Congratulations, Bethesda. After thirteen years of disliking your games, Fallout 4 has made a true believer out of me, and an ardent one at that. This is some damn fine work, guys. I have no idea how in the hell you're going to be able to follow this one up. Good luck with that.
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.
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.
Yes, the Batmobile really wears out its welcome, the side-content isn't as fun as it could (should) be, and the true ending requirement feels like unnecessary padding. There were also some frustrating bits here and there, but I can't deny that I enjoyed most of my time with Batman: Arkham Knight, because it does a lot more right than it does wrong. Overall, if you enjoyed the other Arkham entries, you should definitely play this one.
Hyper Light Drifter is a great game, but it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea. It's polished to a mirror shine, it's tuned to mechanical harmony, it's gorgeous for the eyes and ears alike, but has a plot that doesn't even try (or even seemingly care) to make sense. It can also be really, really tedious to play through, as it leans heavily on classical, trial-and-error mechanics. It's a rare and beautiful gem that only certain people will find the full, true value in.
Minecraft: Story Mode's first chapter proves that the Telltale style of storytelling can fit in any universe, as it's a delightful romp through the blocky world of Minecraft.
Despite what you might think of the source material's other incarnations, the Ultimate Ninja Storm series is where the world of Naruto truly comes to life. The story mode alone justifies the game's purchase, and the versus mode is a hell of a lot of fun...provided you're not going online to play. It gets kind of dicey at that point.
Overall, Hearts of Stone was everything that I wanted out of the first story expansion for Wild Hunt. I'm already anxiously awaiting the release of its follow-up Blood and Wine, which is said to consist of an additional 20 hours of gameplay. Whether you're looking for engaging combat with memorable boss fights, new interpersonal relationships and meaningful character development, or a mysterious and enthralling quest line that will keep you hooked until the very end, Hearts of Stone has it for you in spades. CD Projekt RED has once again outdone themselves and created an expansion that stands far enough apart from the original game to provide completely new adventure, but close enough to home to remind you why The Witcher 3 is one of the best RPGs of our time.
Until Dawn contains almost everything I want from a story-driven horror game. A thoroughly captivating narrative, a believable dynamic between characters, choices that have a direct and meaningful impact on the storyline, and most essentially: a constant state of tense fear created through the environment and narrative. If you're looking for the next great horror game, look no further. Just wait for the sun to go down, turn off the lights, and try and survive Until Dawn.
For fans of physics-based platformers, Airscape: The Fall of Gravity is a must-play. The unique way it blends traditional platforming with swimming segments and gravity makes for some truly creative ideas, and you'll find plenty of mind-bending puzzles and frantic yet compelling gameplay to keep you entertained until the very end.
Age of Decadence is a game about the fragility of memory, the separation of reality and fable, political scheming and the possible futility of ordered existence. It masterfully weaves these themes into the writing and the gameplay to create an imaginative world with the power to captivate for hours on end. Age of Decadence has been a long time in the making (a whole decade), but it's shaped out to be one of the most distinct RPGs of the year, and one that will certainly captivate the imagination.