Eastshade is transcendent. While the game may not be perfect for everyone, fans of RPGs and players looking for a relaxing video game will certainly want to check it out. The game's gentle soundtrack and gorgeous visuals nicely accompany its detailed open world for a beautiful, chilled out experience.
As an experience, FutureGrind is an excellent example of the balance between punishing and satisfying gameplay. Scoreboards and trophy systems are in place to encourage gamers to beat their previous scores, creating a level of player-induced difficulty. The ease of resetting a level goads gamers into trying more daring acts to boost combos in a high risk, high reward scenario. The varying environments and changes of pace from using the differing bikes is enough to prevent the experience from becoming stale. Overall, FutureGrind is a brilliantly addictive title with a tonne of replay value for those competitive gamers eager to better themselves and show off their skills.
The comparison to Joss Whedon’s short-lived television series is apt, with similarities extending beyond the music to the genre-bending space adventure and focus on stories that explore humanity in straits. Imperialism, the value of time, the tenuous nature of reality, and the mysteries of the cosmos are just some of the themes that emerge in the strange world of Sunless Skies, contributing to a tapestry of a richness almost unparalleled in the world of video games. The overall pace of the game is staid, but its brilliant simplicity is to be commended, and, come year’s end, it could prove enough to make Sunless Skies a strong Game of the Year contender.
Jon Shafer’s attempt at slow-burn strategy has been mixed with rogue-like elements to give the game an original feel, and, overall, it works. At the Gates’s randomly generated land, clans, and enemies allow for hours of replayability The clans and personality features give the game an edge against its competitors and forces the player to strategically look at every move they make. At the Gates is a game that strategy lovers will enjoy and holds just enough depth and content to keep players entertained, but it can also be difficult to players new to the genre.
Vane is beautiful in its expression. Players will find themselves stunned by the world the game depicts, but, unfortunately, the title seems to be an expression of style over substance. Vane looks and often sounds amazing, but the developer has pursued making a work of art at the expense of something that is fun to play. Overall, Vane could certainly be considered a work of art. Nevertheless, though it was clearly aiming to be the next Shadow of the Colossus, it hits wide of the mark, as Vane lacks the depth and impact of that classic title.
The game is an undeniably refreshing experience and a rather intriguing introduction to roguelikes for newcomers to the genre. Unfortunately, what the game lacks in terms of consistently gratifying gameplay is not wholly made up for by such excellent presentation and solid underlying concepts.
Gamers also cannot necessarily be that disappointed with the game, which might never have happened thanks to the original THQ’s implosion. Players anxiously awaiting From Software’s Sekiro or even Metroid Prime 4 might get a decent kick out of another one of these sorts of action adventure games. On the other hand, its technical bugs and lack of depth keep it from being a highly recommended title, and a mixed start to THQ Nordic’s budget-game gambit.
Toki is a fun way to kill some time, and will certainly appear to retro arcade fans. The artwork, animation, and music are all amazing, but the sometimes unfair difficulty and lack of extra game modes means the game is an unfortunately brief experience that probably is not worth revisiting once completed. The Retrocollector Edition redeems the game somewhat with some great extras, particularly the mini arcade cabinet, but unfortunately the game itself does not have quite enough substance.
GRIS is a powerful insight into the human spirit of a young girl suffering with grief. As she comes to terms with each of her emotional states, and as the levels progress to accompany these stages, the player is granted a profound look into the true emotions of Gris's character. Nomada Studio has blended simplistic, intuitive gameplay with a breathtaking artistic vision and remarkable music and sound design to create an unforgettable experience. GRIS easily stands among the best independent gems of the medium, presenting a narrative experience unlike any other. Gamers are doing themselves a disservice by not playing this game—GRIS is unmissable.
Unlike many 'Optional VR' games, Tetris Effect thrives in VR, and a PlayStation VR headset is by far the best way of experiencing this game. Tetris Effect is a very polished, absorbing, and beautiful experience, and well worth checking out for anybody who has a PlayStation 4, especially if they also have a PSVR headset.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a masterclass of game design. With timely music, gorgeous visuals, and impactful combat complementing seamless gameplay, Red Dead Redemption 2 stands above its competition as a triumph in media. The game’s narrative, as extensive and interweaving as it may be, surpasses the original and truly immerses the player in a game world that they will not want to leave. Red Dead Redemption 2 will go down not only as one of the best games of the generation, but as one of the greatest games ever made.
STONE, like its protagonist, is bloody rough. Channelling the tough on the outside, soft on the inside of its literary inspirations—Post Office, for example—STONE's buggy visuals and lack of polish almost exist as a statement in themselves. By presenting a story about an unkempt rebel's life, the choppy visuals benefit the game. Overall, the experience's worth will be strongly dependent on the player. Similarly to most great arthouse experiences, sometimes viewers must ignore the dodgy presentation and appreciate the heart of the piece. STONE, and its protagonist, have a lot of heart, and that shines the most.
No other game exists that offers the same experience that Insomniac's Spider-Man does. Even the Batman: Arkham series from which Spider-Man garnered many of its ideas from does not implement a system that constantly injects a sense of wonder like web swinging. Peter is learning to stand as an idol for New Yorkers, and Insomniac manages to put players right in the driver's seat. The LA-based studio knew it had great power when it was given the reigns to one of Marvel's biggest faces, and every ounce of effort poured into this project shows that. Spider-Man on PS4 is not just a love letter to everyone who has ever loved the wall-crawler as a superhero; the game is a love letter to everyone who has loved his games too.
Currently, the graphical hindrances do not derive from the overall enjoyment of the game. Compulsion Games is continually working to iron out the issues and provide a smoother running experience. Despite some minor problems, the game is an overall joy to play and well worth a playthrough for RPG fans or any gamer in need of a well-written bash.
Ensuring the game appeals to strategy die-hards appears to have been a driving force in development, and that approach pays off thanks to the high level of satisfaction arising from successful completion of missions. However, players sucked in by the promise of a "next-generation" experience are likely to be disappointed by the shortage of mechanics that truly push the genre forward. Meanwhile, the investigation elements are too simplified to make it a key draw. A number of minor bugs also mar the experience, but these issues are not severe enough to harm enjoyment. In many ways, Phantom Doctrine is a brilliant addition to the lineage of the turn-based strategy genre, introducing some novel wrinkles to make the typically disparate gameplay and narrative feel more cohesive.
MOTHERGUNSHIP has done well to keep the fun bullet hell action that Tower of Guns offered while feeling like a different experience, giving players a game that stands on its own merits. The humor that has been introduced to the game is better delivered than its predecessor, and the gunplay is frantic and tricky with many options allowing players to find their preferred way to play. Even though the level design and secrets are not up to par, the levels are fun to explore and battle in, with a wide range of styles resulting in fundamentally different situations throughout. The game is great to sit down for a few hours and fight alien robots or, alternatively, to pick up and play a dungeon or two to kill time. All in all, MOTHERGUNSHIP has great combat and offers an experience most games have yet to provide.
That the game is such a disappointment is a true shame; its ideas are as intriguing and novel as any to be found across the vast plains of the indie sector. The Piano's strengths prime the title to embed itself in the hearts and minds of gamers willing to give it a chance. Unfortunately, the weaknesses are too many and the sense of discord across the production too high. Put simply, The Piano falls flat.
By now, the staple branching paths, puzzles, and verticality of LEGO's design has worn thin. LEGO The Incredibles is an attempt to ride the idiosyncrasies of the source material to pave over cracks in the game's core design. In future, LEGO games would be able to realise their enormous potential if they left their target markets and traditions at the door, and decided to make the game the developer really wants to make; the series needs forget its past and re-lay its foundation with some fresh building blocks.