Overall it's a pretty great year for Call of Duty, even if it feels like the once-dominant shooter series is now playing catch-up to an industry that left it behind. That may be the case, but Treyarch did a damn fine job catching up at least.
For anyone who played The Elder Scrolls III, who yearns for Morrowind and the island of Vvardenfell, being able to revisit even the shadow of those memories is a treat. The old theme music swells, you take those first steps into Seyda Neen, and it's almost the same. Close enough, anyway—like seeing the reunion tour of your favorite band. They're older, maybe less daring, but the hits are timeless.
For now? It’s a good start. I’m not hooked like the first season of The Walking Dead or Wolf Among Us, but it’s looking like more of a slow burn with a lot of potential. Telltale sets up a lot of plot threads in this first episode, and it’s actually pretty impressive how many bit players they’ve introduced in just an hour and a half.
What’s the saying? “Old witchers never die, they just fade away.” Something like that. One thing’s for certain: The Witcher 3 is one of the best RPGs I’ve ever played, and Blood and Wine is a fitting capstone not only on it but on the whole series. I’ll miss it.
Prison Architect is a mostly-honest and unflinching look at our modern society and its approach towards prisoner rehabilitation...or lack thereof. It's a fascinating game, in no small part because it so expertly casts a real-world debate in video game terms and in doing so forces players to examine their own beliefs. And it's a hell of a lot of fun, besides.
It's an unconventional game with interesting ideas—questions we don't ask often in games, mainly because most games aren't interested in this sort of dialog. We subsist mainly on a steady diet of summer blockbusters, and it's not often a weird art house game like The Beginner's Guide comes along, let alone gains any traction.
Unfortunately [Corpse of Discovery] is broken. This is one of those instances where I find the idea of a game more interesting than the game itself, not least because I quickly tired of trying to first-person platform at a herky-jerky 12 frames per second crawl. I'll try and update this review if it gets fixed, but in its current state Corpse of Discovery is nigh-unplayable.
The fact is, The White March Part One is good fodder for those coming in fresh and a fine addition for those looking to replay, but isn't compelling enough on its own for you to come back to Pillars of Eternity if you've already finished the game.
A few of my complaints from last year remain - the user interface could still use some beautification and the tech web is borderline impenetrable for first-time players. But Firaxis has made some smart choices with Rising Tide. It's starting to distinguish itself from Civilization V finally, and not just in terms of the way units look. Playing Rising Tide - especially on a water-heavy map - feels appreciably different from previous Civ games.
It's not Battlefront III enough for the Battlefront diehards. It's not Battlefield enough for the Battlefield crowd. And it's not deep enough ... for me to believe the game has staying power - though it's noob-friendly enough that it may (temporarily) appeal to the masses of Star Wars fans that have never touched its predecessor or a modern shooter, but want to pick up a fun video game after seeing The Force Awakens.
The Talos Principle almost staged a last-minute Game of the Year upset on PCWorld last December, and for good reason—it's one of the best puzzle games ever made. And Road to Gehenna is that most boring and yet occasionally most earnest of compliments: "More of the same."
It's more than a bit silly and mindless but, well, the whole aRPG genre is a bit silly and mindless. Victor Vran strips out some of the complexity of its peers, but makes up for it with a dynamic combat system and incredibly modular character customization. And the most awful hats. And stale jokes that are so stale they're almost funny again. Almost.