There are a few passengers who fit Night Call's mood very well, like the maudlin Japanese businessman who you are supposed to communicate with without speaking his language, or Santa, who forgot where he parked his sleigh. With 70 characters, there's a lot of variety, but unfortunately there's also a lot of repetition between the procedurally generated runs. I commend Night Call for having so many stories, but they are told in flawed framework.
The story is genuinely interactive, with many branching paths and sudden deaths, as well as a slew of different endings. In that sense, I really enjoy playing it. But as a piece of storytelling, and as a murder mystery, it's really quite poor. When you're laughing at scenes that were meant to be powerfully dramatic and emotional, you know something has gone wrong. But for all its faults I'm glad to see it on PC, because there's an interesting game hiding in there somewhere, drowning in a storm drain, occasionally poking its head above the water for a gasp of air.
Steel Division 2PC
Steel Division 2 is a good game buried under layers of frustrating obfuscation and burdened with a poor single player experience. Every time I was close to getting fully immersed, a new, ugly problem reared up to distract me. The ambitious bones of a truly great game are here, but ultimately it's hard to recommend this to anyone but those who already love the series' unique multiplayer.
I don't always love Void Bastards as a shooter, even if I really like everything around the shooting—the cadence of unlocking new tools and other rewards has a perfect power curve. It'll take around 13 or so hours to finish a single run, and even after doing that, you can carry on unlocking stuff and taking on harder enemies, or upping the difficulty. I'm considering another run, even though I spent so long sighing at enemy barks, or getting shot at by inexplicably placed turrets, or getting too close to exploding enemies without realising it.
Though I admire the way the game keenly rejects the idea that games should always be satisfying fun factories, I don’t see the worth in wrapping a good mystery in layers of irritant. The devs are planning to add difficulty options that should make the game a bit less crushing. Until then put off that spooky train ride home unless you’re sure you’ll enjoy Ice Pick Lodge’s original challenging vision for the game.
Layers of Fear 2PC
Layers of Fear 2 is a bloated beast, its early chilling atmosphere replaced by an attempt at psychoanalytical storytelling it doesn’t quite know how to handle. You can feel it reaching for something higher at times, as evidenced by some of the visually striking screenshots, but in the end just as it pays lip service to great ideas in horror and cinema while failing to anchor its own.
Total War: Three KingdomsPC
That's the problem with there being so many Total War games at the moment. A new one comes out while the last two are still fresh in our memories. Three Kingdoms is a very good strategy game in which to experience 2nd century China, and I've spent dozens of enjoyable hours with it. When you zoom in close on the right details, whether it's two generals duelling or an enemy turning the vassal system against you, it's grand.
Yakuza Kiwami 2PC
Where Yakuza Kiwami felt like an expansion to Yakuza 0, Kiwami 2 is larger, fuller and more varied than Yakuza 6, its Dragon engine predecessor (which isn't available on PC—the series seemingly being ported in order of storyline). While I still slightly prefer Yakuza 0, this is well worth your time.
Operencia: The Stolen SunPC
Operencia ended up being a game I wish I liked more. Its first half was enchanting and clever, but the second half was a slog and the main thing I gained from it was some trivia about a giant Hungarian owl with a weird copper wang who scares children.