Tennis World Tour is a disappointment, plain and simple. It's one thing to not have key features at launch, but the absence of solid gameplay puts the final nail in the coffin. It's not only dull with its weak and monotonous presentation but frustrating as you watch your generic created character not swing at a ball they could easily hit across the court. There is something to some of the RPG elements within the career mode, but my progression or “gear” doesn't feel like it affects my character's ability to perform well. Tennis World Tour had the opportunity to become the video game series players go on to play a professional tennis simulation. Instead, we are given a joyless and empty experience.
The Sims 4 attempts to bring genuinely happy moments throughout your Sim's lifespan; occasionally, you will even find yourself smirking. However, those moments are quickly bogged down by tedious goals, a terrible HUD and menu navigation, and gameplay that is outright boring. Life events like a date or wedding put less emphasis on the occasion and more on completing monotonous objectives. These goals wouldn't be too dreadful if the commands given to the Sim would actually follow through. However, there were too many times where the Sim would completely ignore what I wanted them to do. All of these gameplay problems are bundled up in a poor performing port that chugs more than it should. The Sims 4 is an unsatisfying experience right from the start.
Sure, I can fly a plane as high as I can then drop from the sky as a car and continue my path to nothingness but the fun of that can only last so long. I wanted The Crew 2 to be the new pillar for arcade-style racers. Instead, we are presented with a missed opportunity.
I am so mixed on WWE 2K Battlegrounds. In some ways, I really dig that 2K decided to create an arcade-style wrestling game. I do believe the basics of this game make a solid foundation for another entry. The “pick-up and play” direction is great if you want to play with a few friends. Still, a lot of its flaws make it hard to recommend to those who usually play these games alone. After a couple of hours, all of WWE 2K Battlegrounds’ silly over-the-top gimmicks lose their luster.
Sea of Thieves is a mixed bag of emotions for me. It's a great social experience to play with a group of friends and sail on the prettiest water you will ever see in a video game. It's also bogged down by tedious and repetitive voyages that reward you with meager pay. When you can eventually purchase an item, it will only affect how you look. If that is the case, it seems puzzling that I can't create a character I want to flaunt to any passerby. There is enjoyment to be found in Sea of Thieves, but not enough to keep you interested in the long term.
There is something about Hob that I really enjoy. I'm not quite sure if it's the cartoonish art style, clever puzzles, or an amalgamation of the two, but my overall experience was quite pleasant. However, frequent frame rate drops, mindless combat, and its open-world facade hindered my amusement and often relinquished any feeling of consequence while exploring the game's dangerously portrayed world. Similarly, the unspoken and symbolic mystery that unfolds begins as an interesting tale, but quickly becomes shallow when there are no other factors to create a meaningful and emotional conflict. Hob boasts a lot of promising ideas at the outset, but ultimately fails to fulfill those promises by the game's end.
However, when a game is purposely difficult solely due to the amount of overpowered enemies it can throw at you, it makes for an unsatisfying experience. This blended with clunky gameplay only amplified my disappointment. I would not be surprised if someone stopped playing twenty minutes into Ruiner with its uninviting gameplay. Despite my outlook, if you're a fan of dystopian sci-fi revenge stories, Ruiner may be worth checking out.
This puts me in a weird spot. For better or worse, I really think WWE 2K19 really captures the current WWE product very well while also commending those who have made their way to the squared circle in years past. It presents some solid ideas that are really needed to make this series worthwhile. Unfortunately, like almost every iteration before this, those ideas are not executed well. This is primarily due to gameplay. While there are some great implementations like the payback and overcharge abilities, it is still the same ol' gameplay you know from the series. Yet again, if you are into the WWE, you may find some enjoyment. Anyone outside of the WWE universe may find it hard to hit the ropes on this one.
In the end, any progress made, whether it's leveling up my player or regaining control of my court, just feels aimless. If I'm simply being rewarded with cosmetic options, I don't see the point of furthering my character's career. If my Icon path is linear, why make me go to a menu to activate those perks? Why play the mid-range game if driving straight to the hoop while getting double teamed will still grant me the 2 points I need? It's questionable decisions like this that sets NBA Live 19 just below the bar of greatness.
After playing The Fall and seeing the words “to be continued” scroll across my screen, I was interested, but not excited. It told a good story, but its questionable gameplay and puzzle design left me cautiously optimistic. After my time with The Fall Part 2: Unbound, I am not only intrigued but eager for the series' conclusion when the third part inevitable releases. The sequel does exemplify some of the gameplay flaws of its predecessor but tells a fantastic sci-fi tale and builds a world that I never imagined it would.