John Wick Hex is a fantastic game. It combines real strategy in a gameplay that feels truly unique in the RTS genre. It really captures the world of John Wick and brings the character from the silver screen faithfully onto the PC. There is a fluidity to the combat, but one that falls ever so slightly short of the effortless slickness that we've come to love about the title character. Missing that trick takes a near perfect game to just a notch below, but puts it squarely in good company as a top game of the year.
An engaging 80's world is the playground for a romp through a procedurally generated dungeon crawl. But it's not really the changing landscape that spices up the experience, its the wildly shifting abilities earned via in-game mutations that drastically alter one run to the next. The package oozes style and has enough substance to back it up. I just find it lacking that last little bit of polish to help me decide how I want to play, not how the random number generator is going to direct me.
While the game itself is really quite good, the lack of gameplay options and lack of thought into porting over the control scheme make for an average experience overall. This is a port that feels very much like one done with the absolute minimal effort required, and that's just not good enough for 2019 when so many other games this year have done so much better in this same PC to console space.
There is a decent survival gameplay loop at the core of Fade to Silence. It's just that everything that emanates from that core is either cheaply cropped from another game or poorly executed in this one. I just kept coming back to this feeling I was playing disjointed parts of these other games, not a unified experience of this one.
This is the best 4x game to grace the current generation of consoles, possible the best 4x game to grace any generation of consoles; but that's kind of like winning a race when you were the only genuine competitor. It still suffers greatly from a frustrating mid-game but if you've got the itch to explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate on a console this will scratch it.
Taking more of a narrative approach while not really offering all that much narrative but definitely adding a little more marvel in the form of cataclysmic weather events as the major antagonist, Just Cause 4 is a shade more than just another Just Cause game. The major gameplay loop of orchestrating chaos remains true to the series but it is meted out just a bit more slowly while unlocking the goodies to perform your opus just a bit more freely. The real shine of the game comes from just whipping about the game world transitioning between grappling, wing suiting, parachuting, carjacking, plane-jacking, and inviting the player to turn the entire island into their own X-games playground on steroids.
It's dated, it's camp, it's occasionally annoying, but it still has a core mechanic that very few are still trying to do, and Earth Defense Force 5 does do it well. Take on the waves of monsters and tear into them with every last weapon in your arsenal for a great bit of mindless fun. The story and your progress will crawl through the 100+ levels but the types of enemies and the difficulty will ramp up alongside you.
Remaining true to its roots with engaging ship to ship combat but shifting the gameplay to a more narrative focused exploration game, Star Control: Origins excels at it's prime directive. As we push out from that core loop there are elements that can drag on, but the central experience is where it stands tallest, incorporating a playful tale with entertaining delivery around excellent two dimensional, top down ship to ship combat.