Now that my journey is over, though, there’s a part of me that misses that tedium. I want to go back and hunt all the animals, explore every mountaintop and winding river. There were so many little easter eggs that I’ve missed in Red Dead Redemption 2, and I want to take my time to find them all. Maybe it’s Stockholm syndrome. Or maybe Rockstar has built one of the most realistic depictions of life itself.
The Messenger goes beyond paying its respects to the games of the past, effectively using the time shifting as a homage to the 8- and 16-bit eras. It’s more than a gimmick, acting as both a game mechanic and a storytelling tool. The interesting narrative draws you in while the clever writing breaks the fourth wall to make you laugh. The tight controls keep you playing, despite the slight tedium of the Metroidvania segments. The Messenger toes the line between being a tribute to old-school games and being a modern game with a fresh feeling.
The first episode of Life is Strange 2, which took me roughly three hours to complete, is an emotional experience that shouldn’t be missed this year. It’s a strong start to a series that exceeds all expectations. It lays a lot of promise for the next four episodes that I hope Dontnod delivers on, and I want the political commentary to continue. This sequel has a lot of ambition and lofty goals, but if it succeeds, it has the potential to be crowned one of the best titles in the episodic narrative genre.
My Time at Portia suffers from arbitrarily long timers in its crafting system, but that's overshadowed by its rustic aesthetic and in-depth social system. For fans of the crafting and farming simulation genre, this is a title worth checking out.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a competent, action-packed metroidvania that mostly balances the rule of cool with exciting combat and responsive platforming. If you like over-the-top shonen anime, it’s worth checking out for the boss fights alone.