Super Cloudbuilt isn’t a bad game, but it’s only decent. When everything is at its best and you’re in the free flow of upper stratosphere parkour, it can be downright thrilling. The pure fun of those moments is frequent enough to save it. When you’re forced to slow down and repeat sections, or even a whole level, it loses that luster and the cracks start to show. Given the budget price, that’s forgivable, but it’s too bad the game doesn’t focus more on what it does so well instead of everything else games in this genre are “supposed” to have.
Dirt 4 is a great rally game. The accessibility it presents to newcomers, quickly transcending into more advanced driving techniques is one of its strongest features, but the thrill of the race on these unpredictable, minimap-less tracks never failed to get my heart pumping. There are some odd quirks with physics – cars have a tendency to pirouette like a ballerina from hitting a ridge the wrong way – and a too limited track creator, but these are nitpicks before all that Dirt 4 does so right. It’s time to get dirty.
Forgiving a story that leans a bit too heavily on its forebears, Outlast 2 is an excellent horror game. It’s frightening, repulsive, and filled with the thrilling anxiety of the best games of its type. It does exactly what a sequel should. It delivers on all of the refinements and expansions you would expect to find three years from the original; and though its larger environments sometimes lead to repeated deaths, they also amplify the dread of being hunted. Outlast 2 made me uncomfortable, anxious, repulsed and frightened, and yet I couldn’t wait to see what it would deliver next. That’s a horror game done right.
I could nitpick about small issues, like some textures that are painfully blurry or a handful of quirky localization issues. Those issues fade into the periphery, however. What doesn’t is simply this: Persona 5 is a triumph of game design that stands apart from other JRPGs. RPG fans owe it to themselves to drop what they’re doing and play now. You won’t regret it.
Sublevel Zero: Redux is a remastered and expanded version of the original 2015 release on PC. Having never played the PC version, I can’t comment on the changes to the original formula. What I can say consoles needed a 6DOF shooter a Sublevel Zero fills that void nicely. Its RPG and rogue-like elements elicit the addictive anticipation of one more run and, before you know it, you’re off again. The downsides of random generation aren’t unique to Sublevel Zero, but are disappointing nonetheless. The long-game isn’t quite there, and a few extra how-tos would be most welcome, but the mechanics of blasting your way through its robot infested halls are a lot of fun to master.
The Dwarves has [fun factor] in spades. The game is at once lighthearted in it’s art and humor, but also unsettling and sometimes wincingly violent. The dwarves are fun to be around. I wanted to see more of what they had to say and then take them into battle to put their mallets, axes, and great-weapons to use against the Crowd AI. Fun Factor doesn’t overcome the game’s issues, but it certainly helps mitigate them.
The Technomancer isn’t anything to write home about, but if you’re willing to overlook its flaws, this is Spiders’ most compelling world to date. Their vision of Mars is one that would be worth exploring even with its rough edges, if not for the sheer imbalance of a combat system that persistently drags the experience into the dregs of frustration. Spiders isn’t short on interesting ideas, it’s just the execution.
Is it worth returning if you already played last year's Original Sin? I think so. Even a year on, Divinity is still one of the best roleplaying experiences of the decade, particularly if you enjoy the old school stylings of a pulled back camera and heavy dialogue. There are some strange design "improvements" that will hopefully become optional in future updates, but overall this version of Divinity is a stellar improvement on an already excellent game.