Here’s the thing, though; despite every issue that the GTA: DE suffers from, I’ve still been having a good time with it. Which is simply a testament to how well-written the Grand Theft Auto series is. The GTA: DE needs a patch. Or, maybe, it needs a boatload of patches. Though, I still find myself enjoying the over-the-top storylines, ridiculous dialogue, and outrageous mission structure. It’s hard to call these definitive, but still easy to call them classics.
I can’t see the NHL franchise reaching the heights of its mid-2000s glory years anytime soon, but at least we have the Frostbite engine in there to start building upon. It took far too long to arrive, though; it’s here now. And while I can see the potential for it to one day have this series feeling exciting again, I don’t see that happening for a long time. But, hey, it’s the only hockey game in town, so I guess I’ll see you on the ice.
Back 4 Blood is one that I’ll be playing for a long time to come. Turtle Rock Studios has committed to improving the game, both through new content and patches. And I trust that they’ll right most of the wrongs with their latest zombie-slaying simulator. It may feel light on content, and you’ll need a team of people if you want to make any actual progress, but hop on board now, and you still be pleasantly surprised at just how fun Back 4 Blood can be.
As a big fan of the original, the announcement of Alan Wake Remastered was a pleasant surprise. And while I enjoyed my time with it, I can’t help but feel like this is merely a tiny taste of what’s to come. Veterans of the franchise won’t find any reason to go back, and if they do, they may even find that the memory of playing Alan Wake is better than the game itself. Newcomers will find a lot to love; however, granted, they can grind through its annoyances.
WRC 10 isn’t going to be for everybody, but I think the ones that love it will really love it. The driving is excellent, and the sound design is next to none. Plus, it features a deep career mode and several historical scenarios for you to sink your teeth into. One minute, it’s frustrating the hell out of you; the next, you’re pumping your fist in the air over the milliseconds you were able to shave off a run. And that’s what racing is all about.
It’s time for Visual Concepts and 2K Games to go back to the drawing board with their microtransaction philosophy. At this point, it’s hard not to feel like they’re gouging the player. Especially given the exorbitant prices their premium edition versions cost. And it’s so damned frustrating to dislike as much of 2K22 as I did because behind every extra dollar asked of me was an excessively smooth compressed spin or step-back jumper to put a smile on my face.
Bus Simulator 21 turned out to be a lot better than I was anticipating. It has a ton of the typical shortcomings you see in simulator-type games, but it also gets a lot right. The maps are large, pretty, and varied. Busses handle well and feel weighty when making corners. And the multiplayer is genuinely fantastic. If other sims take note of what Bus Simulator 21 is doing in regards to cooperative modes, this might be a genre I start to pay much more mind to.
Demagog Studio is on to something with Golf Club: Wasteland, and it’s absolutely something they should be proud of. This is a developer I’ll now be watching with a close eye, as I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. Whatever this small Serbian team has in the pot, rest assured I’ll be first in line. Check out Golf Club: Wasteland and the original soundtrack “Radio Nostalgia from Mars.” And bring some tissues.
I do think that Maple Powered Games is on to something here with Monster Harvest. Its mishmash of systems accomplishes, for the most part, what they were trying to do – this is undeniable. Just be forewarned that under nearly every rock, and within the leaves of all those trees, there will sit a bug waiting to suck the entertainment out of it. And what you get out of Monster Harvest will vary depending on how willing you are to put up with that. Still, there’s a lot to enjoy here, and if you’re a fan of Stardew Valley or Pokemon, you owe it to yourself to check this one out.
My words will never do justice for Ghost of Tsushima’s brilliance. James Paley summed it up better than I ever could: “[Ghost of Tsushima] revealed itself as a compelling, masterful work of art. Nothing feels useless or extraneous. The story wastes little time, the fights are all exuberant and engaging, the exploration is addicting, and the entire game is gorgeous.” I couldn’t agree more. And the Director’s Cut is miles ahead of the original. Go get it.