Sure, The Division 2 isn’t perfect. Those hoping for an in-depth and engaging story will find themselves extremely disappointed in the meager offering on hand here. But, if you can overlook that, you’ll find an amazing experience beneath that is just teeming with engaging content.
Metro Exodus is best when it follows the classic Metro formula, painting the world with tension as you dive deeper into the darkness of the world. While the game does suffer with a bit of an identity crisis at times, at the end of it all, the tension and fear that is peppered throughout more than makes the journey worth the trouble as players get their first look at a much bigger world and the dangers that lie within it.
On the surface, Mega Crit's weird blend of rogue-like and card game might seem like a simple dungeon-crawler with some deck-building mechanics thrown in. But, as you dive deeper beneath the surface, and really start to flesh out the complexities tied into each deck, you’ll find an entirely new world of mechanics to learn and master as you try your best to survive each encounter and eventually slay the Spire.
Perhaps one of the most interesting features to make its way into Tyranny is the new reputation system. Unlike other RPGs, where morality plays a key part in the story, Tyranny takes a different path, basing its reputation system on Fear and Loyalty. Throughout the story the things you do either instill Fear or Loyalty into your party members and companions. It is an interesting way of going about the famed RPG repuation system, and it gives you a little more leeway with how you play the game. But when it is all said and done it almost feels like a wasted system. No matter what your reputation with your companions, their story never changes. They will always be there, unless you let them die, and you never get a chance – no matter how scared or loyal they area – to see more into their lives. Unlike Pillars of Eternity, which featured different quests to showcase your companion’s lives, Tyranny allows the companion system to fall flat, ignoring it in favor of stifled choices and tiresome combat.
Battlefield 1 might not be the best Battlefield game, or the best FPS game I've ever played, but it succeeds at doing what it needs to do. It feels like Battlefield, it works like Battlefield, and it has plenty of opportunities for amazing things to happen that have only ever happened in a Battlefield game. It’s nice to see DICE returning to the roots of what makes this series so amazing, and I’m happy that, for the first time in years, a new Battlefield game doesn’t feel like it is in the middle of an identity crisis.
The biggest disappointment of the expansion comes in the form of the new social arena, the Archon’s Forge. Billed as a mix between the Prison of Elders and the Court of Oryx, Bungie made some unfortunate design decisions when putting the forge together. They’ve since fixed one of those, making it easier to get SIVA Offerings (which you need to activate the forge), but the instanced event still suffers from a lack of connected players. This is one event that feels like it would have been better used as its own instance in the game (like the Prison of Elders), but instead the Court of Oryx approach leaves a lot of players to tackle their Offerings on their own, which defeats the entire purpose of the encounter. This makes it tougher to take on the more difficult events in the Forge, which has been a huge turn-off for a lot of players so far.
When you step back and look at No Man’s Sky you can actually see how well it shines, and just how much love and devotion was put into each piece of the universe. It’s a procedurally generated world, but that doesn’t change the fact that Hello Games breathed life into this world. While some mechanics can be grating, it succeeds fairly well at its vision of delivering an eerie galaxy and the sense of discovery in exploring it.
DICE may have failed to address all of the problems of its predecessor, but it completely re-captured what Mirror's Edge was all about. Mirror's Edge Catalyst is a great way to bring new fans–and old fans alike–back into the world of Faith Connors.
One of my favorite things about Blood and Wine is the main storyline’s ending. After you’ve completed the story, CD Project Red brings everything to a close. This means your decisions throughout the base game’s main storyline is important, and it plays into one of the moments you come across as you finish up the final bit of the expansion’s main quest. It’s a nice touch to really help things feel connected, and to further hit home the impact that your choices have on the game world as a whole.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is by far one of the best games I've played this year, and that list includes quite a few gems. It's a brilliant Act 3 to the series, and it works extremely well to tie up all the loose ends that the games have made over the years, as well as offers up an outstanding third-person multiplayer experience you won't find anywhere else. But exactly whose end is it? Well, that's something you'll have to figure out yourself, as I wouldn't want to spoil it for any of you reading this review. What I can say, however, is it is the best representation of the Uncharted series we have seen to date, and you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't experience it firsthand.
Overall Far Cry Primal is a promising idea, but the underlying potential of Takkar's journey is wasted on a stereotypical surface level story that keeps players from really connecting with the protagonist and supporting characters. The Master Beast Hunts are exhilarating, and require tons of preparation if you want to pull them off without a hitch, but aside from the few hunts offered up in the end game, the forced specialist quests are just as much a letdown as the game's underwhelming story. In the end the new abilities, like taming animals and riding them, are great additions to the game, but they just aren't enough to save Far Cry Primal from being a fairly average and mindless adventure in a time long forgotten.
I enjoyed my short time in the world of Firewatch. The world is beautiful and the voice acting is excellent. But Henry and Delilah's story is far too short, and the resolution of the game's story relies far too much on a backstory that isn't given the breathing room it needs. It's an emotional rollercoaster that just teeters back down to a merry-go-round, leaving me with a detached feeling that everything I had spent the past few hours working towards has been all for nought.
In many ways, XCOM 2 is more of what we already enjoyed in the recent reboot, with a few considerable improvements. The new units liven up the experience and add much more variety, while the procedurally generated maps help to customize every player's experience into a one of a kind novelty. If you're a newcomer to the resistance or an old veteran, XCOM 2 is a smartly designed action-strategy game with a staggering amount of content and replayability.