Far Cry never felt like just a shooter or just another open world game to me, but rather, a combination of many genres that offered balance between the cozier, more relaxing parts of the game and the high stakes, overstimulating pace of the main storyline. I guess maybe that's why, as I approached this review in the wake of Far Cry 5, I oddly felt the need to pin it to a single identity. I'm disappointed to see the series scale back at the expense of other features but New Dawn does a fine job of reinforcing that creative decision and offers some small hope that the writing may continue to improve. If outposts are your favorite part of the series, then you'll likely enjoy Far Cry New Dawn.
Which is why I find myself not angry with, but disappointed in YIIK. Where other games that draw heavily from the most celebrated of surreal ‘90s RPGs feel suffused with caring characters that carry the player through a harsh and weird world, YIIK comes off as callous, ignorant and (when the story finally begins picking up steam in its sixth or seventh hour) simply too late to be the groundbreaking experience that it so tries to be.
I am not out here hollering for a specific mode of card game design, and I love that we live in a world where there are a plurality of games for people with different desires and likes in their card games. I am simply saying that Artifact has emerged into a world where digital card games finally seem to have figured out the sweet spot between mechanical complexity and friendliness for new players, and it has totally ignored any and all of those lessons in favor of a model that, to me at least, seems to be interested in attracting diehard fans of massive complexity and basically no one else. And maybe that works for Valve and the Artifact design team, but it sure as hell doesn't work for me.
It's a structure, like a gym or a concert, and we have our role to play in it. It is good for what it is, but it isn't more than that. This is a first-person shooter on a large scale, and if you've played one before and you're itching for the most-recent and best-looking Battlefield, then you've found it. Anything more or less than that and you're better off getting last year's model. It's probably gotten all the kinks worked out, at least.
The ramp-up period to learn the game is long, even with the quickstart guide, because much of what factions can do and how they do it is new or just not intuitive. It's also the kind of game that can satisfy lots of different players, and I could easily see a group playing repeatedly with the same people playing the same factions because they learn specific strategies for each and like the style of one faction over all others. Just don't let the cute theme fool you—the forest of Root is a nasty, brutish place.
Overall, Call of Cthulhu is just average. Its decent story and adequate horror elements struggle against extremely hit-and-miss writing and game design that often throws the player into subpar stealth sequences. It's not without its merits, but for a game that promises Lovecraft in its most pure, most uncut Lovecraftian form to feel “competent,” at best, is its own sort of horror.
undefined.I may not be home and able to play this latest entry with my mother, but it feels wonderful to call her and tell her that there's a new Soulcalibur game that's pretty dang good despite some relatively minor flaws; that characters we loved like Talim, Taki and Xianghua have returned; and that I'm making new memories with beloved friends so amusing that I've already begun to record them. Soulcalibur VI isn't just a reboot—it's a revitalization, and it proves that the tale of souls and swords still has the potential to be eternally retold.
And I guess, for some people, that might be the carrot that keeps them moving on. But when I reached that point in Horizon 4 after a couple dozen hours, I didn't have the drive to keep going and pursuing new paths. If you do, it is probably a game that will get its hooks in you like Need For Speed Underground 2 did me all those years ago.
As an Assassin's Creed it turns Origins from an outlier into the start of the new status quo, sacrificing a bit of its identity in order to bring it more in line with Ubisoft's other open world games. It still captures much of what makes these games special, though, from the historical setting, to the dynamic action, to one of the few stealth combat systems that isn't too slow or frustrating to enjoy. Embark on this journey with confidence, but be prepared to lose a lot of your free time along the way.
That being said, Life is Strange 2 boldly covers subject matter that so often is tiptoed around or completely ignored in entertainment, and it's refreshing to see the studio address topics like racism and police brutality head-on. While I'd like to see some technical aspects polished up (the facial animations still lack a decent range of expression, for example), Episode 1 is a solid start on this new saga in the series. I look forward to seeing what becomes of the Diaz brothers as they continue to head towards Mexico over the course of the next four episodes.
Given its focus on unity, it's not surprising that the game always returns to ideas of harmony. It's a game about music, after all, so the motif fits. And while playing Wandersong, I also felt like harmony was that much closer, that the greatest evils were defeatable if only we could rally together. And that's a powerful thing for a game about a humble lil bard.
Give me a female lead who wakes up, pisses out her diaphragm and does a shot of Jager while she's still on the toilet. Give me someone who is messy, who makes mistakes not out of a misguided and entitled sense of right and wrong, but because human beings are flawed and have complicated motivations. It's a tall order in an atmosphere where AAA games are designed just as much by their investors as they are their writers, but in the case of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, I still wish they'd actually get their hands dirty.
This game understands why Spider-Man has been perhaps the most popular superhero of the last half-century, and does about as good of a job as the comics or movies at capturing the character's essence. It blends more than fifty years of Spider history together, molds it around a thrilling recreation of Spider-Man's trademark motion and fighting styles, and puts you in control of the whole thing. All together that makes this one of the most mechanically, narratively, and nostalgically satisfying big budget games of the year, and the best Spider-Man game yet.
Destination Primus Vita's first episode makes a strong impression, with a captivating story and puzzles that take some thought but aren't too harsh. It provides a steady balance of narrative mystery and challenging quests, and I can't wait to see what the other episodes will reveal.
It does take a half-hearted stab at commentary near the end, as you face off with the leader of the raccoons and his very American stance on (late) capitalism, but it's a little perfunctory and played more for laughs than anything else. If Donut County has contempt for anything, it's raccoons more than politics—it does not portray our furry, garbage-plundering friends in a positive light. Holes might wreck this town, but the reputation of raccoons suffer the greatest damage.
This entry feels a lot more accessible and welcoming compared to other games in the series, and the English voice overs help to breath a lot of character into the extremely long plotline. With that said, it feels as though the efforts made to appeal to a western audience for this localization have in turn caused it to become much tamer, especially when it comes to the game's combat difficulty. Despite its minor flaws, Dragon Quest XI's sprawling story easily outshines everything else and makes for an exciting adventure for you to lose yourself in.
As a first-party Nintendo game, it's entirely possible my expectations were a little too high going into the game. That said, it didn't feel worth the storage space it took up on my SD card, even though I got it for free. The game aims for surreal and surprising, but just feels shallow. Desperate to find something nice to say about WarioWare Gold, I even tried the "kid test" and ran it by my young niece.
Not content with sheer novelty, Dead Cells importantly taps into the most significant aspect of both of the genres it fuses together. Few games are as addictive as those Metroid-style backtrackers, and perhaps the only thing that has come close this decade is the spate of roguelike platformers that flourished in Spelunky's wake. Dead Cells beautifully captures what makes both of those genres impossible to put down, uniting the “just one more” drive of a roguelike with the “must keep going” compulsion of a Metroid. It's a smart, confident piece of work that works perfectly with the Switch's portability, and anybody interested in either of the genres it builds on should consider checking it out.