Darkness in the Capital may seem like a typical expansion and it is in some sense, but that phrasing gives a short shift to how it builds on top of an excellent experience and remains a clawed fist that’s as sharp as it ever was. Its combat is fundamentally fantastic so adding new variables that maintain the same level of quality is only going to make that loop even more engaging. Darkness in the Capital’s array of bosses bring in another set of challenges and its new weapon encourages both thoughtful play and fast action. And in a game full of challenges and fast action, meaningfully building on top of that is still an accomplishment.
If the game is patched extensively, there are hints of an interesting enough story to make it worth a playthrough. However, at launch, the amount of game-breaking bugs present makes Broken Porcelain practically unplayable. It’s only because I had the duty to review it that I got as far in as I did, and I doubt the typical gamer will have the patience to get past the first hour.
Port Royale 4 will be an interesting distraction for fans of management sims, but none of its systems are complex enough to hook players for long. Both the trading and town building are surface deep, and after 15 or so hours of gameplay, everything is just repetition. There’s no big buildup to an endgame, so everything has that mid-game feeling of going through the paces.
FIFA 21 may not contain any brand new modes or major new features, but by providing substantial changes to gameplay and introducing key improvements, it has easily positioned itself as the best FIFA yet. Combining challenging yet satisfying defending with ludicrous goal-scoring opportunities takes its on-the-pitch action to new levels, while additions to its Career, Ultimate Team, and Pro Clubs modes make this an essential purchase for football fans.
Crash Bandicoot 4‘s stellar level design, responsive controls, deep replayability, and superb animation all come together to create such an outstanding experience that not only brings this bandicoot back to life, but also removes it from the dusty shelf where all the other taxidermied ’90s platforming mascots go to be forgotten.
Star Wars: Squadrons is a flawed homage to flight sims of decades past. It’ll be a dream come true for fans of the X-Wing and Rogue Squadron series. It’s the type of Star Wars game that seemed to be extinct. It’s a niche title that highlights the fantastic starfighters of the franchise.
Mafia: Definitive Edition is tedious enough as it is by 2020 standards. Clunky gunplay and lousy vehicle handling make the shootouts as frustrating as the getaway drive. The promising setup can’t avoid getting whacked either as it disappoints through its inability to meaningfully execute on its multiple beats. The talented cast and better realized 1930s world outdo its 2002 counterpart, but the rest of its blunders come together and result in an offer that’s relatively easy to refuse.
In a year where new consoles are dropping, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is at risk of falling off the radar. I hope that players avoid that pitfall because this game is something special. It’s unique art and gameplay make it an unexpected treat, and it’s got the makings of an instant cult classic.
Spellbreak has launched with a foundation for greatness, with a fantastic combat system that I’m determined to master through many hours of play. However, to earn that attention post-launch support will be key. Proletariat already has a roadmap detailed and new modes like the 9v9 Clash game type sound promising. Here’s hoping the game gets enough attention from players and receives the support to make it truly shine.