Ultimatum is up and down with the actual changes, but the league mechanic is solid and the Trialmaster character is easily one of the best introduced since Einhar, and I sure hope he's here to stay, even if his boss fight is frustratingly locked behind RNG.
Omori is certainly not for everyone. Someone who values gameplay much higher than storytelling will come away feeling bored and frustrated with the overall experience. However, those who value a game's plot and the emotions that games can elicit will never be able to shake Omori from their headspace. It is a flawed game in many aspects, but I can't help thinking about it throughout my daily life (especially while opening up the spice cabinet), even having finished the game over a month ago. While the entire middle of the game can be frustrating due to its poor design, the third act is well worth everything that comes before it. In the end, everything else faded away, and it all felt worth it.
When all is said and done, Star Wars: Squadrons is a truly awesome (and I use this word with the classic definition of "inspiring awe") experience for anyone looking for an arcade space shooter. For fans of the universe or anyone with a VR headset, it's a must-play. Sure, it has shortcomings in the single-player and it may not be as "hardcore" of a simulator as some were hoping for, but what Motive has delivered here is more than just a strong foundation. I genuinely hope they build off of it moving forward, either with updates or sequels, because it's hard not to love everything they've built.
Despite my qualms with certain challenges and the last boss, I cannot get enough of Risk of Rain 2. I love the characters and discovering secrets while setting new goals for myself. As someone who mostly bounced off the first game, the sequel sucked me in like a Primordial Cube (an in-joke, hah!).
You know, last week I'm not sure I could have told you the last time I cried while playing a video game. Maybe it was Persona 4 on the PlayStation 2? I've been introspective a lot, but rarely sad and on the verge of crying. Well, now I know exactly the last time a video game made me cry, because it was yesterday while finishing up Necrobarista. While I have some qualms with how the game's "memories" are handled, it's such a minor quibble in the grand scheme of things. For anyone interesting in a wholly unique story that is almost guaranteed to sink its hooks into you, look no further than Necrobarista.
Signs of the Sojourner is one of the most cohesive narrative games I have ever played. The interplay between mechanics and storytelling is absolutely brilliant, which makes it a shame that it misses the mark in terms of actually being enjoyable to play. The inclusion of a frustrating "fatigue" mechanic is at odds with the general laid-back design approach to deckbuilding. There is something truly beautiful here that is worth experiencing, it's just a shame that the game seems to fight itself at every turn.
It's a shame that a good game is held back by incredibly boring design decisions. I think Greedfall is on the verge of greatness but falls short in too many areas to really go down as a must-play. It's absolutely an enjoyable romp, just one plagued by the thought of what could have been.
So, is the Blair Witch game a good fit for a franchise many have mostly written off by now? As a fan of said series, I would say yes. It absolutely has its faults, with the poorly paced gameplay and story elements being the worst offenders, but the amazing set pieces and psychological horror do a great job of raising the heart rate of anyone willing to venture through the forest. Ultimately, there are a lot of interesting ideas here, but they simply don't come together like they needed to in order to make the best of them.
It's a good chunk of content for an absolute steal of a price. The wackiness of grabbing your friends, flinging yourself around, making faces and noises, and just causing shenanigans all around doesn't really get old. Heave Ho is a much harder sell to anyone expecting to play it solo, but it's an absolute must-have for any local multiplayer get-together with friends.
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.