Pentiment did not give off the best first impression. But the more I played, the more I was engulfed with the game’s layered narrative filled with mysteries and intrigue. Dialogue choices were well realized, but the consequences didn’t garner the expected reactions. Despite being off-putting at first, the game’s visual and audio presentations complement its 16th-century art style well. Although the game’s limited scope is quickly apparent, Pentiment’s narrative design has a lot to offer and is another feather in the cap of Obsidian’s story-telling credentials.
Although rough around the edges, The Last Oricru delivered on what it intended to do. The game provided a decent souls like experience, with fun combat, great co-op, and an engaging premise. Best of all, this was all baked on top of a satisfying branching narrative system that truly delivers on player agency. The Last Oricru will likely surprise players, but expectations should be kept in check.
No Place for Bravery tries to carve its own place in a flood of Souls-like titles hitting the market to some success. Its excellent, yet tragic, story continues to resonate strongly with me and some of its set pieces were truly captivating. The combat was serviceable with a decent amount of enemy variety and always demanded my attention. However, the game was let down by its bland pixel graphics and technical hiccups.
As Dusk Falls delivered an enthralling narrative with solid characters to follow. The game’s original graphics and art direction were off-putting at first but grew on me over time. The soundtrack and voice acting were both excellent. Multiplayer was well realized and added a whole new dimension to the gameplay. Though the game’s ending was a huge letdown and felt cheap overall. Despite this, As Dusk Falls is a solid experience and is worthy of your time.
F1 22 has a lot of under-the-hood improvements that might not be obvious at first. Driving remains satisfying, engaging, and adaptable. While the AI is aggressive, it will likely add to your race experience. The game’s presentation remains impeccable and truly reflects authentic F1 coverage. There’s a ton of content to enjoy that will satiate F1 and racing fans. But its aging graphics and a lackluster F1 Life show that an overhaul is overdue.
Weird West is a strong debut for Wolfeye Studios. A lot of time and consideration went into crafting a fascinating setting and intertwined narrative. The game’s immersive sim mechanics are deep and truly reward player agency. The twin-stick combat works well enough as do the perks and abilities systems. Though the loot and leveling system were both underwhelming and the AI can act up at times. The cel-shaded graphics, while not groundbreaking, suit the aesthetics the game is going for and remain consistent all around. All in all, Weird West continues Devolver Digital’s strong pedigree of indie titles. Do not miss out on this wonderfully weird title.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Shadow Warrior 3. The game will never be the talk of the town, but not every title has to be. Gunplay is fast, frantic, and more importantly, fun. Those who enjoyed the DOOM franchise will feel right at home here. Maybe a little too much. Traversal sections are fun, though uninspiring. Graphically, the game looks great and complements its offbeat nature nicely. However, the bland level design, environments, flaccid Chi blasts, and inconsistent performance bring it down a couple of notches. But I can comfortably say that Shadow Warrior 3 will be one of the best-hidden gems of 2022.
Far Cry 6 is the culmination of everything Ubisoft learned over the years from the long-running series. Yes, the open-world formula is still there. But luckily, the publisher takes a few well-realized bit more risks to counter it. From the inclusion of an actual character protagonist to getting rid of the skill tree, and a complete gear and perks revamp, these new aspects paid dividends to create a fresh take on a long-running franchise. Far Cry 6 is one of the most thematically consistent entries in a long time. Graphically, the game is one of the best-looking games of this year. It also runs impeccably well at 60 FPS. Although there were a few technical hiccups along the path and some might be put off by the Ubisoft open-world formula, make no mistake, Far Cry 6 was treated with the utmost love and care and makes me excited for the future of the franchise.
Psychonauts 2 is a tremendous journey from start to finish. It takes what was successful from the first game, and improves what wasn’t, and cranks everything up to 11. Psychonauts 2 is the culmination of everything Double Fine has learned from its decorated history and is easily their best title to date. If you’re new to the series, you don’t have to worry. The game does a good job of filling you in on the characters and events from the first Psychonauts.
The Ascent gives off an impeccable first impression. The game is one of the most atmospheric titles I have experienced this year. Graphically, the game has some of the best environmental art styles of 2021. It’s a testament to the small developer team to be able to pull off these kinds of feats. However, where The Ascent does fall is in its uninspired RPG mechanics that felt like an afterthought. That, coupled with disastrous UI, difficulty spikes, and quest-scaling issues, hampered that amazing first impression. Though a later patch remedied some of these technical issues. All in all, The Ascent is definitely worth your time. It doesn’t overstay its welcome and will leave you a lasting impression of the dystopic nature that is the Arcology.
Overall, the game is a bloody good time. If you ever fantasized about being in a battle from Braveheart or lining the ranks in the Battle of the Bastards, then look no further than Chivalry 2. The combat is robust where it is easy to learn difficult to master and is thoroughly satisfying. There are a ton of cosmetics to unlock for each class. The voice acting is hilarious and shows the game does not take itself too seriously. Graphically, Chivalry 2 is beautiful thanks to it running on Unreal Engine 4. Although there are some fundamental technical issues that bring it down a bit, it’s not enough to dampen the experience.
Supercross 4 is undoubtedly the Forza of the motocross world. It is an immaculate representation of this form of motorsport. However, its grueling riding mechanics and difficulty truly make you feel like a rookie when you begin. There are some great ways to upgrade your ride and express yourself with player and bike customizations. If you are patient and put in the effort the game is extremely rewarding knowing that you developed your skills to compete with the best. There are plenty of modes, challenges, and variety in the game to keep you busy. Yet, like any other grind, it gets repetitive and ends up feeling samey.
Overall, Dirt 5 is a well-thought-out off-road package that is built upon a successful foundation. Satisfying driving, robust physics, and weather effects remain core to the experience and content is aplenty. The game’s playground mode is a wonderful addition that will help spark its players’ creative juices. While Dirt 5’s graphics and effects are impressive, it does have technical issues like pop-ins and weird audio bugs. A day-one patch and GPU driver optimization should address these issues. All in all, Dirt 5 continues the trend of Codemaster’s already impressive racing pedigree.