As a D&D and Neverwinter Nights fan, I wanted to see what an MMO version offered, and I came away feeling that it accomplished its goals, if only for a month or so. It's like a single-player sandbox dungeon; when I reached what felt to be the proverbial end, it was time to move on.
Cities of Tomorrow isn't a bad expansion if you're already a big fan of SimCity and are itching for new ways with which to test your city-building skills within Maxis' sandbox. The new facilities add alternative approaches to creating prosperous cities of utopian wonder or unbridled capitalism. They can be appealing and even fun to experiment with, as long as you're not hoping for this to do much more. On that level, Cities of Tomorrow works decently well. If you're expecting it to solve some long-standing issues, there's nothing to see here beyond the neon glow of the streets and the purple haze hanging above every smokestack.
Longtime fans might find the new take on Garrett hard to swallow. Thief's thin story doesn't explain much in the end when it tops things off, but I enjoyed the time spent in the City. I wouldn't mind revisiting for another go in Garrett's shoes, but I hope that by then, some of the training wheels will have been removed.
For players who may never had heard of Shadowrun, Dragonfall is a firm introduction to what the world is all about. In many ways, it finally fulfills the promise of a real sequel. It won't brutalize players who are new to tactical gaming, and it won't stop veterans cold, but Dragonfall does an awesome job of translating Shadowrun's world into a digital battlefield fraught with shady choices.
For fans of the series, there's enough glittery nostalgia and polish in Broken Sword: The Serpent's Curse to gloss over the rough edges. The lighthearted banter, the brightly colored scenes, enticing mystery, and solid puzzles make this something that the original Kickstarter campaign promised: "fan service aimed directly at those aching to experience one more story involving one of adventure gaming's favorite teams."
Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure is more than a love letter to the series' die-hard supporters. It's a solid adventure title that's loaded with brain teasers, personable characters, and a great musical score. The alternate endings add to its re-playability, and it's a time capsule of the '90s interactive movie rush, giving it a bit of retro appeal. Though it's not perfectly polished, it's a good business card for the hard-boiled gumshoe to leave for armchair detectives. Tex is back and is ready for his next case ... whatever that might be.
Divinity: Original Sin's propensity for the old isn't a simple case of wistful nostalgia. It's a conscious decision on Larian's part to resurrect tried-and-true threads that run deep into the bones of the CRPG genre. It's a culmination of those efforts and an unapologetic celebration of battle-tested concepts backed by solid co-op. Most of all, it comes together as a grand adventure that hearkens back to sleepless nights buoyed by the roll of a die and a pad of grid paper shared between fellow dungeon crawlers.
Rory McIlroy PGA Tour isn't a bad game; there's just not enough of it. Its predecessors not only supplied a good time in-game but also stacked the deck with a lot of value. We've talked about the lack of golfers and courses, but there's also a lack of golf play styles and even a lack of differing weather conditions. As good as the playing experience is, a sports game should also feel complete. Instead, we're left with untapped potential and questions that will dog designers until the next hole.
Games that attempt to push past normal boundaries and focus on the joy of simply playing have to go by a different set of rules for engagement, and The Chinese Room has offered something that reminded me of Journey – I didn't know what to do then, so I simply moved, explored and found the story on my own. But while Journey fostered a connection with others, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture left me feeling completely alone as a player and desperate to find out why. The answers came slowly, and they might not be utterly satisfying at first, but that's what can happen when you go where everyone is not.
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.