Ars Technica's Reviews
Last Course also includes a series of five optional battles that revolve around chess-themed bosses, though in these, all weapons and charm-based offensive abilities are disabled. You can only defeat these bosses by keeping track of flashing-pink parts of the bosses, then repeatedly colliding with those with your parry maneuver. Miss Chalice's updated parry ability makes her a great choice for this optional boss-rush sequence, but however you face it, Studio MDHR uses this parry-only restriction to execute some of the series' most memorable boss moments (even if they're a bit easier than the standard bosses).
One early moment appears to block players' progress with a gate, but with no other direction to go, players will likely walk toward the gate, only to realize its bars are wide enough to let a cat easily pass through. It's one of the many examples of the game reminding players that they are tiny and can get through small paths, and I really appreciated when Stray's puzzles rewarded proper "just walk right through" thinking.
Overall, the campaign is solid, if uninspiring. It didn't have any of the jawdropping moments of the first Modern Warfare, nor any spectacular set pieces. The shooting works well, you'll blast through it in about 6-8 hours, and then you'll put it away forever. On the single-player front, I'm still waiting for a new Call of Duty 4. Maybe I'm just too old and jaded.
Ultimately, there's more meat on the second act's puzzle bones, especially due to a memorable final-blast puzzle, and while the game's ending was more of a whimper than a bang—and it included some cockamamie ways to tie up the plot's loose ends—I appreciated the restraint on the writers' part to not force melodrama or melancholy on what eventually transpired. This game is the story of two young people who face the ups and downs of throwing off the shackles of youth—and it's also about their family and loved ones being there the whole way through.
All in all, these missing features and changes for the worse are disappointing blemishes on what is still an incredibly enjoyable game. Mario Kart 8 isn't the best game in the series, but it adds enough new visual, gameplay, and track design flourishes to its well-trodden core kart-racing gameplay to be worth a look.