GRID has firmly nailed its place in the market as one of the best arcade racing series and will remain a ferocious competitor to the Forza and Gran Turismo franchises. The cars and tracks have been beautifully crafted with explicit detail, and when coupled with the delicate handling model, command-based communication, and the Nemesis system, all create a unique, thoroughly enjoyable racing experience. However, the game suffers from engagement issues, which could be improved by implementing a photo mode and racing soundtracks. The Nemesis system needs more reckless driving from the AI and greater rewards when beating Nemeses to the finish line, to stand out from other arcade racing sims.
Code Vein tries hard to overcome its flaws with anime style and flamboyance—and in many areas almost succeeds. The character creation and Code-based upgrade system are intriguing, but the combat and partner AI are too inconsistent to overcome the uneven pacing and difficulty. Code Vein has its positives, but is flawed as a single-player experience.
Five hours into a session, the player could be forgiven for thinking that only half that time has gone by. WARSAW has an addictive quality that comes from sublime gameplay and a pervasive feeling of desperation. ‘Just one more mission,’ goes the refrain. ‘Just one more’ until the final mission is complete, and the game comes to its shattering end. WARSAW may be short, but as an engaging history lesson and an engrossing game, it warrants any number of replays.
Despite its flaws, The Sojourn has moments of greatness. Weaving a web of dark tunnels or daisy-chaining angel statues to the exit feels wonderful. The game world is stunningly beautiful, and wandering through the vistas is quite peaceful. However, the poor communication with the player, nonsensical greeting card writing, and frustrating final act leave The Sojourn a mixed bag of great puzzles and crappy idioms.
Devil’s Hunt is visually stunning in many ways and seeks to rise above its indie roots, but sadly the game is lacking in polish in many areas. Though at times the gameplay can be genuinely fun and engaging, Devil’s Hunt suffers from frustrating flaws that put it in the shade of other hack-and-slash titles. The clunky and occasionally tasteless writing does the game no favours either.
Regardless of whether players have experienced Catherine before, Catherine: Full Body fulfills its goal of giving players a reason to revisit this one-of-a-kind tale. The willingness to distance itself from traditional black-and-white romantic tropes allows the game to tell a captivating narrative, breaking the fourth wall and allowing players to act as if they found themselves in Vincent’s predicament. The addition of Rin has allowed for exploration of a different side of love, asking more thought-provoking questions that seek to uncover what true happiness means to the player. In the end, Catherine: Full Body is essentially, more Catherine, and fans of the original could not ask for more.
Overall, Torchlight II is a very solid console port. The gameplay loop is generally satisfying despite the minor annoyances, and can even feel a bit zen once the player manages to sink fully into the rhythm. Torchlight II does not do anything remarkable for the action hack-and-slash genre, but functions as a good spiritual successor to Diablo II and makes for a good alternative for hack-and-slash fans who were put off by Diablo III.
Children of Morta is strong in its apparent simplicity. By the end game the player is juggling multiple additional powers, temporary buffs, held items, and a vast array of enemy types, but since everything is introduced so smoothly and cleanly it never feels overwhelming. The game is brutal without being cruel, as each failure shows some granular hint of progress—it serves as a great introduction to the genre for newcomers, as everything is explained so well, and is also appealing for veteran players, showing a different approach to a well-known classic. A bit Rogue, a bit Diablo, and all class, Children of Morta will be remembered as the gold standard for years to come.