It’s easy to pick up, it’s difficult to master and offers badass bosses at the end of each world whilst sword-fighting robot viruses intent on taking over an old lady’s computer to a synthwave soundtrack blasting over beautifully designed neon-infused levels.
The human experience of being drawn into a cult full of deep, dark secrets and the emotional toll it weighs upon you is front and centre in Sagebrush and that’s what made this two-hour experience stand out to me. The slow pace is entirely purposeful, allowing you to soak up each moment and learn more about those who believed in Father James room to be understood, to be heard and ultimately, to be mourned.
Aside from the vastly eclectic endings, the gameplay just isn’t enough to sustain it through several attempts to find them all. The gameplay never deviates from avoiding vision cones and knocking some people out if necessary. And as the game is encouraging you to experience it over and over again, it really needed a compelling reason to work your way to another ending. The premise and the endings are the clear standouts. It’s the bit in-between that makes it feel like The Church in The Darkness is a squandered opportunity.
The strengths of Wargroove come from the visuals and the gameplay, relegating the story to second place but that’s absolutely no problem for me. In order to get the most out of this game I really had to fall into it and I’m glad I did. There’s plenty to love about Wargroove.
The narrative and visual issues aside, the ultimate draw of this game is the complex, wonderful level designs and the intricate puzzles and they mountain over any serious concern I had with the game. Keep your head down and you should be able to crack Etherborn in around 3-4 hours, which is more than enough of this kind of gravity-puzzler for me.
The game has so much potential to be something really quite special. The setting and the characters, the Lovecraft Cthulhu-inspired imagination of the world of Oakmont and Charles Reed’s search for his own sanity is really quite interesting. There’s definitely something here, it just all feels half-baked. Each critical narrative moment should have the power to knock the player on the ass falls flat, leaving you wanting more but it never arriving.
My Friend Pedro has more than lived up to my expectations and I’m absolutely thrilled that there’s yet another utterly brilliant Devolver Digital title out there in the world. It’s hilarious, ridiculous and has a fair number of ‘punch-the-air’ moments that very few games can pull of with the same style as My Friend Pedro.
American Fugitive is solid, it does what it does well without really picking a lane and allowing the character of Will Riley to shine through. What feels like a story arc that is justifiable (you see Will not commit the crime he’s in prison for, after all), it’s soon forgotten for murderous mayhem and whilst I’ve complained about it somewhat, what’s on offer is really good fun. It’s an easy game to recommend, but I think more so than usual it’s important to know what the game is before you jump in. It’s fun and frantic and a nice love letter to that which its inspired by.
It’s intense, searing with tension and absolutely nerve-shredding, whilst telling a hugely powerful story that hit me hard a few times over. There’s a tremendous depth in this game that I wasn’t expecting, but I’m so glad it’s there. It makes you care for this brother and sister duo who are doing everything they can to stay alive in impossible circumstances, and given everything you’ve had to put them through to reach some kind of other side, you want to see them succeed. Every free moment I had was given to this game, I had to know how it all ended. Amicia and Hugo deserved my time.
Katana Zero is simply a very easy recommendation. From the utterly perfect mechanics tweaked to an inch of their life to the visuals, the overarching story and inner conflict of your highly skilled protagonist and his external relationships with the world around him, counteracting with the hyper-violence he calls his work, the game finds a delicate balance between ridiculously stylish action and the more subtle downbeat moments that really bring out some wonderful character development.
It’s not meant to be for hardcore football gamers. There isn’t going to be a Legendary Eleven esports tournament anytime soon but the game is fully aware of this. It’s not really trying to be anything other than what it is and that’s hugely important when considering picking this one up. It’s local multiplayer is fun and frantic, so long as you don’t play with a person who was comparing it to FIFA every five seconds like I did.
The most frustrating part of the game is the ‘game’ itself, and when absolutely every other aspect of The Red Strings Club is so strong, it’s really frustrating. Thankfully, the terrific characters, the strong narrative, the gorgeous visuals and the moral questions the game poses at you tip the game into the ‘must-play’ review score. The brilliant story drags you in and doesn’t let go.
After several hours of dying and dying again the game gives you reason to think it’s all over before it just isn’t, and this could throw some people off. It certainly did me, whilst it’s no bother at all to keep playing The Messenger the pacing felt a little strange in the closing moments, and there’s a fair amount of backtracking to be getting on with. Fortunately this allows you to head back to old levels that have a 16-bit remix that you wouldn’t have seen before, which makes it worthwhile all the more.
I feel like this is the kind of game I should have picked up for the PC after all and just powered through, or even for the Switch. It feels like a game I want to chip away at over time rather than sit in front of my sofa and devote hours of my attention to it in one go. The story is good though the gameplay can feel a little flat at times and given the fact you can fail so easily just by taking the orders of the game, it can feel somewhat disjointed.
When you’re powering through mansions like Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, blasting your way through bad guys and smashing up the place all for the greater good, RICO really comes into its own. It’s by far the most fun we’ve had playing an online co-op game this year. It isn’t even close.
Anthem is not worth the money they’re asking. It just isn’t. It might be someday, the ‘quality of life’ has to be improved significantly because once you’re in the game, you can see what BioWare want Anthem to be, you know where it’s heading and the story ending leaves it open enough to ensure that it’ll continue in the same way that Destiny just keeps on going. It’s not dreadful, there just needs to be a serious overhaul of the navigation, the bloody menus and the ‘looter shooter’ aspect which at this present moment is ensuring you’re getting very little back for your momentous efforts.
So this is game that had some lofty ideas of what it could have been and delivered a broken slodge of a simulator, devoid of anything that can be considered worthy of its utterly disgraceful price-tag. It’s clear the developers did what they could with a seemingly small budget and little time but this just isn’t good enough.