These gripes didn't detract too much from my overall enjoyment of Call of the Sea . With a gripping, well-paced story that isn't afraid to delve into the realm of surreal and weird, Call of the Sea is an adventure title that's sure to please fans of the genre. You won't feel like the next Einstein when completing its puzzles, and the love story won't bring you to tears, but there's something charming about it for that very reason. It's a concise, seven-hour journey that progresses at a steady rate without ever overstaying its welcome.
What a wild ride it is. I didn't want Yakuza: Like a Dragon to end. A part of me wonders if I grinded out battles and business minigames more than was intended, simply because I wasn't ready to say goodbye to Ichiban and friends. Fortunately, the story wraps up nicely and leaves the door open for a possible sequel - even though it wavers a bit near the end. This isn't farewell to Ichiban. With a new cast of charming characters, Like A Dragon feels like the start of a new saga in the Yakuza franchise. Until next time, Kasuga-kun.
I may be done with this review, but I'm not done with Tetris Effect: Connected. I may not be seeing tetrominos during my day job, but I do have a newfound obsession with Tetris. Since starting this game, I've gone down YouTube rabbit holes learning about t-spins, tips, and tricks to improve my Tetris game. I've replayed modes to beat my previous high score, which I don't normally do in games. Even after this review, I'm eager to jump back into Journey mode to hear some of my favorite songs before booting up another title. As an added bonus, the multiplayer options make for a solid package that should offer players tons of hours of Tetris.
The Falconeer's simplistic but captivating visuals are representative of the game as a whole. There's a simplicity to its gameplay and narrative, but there's something intriguing about the lore. The game doesn't stick the landing on its unique concepts, though. Clocking in at around 10 hours, the four chapters feel like the start of something really special - before the game abruptly ends. The first two chapters offer little in the way of diversity, and just as you come to grips with the game mechanics and start finding some engaging environments in the final hours, it ends. I wanted to learn more about the game world. I wanted to get in more exhilarating battles now that my falcon was competent enough to fly around without draining its energy meter, but the game wraps up just as I started getting into it. With a distinct art style, gorgeous animations, and intriguing lore, there's enough in The Falconeer to justify a playthrough, but most of its enjoyment doesn't shine through until the last couple of hours.
I'm hopeful that the Gnomes & Goblins developers can address these performance issues quickly. There's still a lot of design work that needs to be addressed if they want this game to be as great as its concept. Until then, Gnomes & Goblins is little more than a stuttering tech demo that doesn't capture the imaginative concept it so desperately craves to be.
For eFootball PES 2021, all of this adds up to a soccer game that feels great to play, even if it is slightly lacking in other areas. The $40 price tag makes that pill easier to swallow, though. Depending on what you're looking for on the virtual pitch, that will determine whether PES is the right option for you. If you're like me and enjoy playing through a season with some random teams that you've never heard of, then PES may be exactly what you're looking for. With solid controls and decent AI, PES 2021 is a competent alternative to FIFA from a gameplay perspective, but those who get excited about seeing their favorite teams succeed against their biggest rivals may want to pass on PES.
Despite some of my qualms with the production and PC port quality, I highly recommend picking up Horizon: Zero Dawn for the PC. Yes, there is some risk of encountering the issues that others have seen, but fortunately, Steam's generous refund system serves as a comforting protection against wasted money. Overall, it's an easy recommendation for all cohorts of gamers. Players who didn't have a PS4 can experience a well-crafted world with a captivating story to flesh it out, and those who already played it back in 2017 might still enjoy the PC version's improved visuals and frame rate. This is a great way to refresh your memory on Aloy's adventures before the sequel releases in 2021 for PS5.
Despite my qualms about the closing hours of Death Stranding, I truly enjoyed about 30 hours of it. There are plenty of moments where tone-setting music sets in and the vastness of the landscapes smothers you with solitude and despair. Collecting materials and contributing them to an online structure was engaging and even downright addictive. Moreover, the foundations of the plot intrigued me so much. I think that's what pains me so much about Death Stranding: I can see its potential, but the game went too far in too many disparate directions.
In a medium that so desperately craves additional content, Phantom: Covert Ops isn't a bad purchase for VR owners who are hungry for more games, but it's by no means a banner release for 2020. With games like Boneworks, Half-Life: Alyx, and The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners this year, the bar for VR games has risen exponentially. There's an exhilarating VR experience struggling to break the surface of this title. Phantom is holding itself back from breaking loose and taking the excitement to the next level. Hopefully nDreams has enough success with this game to carry its vision into a sequel.