Many believed Hitman would fail as an episodic release. As it turns out, a single massive map full of opportunity more than makes up for the staggered release schedule. Still, it stumbles with unexpected online requirements for a single player game and other technical issues.
With that said, though, Heaven's Hope is a sufficient little game, with an intriguing, unique story. Add to that the lovingly created scenery and enjoyable dialogue, and these smaller accomplishments almost overcome the game's foibles. Heaven's Hope does absolutely nothing new, but maybe that's all we need from a point and click game. Despite its occasionally frustrating puzzle design, Heaven's Hope is a pleasant time waster for a rainy weekend.
As someone who's proud to have played most of the world's (in)famous shmups, I have to say that Super Galaxy Squadron EX fails just as often it succeeds. Its seemingly inconsistent hitbox detection, sloppy bullet patterns and random spikes in difficulty tempers the awesome aesthetics, massive choice of ships, and incredibly fantastic soundtrack. It's not the worst shmup I've ever played, by far. However, it all but namedrops its influences, then does a poor job at emulating what made them so much fun. I would only recommend this for people who can't get enough of the genre.
The Flame in the Flood has learned a lot from the survival games that came before it, but The Molasses Flood have added a unique charm that you won't find anywhere else. The character and environment design is superbly animated, and I can't stress enough how fantastic the soundtrack is. The entire experience had a wonderful Roald Dahl/Aesop's Fables feel to it, which created one of the most unique atmospheres I've seen in a survival game. If dark and depressing survival games have left you out in the rain, you'll find shelter and warmth here.
Conventionally speaking, Klaus is a game like many others. It has some action, and a plot, and a few boss fights. But the way that it presents its story, and the way that the story is able to form a reflection of itself in the mind of the player, is unlike most games I've experienced. One might even call it bizarre. In the span of six to eight hours, Klaus goes from being a platformer, another title in one of the most universal gaming genres imaginable, to an experience well outside the realm of expectation. Players who want a simple platforming game will find a few twists on the old formulas, but those who are open to discovering a deeper meaning within games, specifically those who often associate themselves with a game's protagonist, will find much and more to enjoy with Klaus.
Mordheim is par for the course as far as tabletop-inspired tactical RPGs are concerned. The game foregoes accessibility for the sake of being "hardcore." This leaves many players to resort to trial and error before hitting their stride. If you're not well versed in the genre, this can be a bit of a time sink, which is especially unappealing when there are many, many other games to play that you'll find more enjoyable.
In Too Deep lays a foundation for where Michonne's little side trek is heading, and I am legitimately interested in what's to come. However, this first episode doesn't feel like anything I haven't already experienced outside of story, and I was hoping for a little bit more. Luckily, there are two more episodes to prove me wrong — and I hope that happens — but for now, The Walking Dead: Michonne is just another episode of zombie apocalypse drama to add to the pile.
I'm not sure where I left Henry at the end of the story, let alone Henry and his wife or Henry and Delilah, but I'm okay with not knowing. The experience in Wyoming might have complicated things in a way they weren't ready for, and it might have veered into the surreal, but I think it's what they both needed to move on — in whatever way that might be.
In my preview of Layers of Fear I wrote that "psychedelic" was assuredly the single best word to describe the game, and if I was to build on that at all my only other words would be "perfect balance." A perfectly balanced psychedelic acid trip through the mind of a delusional and less-than quintessentially tortured artist. At its core that's what makes Layers of Fear such an evocatively thrilling horror game: it strikes a fantastic balance between narrative, gameplay, atmospheric immersion, and evolving horror themes. If P.T. provided the inspiration for this new genre of atmospheric horror games, Layers of Fear has undoubtedly begun its perfection.
Far Cry Primal is a bitter world where "survival of the fittest" is the mantra, but the game gives me plenty of ways to become the one who survives. The primitive weapons are great, the authentic sounding language really pulls me in, and the challenge of sustaining this wicked land keeps me going. It's a vast departure from previous Far Cry games, but that risk paid off in a big way as each second spent in this world is a ton of fun. I hope more games give me the opportunity to go back to the primitive age, as it seems a lot more fun than just fighting the same war in modern times over and over again.
Rabi-Ribi is a fantastic love letter to Touhoumania fans, but at its core, it's an exceptional platformer that's so well designed it'd make Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya blush. Rabi-Ribi manages to blend multiple concepts together and distil them into something entirely unique, which is a rare sight these days. The difficulty is firm but fair, and the optional help solidifies that. Its Touhou-inspired cast may be too much for some players, but if you can stomach through its aesthetic, you'll experience one of the best indie titles of 2016, bar none. You'd be doing yourself a massive disservice by not giving Rabi-Ribi a shot.
The Following may be different than its core game, but in this case I think that helps more than hinders. One of Dying Light's biggest strengths was that it proved that zombie games could still be fun, and The Following absolutely retains that. It doesn't really add anything in the way of enemy variety, and its story, while interesting, isn't as fleshed out as it perhaps could be, but it is a genuinely fun time.
I like it, but I don't love it. I think its best is yet to come, but I know that its best is likely to come with an additional price tag attached to it, at least in some fashion. I think Street Fighter V has the potential to be the best Street Fighter ever. I just don't think it is right now, and I feel that this has a lot to do with the people behind SFV wanting it to be the headline event at EVO 2016 instead of EVO 2017. Nothing more.
I really wish that I could have enjoyed The Witness in the way so many others seem to. I tried, really I did. I attempted to see what was so "mindtwisting," "transcendental," or how it provokes "natural epiphanies." I just couldn't though. All I saw were endless line puzzles which felt like endless padding, like the creation of the island itself was as far as the developer got in planning and then realized they had to have some sort of driving mechanism to justify it. The depressing thing about it all is that it's such a waste. The island is a lovely place, and its oversaturated colors give just the right touch to a world that is vaguely fantastical. If Blow had put some variety into the puzzles, preferably using the excellent environment to its fullest, and actually telling a story instead of the lazy minimalistic mess that we got, this title could have been a Myst for a new generation. Instead, it's a dull, frustrating, pointless hike through a lovely, colorful, dead place. If you're looking for the same effect on the cheap, I recommend a box of crayons, a puzzle book, and a nice coloring sheet. You can use the money you have left over to get a game worth your time.
Perhaps if the team had aimed for a visual style just a bit more detailed, they could have landed on an aesthetic that really stood out, but unfortunately the dead-eyed caveman stare just doesn't do it for me. With some more varied weapons, a bit of a re-balancing on the health situation, and some re-arranging of stages so that they come along by theme rather than at random, Dinocide could have something going for it, but as it stands, I'm afraid it's just not noteworthy.
This may be the first substantial DLC for Rise of the Tomb Raider but it also sets a high standard. The incredibly cool hallucenogenic sequences that occur within are very much worth experiencing, even if Lara has no real part in the story. Nabbing a few extra items after completing it is pretty neat too, given their usefulness.