War Hospital is a primarily functional World War I management simulation game that struggles to establish a meaningful connection between players and their staff and patients. As you progress beyond the initial hours, the gameplay becomes bogged down by repetitive mechanics exacerbated by an inadequate user interface with insufficient tooltips and unclear instructions, accompanied by a host of frustrating bugs that compelled me to frequently reload older save files and restart entire chapters.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is at its best when it encourages you to be patient and focus on discovering its world, taking in the strange shapes of its trees and plants, while uncovering Na'Vi stories and customs. Easily the best way to experience the universe envisioned by James Cameron, it's also a fun enough take on a FarCry game, albeit not one that refreshes Ubisoft's tired formula nearly enough.
The repetitive minigames that occupy a significant portion of the gameplay in Zipp's Cafe tend to hinder its charm, despite the narrative potential that flickers through its admittedly dry dialogues. While the game succeeds to some extent in immersing players into its expansive setting, the lackluster routine of food and drink preparation, coupled with insufficiently developed characters, makes it challenging to feel drawn into becoming a frequent visitor.
A masterpiece in terms of atmosphere building and one of the few games in a long while that effortlessly kept me fully engrossed in its world, Alan Wake 2 is Remedy Entertainment's best game yet. Expert use of the contrast between light and dark works in tandem with spot-on sound design and deadly enemies to successfully insert horror even in the most inoffensive of places.
When played in solo mode, Endless Dungeon creates a functional blend of elements from different genres that, unfortunately, fails to capitalize on the uniqueness of its universe and keep things interesting in the long run. Stale rogue-lite progression systems alongside heroes and guns that do not go through significant transformations as you play then fuel tedium.
Total War: Pharaoh will surely benefit from the shortage of AAA strategy games with real-time battles, but it may play things too safe for the most demanding fans of the series, and given it's a full-price release, the overall scope lands dangerously close to that of the Total War Saga entries.
With so many games on the horizon, the series is threatening to mimic sports franchises on an action-adventure level; the addictive same-old repackaged and resold back to you year-on-year. Mirage might promise a fresh oasis from afar, but get closer and it's the same formula, drier and less quenching than before.
The Lamplighters League's stimulating turn-based battles encourage you to carefully consider your actions each turn. Use your agents unique abilities in just the right order and you can go well beyond the default number of action points, while taking down entire groups of opponents.
Party Animals stands out as an enjoyable and hilarious multiplayer physics game that will entertain and keep you occupied. Thanks to various game modes and an unpredictable physics system, you can be sure this game guarantees laughter and memorable moments when playing with your friends.
A minor gripe would be that the content is a little short, but as this is intended to be another episode for the series, it's not a serious gripe. A nice taster without being a waste of time, a great introduction to social games without the pressure of eight-player ability fuelled mayhem, and an enjoyable adventure for experienced thinkers and friends alike. Plus, pirates! Try it.
Such letdowns underpin a game that I initially really liked and quickly grew weary of. There's fun to be had, and co-op may open up the enjoyment even more. But heed the warning; most of Atlas Fallen's positives are tapered by the sense it hates its players and isn't willing to give back on the effort put in.
Remnant 2's revamped archetype system and improved world generation breathe new life into what otherwise remains an iterative sequel that sees no need to fix what isn't broken. Great gunplay and creative weapon mods fuel its addictive moment-to-moment gameplay, while offering enough reasons to keep clearing dungeons, grinding materials, and upgrading or trying out new guns.
Age of Wonders 4: Dragon Dawn offers a satisfactory amount of content at its price point, focusing on a beloved element of the fantasy genre. The inclusion of mixed affinity tomes adds intriguing twists to gameplay, although witnessing the evolution of new units can prove challenging due to their inherent fragility. The larger dragon units and Dragon Lords themselves appropriately embody a sense of awe and power on the battlefield.
An impressive remake/reimagining of the series from a technical standpoint, and there are some welcome changes to the way each game plays. It's unfortunate that efforts to tie the individual stories together don't always land, but it generally does the trick.
Diablo 4 doesn't revolutionize hack and slash RPGs like its predecessors did, but its blend of new and old features works quite well. Its return to a darker, gothic art style that embraces gore, ugliness, and religious imagery really makes its world effortlessly etch into your mind the detailed shapes of demonic sculptures and remains of obliterated foes.