Speaking of which: The dungeons themselves are splendid. Their visuals aren't particularly striking, but they do create an oppressive atmosphere. This mood pairs wonderfully with an enhanced focus on exploration. New rooms and enemies are slowly revealed as you encounter them, unlike the board game, which requires you to uncomfortably ignore unexplored areas on the dungeon setup map. This is a fundamental shift in how we interact with the environment and it injects a heightened sense of tension. It doesn't hurt that these dungeons, with their atmosphere and excellent design, are all the more enjoyable because the digital version removes so much of the busy work of the tabletop game. It's so much easier to be enveloped by it all.
Left 4 Dead is a beautiful relic, something I and many others spent hundreds of hours playing in high school and college. But with games like Warhammer: Vermintide 2 and even Aliens: Fireteam Elite branching out and taking more of a class-based approach, I was sure Back 4 Blood’s more classic bone structure would crumble under the pressure. But Back 4 Blood is more like that makeshift, armor-clad Hummer you see in every zombie show and movie: The bones of what it once was are easy to see, but it’s been reinforced to survive in a new environment.
It’s the grim veneer that not only saves Alan Wake, but like his flashlight, burns through the darkness that is its cloying gameplay. Alan Wake’s sense of place, its themes, the mood it creates, makes it a classic, and nothing — not even time — can overshadow that.
Jett: The Far Shore is a simple game, but a beautiful one, and well worth your time. It can make space a little bit scary, without going over the top, and it strikes a great balance between saccharine and grimdark. The Far Shore is a journey I was glad to take, even when the company got a little too chatty.
I want to review this game. But I also want to be cognizant of the alleged awfulness done by men in power to Activision Blizzard workers who merely wanted to do their job. Tasked with remastering a classic, originally created by this same beleaguered corporation, Vicarious Visions does not deserve this taint. The question is whether Vicarious Visions succeeded in its task.
All of this adds up to a very strong, broadly appealing racer. Hot Wheels Unleashed is up there with Milestone’s MotoGP and Monster Energy Supercross, as well as the F1 and WRC games, as another winner in the ongoing renaissance of licensed motorsports gaming. For those who are perhaps not dedicated motorsports or sim racing fans, it could be a strong contender for their racing game of the year. I’ve become a virtual gearhead over the past four years, and Hot Wheels Unleashed is at least in the discussion for mine.
What if you never spotted that note? Or bothered to visit the radio station? Like I said up top, you'd straight-up miss the game. Despite Echoes of the Eye being inside the same universe as Outer Wilds, reaching its "space" within outer space is more abstract than simply pointing your spaceship in the right direction.