It's a shame that a mechanic as promising as playing as a toddler — and all the repercussions surrounding it — is underplayed here, as tied in with a psychological leaning in horror, Among the Sleep could have offered a fresh take in what is a painstakingly underused concept in games. [Hardcore Gamer separately reviewed the PS4 (2.5) and PC (2.0) versions. Their scores have been averaged.]
As a single-player campaign, Blackrock Mountain isn't quite as well-tuned as Curse of Naxxramas, but it makes up for that shortcoming by somehow being even funnier. It proves that Naxx wasn't a fluke – these adventures aren't just convoluted card-delivery systems, they're legitimately fun experiences in their own right.
That's kind of the crux of the problem: everything in The Charnel House Trilogy is too obvious. You see most of the scares coming a mile away, it's super easy to see through the psychological tricks that it tries to employ and once you understand what's going on with the train it doesn't feel particularly ominous anymore, no matter what tone the graphics and music might otherwise set.
The main plot of Dreamfall Chapters has still yet to begin in earnest, but the character writing and world building are more than strong enough to carry us through to the next act. A lot does happen in this second episode — fates are changed, important decisions are made and the events to come are beginning to take shape.
Sunless Sea is a little darker and less cheerful than its already morbid sister Fallen London, but it's no less delightful. The Unterzee is awash with clever, well-written stories, and you're sure to find something new every time you set sail – even if actually finding it can take a while.
If you love point and click adventures, The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is everything you could possibly want and more. With stunning (and clever) graphics, a fully orchestrated soundtrack and top-notch voice acting, its production values are second to none, and it has writing chops to match.
Like its predecessors, Total War ATTILA is equal parts grueling and rewarding, a deep simulation of medieval warfare that lets you shift the tide of one of history's bloodiest conflicts. Unlike some of its predecessors, this game feels thoroughly polished, without any technical gaffes or design mistakes to speak of.
It's very tempting to dismiss Life is Strange out of hand as the same pretentious pabulum that it emulates, but the affectations of hipster cinema prove essential to its narrative goals. DONTNOD's sophomore effort aims to capture the voice of today's youth, and outside of a few heavy-handed moments it succeeds.
The entire adventure genre owes a debt to Grim Fandango. It pioneered the immersive, cinematic gameplay that would later be used by the likes of Telltale and Quantic Dream, and its quality writing and puzzle design set a high bar that almost every adventure to follow would strive to meet.
If Earthbound is a Japanese interpretation of Americana as seen through a filter of sitcoms, b-movies and news reels, then Citizens of Earth offers a Canadian take on the country we see through The Daily Show and the front page of Reddit. But where Shigesato Itoi displays deep fondness for his source material, Eden Industries is clearly more attached to the games that inspired them than they are to their game's setting.
The Witcher Adventure Game takes everything from the tabletop game of the same name and digitizes it, with a great deal of attention paid to aesthetics. Unfortunately, the board game being emulated here is poorly-designed, and the gorgeous visuals sometimes get in the way of its functionality.
The Marvellous Miss Take has a good deal going for it – fast-paced stealth gameplay, eminently charming visuals and a fantastic pun for a title. There's a decent variety to the level design and new game elements are introduced at a good clip to keep things fresh.