Metro Exodus: The Two ColonelsPS4
Metro Exodus: The Two Colonels is light on action and heavy on narrative, but will please dedicated Metro fans with its gripping, even unnerving, lore. While its smart story succeeds in engaging the player dramatically, the lack of extended gameplay sequences may leave some feeling like they're watching an interactive movie, rather than playing a new chapter of an action-adventure title. A short journey, yes, but still a trip worth taking.
GEARS 5Xbox One
The Coalition has achieved a lot with Gears 5. The writing and action often rivals the best moments in the series, even surpassing its predecessors at times. The overall package is the most robust Gears has ever seen. But, the big structural alteration feels like an unequivocal misstep. Gears 5 is a rousing success, but it could've done without the needless change.
Daemon X MachinaSwitch
The sum total of my experience with Daemon X Machina is positive. The combat is amazing, the game is bright and colorful, the framerate mostly holds up in either docked or handheld mode, and the hangar is great to tinker around in, checking out all the different configurations of my mech. That's what I'm going to remember out of all of this, which is safe for me to say because most everything else in this game is pretty forgettable.
I can't get Blasphemous off my mind. I may never fully grasp the opaque story even with the inevitable community-led theories and explainers lending a hand, but that's okay. Even taken as a fanatical fever-dream, this game delivers. Some aspects aren't as fine-tuned or ambitious as they could've been, leading to unevenness, but there's so much for metroidvania fans to latch onto here.
Creature in the WellSwitch
Flight School Studio has created an exceptional world to explore in Creature in the Well. Its prodigious art direction is enticing, wooing players into a unique puzzle game that very much feels like a history lesson on the medium itself. It combines ideas and concepts found throughout gaming into a single, dynamic experience with a memorable antagonist eerily watching your every move. I absolutely love it, but I recognize there is room for improvement. With a bit more variety in design and a fine-tuned difficulty curve, it could have been one for the ages.
Monster Hunter: World - IcebornePS4
That's what it comes down to, really. These days, there aren't many games I'm willing to surrender hundreds of hours of free time to, but somehow, some way, Monster Hunter found an opening. World laid the groundwork, and now Iceborne is here to carry me through the rest of 2019 and beyond. Mentally, I'm not even ready to start thinking about Capcom's post-launch plans for the expansion.
River City GirlsPS4
River City Girls succeeds in evolving both the Kunio-kun series and the brawler genre itself, offering entertaining gameplay, brilliant visuals, an amazing soundtrack and fun combat. While brawler fatigue, minor narrative flaws and a slim package threaten the experience, great characters, a reverence for the lore and addictive co-op gameplay prevail, ensuring Kyoko and Misako keep their fists flying to the very last round.
That's basically everything Heave Ho has to offer in a nutshell. It's a good chunk of content for an absolute steal of a price. The wackiness of grabbing your friends, flinging yourself around, making faces and noises, and just causing shenanigans all around doesn't really get old. Heave Ho is a much harder sell to anyone expecting to play it solo, but it's an absolute must-have for any local multiplayer get-together with friends.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of MedanPS4
In all seriousness Supermassive Games has carved out a nice little horror niche for itself and I’m okay with that. Man of Medan has some genre staples (both good and bad), including jump scares, an unsettling atmosphere, and clever camera angles (that, thanks to the medium, can be manipulated). The claustrophobic tanker hallways aren’t as technically impressive as the rolling vistas and mountaintops of Until Dawn, but they’re different.
Life is Strange 2: Episode 4Xbox One
Faith serves a few important purposes within the Life is Strange 2 story. It shores up some loose ends from the brothers' past, it proves the lengths Sean is willing to go to in order to protect Daniel, and it gives Daniel further autonomy by letting him make his own decisions. It's an exciting chapter that leaves everyone worse for the wear. That's the cadence we've come to expect from Life is Strange, though.
Remnant: From the AshesPC
Remnant: From the Ashes takes too long to get going, but when it does, it lets it rip. The randomization element is too half-baked to really propel this project above the rest of its ilk, but Gunfire Games has some really good ideas that I hope to see employed more often in the future.
Whatever criticism you can throw at Astral Chain, you can’t say it isn’t unique. In the first few hours, I was all over the place when it came to an assessment, as it can take some time to really turn it up. But when it does it just clicks, and I don't want to stop playing it.
I can't claim the content on offer is spare. It’s just that maintaining interest in what is available is a tough prospect. With matches taking around 20 minutes to finish, it becomes a slog to play for extended periods at a time. During my review process, I'd play for roughly an hour and then get bored, stopping for a bit and returning later. It only took me as long as it has to write this because I just don't feel compelled to keep playing.
I can't stress enough how much Telling Lies might not be for you. Most of it is literally spent watching people talk to a screen, to the point where the puzzle angle, no matter how impressive it might be, might wear down its welcome in minutes. For everyone else, especially avid followers of character-driven art forms, these are performances you can really sink your teeth into while you try to make sense of it all.
I'm emotionally torn on Oninaki because there's so much to like here: it has a lot of great ideas, it just doesn't execute them all as well as it should. Maybe Tokyo RPG Factory should look at changing their formula and scaling down to tighter 10 hour adventures. By cutting down the scale they can focus on what they do best.
Age of Wonders: PlanetfallPC
Overall, Age of Wonders: Planetfall is a large, ambitious strategy game that succeeds in many ways but falters ever so slightly in its grand scale. If you can grapple with the scope it's well worth the purchase and time, offering a great sandbox that could be played for hours on end. Newcomers to the genre might want to try one of the earlier Age of Wonders games before seeing if they should truly take the dive into this massive commitment. Those who do won't be disappointed.
Despite that, Witcheye is an absolutely pleasant and pleasurable adventure and easily one of the best mobile games I've played all year. With tight controls and a headphone-worthy soundtrack, it's one I'm going to be returning to. Though I'll probably just stick to the boss rush mode going forward.
I've had a lot of fun with RAD, even though I can tell I've really only scratched the surface. Trying to work with suboptimal body modifications is pretty funny in and of itself, and discovering new mutations and lore has been intriguing. I don't think any studio other than Double Fine could have made the post-apocalypse this entertaining.
I could keep going on and on, but I'll make it simple. Ion Fury not only recaptures what made retro shooters so memorable, but it improves on them in a number of ways. While not as excellent as some other recent entries in the same genre, this is a game that fans of the past should not miss. It's brutal, lightning-fast, and always putting fun before anything else. Some nips and tucks here with a few more enemies there and we could have a real contender for "Queen of FPSes."
I had my doubts going into Dicey Dungeons, despite the pedigree present. I was worried the core reliance on random dice rolls would create a frustrating experience for the player. And while I've had those moments, I always felt that I could look back and say "that's where I went wrong" and not "the random numbers just didn't work out in my favor!" That alone is an incredibly feat. Stack it on top of six incredibly unique character mechanics, episodes that force the exploration of alternate playstyles, and an expertly crafted aesthetic, and you have another absolute slam dunk from Terry Cavanagh.
Omega Labyrinth LifeSwitch
Whether or not the fanservice is too much for players or just a natural evolution of the boundary-pushing booby game genre, one thing that is certain about Omega Labyrinth Life is that it is not that good. The dungeon crawling, which is how you'll spend about 75% of your time with the game, simply isn't up to snuff with its contemporaries and tending to the Grand Garden lacks the depth an activity like that should have. It's just a top-to-bottom boring experience, and no amount of lady spray on my Switch screen can change that.