Each incarnation of The Show I've played has been better than the last, and MLB The Show 19 keeps pace. I do wonder, however, if there is a "next level" coming for the series or if we're content to accept a layer or two of steady improvements for the next few editions. I'll take it. After all, it's a long season.
I will probably fire up Anthem more than a few times again, if only to experience the joyous nature of plopping down a Colossus in the middle of a firefight and unfurling fiery, shelled death upon the landscape. It's a wonderful distraction. But unfortunately, Anthem doesn't look like anything more than that. I can't recommend it.
This was a tale of two (or really, one-and-a-half story playthroughs) for me. During the first one, I was like many people and wanted to mash through the story and reach its end, and it was a truly satisfying experience, aside from what I thought was a really soft ending. Then I jumped in again, this time looking to interact with every possible encounter, using as little fast-travel as possible. That's when I ran into most of the crazy side-stories I mentioned above. That's when Arthur really got to know many of the people in camp instead of just riding with them on designated story missions. I've gone from waiting for it to end to sort of gearing myself up for the end when I see it the next time. We know what happens to Arthur Morgan at the end, but there's a moment during that end where he gets to see a pretty sunset, and the game lets you take a long look. He's dying, but that long look ends up being just enough.
Marvel's Spider-Man: The Heist might not have been revolutionary, but perhaps it's not supposed to be yet. It is the first part of a series of DLC, and as such, it leaves a lot of unresolved questions. I feel like I've officially "met" Felicia Hardy, and I'm certainly looking forward to where her story goes next.
If I have one issue, it 's that the path of the main story feels a little short and a little too neatly tied up at the end — if you simply choose to mash through it. I feel like you have some room to let things breathe at the end of a trilogy, and I didn 't feel like the story did enough of that as I progressed. With that said, it feels like the best way to play Shadow of the Tomb Raider is to embrace all of it and take some time to sink into the world Crystal Dynamics has crafted so that Lara 's journey feels more filling. That 's when her journey and everything she does feels a little more ... right.
Marvel's Spider-Man does what a lot of good art does, which is examine techniques and concepts that work well, and then blend and refine them to create something unique to itself and possibly greater. I've made this point before: Art and artists have built on and inspired each other since the beginning of time. So yes, I've heard and seen the Spidey/Arkham hot takes, and I ended up not caring at all because at no point did I forget I was playing a Spider-Man experience. I was too busy swinging around in Manhattan, with buildings whipping by as I tailed a police pursuit, thinking about how right it all felt.
If you're looking for something that massively overhauls the Madden experience, you're probably not going to find it in Madden NFL 19. Instead, I see it as a generally solid dose of improvements and consistency, with an emphasis on tightening up the on-field product for better, more natural football action. It's got me looking forward to binging the next season, at the very least.
I am still working to unlock floating branches on this Yggdrasil of a story tree, so I'm almost certain there are dark corners of this world that will give me more of what I'm looking for. The concept of self-aware robotic people has been explored for decades, and Detroit: Become Human makes sure you have plenty of reasons to explore it for at least more than a few hours. After all, the story, much like Chloe, shows plenty of life.
Road to the Show remains the soul of The Show 18 to me, with everything else feeling like a fun distraction, like getting to step into the shoes of baseball's past greats or the tasting the 8-bit flavor of retro mode. As I progress more into my player's career, there's this unshakable knowledge that he's never going to be better at some things than he is now. He will be in a box — an enjoyable one, but a box nonetheless.
What I found [in Hope County] was a redneck action odyssey I didn't ask for and never knew I wanted, until I found myself in the late hours of the night raiding enemy outposts with a trained bear and a shotgun-bearing pyromaniac. It's more fun than you'll expect to have, and after experiencing the ending ..., I'm left with vivid memories of a fictional land.
As I'm veering into my third All-Star Game with my created slugger, I think about how I'm putting the games typically in my wheelhouse — like another Sony creation, Horizon Zero Dawn — on the back burner to digitally partake in a game that I didn't think I enjoyed. Real-life baseball still has a long way to go to get my eyes on it more, but MLB The Show 17 is a pretty good place to start.
Resident Evil 7 is a welcome return to form and an excellent change of pace from a lot of the gaming fare that's either out or coming out. I'd recommend it to anyone, whether they like horror or not. There's a lot of good work in here, and if it takes getting frightened once in a while to see it, I say it's worth opening that door.
WWE 2K17 is the first wrestling game I've truly waded into in a while, and I'm reminded as to why it's been so long. I play the basketball, football and MMA games because it's basically what I see and experience on TV. As a fan of WWE who has viewing parties for major PPVs, I can't say that what I played touches on what I get from WWE programming every week. It resembles it, but it's got a long way to go before I see it the same way I see the real thing: art, done well, providing the perfect escape.
There are other odd issues to be found where ReCore keeps tripping over itself despite earnest efforts to aid the player, like a targeting reticle that appears below Joule whenever she takes big jumps — except the camera always prevents you from truly seeing it, so you end up witnessing Joule fall into chemicals or into a pit of death. I could go on, but I'll stop. Perhaps one day, I'll have Joule raid an easy dungeon with Mack just to see how they move and interact. That way, I won't die and have more than enough time to think about how disappointed I was.
I'm also probably going to head back into Tom Clancy's The Division in the weeks or months to come as more content emerges and bugs get fixed. Ubisoft has something with serious potential, and it'll be intriguing to see what shape this world takes. I also want to see what stuff awaits in unexplored corners of the Dark Zone. That's really it.
And yet, it sometimes doesn't seem like enough. As intricate as the multiplayer is, the lack of a true campaign or other content beyond terrorist hunt leaves the entire Rainbow Six Siege package of offerings feeling somewhat light, especially in comparison to something like Call of Duty: Black Ops III, which has a campaign and zombies to go along with its signature shooter experience. The same goes for the Halo series, which was built on the backbone of a space odyssey while also forging a multiplayer identity. It's not a question of quality with Siege but a question of value, and for players like me, sometimes the question is harder to answer than it should be.
Mad Max will probably not be for everyone, especially for those who are pining to find some kind of innovative leap forward for the open-world genre. Avalanche has provided an intricate, fleshed-out interpretation of a world I didn't think would get a chance to have its day in the video game sun. The good things done here, despite the lack of that one killer thing,should give fans something that Max himself might not have: hope for something better.
Madden 16 feels like EA has finally caught up to the current generation of gaming and can now start to improve the venerable football franchise by even greater strides. There's still some work to be done, but I feel like I'm playing Madden this year because it's fun, and not because I felt obligated as a football fan to have it. Compared to the hurricane of dark perceptions surrounding the National Football League, I'd much rather be playing this.