Deathloop is genuinely refreshing in how different it is. It took me a while to get used to not saving, and being more daring in my battles against the Eternalists, most of which ended successfully and only occasionally ended with me being shot to pieces. The world is fascinating and the way you gradually learn new tidbits of information each loop means that even if you are killed prematurely, you still feel you have meaningfully progressed. Each zone has loads of secrets to uncover and will respond to Colt’s actions in different ways, meaning that mastering the maps and their layouts is crucial to fully upgrading Colt’s weaponry and hopefully bringing about a final end to the time loop. Deathloop is a brave change of direction for Arkane, and one which I think is overall extremely successful. It might not be an immersive sim, but it’s still a hell of a fine game.
No Longer Home doesn’t out stay its welcome and is a relatively short experience, but I generally found it interesting and inventive. It clearly borrows heavily from Kentucky Route Zero, but wisely doesn’t try to imitate it, but rather borrows narratively and structurally. Ao and Bo’s relationship is very well fleshed out, and they are honest and truthful to each other in a refreshing way, their dialogue never feeling forced or unnatural. This is commendable, as realistic romantic relationships are often difficult to accurately convey in video games. It’s a game which pauses and asks you to value the small moments in life. I took this lesson to heart, using every opportunity I could to pet the flat’s two cats, Luna and Autumn. Sometimes, just petting a cat can spark joy. Life consists of a multitude of small moments, and at some point, we all must move from old homes and build new ones. No Longer Home, like Gone Home before it, proves the adage “you can’t go home again” remains as true as ever.
Samurai Warriors 5 is an extremely over-the-top, ridiculous game. It’s a game where your character can slice his enormous sword at a battalion of soldiers, obliterating them in a massive fireball. It’s a game where you can ride your horse through hundreds of archers, cutting them down while barely getting a scratch on you. It’s a game where if you pull off the correct combination of moves, your character can basically “fly”, zipping around with inhuman speed while inflicting devastating power attacks. All of this from what is on paper supposed to be a realistic, historical action game. This juxtaposition of a relatively serious story with the ludicrous action is a formula that works surprisingly well, creating a core gameplay loop which is engaging, if sometimes a bit repetitive. If you accept the game for what it is, you’ll find a satisfying hack-and-slash with plenty of replayability.
Although it covers fairly deep emotional subject matter, The Magnificent Trufflepigs is generally an extremely relaxing, easy-going game with no fail states; a “walk-‘em-up” where you wander across several fields, digging up old bits of rubbish while reminiscing with an old friend.