It's a shame. Put into a different, more traditional action game structure, West of Dead would be a satisfying RPG flavoured shooter with a truly inspired combination of gameplay mechanics. What's here offers plenty of great, timing driven moments, but when saddled with conventions of the genre it has chosen to adopt, it quickly becomes an exercise in frustration and simply doesn't hold up to the scrutiny.
But speaking from my heart, I maintain that this is, in a number of ways, a compromised version of Saints Row: The Third that the new coat of paint doesn’t really make up for. However, if you were fortunate enough to play the game back when it first came out, especially when it was working fully, this is a very pretty way to look back at it.
At eleven chapters it's the perfect length, and yet I can't help but feel that I'd keep playing for as long as it kept throwing me new chapters. Then again, "New Game" is right there. The same thugs will happily line right back up, likely with the added confidence of a higher difficulty setting, and I'll be just as happy to keep punching them.
I won't pretend that Sonic Forces is a disappointment – it telegraphed its kitchen sink approach to content a long time ago. Desperately trying to please every kind of Sonic fan, it is every bit the mishmash of half realised ideas vying for your attention that it seemed like it would be. I guess I just never expected that their attempts to hold that attention would be so feeble.
So, the opening to Firewatch may be a little too strong for the game's own good, then – and as you slowly realise the confines of your role in the game world, it's not without a little disappointment. Nevertheless, it's still a journey you should consider going on – one of human and flawed characters, compelling mystery, and sobering, bitter sweet realisations.
But let's take stock. Here is a sprawling, compelling game made with impressive confidence – masterfully paced and expanding on its predecessor without for a moment losing track of its appeal. It's a game that has kept its integrity intact while navigating the weird waters of mass market appeal, and one that retains a real undertanding of fundamentally enjoyable mechanics. Rise of The Tomb Raider is exceptionally easy to recommend.
What it ultimately comes down to is this: Although it suffers from some of Phoenix Online Studios' usual technical issues, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition is a perfectly valid way to experience one of the best point & click adventure games of the 90s.
The premise nicely informs the sturdy-if-unspectacular gameplay framework, Malachi Rector is a well realised and fascinating character and the story is smart, but those sound fundamentals are in constant battle against jittery Sims-esque character models, wildly inconsistent art and a slew of mild technical issues.