In those halcyon days for Valve, there was no way of knowing that Half-Life fans would have to wait more than a decade for a new entry in the hallowed franchise. But twelve years, five months, and thirteen days later, a strange thing happened: a new Half-Life game released. It’s called Half-Life: Alyx, and it’s brilliant.
Kentucky Route Zero feels breathtakingly original. For something this powerful to exist in any medium would be a triumph. But for it to exist now, as an interactive narrative drawn with striking visuals, meaningful choices, and moving music, feels more like a miracle.
For all of the delightful combat, fun puzzles, and great narrative moments, Fallen Order is still marred by derivative action, frustrating navigation, and technical issues that prevent it from taking its place alongside Jedi Outcast and Knights of the Old Republic as one of the all-time great Star Wars games.
Death Stranding is a distorted vision of the open-world genre, pulled apart by its individual threads, deconstructed, and sewn back together in the image of its director, Hideo Kojima. It’s an astonishing, compelling and provocative experience, even if it isn’t always as exciting to play as it is to think about.
All of that has been done away with, replaced by a nauseating terrine of pointless progression mechanics, baffling interface decisions, and clunky controls, fermented in a formaldehyde cocktail of technical issues. This game is agonizingly bad.
If players give it time, and accept it on its own terms, they’ll find a masterpiece of third person action, physics-based chaos, and bravura visual design lurking under this thick slab of untreated concrete. This isn’t just Remedy’s best game since Max Payne 2. It’s the best game the studio has ever made.
Nothing else quite captures the experience of being hunted by a mammoth horde or finally taking them down with equal parts brain and brawn. Yes, it has its issues, there are some annoyances and oversights, but they aren’t enough to keep me from recommending Days Gone to just about everyone with a PS4.