If Exodus is the future of the series then sign me up for more. If it's the future of single player games, then sign me up doubly-so since there's not a single scrap of online, micro-transaction, or live service bs in here. 4A have really done me proud with this one. Perhaps I'm easily pleased or I can ignore certain things - not many bugs came up and one graphical glitch happened on the Volga level which has since vanished after a patch. Apart from that, the game is fantastic, and I'm having a blast playing on the harder difficulty now to push myself and my skills even further. I love Metro's world, the design, the aesthetic, and the whole package in general - Exodus takes everything I love about it and amps it up to the next level for me.
The game uses a similar style of art to Don't Starve, only there's colour, and a whole slew of gorgeous animations to go with it. It's a gorgeous, if somewhat bleak (due to the Underworld) game packed with lots of nice little touches and a beautiful hand-drawn/animated art style. What begins as a simple exercise in survival turns into a story about a parent and her child, and the love a mother has for her son. Sure, there are survival elements and the need to craft and create bigger/better things so that you can extend your ability to survive as well as explore more places to unravel more of the plot. But there's a real heart here to the game, and this is where Smoke and Sacrifice shines the brightest.
The game has been designed to take all of the hassle out of farm sims, to present the bare-bones, yet lavish enough love and attention to the product so you want to keep on playing - to grow the next crop, to get the next cool thing, to level both yourself and your farm and even then, keep on making money to unlock the higher tier items. There are no experience boosters you can buy with cash, there's no shortcuts you can do in this game - you have to play it - and in the game industry full of Ubisoft's time-saver packs, EA's short-cuts and publishers clamouring on about how no one has time any more to play games and unlock all the things - it's a refreshing game to play.
Rockstar have pushed out the boat in terms of every single system at play in this game, from the amazing world itself - which is one of the best looking games, with some of the best looking effects and atmospherics, to the level of detail on the characters and physics simulation for clothing and other materials. This is what I really call a Next-Gen game, and it pushes the bar so high it's going to take a while for the rest of the industry to catch up to this one. The AI is fantastic, for every single entity in the game. From the townsfolk, to the gunslingers, gangs, animals, and tiniest critter -- it's all working madly to bring this world to life. Enemies won't rush at you blindly, unless they think you can be flanked, or that's how they're feeling in terms of the fight. Mostly though, they'll use cover. Wolves will hunt in packs, cougars are ambush predators and they hit and run...
It's nice to see a 3d ARPG that's not made by Blizzard get the bombastic sprawling fantasy epic feel fairly right. There are a few things that grate (the purple prose for one) in the game, and there's not many bugs that I've been able to detect - no broken quest chains or triggers that failed. Everything has been smooth sailing barring the dropped frames now and then, and even they don't actually spoil the game. The dual world and puppet mechanics provide a big draw to the game for me, and I'm looking forward to seeing a lot more of the different characters as I progress through the huge game before me. There's a lot of dialogue to listen and read, so if you're into lore-rich worlds, you've come to the right place. The bonus here is that much of it is narrated by Tom Baker.
The Great War has ended, and London is caught now in the grip of the Spanish Flu epidemic that devastated the city. This is the backdrop for Vampyr, and thus begins the tale of newly embraced Doctor Jonathan Reid, a brilliant physician and a man who is very much blessed and cursed by his new found powers. All around Doctor Reid, the shadows move, there are vampires who pull at the strings of Britain's government, and vampire hunters that seek to shove a steak through the good doctor's newly dead heart. It's a great backdrop for a story, and provides a slower paced, interesting narrative for anyone who engages their brain rather than their 'bash things in the face' button on the gamepad. If you're going to rush through Vampyr, know that you're going to miss a lot of subtle narrative and expanded story hidden within the expansive dialogue trees of every single character in the game.
Say hello to Will, Will is a nice guy, a nice guy who inherited his family-owned shop known as Moonlighter, as time passed and Will's family declined in years he eventually ended up as the sole owner of the business. Will is also an adventurous sort of lad who loves nothing more than to grab a sword, a shield, and go wandering into the nearest dungeon to test his mettle and grab a bunch of bits and bobs that he can sell in the shop.
Conan Exiles genre-wise is a survival sandbox fantasy game, which cleaves to the ideas and aesthetic of Conan quite nicely. I've read virtually every bit of Conan literature there is to read, and seen the movies, followed the comics. As a fan of Conan in that regard I'm really happy with Conan Exiles since it brings to life part of Conan's world extremely well. From harsh desert climes, to deep jungles and frosty northern wastes, there's a lot to see and do here and many hidden dark secret places that can corrupt the mind just as much as they destroy the body.
It's got the 40K atmosphere nailed to a T. It's got the sound, the sights, and the feel of 40K perfectly - but it's just let down massively by bugs, long loading times, horrible mission design and a lack-lustre campaign mode that not even the Emperor himself would condone. I feel it's a bit of a waste of old Gav's talents as a writer really and when you're dealing with a Librarian, the constant purge the xenos motivation comes across as a bit thin.
I love Far Cry, I really do, there's something about this series that makes me smile no matter what the game. I might be horribly biased by the open world nature of the games, and like many of my favourite titles before it, it's the mix of unpredictable gonzo fun and sudden random nature elements that combine to make it such a great experience. Far Cry 5 seeks to keep that flavour from previous Far Cry titles such as 3 and 4, and push the boundary of its design a bit further.
Darkest Dungeon is a beautifully atmospheric side-on animated hack and slash, dungeon crawler that lets you assemble a party of four stalwart heroes. You begin your journey in a Hamlet that you can eventually restore and build-up to accommodate new buildings and new features to allow you to survive that much longer. Here you'll recruit your heroes from a roster in the Stage Coach, which initially starts out pretty thin with only a few members and low-rank heroes to choose from.
Do I think this is the game that's saved the franchise, yes I do. It needed a shot in the arm, the corpse of Assassin's Creed was starting to shamble around and lurch like a mummy rising from Sneferu's Tomb - AC: Origins is the best thing to happen to the series for a long while and I'm going to keep my eyes on what Ubisoft does next with the game. The future is bright, shimmering, like the heat-haze over the Pyramids of Giza. Only it's not a mirage or a false dawn, this is a new breed of Creed and the change was right on time.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar is a refreshing take on the J-RPG formula. It has enough new stuff in there to make it really cool to play, and enough nods to old school J-RPGs to please that side of the equation. In other words, definitely worth a punt!
DD:DA HD is a great game made even better by the high res texture packs and tweaks. It is a game that everyone who loves Dark Souls and Action-RPGs needs to play at least once, or twice, or forever. No other game quite presents dragons like this one either!
The Prize Crate system is the downer here, it ruins what could have been a perfect game. It doesn't put the game in the bargain bin of course, or detract from the actual game itself, but it's a nasty sour taste that doesn't really fit with Forza. Of course, this is just my opinion and you can take it, or leave it as you desire. It's not as mode rich as Forza 6 at launch but there's time for additional modes and the like post-launch, as well as tweaks and the changes coming to the VIP pass. In the end though it is pure racing fun at heart, stripped of the useless tat and dazzle of the previous games - left for people to do the one thing they bought it for. The sound of the cars, the look, the feel, the thrill of the race and of course to collect badass rides and drive them at breakneck speeds in places they might never visit.
When it all clicks, it is quite brilliant. When it all clicks that is, otherwise you're left with a game that's not quite going to win first place compared to the likes of Forza. Normally I try not to compare these things, but if you asked me to choose at the moment, even with the loot boxes - I'd say Forza 7 wins there in terms of delivering a better experience and racer out of the gate.