Happily, Death’s Door, the new action adventure game about a hard-working, soul-reaping crow is very much a love letter to the old Zelda games. Its mechanics are satisfying in a chip-off-the-old block way, its visuals are a delight and its story line is touched with assured, easygoing humor.
It’s a structure that ensures different perspectives and voices carousel in and out with pleasing regularity, but also in accordance with your mood. It works to intertwine three stories that are differently enjoyable — Meena’s is the most interesting character study, Donna has the most captivating mystery, John is primarily the comic relief — playing them off each other to make them that much more gripping than they would be alone. Variable State may still not have found the perfect interactive formula for its cinematic talents, but until it does “Last Stop” remains a moderate success.
Just over a half-decade later, I played “Breath of the Wild,” which, for me and many others, became the gold standard Zelda game. It is hard — even a bit unfair — to compare the two titles. Their design intentions are different. The mechanics and technological specifications both were built around are incomparable. Even still, it cannot be denied that “Skyward Sword HD” exists in “Breath of the Wild’s” shadow, in the lull before the arrival of the latter game’s sequel. The freedom of style, movement and choice that defines the newer game cannot be forgotten or wished away. It dates “Skyward Sword HD” more than the motion controls — a throwback to the Wii — ever could.
Is nostalgia and love of golf enough to carry “Mario Golf” as a whole? It has enough just to keep players interested. During a multiplayer session with Nintendo, I got to run around in Battle Golf and Speed Golf. Much of the fun came from other people’s reactions to landing bogeys or particularly clean shots. If you happen to have a gaggle of friends who love golf, this just might be the game for you. Otherwise, “Mario Golf” falls flat on its own.
“Subnautica: Below Zero’s” conventional sci-fi story line, which revolves around a greedy corporation looking to get ahead in the weapons business, never raised my interest. But the painstaking effort it takes to get Robin from one minor narrative point of interest to another made me appreciate its small, very human scale of success.
The game excels at giving people a small taste of programming, but the game’s pupils will have to seek unabridged coding lessons elsewhere. It’s hard to give the game a final score in its current form, because what people design in free programming and post online will ultimately add to the game’s potential.