Astellia is a tremendous, full-fledged MMO, with large areas to explore, tons of tiny features to fiddle with, auction houses, end-game dungeons, and more than enough to keep any MMO player busy. Despite some of the great features Astellia brings to the table, the Astel collection system, the detailed world, and a fairly balanced combat system, it isn’t enough to break from the sheer monotony, bugs, and lack of character attachment that would bring Astellia from being just another Korean game to being a bright star in a cloudy sky.
There’s nothing new to see here, just a port of an old classic. For some, I’m sure that this is all that they want or need, but for others I feel that it’s a shame Dark Alliance II hasn’t been modernized - at least a little bit - to bring the gameplay more in line with the times so that it would feel more accessible to newer players. Even still, Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II’s price tag at $29.99 feels too steep for what it is. Unless you’re a diehard fan of the Dark Alliance series, I’d wait for a hefty sale before picking this up.
Stardock has created a game with good bones. Some of the new systems, such as the core world management and ideology system, add to/improve the game. Unfortunately, other systems feel tedious at times. They are not broken per se but are not quite there yet. They either bog down the gameplay or lack impact on the experience. The core gameplay loop is decent, but it just didn’t hook me into feeling the need to play one more turn before bed. If you enjoy the series, Galactic Civilizations IV is worth picking up. Otherwise, I would wait for a few patches or DLC to help flesh out some of the systems.
Zenith: The Last City, by RamenVR, has been a hard game to rate. It is an excellent VR experience that shows what the future of a fully realized VR MMORPG could look like, and Zenith could be that MMORPG with time. The game can be a grind, especially when soloing. But the combat, group activities, and box price all are on target. Features like climbing and gliding make for a uniquely VR experience. But lack of content and the existing bugs are currently holding it back from being a must-own VR title.
Sands of Salzaar, for all intents and purposes, feels more like a work in progress as opposed to a final release. If this were an early access preview, I would say that each of the core components has potential and just needs to be fleshed out. As a final product review, I must say that even though Sands of Salzaar promises an intriguing blend of RPG and strategy elements, it fails to provide the depth and complexity needed for long-term replayability.
New World is off to a rocky start, but if Amazon can right the ship and address real player concerns, it has the chance to be something really special. But right now, it’s an okay experience overall that leaves me wanting more in order to stick around.
Overall Landmark is fun and really interesting. I enjoy making things and figuring out how everything works a lot more than I thought I would. Unfortunately, there are a number of areas where the game just doesn’t feel entirely complete or polished. I don’t have an old or out dated computer and the load times were incredible and having lag when working with the build tools is really frustrating. However, Landmark is only ten dollars and does provide a fair amount of entertainment.
The Technomancer isn’t anything to write home about, but if you’re willing to overlook its flaws, this is Spiders’ most compelling world to date. Their vision of Mars is one that would be worth exploring even with its rough edges, if not for the sheer imbalance of a combat system that persistently drags the experience into the dregs of frustration. Spiders isn’t short on interesting ideas, it’s just the execution.
All in all, Van Helsing III isn't a bad game exactly, but it's not a great game either and in some ways, it's a disappointing end to what has otherwise been a good series in the ARPG genre. For my money, the series reached its zenith at the second and should have closed the door then.
High on Life is a decent FPS with great voice acting and an interesting new universe to explore. While I didn’t find any point in the game where I laughed out loud, if you are someone who enjoys the humor of Rick and Morty, then you will likely enjoy this experience as well. Just be aware that at different points the subject matter can be offensive to some, and the swearing is pretty much constant. High on Life may even be too much for some fans of Justin Roiland. While players won’t find anything new for mechanics and world traversal that has not been in other FPS titles, it is a good set of bones for future DLC and/or sequels.
Chimeraland by Pixel Soft is an unpolished experience with minor bugs, but it is still weirdly fun. Player races and various creatures are some of the oddest things I have seen in any MMO. The layout of the UI for PC is not intuitive compared to mobile, and there are localization issues. Players may be turned away by some of the graphics and the initial learning curve. But if you can get by these issues, there is a lot of game here for players who enjoy exploration, survival building mechanics, and pet collection/evolution. While many of Chimeraland’s systems at a base level can feel familiar, it is a unique experience.
I want to fully endorse Gamedec, and up to a certain point I do, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention the radical shift in the game's focus. Up until then the investigations are mysterious and fun, telling a legitimately interesting tale. After it the game feels like it goes into hyperdrive, not stopping until the credits roll. If this universe is ever revisited, I would hope there would be more investigative stories and less weird color-coded mazes. As it stands then, Gamedec is best described as a promising title with uneven execution.
Bless Unleashed PC served as a nice diversion for a while. Even having a few alts created I worry about the server population, if my hollow guild is any indication. I’ll most likely visit from time to time to take part in some world boss events, but I can’t see myself sticking with it long term when other MMOs have nice expansions coming out.
So is it the perfect game? No, unfortunately, it is not. But if you like werewolves, are familiar with the original Werewolf: The Apocalypse universe, or just want to hulk around as a giant wolf throwing people around like ragdolls then it might be worth your time.