed opportunity! I’m being a bit unfair. The Ringed City is perfectly good content, with a lot of play time, a lot of new weapons, armor and enemies. Some bosses suffer from hallmarks of the series so far, while one is almost exemplary in its design. It’s a linear experience but enjoyable to go through. The environments are among the most impressively looking in the series but the overall level of quality and polish fall short of previous DLC’s by From such as Artorias of the Abyss or The Old Hunters. In terms of lore and environmental storytelling, The Ringed City seems like a fair send-off for the series, even if it seems like it could have used (and deserved) more attention. Other aspects seem like placeholder ideas, such as the sections in which you’re forced to run from cover to cover which felt alien considering the series I was playing. I would call it “phoned in”, but even “phoned in” by From Software is still leaps and bounds ahead of what some AAA developers consider well-rounded and finished. Either way, it’s over at least for the time being and it’s been a privilege. Praise the Sun."
"My issues with Stories Untold were largely technical and are being fixed by the developers as I’m writing this piece. There are some design flaws that tend to break the flow, but I’d say that they account for less than 10% of the experience. While rather short at around 2-3 hours, the game does make up for that with unique takes on familiar gameplay elements and tropes and manages to tell an intricate and compelling story in a very interesting way. Some of the puzzles and challenges, while not time-sensitive, will ask you to invest a bit of your brain power in solving them and it all builds up to a satisfying pay-off. Stories Untold tries something new and succeeds at delivering something fresh in terms of interactive storytelling (emphasizing interactivity, rather than just narration). That its aesthetics and themes reminded me of Stranger Things is purely a bonus."
"While it could still use some improvements with its puzzle design, Bear With Me episode 2 improves upon the previous installment in almost every way and had me much more invested in its story and characters. As previously mentioned, the story really comes into its own with the shift to an urban environment. It’s a shame that the episodes only come out every few months, though I hope the next one doesn’t take half a year. Overall, it’s a solid entry to an increasingly interesting series."
"That All the Delicate Duplicates is an interesting game, I cannot deny. However, boldness can only carry a game so far and I feel like this one partially fails to follow through. That its story requires several layers of hermeneutics in order to understand and piece together does it no services. One needs to understand some very basic quantum physics concepts, have the patience to wade through plain text back (and forth) stories, the will to play through the story several times and then try to piece everything together. On the other hand, All the Delicate Duplicates is very forthright with its experimental nature and I can’t deny that I found it at least conceptually intriguing at times. That being said, I think I’d recommend it, but not without a caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware."
"It still annoys me to no end that Telltale prefers to churn out more licensed property games than not instead of just focusing on just slightly upgrading their engine. I’m sure they can come up with something better that still works on my cell phone if they really want that. I also wish we had more meaningful puzzles and environment interactions. I wish choices meant a damn more. City of Light was a step in the right direction but there is room for much more. Overall the episode reflects the entirety of the series very well: it’s fine. It has its moments. It has some weak parts. It’s satisfactory. It deserved better."
"As the story of Telltale’s Batman series draws toward a close, Guardian of Gotham displays the problems inherent with some of the series’ structural techniques. It’s far too easy to act in a way and make some choices that will spread your investment all over the place, which doesn’t happen if you pick a clear path with clear goals and stick to it. This isn’t something that’s easily done over the span of five months. Nevertheless, some lazy writing aside in regards to some trivial matters, the episode is enjoyable, has a lot of colorful characters and builds up the finale in a way that could prove interesting, as you confront one of two antagonists. It remains to see how well it succeeds next time."
"Misgivings about its narrative shortcomings, occasional dips in voice acting quality and its constant referencing of The Whispered World aside, I’ve found Silence to be thoroughly enjoyable. It’s characters, although not terribly developed are fleshed out enough for the player to be invested. Each location is depicted with overwhelming attention to detail and the characters’ faces are masterfully animated. It’s one of the best-looking games I’ve ever played and it touches on fantasy themes I enjoy greatly, such as dying worlds, fish out of water and battles against overwhelming odds. It’s for this reason that I regret it even more that it wasn’t given the opportunity to further dive into the world and characters and achieve excellence. As it stands it’s just a great, fun journey, albeit a predictable one."
"Ittle Dew 2 is a pleasant and cheerful return to form for the NES days action-adventure. It takes the Legend of Zelda formula and runs with it with dedication, mechanically. At the same time, it shows a sense of humor and willful lack of concern as far as the narrative goes. The story is simply there as framing for the experience and the jokes are by and large cleverly written. It poses a decent grade of challenge for the player, especially in terms of puzzles even if it takes a while to get into its stride. The environments and enemies are varied and require the player to constantly adapt their approach and because of the lack of any sort of stat-based character progression it rewards completionists but doesn’t require canvassing the game map in order to progress. Overall it’s a well-polished worthwhile little experience and I recommend checking it out. It’ll do."
"I was looking forward to the Dark Souls III DLC season and while Ashes of Ariandel has a fairly high content density, it is somewhat lacking in terms of length and environment variety. One of the bosses is among the more interestingly designed in terms of combat in the series, but for both the bosses and the general content I didn’t get the same sense of tightly-designed, polished challenge that I usually got from Souls DLCs. It looks gorgeous and the enemies have very cool designs both visually and in terms of moves and mechanics. The addition of PVP matchmaking and custom matches will also probably excite a lot of players that are in it strictly for the competitive aspect. Overall I found Ashes of Ariandel enjoyable and interesting, but I was expecting a lot more and there was definitely a lot of precedent for a lot more. So come on, From. It’s the conclusion to your crowning achievement series. Do us and yourselves proud for the next DLC, ok? Thank you."
"The first half of New World Order is probably my least favorite work that Telltale has ever done. It’s awkwardly put together, clumsily written and seems to throw all your previous decisions out the window. It does, however pick up during the mid-point climax and then takes a long path towards wrapping up, showing some great chemistry between Batman/Bruce and Catwoman/Selina, as well as setting up Harvey Dent for the next episode. All thing considered, the latter half and the twist ending do make up for the slow start and did a lot to get me excited for the next installment. There are some small technical hitches, but it’s a Telltale game so what are you going to do?"
"I usually judge games not based on some absurd absolute standard but rather, within reason, on whether they achieve what they’re trying to do and the extent to which they do this given the circumstances. It is because Syndrome is a passion project made by a very small team on a small budget that I don’t call it an outright disappointment, but rather a lackluster experience. If you’re looking for extreme thrills, high production values and a captivating story Syndrome is not the game for you. If you’re a fan of the general atmosphere of games like Alien: Isolation, System Shock or Dead Space then Syndrome might serve to tide you over. It’s not great, but it’s competently made. Not a revelation, but a welcome addition to not that saturated a genre. With these caveats out of the way, I can recommend it for space thriller fans. I just wish it could have been more."
"Children of Arkham is a solid follow-up to Realm of Shadows. As most Telltale games, it suffers on the altar of the outdated engine, but makes up for it with its striking aesthetic and atmosphere. Batman’s established backstory is partly thrown out in favor of a gloomier, moodier reimagining, but it’s handled well and flows very naturally. While I enjoy Telltale games for the most part, it’s been a while since an episode of one of their series had me this excited for the next one. But then again maybe I’m just that much of a Batman fanboy."
"While the cyberpunk atmosphere is great, the gameplay mechanics are solid and varied and the AI behaves interestingly, the combat occasionally feels poorly balanced and you may find yourself grinding for better equipment from time to time. The storytelling leaves a bit to be desired, but is enhanced by reading the in-game logs. Overall, it's a pretty great cyberpunk experience."
"I'm a completionist to a fault, so I tried hunting down every single trineangle in the game. After just between six and eight hours I had collected every single collectible and achieved every single achievement in the game. I suppose this is somewhat mitigated by the fact that it has mod support and the co-op does give it a bit of replayability with up to three people able to control a character each, but it ultimately just seems to deliver an inferior experience to its series predecessors and it's a shame, because it is otherwise a great game, born of the best intentions, but brought down by its own ambitions."