Haven presents a lush alien world, one rife with resource gathering and loaded with turn-based combat, as a suitable venue for its forbidden love story. Such an unorthodox collection of disparate elements may have had trouble connecting if not held together by widely relatable and sharply written interpersonal dialogue. It's an assembly that allows its pair protagonists to thrive inside moments of tedium, suggesting a story worth telling takes precedent over action not always worth doing.
Issues aside, though, Call of the Sea is pretty good. It was nice to play through a new story with new characters, even if the story design was somewhat familiar and the outcome (essentially the same despite which ending you choose) was fairly predictable. Solid voice-acting, good writing, and pretty graphics (nothing show-stopping, but they’re good) make for a nice presentation package on top of an alright game. If you’re looking for a more casual, story and character driven game to play this holiday, Call of the Sea is worth considering.
Though the characters, locales, and general lore of Warhammer were lost on me not having ever played any Warhammer before (tabletop or otherwise), this didn’t stop me from getting into the game and enjoying it. The story, characters, quest and dungeon design, and general gameplay are all pretty straight-forward and familiar, and I don’t mean that in a disparaging way. This is a good case of ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.’ If you’re looking for an expansive and fun co-op loot-gathering, combat-heavy dungeon crawler, this is a good choice, and your only choice right now for the new consoles.
This is in spite of how great the game looks, runs, and also how it sounds. The presentation package of The Falconeer is quite good, especially on XSX, but that alone couldn’t overcome the struggles I was having with the experience otherwise. I appreciate the effort that went into making this, especially seeing as it was practically done by a one-man studio — but neither the lore or the gameplay really grabbed me and held my interest for long. I could see where more adept and/or forgiving players in this genre would have a better time than I did, though, so if the game sounds interesting to you, it’s worth keeping an eye on, especially given it costs less than half of some of the other launch games.
Overall, a ticket to Plant Coaster: Console Edition is a great buy if you’re at all into theme park management. Frontier did a superb job bringing their excellent 2016 PC game to next-gen with console-friendly UI, controls, and everything you could need to get a big jump on your theme park building and management gameplay.
So there’s any awful lot going on in Bright Memory in a very short period. I can say that I had fun and I am looking forward to the complete game, but with some caution: I do hope and anticipate that FYQD will do a lot more to tighten up the experience on console as the cursor-driven menus are no fun, and this feels like a rushed port from its original platform (PC). Gameplay has got get more focused as well; I’m all for such an unusual mixture of enemies and cross-genre gameplay blends and inspirations, but it’s got to tie together somehow to make some sense and matter to the player. I don’t need a grand story, but I am hoping that the full game makes a lot more sense than this current offering which seems like someone brainstorming out loud, so to speak. All that to say, for $8, and with very limited new game+ options, you could do worse — but it might be just as well to wait until Bright Memory: Infinite launches in full next year.
Observer was a fine game three-plus years ago, but this re-make is head and shoulders above the original thanks to an awesome presentation, three new side missions, and a price that’s hard to pass up when compared to many games being more than twice as expensive. While we all look forward to Bloober Team’s next one, The Medium, you can’t go wrong with Observer: System Redux if you’re looking for a captivating cyberpunk mystery thriller.
Yakuza: Like A Dragon is a rousing success. The timing is excellent, too. It’s the dawn of a new console generation and it’s an exciting time for this storied franchise to turn a new page. As far as launch games go, this is one of the best, for several reasons. It offers some presentation ‘wows,’ but even more importantly it offers a deep, long, compelling story with memorable moments and characters, with strong gameplay and lots to do. It’s built off of the success of the previous fifteen years of Yakuza, but Like A Dragon blazes its own path, too — you need not have played any of the previous games to fully enjoy this one, yet I appreciate that this game honors the past while forging its own future. PS5 owners have something great to look forward to in March, but if you’re lucky enough to have the new Xbox, this is a great game that is also very well priced right now at just $50.
Tesla Force is one of the few rogue-lite games I have ever played, and I also rarely play twin stick shooters. I found the experience a little chaffing at times, in how I had to restart a chapter of random stages after dying, but there is a lot of satisfaction derived from unlocking better and better weapons, abilities, and perks and laying waste to the monsters. Best played with a friend or three, Tesla Force is pretty cool and reasonably priced for the experience it offers overall.
I have had some friends lament some frustration over how monetized MK11 is, and I absolutely see where they’re coming from. It’s not a business practice I like to see because we’re used to games having a final, all inclusive edition released and we just don’t have that with MK11. Maybe we’ll see a Komplete Edition like there was with MK9. Regardless, you can’t really go wrong with MK11U if you’re looking for a superb fighting game on current or next-gen.