I had my doubts going into Dicey Dungeons, despite the pedigree present. I was worried the core reliance on random dice rolls would create a frustrating experience for the player. And while I've had those moments, I always felt that I could look back and say "that's where I went wrong" and not "the random numbers just didn't work out in my favor!" That alone is an incredibly feat. Stack it on top of six incredibly unique character mechanics, episodes that force the exploration of alternate playstyles, and an expertly crafted aesthetic, and you have another absolute slam dunk from Terry Cavanagh.
I'm so torn on The Blackout Club. The prologue is an amazing experience and the game itself, while drastically different, still kept my friends and I coming back. But it's not a good game. There are too many bugs and mishandled mechanics holding it back, in addition to a huge bait-and-switch on story and lore. I do think there is a lot of potential here, as The Blackout Club fills an empty void in the market, but dang it's just so disappointing in its current state.
That's it. The Council is over. I am now writing the last words about this godforsaken series ever. I think there are two parts of my life: pre- and post-Council. I am not the same man I was when I started playing these games. It's time for me to move on. Sayonara, The Council.
Void Bastards is a good game. It plays just fine and looks amazing, but it lacks some of the "hooks" that many roguelikes drive in. It has great atmosphere, but doesn't do much to really encourage those who are experiencing it to soak it all in. The visual style is some absolute magic, but that sense of amazement does not translate into gameplay.
In the end, Mordhau is a goofy yet realistic medieval combat game that caters to a ton of different players. Many will grind games in order to best perfect their skills with their favorite weapon. Then there's me, who literally runs around the battlefield playing a musical instrument that adds absolutely zero gameplay value to the team. That's the beauty of Mordhau -- the individual moments tend to outweigh any of the design flaws or technical glitches that are present.
There are some genuinely cool moments buried among the slop. If this were an Early Access title, I'd be very content saying to keep an eye on it as it nears release. Considering that this game is being released like this, I will instead warn not to waste any money on this unfinished title..
Tannenberg is by no means a bad game. That being said, I can't recommend it for the sheer fact that the player count is far too low. The audience for this game is split with Verdun, its predecessor, and there simply isn't enough here to make playing it the clear choice. Two of the modes in Tannenberg aren't even playable unless you want to play completely with mediocre AI bots. Perhaps during a sale or after a big update, when the population spikes, it's worth a purchase. Otherwise, I'd just stick with Verdun.
There's a lot to love with Wargroove. I definitely have my qualms with some of the campaign mission design and plot, there is so much here to love. I can't say that it's a completely innovate entry into the genre, but I think it's safe to say that Wargroove is a title that needs to be in every turn-based strategy lover's catalog.
Just Cause 4 is not a better game than its predecessor. In many ways, it feels like the same game, just with a new continent to explore. For some, this may be all they ever wanted, but for the rest of us, it's just not enough. The formula starts to show itself early and can feel monotonous only a few hours in. There will always be joy in the mass destruction of the Just Cause 4 games, but the games seem to rely more and more on "making your own fun" instead of pushing the player into exciting and unique scenarios via the mission structure and overall game design.
I sort of went into this one with thoughts of "Hey, maybe it's not so bad again?" since the previous episode was decent, but nope. Episode 4 feels like we're back to square zero. One big story moment, a puzzle that leads into a cliffhanger, and more backtracking. I guess Episode 3 was just lightning (albeit a small baby bolt) in a bottle because this is crap in a can.
Artifact is not for everyone. It isn't for people who are red/green colorblind, for one. It isn't for the die-hard deck builders who would rather grind games than pay cash. But it is for people who enjoy card games with an incredible set of fair and unique mechanics that reward out-playing your opponent over luck and randomness. And while it may be based on Dota 2, with a lot to love for its fans, knowledge of the Heroes or universe is in no way needed to enjoy Artifact. All you'll need is $20 and an open and creative mind.
If you came into this review with the simple question of "is this game a modern-day RollerCoaster Tycoon?" the answer is an absolute yes. I spent most of my time in Parkitect analyzing revenue graphs and tinkering with prices to try and nickel-and-dime each guest out of their hard-earned cash. While I wish the ride creation was much friendlier, managing staff, guests, and park design has never felt better or more complete.
For a game called Just Dance, I often have a hard time just doing anything. Using my very expensive phone in my hand as I flail about is not my idea of a feel-good experience as I am constantly aware and being careful. The bottom line is that if you've been playing and enjoying Just Dance games for years, and now you want to be able to dance around to such classics as "DDU-DU DDU-DU," pick up Just Dance 2019 I guess, and hope the mobile app actually works. If you're new to the series, just find someone on Twitch streaming it and dance along at home.
This is a game that does absolutely not need to exist but does for the sheer fact that the original game had no way of raking in the dough. I don't expect this game to become a yearly title, because NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is now set up to appropriately gouge the players for money for years to come. Unless maybe that doesn't work, in which case you can look forward to NBA 2K Playgrounds 3 brought to you by FanDuel to release in 11 months.
Small musical cues are also used perfectly. I didn't notice how catchy these were at first until I found myself mimicking them in the shower. They are only a few seconds long, and I love them all so much! Special shoutouts to the voice actors as well. More than usual, the voice actors accurately representing their characters is of the utmost importance as players may recognize an accent or voice inflection that allows them to pinpoint the identity of someone on the ship. Everyone in the sound department did a tremendous job.
Listen, if you're reading this in the future, go and check the recent Steam reviews. My guess is that they will be rather positive on the game. A lot of the issues are tech-related: crashes, geometry bugs, load times, and framerate can all be fixed with patches. As of now? The interesting puzzles and fantastic music are not worth suffering through the bugs, lackluster models, and mediocre combat and skills. If your interest is piqued here, wishlist it and come back at a later time; I have no doubt that this game will reach its potential, but it's just not even close right now.
After the awful showing of Episode 2, I had absolutely no expectations going into this one. But hey, I came away relatively pleased and somewhat looking forward to what is to come next. The underlying issues that have plagued every episode thus far still persist here, but at least The Council is finally utilizing its strengths in the best way possible, despite its flaws.
Despite all of my qualms, everything seems to fade away each time I warp to a new system or enter an uncharted planet's atmosphere. If you felt the original No Man's Sky had promising ideas but ultimately let you down, NEXT is the perfect time to jump back in. No Man's Sky and its NEXT expansion prove that there is equal parts excitement, dread, and anxiety in exploring the unknowns of space.
The game doesn't quite end when all of the story missions are over. Other than the endless mode (which is where the gun combos can really get crazy), there's an endgame that allows the player to keep going, leveling up and facing harder and harder ships. There are also a slew of planned updates, including more guns and two-player co-op, but what is present at launch feels like a solid foundation. There are some odd and annoying design decisions, and it can feel frustrating to rarely get to really let loose with the gun creations, but damn if I don't keep coming back to go through a few ships and see what destruction I can cause.
I really don't have much else to say. Episode 2 of The Council somehow manages to be worse than the first, despite adding some great puzzle design onto the already impressive narrative gameplay. I suppose if you've plunked down the price for the whole season you may as well play through it, and in that case, I'll see you when the third episode releases and I have to build up the courage to enter into this world that is becoming increasingly less interesting.