Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut feels like the truest, purest way to experience this title, so much so that I'm willing to go through it once again from the top, when Jin rode into battle with his uncle and almost died. I want to ride through the grass, stumble into duels, climb mountains and battle Mongols for another few dozen hours while making a stop on a freaky island to fight a crazy woman who likes poison and the color purple. I want to do it all, and I would recommend that anyone with the time should look into doing the same. It's still the samurai game of my dreams: Now it looks even better, and there's more of it.
When the credits rolled after the final scene, I felt like I was in a movie theater and ready to applaud. I got to binge-watch and play the samurai story of my dreams. For anyone else who's ever picked up a long, empty wrapping-paper tube, held it with two hands a few inches apart, and swung it like a samurai, I have good news: We found it. We've got our game.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart could be one of the first true all-encompassing showcases for the PS5. Every time I sat down to play it, I felt like I was about to start a really long episode of a good show. If there's one small nitpick, it's that I felt that some of the larger confrontations got slightly repetitive - I mean, how many versions of "juggernauts" am I supposed to fight? Also, one might get the sense that not enough risks were taken and that the game's design, as cool as it is, feels comfortable and safe. That feels like a discussion for the artists among us, and this doesn't feel like the time for a literary salon. I am on my third playthrough of Rift Apart, and I'm enjoying it as much as the first time I went through it. Sometimes, all a game has to be is fun.