Laura Kate Dale
It’s not the lack of elegant dialogue or the glitches that make this game so disappointing, but the idea that a series that was so obsessed with what would be possible from gaming in the future has turned into a way for people to attempt to revisit the past.
I play as Twine, a young child who was bedridden after an accident in which their older sister was seemingly killed while trying to recover treasure from a temple guarded by a magical barrier. The only beings who can pass through that barrier are giant stone golems, which can be controlled by magic. It's this magic that allows Twine to direct the golems from bed. So you're not just playing as a character; you're playing as a character who is controlling a monster.
Despite these issues, I couldn’t help but love Planet Zoo for what it is: a game about trying to make the world a little better, by making sure some animals are well looked after. From its story beats about protecting animal welfare in the case of evil capitalists trying to drive profits, to the first time I was able to release a set of endangered pygmy hippos back into the wild, I felt like all my stress was working toward something.
Overall, I must say, I was really impressed by my time with Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. It's a polished X-Com style game that removes some of the obtuse layers to ensure the early gameplay curve is accessible, uses humor very well, and kept me coming back for more.
Arms is a really weird game. At its core it's a simple, accessible fighting game with a really strong gameplay loop and room for player growth competitively, but a pair of fundamentally flawed control schemes, a lack of decent modes and a glacially slow random unlock system for items that fundamentally change how characters can function make it a really tough package to recommend.
While that core combat is still strong, I'm personally getting a bit weary of Tekken relying on it's barely changed core combat to keep it relevant in a world where fighting games are fast evolving into vastly more rounded products. Tekken 7's combat isn't bad, it's just a bit stagnant, and I don't know how much longer it can get away with that reliance on not fixing what ain't broke.
Overall, Injustice 2 takes a strong fighting game, delivers an incredibly rewarding and lengthy single player that feels like a priority rather than a tacked on afterthought, and considerably increases the scope of the game by adding in a vast number of well made additional characters to the mix. Sure it hits the uncanny valley a bit, and I'm not keen on the loot boxes or their DLc plans, but it's hard to deny how much fun I had with the game at launch.
Ultimately, For Honor doesn't focus on making sense or being historically accurate, it just puts cool stuff in a field and tells it to go out and fight. Everything outside of playing online sucks, like microtransactions, customization options and single-player. Hell, the multiplayer itself sometimes sucks when it pairs you with a badly selected host player. However, when the game is working and you're murdering a single human player while screaming "FOOOOOOOOOOOR HOOOOOOOOOOOONOOOOOOOOOOOR" at their corpse, it's pretty damn rewarding.