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For such a meagre price XCOM: Chimera Squad packs somewhere in the realm of 20-hours of content into its slim frame. It almost feels unfair to compare it so frequently to XCOM 2 since it’s a small-scale spin-off. But Chimera Squad manages to find its own identity while still retaining the general feel of XCOM, even if the pre-defined characters and lack of perma-death might put veterans of the franchise off entirely. And that’s fair because making up your own squad and forming tales of their heroics and their demises has been core to XCOM since it returned from the dead in 2013. But if you can look past that there’s a lot to like in XCOM: Chimera Squad, and if you’re a lover of turn-based tactics games then this is well worth playing, though it has some incredibly tough competition in Gears Tactics at the moment.
sometimes you don’t want something complicated that makes your head hurt from all of the tactical and strategic possibilities. As awesome as XCOM 2 is, it’s hardly a relaxing game to play. Fort Triumph however, takes great joy in being a straightforward game where you can zone out a little, enjoy the bright colours and engage your brain just enough to stop you becoming a complete and total couch vegetable.
Look, with some work Decay of Logos could become a decent action-adventure game, but I don’t foresee any updated fixing its many core design flaws, and that includes the woefully boring and frequently annoying combat. It doesn’t feel good to be so negative towards Decay of Logos considering it’s the work of just four people who have quite clearly put everything into making it. Those are four people who have awesome careers ahead of them. But my allegiance lies with the player, and I can’t recommend Decay of Logos.
Control is truly brilliant, a bona fide contender for the Game of the Year crown. It boasts great performances, a strong story, a detailed and intriguing world and superb gameplay. It has issues, and the narrative’s vagueness might irritate as many people as it impresses, but ultimately a review is all about a personal experience and I utterly adored and loved every damn minute of Control. Right now it is my game of the year. Whether it can stay there given the quality of the game’s to come in 2019 remains to be seen, but you need to play this one.
On launch Days Gone got a fairly lukewarm reception from critics, and I’d have to say that many of the issues they raised are perfectly valid. The combat is clunky, the stealth is basic, the enemies are essentially just zombies again. It also doesn’t do anything particularly new or innovative. There;s really no single thing I can point to and say, “that, that’s what makes Days Gone good.” But the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts, and while Days Gone does have its issues it’s also shitloads of fun. I doubt you’ll regret picking up this latest in a long line of strong Sony exclusives. I, for one, have certainly loved sinking dozens of hours into Days Gone and plan on playing many, many more.
When I started writing this review I had mixed feelings about Mortal Kombat 11. The story was a blast and the core fighting mechanics are fantastic, but the badly judged progression system was such a massive grind. Since then, though, I’ve had to re-write chunks of this review to reflect the updates that NetherRealm have put out. I can’t speak for the future and where things might go, but for now they’ve managed to really improve the economy. Hopefully they’ll continue on the path of goodness. So, before the updates Mortal Kombat 11 was going to score less, but now I feel happy giving it….
So let’s wrap all this up and stick a nice little bow on it, yeah? I liked Tropico 6, just as I liked the prior games, too. But I can’t claim that this latest iteration is any better than Tropico 4 or 5. The swap to multiple islands is fun, the humour still brings a smile to my face and building a rum empire is a hooch. There are just problems holding Tropico 6 back from getting a 4+ score from me, but hopefully in time those issues will be fixed. Until then this is still a great city-builder that fans of the genre will have plenty of fun with.
I love the ideas that Avalanche brought to the table and there are moments where Generation Zero gets it right. The emptiness of the large world might annoy me because it feels superfluous, but it does create a sense of isolation which mixes nicely with the roaming bands of robots to create a tense atmosphere, at least for the first hour or two. I also enjoyed the more careful approach to combat, the fantastic robot designs and teaming up with friends or even random players. Sadly, though, the core mechanics of stealth, shooting and looting didn’t click with me. Yet, I’d still like to see a sequel because there’s some great potential on show in Generation Zero.
Still, what we’ve gotten is a robust looter-shooter that feels like it runs rings around Anthem’s slim end game and miserly loot. It’s still a looter-shooter at its core and thus the trappings of the genre are present, so if the idea of doing the same things over and over in the name of better loot doesn’t appeal to you then The Division 2 simply won’t change your mind. If piles of shiny new gear haunt your every waking moment, though, then The Division 2 is arguably the best looter-shooter since Borderlands 2 introduced the idea of a diamond pony called Butt Stallion.
Devil May Cry 5 is simply one of the best pure action games of all time, and is easily in contention for Game of the Year. It channels the feel of an old-school PS2 game without ever feeling dated or weaker for it. The depths of moves on offer, the fluidity with which it can all be chained together and joys of chasing the elusive SSS sparked the same excitement in me that Devil May Cry 3 did all those years ago. Except Devil May Cry 5 is better. It is truly, truly fantastic.
Here’s the kicker, though; despite its myriad problems I actually kind of like Anthem. I found myself sinking into its simple gameplay loops. But there are too many basic design problems holding Anthem back. As a live service game it’s hard to know what the future holds for BioWare’s looter-shooter, but right now I’d recommend you wait a while before picking Anthem up. In its current state it has okay combat, poor enemy design, boring missions, dull loot and enough loading screens to let you catch up on your reading.
Trials: Rising is a tricky one to score. At its very core what makes the Trials games so addictive, so satisfying and so god-damn rewarding is still present. Once again I found myself clutching the controller at 3am with a slightly manic expression plastered across my sweat-covered face, mumbling something about needing to bounce the back wheel off that edge to shave off some time. Once again, I found myself thinking, “Just one more go. Alright, maybe two.” again and again and again. It’s just irritating that Trials, arguably the quintessential example of a sleek game, has got bloated in this latest iteration.
It’s a tough game, often unforgiving and demanding of your time. Once you begin to understand how to shift those rally cars around, though, DiRT 2.0 becomes something special. I love this game. Love, love, love it. It easily gets a recommendation from me, and while 4.5 is perhaps too high a score considering the lack of snow stages and VR support out of the box I just can’t help but grin like an idiot when I’m playing
Ultimately, it’s a pretty fun little party game. You could bring it out for non-gaming friends to experience VR for the first time, especially since it can be played sitting down. The simple mechanics are easy to grasp, after all, and there’s nothing to motion-heavy that might make for queasy stomachs. This also makes it a solid choice for kids.
Although not Earth-shatteringly original Unruly Heroes is a wonderful example of how to make an excellent platformer. It practically drips charm thanks to the outstanding visuals and strong music, yet underneath that is a game that feels great to play with a penchant for delivering smart gameplay twists which keep things fresh.
So my final verdict on At The Gates is that it’s a 4X brimming with potential, but in its current state is certainly not a game I can recommend to everyone. The story of the development and of Jon Shafer himself is a hell of a tale, and I always hate sounding negative about projects like this but ultimately there some pretty big flaws holding the gates closed. Unless you’re a die-hard 4X consider waiting a while for this one.