Overall, Death's Door is a success. It's a short but entertaining and combat-heavy Zelda-like action-adventure that is only limited by scope. It might not have the most memorable puzzles or dungeons, but it has enough heart and skill to make up for its few, minor missteps.
Chivalry II is a lot of fun. It's visceral, easy to learn but difficult to master, and it's simply a bloody good time. The balancing issues, lackluster customization options, and a general lack of maps take the wind out of its sails far too quickly. That means that a couple of updates could turn this little gem into a must-play title. I'm hopeful that Torn Banner can build on the solid foundation that it has poured for Chivalry II.
Overall, King of Seas is a serviceable action-RPG with a pirates theme that is intended for a more casual audience. Its mechanics are solid, and the title is entertaining enough for short bursts of gameplay, but its grindy and repetitive nature quickly takes the wind out of its sails. Some of my complaints are certainly fixable in future updates, at which point I imagine the game to be a solid option for those who yearn for a decent but simplistic pirate life simulator. For now, I'd steer clear until some changes are implemented, or you can wait for a substantial sale.
Carve Snowboarding is a very fun winter sports arcade title. Its intuitive yet challenging controls are not perfect but provide a great bit of fun across a small variety of tracks. While it's not packed to the brim with content and has a few shortcomings, it does a great job of translating the sense of racing down a track with a snowboard to VR. Snowboard fans and those who loved games like 1080° Snowboarding or SSX will get a lot of fun out of this title.
Backbone starts off strong with an interesting premise and setting and tops off everything with great visuals. What starts as an intriguing detective story quickly loses its appeal, as it doesn't scratch more than the surface of its potential with a rather unsatisfying ending and a setting that is never explored to the extent that it likely deserves.
Overall, Hood: Outlaws & Legends is a strong effort that has a lot going for it. It's different and often fun, and when it works, it works. The current experience is dampened by a lack of meaningful content and a few balancing issues that frustrated me to a point where I had to stop playing - but I always came back for occasional matches. If Sumo Digital manages to keep the momentum going with much-needed updates and additional content and if the community stays active, Hood could be a very fun multiplayer title across the board. Until then, I'll wait to see which direction Hood takes over the coming weeks.
Demeo is a remarkable concept that works incredibly well on the Quest 2. Its lack of content and essential features holds it back. Not counting any repeated playthroughs or attempts, you'll likely see everything there is to see in a couple of hours. While new and potentially free content is on the horizon, the current price of $30 feels a touch steep. When Demeo adds some essential features, like a level editor or a save function, and some more dungeons, it could become one of the go-to VR experiences for RPG fans. It hasn't reached that lofty goal yet, though.
Swarm is something of a one-trick pony, but that pony is quite a noble steed. What it sometimes lacks in variety, it makes up with satisfying movement and truly addictive combat gameplay. It kept me coming back to try to clear a level just one more time, and it's a great showcase title for less-experienced players to demonstrate the capabilities of untethered VR using the Quest 2. If you're itching for a good arcade shooter in VR or to finally live out your Spider-Man fantasies, Swarm is worth a look.
Days Gone is a long and slow burn that is well worth it. It tells a relatable story that feels grounded, and the later stages have some truly memorable moments, both in terms of story and gameplay. With all previous DLC included, some nice improvements for PC gamers, and the capability to run at high frame rates, the PC iteration of Days Gone is the definitive version to play.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids is a solid stand-alone story experience that takes place during Valhalla's storyline. While boasting a decent story, it never breaks the mold of the established formula, feeling more like "yet another kingmaker story" rather than an adventure that lives up to the potential of the setting. It has a few new ideas and spins a few old mechanics into a new form, but at the end of the day, it plays it way too safe, which causes it to feel uninspired. If you loved Valhalla, this DLC will give you more of that, but if you're already fatigued by its repetitive gameplay, Wrath of the Druids won't change that.