Walking simulator as a term started as a dismissive joke, and Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is the punchline, a shaggy dog effort determined to mock the idea that games need players. It's not meta. It's not clever. It's banal and tedious and if your narrative focused do-nothing game wouldn't work as a halfway interesting short story, then it won't be better just because you force people to walk slowly around a wholly un-interactive game space while you drip-feed them unconnected plot points.
The launch has been something of a mess all around, from the removal of one of the Specialist’s abilities (an impossible-to-take-out shield) through to a gadget that caused server issues like rubber-banding. Both of these are back in the game, yet the shield can still fully absorb the imposing force of a tank shell. For a series that has always been about fostering a refined sandbox with clear objectives creating some truly spectacular moments, the tank shell sending the shielded player flying makes more sense (the physicality of Battlefield V would have allowed for such a trick). I could list a dozen more examples and ‘what if’ scenarios, but it ultimately circles back to one singular point. Battlefield 2042 is a heartbreaking disappointment.
Like so many early releases in a console's life cycle it's a showcase title -- get it if you want to justify your console purchase to your significant other or if you want to punch-on with your mates without the legal repercussions, but fair warning -- dig at all and you'll realise just how shallow the game really is.
With Back 4 Blood available on Xbox Game Pass on PC and Console there’s reason to jump in if you’re looking for something new to play with friends. The look and feel is familiar and the action is engaging and chaotic when played with a group. For a while that is. Thanks to the sameness that permeates across most levels and backdrops and the predictability of the pace, it doesn’t take long for this Left 4 Dead spiritual successor to wear a little thin.
Playing in a squad is the experience in terms of actual playability, and on that front it’s fun to be in the midst of a distinct 1986 cinematic Aliens vibe for a time. Sharing in the look and feel, pointing out the similarities, the inconsistencies, and questioning some of the questionable logic. In the end the impressive, but static, visuals and sound design do a lot to put you into the universe. But, at best Aliens: Fireteam Elite is what you play in the arcade before jumping into the cinema proper.