Xenoblade Chronicles is, unquestionably, a game that every JRPG fan needs to play. The combat is thrilling and thoughtful, and even though certain regions feel too large and empty, the world is gorgeous and delightful to explore. There is so much to do and see, and so long as you can hold your own in battle, you can advance at any pace you like. Shulk and his friends are unwavering in their optimism and integrity, and they make for a charming and endearing cast with a story that never fails to move and grow. Certain mechanics are a bit confusing and overwhelming to learn, but overall, Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition hits the nail on the head in almost every way and adds up to a beautiful adventure that thoroughly deserves your time.
At its surface, Stranded Sails: Explorers of the Cursed Islands looks like an adorable and endearing addition to this genre, and though I so badly wanted to love it, I’d have difficulty recommending it to almost anyone other than young children. There is certainly a place in the gaming world for peaceful, low-pressure exploration and farming games, but unfortunately, I’m not convinced that Stranded Sails is one that belongs.
Ultimately, Black Desert on PS4 is very user-friendly, and looks fantastic when running at a premium performance level. But while Black Desert’s aesthetic prowess and customizable sandbox experience is an achievement in the world of MMOs, it’s not a game that offers enough enticement in the minute-to-minute gameplay — or even in the grander, month-to-month scope of things — to leave me thirsty for more.