Above all, God of War is a surprise. By perfecting the current trends in the gaming market, the game has become an outlier in how to properly design a AAA experience. The combination of systems, which have failed numerous times in other games, somehow work thanks to the amount of effort, time, and love the studio has poured into the title. The title has transcended the bloody roots of its origins, trading in a shallow representation of vengeance for a meditation on power and revenge that feels more mature. The scariest thing about God of War is that it is destined for sequels, but with a foundation this excellent, the series could reach untold heights. Despite all the gameplay and visual successes, God of War's greatest feat is tell a story about family in a way that feels timeless, with the writing taking care of all the idiosyncrasies and implicit machinations of patriarchal relationships. God of War is a game about fathers in a time that dearly needs them and that should be appreciated.
Travel has formed the basis of many works of fiction. No other game, though, has committed to this human need to move forward as much as FAR. Aspects of the game touch on real-world issues—the dissolution of agrarian life, reliance on fossils fuels, technology as comfort—but the only one that really matters is the reiteration of what travel means to people. The title starts by tickling the innate need in gamers to move forward, before gently coaxing them into a pilgrimage. In only three hours, FAR is a reminder that even when things get rough, we can always push forward.
The fundamental question 0°N 0°W posits is 'how much direction does one really need to enjoy a video game?' The rainbowed reality of 0°N 0°W provides no answer, but the suggestion that the art form is being limited by its own definitions of what defines a game lingers.
STONE, like its protagonist, is bloody rough. Channelling the tough on the outside, soft on the inside of its literary inspirations—Post Office, for example—STONE's buggy visuals and lack of polish almost exist as a statement in themselves. By presenting a story about an unkempt rebel's life, the choppy visuals benefit the game. Overall, the experience's worth will be strongly dependent on the player. Similarly to most great arthouse experiences, sometimes viewers must ignore the dodgy presentation and appreciate the heart of the piece. STONE, and its protagonist, have a lot of heart, and that shines the most.
Overall, Gift of Parthax is a serviceable, if dime-a-dozen arena-brawler. Foundationally-speaking, there is a title here that desperately wants to differentiate itself from its peers, yet the lack of polish, short-sighted design choices, and general lack of scope scuppers all potential.
By now, the staple branching paths, puzzles, and verticality of LEGO's design has worn thin. LEGO The Incredibles is an attempt to ride the idiosyncrasies of the source material to pave over cracks in the game's core design. In future, LEGO games would be able to realise their enormous potential if they left their target markets and traditions at the door, and decided to make the game the developer really wants to make; the series needs forget its past and re-lay its foundation with some fresh building blocks.