1221 Published Reviews
Thanks to its tough-but-fair challenge, Playtonic has made a very rewarding game. There are moments where I had the realization I was having full-on fun, smiling all the way, and that never happens. Its writing might be obnoxious at times and the overworld can be superfluous, but its foundation is so well constructed that it doesn’t distract from the game proper. It might take awhile for it to click. But when it does, you’re gonna have an enthralling time.
The Surge 2PC
Technically, the game performs well enough. Graphics are nothing to write home about, having a distinctive patina even in 4K that reeks of console games. The character movement is also somewhat less than ideal, with a certain floatiness to general mobility – weirdly, that all goes away during actual combat, which has a fantastic tangible feedback both when swinging your weapons and blocking your enemy’s. The combat truly is the high point of Surge 2.
Greedfall, even with its flaws, is a game that’s very easy to sink time into without regret. For a game about fighting a horrible disease, it ironically grows on you. It would be difficult, even impossible, to make an unproblematic game about colonialism. But the one Spiders made is engaging and a lot more open about the sordid nature of it than expected. If you’re craving that type of BioWare-esque game and want to pretend Anthem doesn’t exist, Greedfall has you covered. It’s a wonderful addition to any RPG lover’s library and will be well worth their time.
There are far too many moments where you’re just wandering around frustrated in a forest trying to find something to do, and very few moments where the game does something unexpected to scare you. Clever gameplay ideas like the time-changing camcorder go pretty much to waste. Most importantly, despite a few good scares, in general Blair Witch isn’t really scary enough. It has really good storytelling moments and buckets of atmosphere, but we were ultimately left disappointed. It’s better than the 2000 Blair Witch games, at least.
The Dark Pictures Anthology - Man of MedanPC
Man of Medan is a strong start to The Dark Pictures series, and more ambitious than it may first seem on the surface - while a single-player run-through took us 5 hours, the game is about trying that story again in different ways. However, if you don’t like the idea of replaying a story-based game, then you may be left unsatisfied with just a single playthrough - as you certainly won’t have all the answers. Nevertheless, a fun and deeply scary game - and the multiplayer needs to be experienced.
Ancestors is a fine experiment that I’m sure will interest a lot of people, but I must say it wasn’t quite my cup of tea. As fun as it is to run around and climb stuff, leading a group of apes into a bigger group of somewhat smarter apes is not exactly an exhilarating proposition – especially when you can easily screw up to the point of losing the clan, not finding a surrogate, and having to restart the game and relearn everything all over again.
I probably wouldn’t be thinking about this with other games, but Moonrise Fall’s focus on melancholy, loss, and death really brought that out in a way that was beautiful and tragic. Even if the game stutters at times and some puzzles drag on a bit too much, I enjoyed the time I spent in Moonrise Fall. It never outstayed its welcome, giving a game that’s on the shorter end without feeling rushed. This isn’t a game for everyone, but anyone who loves these sort of exploration games should give it a try.
While there are moments where the spookiness clicks, like its hectic climax, the rest is forgettable. It will give a fright once in a while, but that shock quickly disappears. It’s the fluffy type of horror, something with the trappings but not the depth. It’s not an amateur production, but it is less eerie than it should be. Horror is subjective, but I cannot suggest DARQ for its scares. Playing it made me crave the more refined games in this genre. If you’re a streamer who needs a game to scream at, this will do fine. Just don’t be surprised if you forget about it the moment you turn it off.
Warhammer: Vermintide 2 - Winds of MagicPC
The addition of a non-intuitive and unnecessarily complex stagger mechanic killed the flow of combat to a certain extent, resulting in enemies shrugging off damage and being able to attack you even as you stab them in the head repeatedly. It feels like the developers backtracked to the bad balance of launch that we all thought was fixed in the past year, and while that holds no sway over this review’s final score, I am definitely not a fan of the change – but since it is such a big part of the player reception of the DLC, it was important for it to be reflected here.
Gibbous: A Cthulhu AdventurePC
If we view Gibbous - A Cthulhu Adventure in the most “objective” terms, it technically gets things right. It looks stylish, it runs smoothly, and it doesn’t come with the bugs you’d expect from modern gaming. However, the details that make a game a hearty recommendation aren’t there. It’s got heart, the amount of care put into its art proves that. But an average story, simple puzzles and shaky voice acting makes for a game pleasant to view but not amazing to play.
I was surprised by Planetfall, lest of all because I was never a big fan of Age of Wonders – not because it was bad, but because it never grabbed me. This entry was different, however, with the focus on 4X expansion and the draw of close-range squad engagements with ranged weapons, bombardments, and customisable heroes was enough to get me invested, and was put together well enough to ignore most of the flaws in the squad combat system.
Warhammer 40,000: MechanicusPC
A capable expansion that adds to the main game without detracting from it
Night Call is interesting in ways most games aren’t. It’s a game that humanizes people that usually get mockery. It’s so good at this that it overshadows the serial killer stuff. It can lose its steam thanks to some repetitive gameplay, but its shorter length prevents it from dragging on. Its design choices will turn away action-oriented players, but it’s a pleasant surprise if you want more compassion in your crime fiction.
Field of Glory: EmpiresPC
Essentially, Field of Glory: Empires is a quintessential Slitherine game. Big scope, big idea, but executed in such a way that will not click with anyone but the nichest of fans. It doesn’t really add anything that was missing from any other grand strategy game around, and instead all of the glory, character, and scope of the Roman Empire is virtually nonexistent here, feeling instead like a virtual version of a very charmless boardgame. However, if you’re a long time fan of Field of Glory (or a hater of Imperator/Rome II), this game might end being right up your alley.
While The Sinking City’s exploration and world-building is far above previous Frogwares products, it still has a way to go to being truly good. Hopefully, the company will switch whatever modus operanti it has when creatively designing their games, and will be able to do a truly exceptional title next time.
It’s fun, its challenge isn’t overwhelming, and Kiki is now part of the pantheon of gaming’s cutest cats. The short length might be a source of contention in the future, but I’ll gladly take something that lasts as long as it needs to over something that meanders a couple extra hours. This game is not only an exceptional love letter to a bygone era, but its modern sensibilities don’t get in the way of the challenge. If you love the design of retro games but wished their difficulty was balanced rather than frustrating, Gato Roboto scratches that old-school itch.
Stellaris: Ancient Relics Story PackPC
In the end, Ancient Relics is a good minor DLC I honestly expected to not be impressed by, but slightly am. It may not be worth full price – we all know Paradox is milking that cow for as much as they can, so maybe wait for a sale – but it’s definitely worth getting at some point if you regularly play the sci-fi game. Now let’s hope their next expansion allows you to properly create and manage sectors and finally fix the goddamn diplomacy, and Stellaris will be set for a while.
SpellForce 3: Soul HarvestPC
Building on its predecessor’s mixture of RTS and RPG elements, SpellForce 3: Soul Harvest provides an engaging recipe that we don’t often get nowadays. A stand-alone expansion in the traditional sense, exploring its 20-hour long story campaign means uncovering a plot with significant consequences alongside a handful of charismatic companions. Whether delving into ancient ruins as a party of four or leading armies on the frontlines, Soul Harvest’s unique blend of RTS and RPG is one worth experiencing.
The truth is playing Unconquered feels like suddenly stepping back in a time machine or accidentally installing an early 2000s games via GoG – complete with amazing looking CGI that in no way reflects the actual gameplay. That’s a trend the industry moved on from about two decades ago and usually only resurfaces during E3 presentations, but Conan Unconquered resurrects it with horrible results.
The new units, setting, and the story makes for a nice little package that feels fairly priced. If you liked Ancestors Legacy and just wanted a reason to go back to the title, then Saladin’s Conquest is about as good a reason as any. There’s nothing wrong with what’s on show here, however, despite the new things mentioned it does have a “more of the same” feeling to it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and no one is expected to reinvent the wheel each time - especially if it’s an extension of what’s already there. And what’s there is technically sound, from the AI to the optimization.
Rage 2 has some problems, but taken entirely as an FPS it’s probably my favourite game of the year so far. The open world needs a bit more personality, there needs to be more actual story missions, and you could drown in the amount of upgrade options there are - but none of that matters once you get into combat. I spent over 20 hours in Rage 2 and every moment was a blast, with constantly exciting shooting that rivals Doom for thrills. And I’ll be carrying on playing it after this review, too. If you’re looking for a 100-hour open-world game, look away. If you want an FPS, look no further.
Total War: Three KingdomsPC
With all its flaws and strengths taken into account, Three Kingdoms is a very good game. It lacks in some areas, especially when it comes to strategic depth, but it is a very good entry that is miles above the horrible Thrones of Britannia from last year. If you are looking for the next Total War or just really like the Three Kingdoms period, this is the game for you.
A Plague Tale: InnocencePC
The scene of crossing a battlefield, with hundreds of lifeless bodies piled over each other, only to see a swarm of rats bursting out of a horse’s bloated corpse is just one of multiple sights that A Plague Tale: Innocence inevitably etches into your mind. Although its stealth and puzzle mechanics aren’t exactly fresh, having what’s, quite possibly, the most powerful representation of the Black Death in the medium, even if stylized, is reason enough to see Amicia and Hugo’s journey to its end.
A very barebones remaster that is great for newcomers, but unnecessary for owners of the previous game.
Yakuza Kiwami 2PC
The way you can tell a critic liked a game is whether or not they’ll go back to it on their own accord when their review is finished. That is exactly what I’m doing with Yakuza Kiwami 2. It fixes some of the most glaring problems the first Kiwami had and that gives us one of the best Yakuza games on PC. There’s plenty of games to play, dudes to fight and people to help, and it almost never feels wasteful. If you crave an honest-to-god open world without the obnoxious filler of similar games, Kiwami 2 is wonderful for any sandbox aficionado.