We all have that one bar that we like to go to. The locals don’t like it very much and it’s got its problems but that is “our” bar that we’ve grown fond of. Kingdom Come: Deliverance is the equivalent of that bar for me. It has its problems, some of which would be damned to hell were it any other game. Although there’s a reason you haven’t heard too much bad press about it. It’s incredibly easy to forgive the game of its failings when it offers this much quintessential RPG gameplay and fantastic world design. Warhorse Studios have taken the time to build a snapshot of today’s Czech Republic and wind back the clock on its design all the way to the 15th Century. An essential part to creating a game that feels rewarding and fun is building a learning process for the player first. A process of gradual self discovery. Kingdom Come: Deliverance offers that up in spades and if Henry sucks at fighting, flirting or horse riding it’s only because he hasn’t done enough of it. As a result, his ineptitude is never frustrating. It’s just a signal to the player that there’s a heck of a lot of grinding to be done. If you’re into that kind of thing, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is for you. It will provide you with literally hundreds of hours of taking care of Henry and sheepishly stepping into the next big event, hoping things will be OK. When all’s said and done Kingdom Come: Deliverance is nothing short of impressive and will be even more so once we get a few patches. A grown up RPG for grown up players
Dragon Ball FighterZ is by far the biggest fighting of this year, and it is only the start. This game boasts gorgeous visuals and amazing sound design. The gameplay can keep you engrossed for hours on end with plenty of content, alone or with friends. This is by far to the best time to get into fighting games, starting with this one. The only part of this game holding it back is a lackluster story and wonky online, but with the servers promised to be fixed soon these things are small missteps in this great advanced in fighting games. With BlazBlue cross tag releasing soon, and 8 more DLC characters confirmed for this game, Arc System Works is looking to take control of the fighting game scene.
Xenon Valkyrie+ introduces a very well-presented gameplay to Xbox. Beginning with a simple, but also interesting story. It lets the player quickly get into the battle without wasting time trying to get used to mechanics. Although permadeath can be a huge disappointment for casual players, there are multiple characteristics that made up for the difficulty in levels. The pixilated design puts bright colors on the screen, which looks great at all times. Finally, the soundtrack brings high-quality music to the adventure and is one of my favorite presentation elements in this game.
Civilization VI: Rise and Fall meets the incredibly high standard Civilization VI has set for itself. Hundreds of hours of gameplay with rich backstories meet hundres more hours of gameplay through the Rise and Fall expansion. There's more of everything. Everything feels inspired. Rise and Fall might not complete Civilization VI as a perfect game, but it adds an incredible amount of fun to your already awesome journey.
So, an open world Dynasty Warriors. One certainly must commend Omega Force for constantly trying to innovate with their games rather than just churn out the exact same thing with marginally improved graphics with every installment. However, as the most recent in a long-running series, it begs the question: should you buy this one with all of it's faults or should you just stick with the last one, which sticks closer to the formula that made the games so beloved? Well, that depends on what you're looking for. The combat is a lot smoother than in the past games, and though the characters can be a tad one-note and the dialogue can be a tad wooden there is more of an effort to show rather than tell, and of course the graphics have vastly improved. At the same time, the pace of the game outside of the combat is a lot slower, the voice acting really could use improvement, and of course the change of genre leaves just the one game mode and no local multiplayer. It feels more like an adventure than a war, which I'm sure would excite some fans while disappointing others. However, I'm not here to review the entire franchise, I'm here to review this one game. So for a moment let's erase all comparisons to past games. How is Dynasty Warriors 9 as it's own singular entity? Well, it certainly has it's faults, but it's definitely a ton of fun if a tad easy for an open world RPG. The combat is smooth and satisfying, the farming and crafting aspects may not be electrifying but they aren't annoying, the map is pretty large, and even the story and dialogue has the camp and occasional hilarity of one of those foreign B-movies you find on netflix so you grab some friends and a pizza and have a jolly good time laughing it up at the unintentional hilarity. Even the stuff in here that could annoy some, like the homemaking and the gathering, isn't something the game forces you to do, so you can just ride around like the unstoppable war machine you are. While the game may be a tad lackluster as far as being an entry in this particular series goes, as a game in it's own right I think Dynasty Warriors 9 is definitely worth checking out when it goes on sale. It has some good aspects, has some hilariously bad aspects. I can recommend it, but 60 bucks is a bit steep for B-movie camp. Aside from that, I think it's definitely a game to check out.
Starpoint Gemini Warlords brings an interesting dynamic of gameplay and mechanics due to the fact that it incorporates a crossover of genres that go from RPG to a 4X-based style. On the other hand, there is definitely room for improvement when it comes to audio features. This negative aspect of the game, aligned with the lack of depth in the characters background, can make it hard to stay engaged for long periods of time. Despite the listed issues, Starpoint Gemini Warlords succeeds in offering different quest options presented in either a story-campaign mode or an exciting free-roam scenario. Overall the best element found in Starpoint is the extensive array of features it combines to create a complete space exploration.
Furi is an indie gem that will push your limits and reward you in the best ways possible with its tough difficulty and creative fights. With every battle comes a new challenge and a new opportunity to prove yourself with the thrilling and satisfying combat system. Mix in the surprisingly deep story and the captivating soundtrack and you have an excellent experience that pushes its ideas to the edge with style. Instead of being a mess that tries too many things, Furi amazingly focuses its gameplay on only several bizarre elements, but perfects them and makes an adventure like no other that you won't forget. Any action fan would be doing themselves a displeasure to not at least give this game a try.
Monster Hunter World is a game-changer. It gives players an unprecedented amount of quality and lets them ride the incredibly fulfilling rollercoaster of gameplay all the way; until the very last upgrade. World is also a very personal journey of evolving your character and feeling every adversity that you choose to face. You will feel every triumph, recover steadily from every failure, and never feel your time is wasted. There may be a couple of glaring flaws such as the weak story and poor multiplayer matchmaking mechanics, but they pale in comparison to the greatness of the game. When another monster saves you at the last vestiges of your health, know that it is a dynamic and non-scripted game; when you have access to every weapon at the start, know that this is a game from a respected franchise that has retained its quality and player-driven content since the beginning. I will be on my two-hundredth quest and still know that, in my mind, Monster Hunter World is masterful.
Shadow of the Colossus has been my most favorite revisiting of a game in a long time. In a sea of quickly packaged remasters that only slightly improve, this one is a shining beacon of how to refresh the game right as every aspect that could be improved - was. All the while, the game didn't lose what made it special in the first place and became an even more essential part of the PlayStation library.
Celeste is a fantastic 2D platformer that pushes the boundaries of the genre. The trip up the mountain feels deeply immersive and personal and is loaded with beautiful moments and challenges that fit the tone of Madeline's personal struggles and trying to reach the peak of a mountain--whether real or figurative. The challenge can be downright frustrating at times, but due to frequent checkpoints, it's manageable to break down and triumph over even the most difficult rooms. It's fun and fluid to move Madeline around the screen, and the beautiful visuals and soundtrack are almost unmatched by modern 2D platformers. I definitely recommend playing with a d-pad, which made the Switch a frustrating option for me at times, but it didn't inhibit my enjoyment of the game all that much, and if anything, it turned me into an even better player. If you are afraid of the challenge, there are nice options to make the game easier, and if the game is too easy--by god, how?--then there are B-sides to find and unlock with offer harder variations of the stages. Celeste is a fun game and a deep experience for a platformer, and I wouldn't be surprised to see this become a 2018 game of the year contender. Celeste is definitely a game worth picking up.