Stranded: Alien Dawn excels at being a game like Rimworld, but charts it own course, marks its own innovations and breaks out of the mould set by the former. I’m really glad this came to the Xbox and it’s now one of my favourite games in this genre – I can’t wait to see what happens post-launch, because this feels like Stranded has a very bright future both on PC and console.
It's a big game, it's packed with content, and none of it is phoned in. Every aspect of this game is created to feed into the systems that are at play. I'm 160 hours in and I've still got a lot to do, none of it is filler, and all of it is stuff I want to do. From fun mini-games like Orlog (the dice game that's equal in complexity to Gwent from W3) to the drinking challenges, flyting (Viking rap battles) and more.
Watch_Dogs: Legion is big, it's ambitious, and it pulls off a lot of neat things with the city sandbox. The triumph is the play as anyone system, but also a weakness in that it can create a truly obnoxiously voiced character and personality. It encourages sandbox play and offers a lot to see, and to do. A strong post launch plan could see this really take off.
I always loved my time with Amalur, and I am still loving my time with the Re-Reckoning. What with Dead Kell to dive into, and Naros, with ALL the DLC from the first run of the base game packed in with it there's a lot on offer here and the price is decent. You get a complete package, one that doesn't trick you through nostalgia. If you want to pay a bit more, you can also go for the full edition of the game and get the new expansion that's coming in 2021.
Anyone who has played a turn-based game will know what's coming, or at least know how to control their units and battle the forces of the Suffering. There's a decent tutorial which shows you many of the game's early elements, allows you to cut loose and find your feet. Then as you progress you will be given other tutorials, mixed in and these drip-feed the management skills and knowledge you need to get to grips with the other systems of the game. The tutorials are good, solid, and explain everything you need to know.
Fury Unleashed is a solid action puzzle platformer, with rogue like elements and it runs extremely well. The game is short, but there's replay value there and couch co-op for two players -- which is a rarity. A good little package and well made!
Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order is a great example of what a solid game developer, time, passion, and virtual hands-off by EA can do for a Star Wars game. No hidden charges, no bullshit micro-transactions or loot box rubbish -- just a solid game that entertains and rewards a player for playing it. Top quality!
Once you have some meals to take with you, cooked using the things you grow, you can venture out in your rowboat (rowing devours your energy, especially with big waves) and explore the other islands for materials, crew, secrets and other plants/food that you can bring back with you and use in camp. This gameplay loop is fun, marred a little by the quick drain on your energy. Exploration is going to take you a long time, many repeated trips across the ocean and in some cases you'll only get a handful of materials for your troubles.
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.
If youi're a Warhammer 40K fan, and you're a fan of Diablo-style games then Inquisitor Martyr is definitely a game for you. There are still a few bugs, and some mission triggers don't fire correctly at the end of certain missions. But, all that aside, it's a great fun game that's worth getting for sure!
There's a story going on here, about existence, simulation, and all that. It's not a story that sits well with some folks, and I can't say it's all that well written. It's oddly jarring to see it in No Man's Sky to be honest and the delivery of the textual parts of Atlas Rises always slams me out of the immersion of the game due to its reliance on 'choose your own adventure' narrative elements.
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.