Still, simply acknowledging real world problems isn't enough, even if most games refuse to even do that. If Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales is going to raise real-life issues, it needs to treat them with the respect and thoughtfulness that they deserve. As good as this game is, it could've been something genuinely special if it was as brave and confident as the comic book hero it stars.
Whatever profound or resonant thought about selfhood or nostalgia or the trauma of remembering is buried in summary, in lulling, tired melodies. Fundamentally, Kingdom Hearts recurs in the way capital recurs, pushing on despite its contradictions and always banking on something new. We deserve better stories than this, but now, more than ever, I know we won't find them here.
If Bugsnax wants us to seriously question our relationship to animals, our food sources, and nature itself, it probably shouldn't turn its equivalent to our livestock into run-of-the-mill videogame bad guys who need to be killed. It shouldn't portray these characters' escape as success. It'd be a far bleaker and more depressing game than anybody ever would've expected from that first trailer if the Grumpuses wound up being punished for their hostility to nature, but if Bugsnax isn't willing to fully engage with these weighty subjects, it shouldn't bring them up in the first place.
These days it's way too easy to get down in the dumps, doom scroll, and instantly complain about anything online; this game distracted me from that. It made me laugh, transporting my mind into a world where evil sentient emojis run a corrupt dating app, skeletons are motivational speakers, and goblins drink coffee from a pot. It gave me hope, and made me more optimistic at the prospect of real change, which can only happen when people respect each other, work together and rip it out of clutches of a CEO after slaying them with a giant sword.
It sells a London where you shoot rockets from a drone into the London Eye and then unlock the "Lambeth Defiant" rewards. A London where you can recruit and control everyone on the street, but can't reach out and touch them, or talk, or interact in any way that isn't knocking them out or shooting them in the head. A London where the city fades to background noise as you drive from waypoint to waypoint, and then stealth, and fight, and shoot, because there's nothing else to do.
Star Wars Squadrons is a solid Star Wars starfighter game that struggles under the limitations of trying to make a game that can be played both in and out of VR. The game's visuals are striking, but don't do much to makeup for its repetitive gameplay. As a VR experience, Star Wars Squadrons ranks among the best, but as a videogame it leaves much to be desired.
Maybe in a few months there'll be patches, course corrections, and I'll get an update and try it again. I came to Mordheim late and I have no idea what the base game was like. XCOM 2 needed War of the Chosen to really become the game I wanted to play. Maybe Rogue Factor just needs time to make Necromunda become the badass squad-skirmish game that I wanted it to be.
The genius of Spelunky 2 is that it somehow adds new possibilities to a game that already had endless possibilities. That's legitimately impressive. And that's why I'm sure I'll be playing this for as long as I've played the original, both games coexisting blissfully together as one of the absolute best parent-child pairs in gaming.
Four generations in, I felt it was time to retire and did so with a smile on my face. Crusader Kings III forces you to play as a human capable of only human feats, and constantly reminds you of that fact. But it is this limitation that gives every action you take a real sense of weight, and makes even the most mundane of decisions feel like life and death.