Dishonored 2 mostly follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, and in doing so stumbles in a number of the same potholes. Yet, it doesn’t fail to deliver fun in the form of a visually arresting, moody romp that combines complex, interwoven levels with an emphasis on player choice. When it sticks to the formula set out by its fondly remembered older sibling, Dishonored 2 delights. Surprisingly, it’s where this sequel chooses to innovate that the experience loses some of its lustre.
Mafia 3 is an unfortunate reminder that a game can truly excel in one area and still wind up disappointing. With confident storytelling and consistently fantastic performances, Mafia 3 effortlessly establishes a narrative that has you engaged from the get-go. Sadly, it's the ho-hum mission design and various technical oddities that will drag you out of the world time and time again.
Forza Horizon 3 offers many ways to customize its experience, catering to a number of play-styles and giving players the freedom to tweak systems until they’re left with something that they personally find satisfying. On the technical and mechanical level, Horizon 3 never fails to impress. It’s on the periphery of the game’s design where some questionable decisions threaten to get in the way of the fun. Nevertheless, with incredible production values and an emphasis on letting players find their own way, Playground Games has built what is comfortably one of the best open-world racing games since Burnout Paradise.
Among the Sleep is one of the better horror titles I've come across in recent memory. It's unique take doesn't take away any of the scares, and the plot doesn't overstay it's welcome and creates a collection of memorable scenarios. The same can't be said for the presentation, which is the one urgent issue of fixing.
You can call #KILLALLZOMBIES inferior in terms of name alone, but everything else it exceeds proficiently at. If anything, it's ambitious and amazing to see this amount of concepts and ideas pressed into something that could have so easily been screwed up. It's not always perfect, but there's a lot of fun to be had.
Bethesda genuinely surprised me with Vault Tec Workshop. While it doesn’t leave a good impression at first the massive amount of tools you can require is anything but constricting. In fact, it’s so good, that it might change the minds of those who originally wrote settlements off.
Headlander isn’t a lost cause, yet Double Fine should have done a couple more reinventions on the drawing board before they let this one loose. The main idea is intriguing and might convince some dedicated players to go all the way through, but to anyone else it will be a drag with some laughter, but mostly tedium.
Around an hour and a half to two hours long, Realm of Shadows is quality vs quantity all around. Besides for some really obvious foreshadowing, minor technical gripes, and uneventful decision making, I’m really looking forward to how Telltale expands this universe, for the better or for worse.
Rising Islands may be appropriate for the small audience craving reflex driven platformers, but it barely fits in this respect. The game is just littered with too many flaws, and players have to dig out the fun. Add this with some marred graphical issues, and you have a playable, but far from fun color adventure.
Quadrilateral Cowboy is an extremely unique game that is only hampered by it’s later innovations and simple story. However, the way the game presents these aspects make up for their shortcomings. The sense of awe with every task is wonderful, and it’s mind-blowing how inserting commands over and over doesn’t feel repetitious, thanks to strong design. It might be a bit unaccesible for those who haven’t played a puzzle game in a long while, but it will definitely cater to the fanatics.
On the surface, ABZÛ is a simple game, but there's an incredible amount of polish, detail, and artistic integrity at hand. The game is beautiful without sacrificing any of its main components, which makes the whole experience better as a whole. There are a couple technical stumbles, but the overall product is nevertheless exceeding.
Chambara is a multiplayer titan and courageously reinvents the wheel without fail. I could complain about the game’s lack of modes, but that goes against the entertainment you really are receiving. After all, nothing I’ve played this year matches this kinetic, effortless, and overall enticing concept.
Blue Rider is a refreshing twin-stick shooter that takes influences and innovates at the same time. It’s the best blend between these ideas I’ve seen in ages, although I do wish it was expanded more and wasn’t so choppy here and there. Besides that, it’s hard not to have fun with such a well-managed shooter.
I won’t go as far to say Dungeon Punks will likely be the best brawler released this generation, but it’s certainly up there. It’s blend of great mechanics, enemies, and a funny story show that the developers knew how to make a brawler great. There is some tedium here and there, but it was nothing that stalled me from playing, because everything else was so strong.
Human Fall Flat has some issues, but it’s one of the few games I’ve played recently where it weaves into the gameplay in rather enjoyable ways. This works even better with other people, making me realize why the game has gotten so much online publicity. It doesn’t thrive off of one gimmick, and is successful and captivating because of that.
Shiren the Wanderer may have a long subtitle, but it’s the smallest nitpick I could provide of this otherwise fantastic rogue-like. It’s the proper way to reintroduce the lesser classics to a new audience, and in a way that everybody’s familiar with. There’s no hardcore pandering here, just good plain fun.
Sword Coast Legends is a worthwhile top down RPG, but is let down by some aspects that would disappoint those it's appealing too. The rest is the confines of your typical RPG, but I think experienced players of the genre will have quite a good time with this. It's not the refreshing kick everybody needs, but it's good enough.