All my quibbles are on the periphery of Gears Tactics, though. The core -- getting onto the battlefield and agonizing over every move -- is excellent. There's a smart experience here, one that feels both authentically Gears and tactics. That's the best possible outcome. Gears Tactics is a great Gears game and a great tactics game. This 90% doesn't miss.
If the eponymous Savage Planet is your Kindred explorer's residence, the space rock called DL-C1 is a timeshare. It's a decent little getaway -- probably worth the investment, a change of pace, and the vacation is over quicker than you'd like. But, despite what the name suggests, Hot Garbage is far from a dump.
It's a pleasure to dive back into Control, and that's why I genuinely enjoyed my time with The Foundation. I still love hunting down every research note and every minute-long audio file -- anything to fill in more of the lore gaps in this bizarre, enigmatic world. This expansion does all of that even if it's ultimately left feeling inconsequential. Ironically, The Foundation fails to build on the excellent structure Remedy already built with Control.
Life is Strange 2 represents a sophistication of Dontnod's storytelling capabilities because it effectively adds up and weighs moral decisions to truly influence the narrative outcome. Every ending comes with some degree of complication -- that much was to be expected -- but it's satisfying because they're all befitting of the characters you molded. Whichever direction you took Sean and Daniel's lives, chances are you'll feel responsible for their fates. It's personal. Because it's personal, it's memorable. That's about the utmost positive quality for this style of story.
Still, Superliminal's satisfying every time a puzzle clicks. It sounds obvious, but that's the most redeeming trait a puzzle game can have. Sometimes it'll take you by surprise, sometimes you'll train your eye to see it coming. But analyzing a situation, exploring possibilities, and approaching it from unique angles never fails to be rewarding. Is that enough to offset the realization that you're starting from obtuse and working backward toward logical? It all depends on your perspective.
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair neatly captures the essence of Yooka-Laylee and reimagines it as a new type of game. It's a distillation and a simplification, but it's effective. Then, as its grand finale -- a necessary conclusion that looms over the whole game -- it turns uncharacteristically punitive. It's rewarding, that much is undeniable. But it also leaves you feeling like all those hours spent beekeeping never really prepared you for the final challenge. Those bees just afford more leeway over the course of a very long struggle. It's kind of a buzzkill.
The Coalition has achieved a lot with Gears 5. The writing and action often rivals the best moments in the series, even surpassing its predecessors at times. The overall package is the most robust Gears has ever seen. But, the big structural alteration feels like an unequivocal misstep. Gears 5 is a rousing success, but it could've done without the needless change.
Faith serves a few important purposes within the Life is Strange 2 story. It shores up some loose ends from the brothers' past, it proves the lengths Sean is willing to go to in order to protect Daniel, and it gives Daniel further autonomy by letting him make his own decisions. It's an exciting chapter that leaves everyone worse for the wear. That's the cadence we've come to expect from Life is Strange, though.