The Order: 1886 unfortunately feels like that ho-hum action-adventure game that accompanies a console's first-year launch. This PS4 exclusive is by far the most stunning visually of the bunch, but is that enough for players starved for something new and original for their console?
The bottom line: Do you only have a PS4 instead of a PC? Do you still miss old-timey mechanics in RTSs? And hey, who doesn't love the tale of the Three Kingdoms, right? Sometimes things should be left in the nostalgia of our minds than in our hands, but what do I know, I love No Age.
The world of Minecraft alongside all the fun inside cracks at geekdom is the right fit for Telltale, but so far these first two episodes have failed to craft anything remotely as engaging as The Walking Dead or the excellent Tales From the Borderlands. Jesse, whether voiced by Patton Oswalt or Catherine Taber, remains a solid lead character as does his companions, but the Witherstorm premise and to a lesser degree the villainous Ivor are not compelling yet. Here's hoping that with more time to develop episode three, this story mode finally delivers.
Still, I think of how The Devil Inside essentially is a film with no third act. By the same token, ACC: China never really lets the itself soar. Everything feels deliberately muted. And that leads Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China being ultimately just as forgettable as The Devil Inside.
As someone who was not impressed with Minecraft: Story Mode's premiere episode The Order of the Stone, over time I have grown to find the characters and their situations quite engaging. This "extended season" has delivered some of the best episodes.... until that is, Access Denied. From not really doing much with with the Borg vibe to not giving the interesting Harper enough to do, it is only in the last few moments that I had my faith renewed. Though episode 7 isn't exactly skippable, the drive to complete it even in an hour or so can feel unfulfilling. As I said, for completionists only.
As a non-racer guy, Valentino Rossi: The Game felt more like a curiosity, one that was rewarded in the ways I played and learned more about the man himself, Valentino Rossi. As a racing experience, though, this was generic. Obviously, mileage will most certainly vary depending on how big a fan one is of the world of MotoGP. At best, for fans of Rossi himself, this is at least a rental.
The iffy puzzles and tedious backtracking in Unravel sadly cannot be fixed by switching to an easy mode as the game doesn't offer any kind of "just play the story" mode. That's a shame since the world and likability of the lead hero make the kind of adventure I love to get lost in. The price of $19.99 is fair for a campaign that lasts just under seven hours and, if you want to get all the collectibles, can probably go up to ten. I'm not giving up on Unravel, though. I think with better controls, fairer puzzles, and more leniency with the string allotment, Unravel 2: Enter the House Cat could be a real winner.
That's the lingering problem with Story Mode in general. There's only a "fun enough" feel to most of it. So while Episode 3 really nails the tension and thrills of coming face-to-face with the Minecraft-staple Enderman, I'm still not convinced this adventure adds up to much more than a mild diversion.
The pick-up-and-play aspect is great, which is one of the few positives gained from its PSP roots. And the leveling just works. As I said before, Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is definitely for fans only. One last warning, though: The main game is worth finishing if you can get past the punishingly hard boss battles that plague the last ten hours.
Only two episodes remain for Telltale’s extended first season. If you’re still playing, you’ve most likely grown attached to the members of The Order of the Stone. These stand-alone stories work; I still laugh at Ivor’s fiendish enthusiasm or Petra’s deadpan humor. I’m hoping the title of Episode 7, Access Denied, means that the episode will be a science fiction-themed tale. And maybe, just maybe, the final episode will be a love story. Whatever Telltale Games has in store, I’m on board.
Before that though, What We Deserve is a solid finale as a standalone Walking Dead adventure. I loved getting to spend more time with Michonne and the supporting cast left an impression too. The art style and gameplay mechanics fit nicely into the Telltale world. The closing song “To the Bone” is so good I wanted to find out where I could purchase it. Will this experiment mean we get The Glen Chronicles? Or Andrea’s Sights? I’m up for it.
Only one episode remains. The last few minutes of episode two work terrifically, putting all the pieces in place. Without giving too much away, a showdown is on the horizon. Here’s hoping Michonne’s short time with Sam and her family delivers a memorable finale.
I'm still kind of let down that the core gameplay remains mainly unchanged over the years. Telltale is great with character choices and delivering a striking painterly color palate, but all of that can grind to a halt since the hacking and slashing gameplay feels repetitive, especially compared to last year's adventure breakout Life Is Strange. Telltale is still the king at what they do, making the active conversation in a game feel tense, urgent. I just hope that's enough for the remaining two episodes of The Walking Dead: Michonne.
Bottom line: If you dug the original this is probably right up your alley. As I said earlier, for parents I can see this being a preferable shooter for younger teens over Halo or CoD. There's a value in that for consumers. I just wish publisher EA and developer PopCap Games put their considerable resources and talent into a game that made me want to play a game with a fuller experience.
Having more missions like that to look forward to ever since finishing the story and those frustrating 13 hours is a reward of sorts, right? If you're a fan of the original Mirrors' Edge, this will probably be a no-brainer, but Catalyst would be an easier recommend even with the clunky controls if it had been sold cheaper, perhaps as episodic content. As it stands, this is mostly for fans, and even then, I caution the inevitable frustration that will surely come from running through a city literally made of glass.