The design approach taken by The Longing is bold, but it is not something everyone will appreciate. We live in an era of endless distractions, with many different forms of both work and entertainment clamouring for our time. Perhaps the developers behind The Longing have a point that it’s worth it to slow down once in a while.
Separation is long on atmosphere and artistry, but short on content. The impression it provides is that something deep and meaningful is hidden in its beautifully realised world, but the glacial pacing and slightly frustrating controls seem intent on keeping it in the dark. Separation has things to say, but does not quite seem to know how to express them.
Of the two games in the re-release pack, Bayonetta is the one that stands out the most, as it is easily the most fun. Shooter fans might have some fun with Vanquish, but anyone who likes action hack-and-slash titles such as God Hand or Devil May Cry should grab a copy of Bayonetta immediately, if not before.
Luna: The Shadow Dust has a beautiful art style, and the early puzzles are fun and interesting, but it falls short of becoming a truly great game. Players who are adept at out-of-the-box thinking might find more to enjoy here, but many will be put off by the levels of frustration prompted by later puzzles.
Code Vein tries hard to overcome its flaws with anime style and flamboyance—and in many areas almost succeeds. The character creation and Code-based upgrade system are intriguing, but the combat and partner AI are too inconsistent to overcome the uneven pacing and difficulty. Code Vein has its positives, but is flawed as a single-player experience.
Devil’s Hunt is visually stunning in many ways and seeks to rise above its indie roots, but sadly the game is lacking in polish in many areas. Though at times the gameplay can be genuinely fun and engaging, Devil’s Hunt suffers from frustrating flaws that put it in the shade of other hack-and-slash titles. The clunky and occasionally tasteless writing does the game no favours either.
Overall, Torchlight II is a very solid console port. The gameplay loop is generally satisfying despite the minor annoyances, and can even feel a bit zen once the player manages to sink fully into the rhythm. Torchlight II does not do anything remarkable for the action hack-and-slash genre, but functions as a good spiritual successor to Diablo II and makes for a good alternative for hack-and-slash fans who were put off by Diablo III.
Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is something of an oddity. The game has a lot of depth to uncover and problems to overcome, but with a difficulty curve like a brick wall, many players will end up walking away in frustration. For those with the patience of a mountain, this is worth checking out, as the lush environments are beautiful to behold, and many fascinating discoveries wait to be made and passed on down the generations.
The Sinking City is one of the best Lovecraft-inspired games available and, despite some slightly awkward controls in places, the game is brilliantly crafted. Fans of horror will love its atmosphere and those who enjoy investigative games will quickly become absorbed in the depth offered by the gameplay. Those who loved L.A. Noire or Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, and players of the tabletop game, should definitely give thought to picking this title up.
Team Sonic Racing does not do anything that is revolutionary, but the single-player mode is a significant improvement on previous Sumo Digital racing titles, since the teamwork and customisation options add quite a bit of depth. The result is clearly meant to promote local multiplayer, but players can still have lots of fun solo. Team Sonic Racing definitely packs enough entertainment in to be worth the cost of entry.