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.
A lot could be tightened up to make the game feel more snappy and responsive in almost every aspect, especially when it comes to moving inventory items. Moonlighter is incredibly captivating on the surface, but there is a lot of frustration just waiting to be uncovered.
Laser League is a deceptively simple competitive game. The controls are incredibly straightforward, but that is offset by the sheer amount of things needed to account for at any point in the match. Laser walls and players are constantly moving around the map in various patterns and at variable speeds. There may be a limited appeal if you never plan to play online, as the progression system is tied to online play, but this is a game not to be missed by fans of competitive games. And maybe Roll7 can throw in a colorblind option in the near future? Pretty please?
Frostpunk is such a bizarre game. Playing through it mechanically and logistically leads to a relatively standard resource manager. However, by investing yourself in the town and the people within it, you allow in the crushing weight of the decisions you'll have to make and the emotional consequences that follow. They may not be affecting real people, but treating it as such is what this game is all about. It's an emotional roller coaster that will likely leave you more defeated after "winning" than when you first started, and that is incredible.
There are five acts of this game. While I'm sure some of my concerns like janky animations and a lack of interesting exploration options can be addressed, I think that most of the game's issues will plague each and every episode. They can't shake the bad voice acting. Maybe they can increase the quality of the writing. There is a great blend of RPG and narrative mechanics here, it just isn't worth muddling through everything else to experience.
Into the Breach is a mechanically perfect game that is surrounded by mediocre design decisions. I absolutely adore the tactics-style gameplay and how simplistically the game can convey so much information. But with the only run variance being the three pilotable mechs and the potential upgrades, things just start to feel "same-y" after not too long. For those, like myself, who can easily fall in love with intelligently designed mechanics, there is a lot to love about Into the Breach, but it's not as well-rounded as it could be.
The game looks great -- it's awesome to get down on the ground level and watch the little dudes duke it out. Even the maps themselves look incredible. But once the novelty of "it's in virtual reality!" wears off, you are left with a mechanically-solid RTS game with a poor story, that lacks specific commands veterans will expect, and has what is likely a very small community.