1134 Published Reviews
Destiny 2: ShadowkeepPC
To be clear, Destiny 2 is still an engaging shooter that—when you step back and take stock of all it has to offer—is absolutely packed full of stuff to do. Shadowkeep is both an entertaining assortment of new activities and a solid base from which the game at large can build and improve. But Shadowkeep also doesn't feel like Destiny 2's final form, and there's a real sense that there's still much left to be tweaked and tightened.
Although Indivisible may not be my flavor of story or platforming, its battles are a successful experiment in adapting fighting game-like combat to an RPG. Its sleek 2D animations, easily chained attacks, and versatile cast of characters all make me feel like a powerhouse, even though I'd fare much worse in the competitive fighting games the system was derived from.
John Wick HexPC
John Wick Hex is a movie tie-in that doesn’t go for the lowest common denominator. What could easily have been a generic real-time action game works wonderfully in this form—converting the pace of the movie action into a very elegant illusion of it. It works admirably despite the within this somewhat sparse presentation, and feels like an idea that the developer could evolve into something really special in the future—with or without the John Wick license.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon BreakpointPC
Ghost Recon Breakpoint is a bizarre Frankenstein’s monster of a shooter, functional in a basic sense, but fundamentally at odds with every second of its own existence. The only breakpoint represented here is for Ubisoft’s carte-blanche open world design, which completely loses sight of the core experience Ghost Recon is supposed to offer. The systems borrowed from other Ubisoft games are about as fitting for a tactical shooter as a clown suit and a megaphone, while the toolbox available to the player is nowhere near deep enough to spread across the hundreds of samey activities filling the world.
Trine 4: The Nightmare PrincePC
As a whole, the experience doesn’t feel complete and consistent. The final boss is anticlimactic and overly simple, whereas the second boss had me stumped for a while due to its reliance on puzzles. I breezed through most of the final stage, while three hours earlier I was struggling with how to progress. The story offers no cohesion either, being far too lightweight to sustain interest. Trine 4 is a series of middles sewn together with the thread of great puzzle design.
The writing is atmospheric throughout, especially when Lina has the opportunity to simply sort through her own thoughts, but Neo Cab’s greatest trick is that I can’t tell whether everything that seems a little fake to me—the at times overly-philosophical conversations, me questioning every kindness—was purposefully designed to feel that way.
WHAT THE GOLF?PC
What the Golf? has been in development for a while—I feel like I've tried it at several indie game events over the past few years—but now that it's out I'm delighted to see its a fun, funny, extremely inventive puzzle game and a pleasure to play from the first hole-in-one to the final cat-in-seven.
Magic: The Gathering ArenaPC
Sometimes I get a couple of those frustrating stop-start matches in a row (to be fair, there's less than in Magic: The Gathering Online which paused even when you didn't have any instants), but Arena gives me plenty to think about during downtime. There's always another way to turn into a mouse and frighten that elephant, and even though I was only a kitchen-table Magic player it's reactivated cobwebbed parts of my brain.
Together with the inventive combat and gauntlet of narrative choices to be made, Crying Suns is a good strategy game that's absolutely worth playing as long as you're okay with it not being much of a roguelike. Repetitive encounters and a general lack of challenge made my journey through this corpse of a galactic empire not nearly as hardfought as it should.
But hey, sometimes the post-apocalypse is just like that: hardship without reward. Yet even the bleakest works of apocalypse fiction use misery to examine people, to help us understand the fundamentals of our condition. Overland, with its randomly generated and entirely interchangeable humans has no insight to offer. Well, except watching dogs die repeatedly really will make you dislike a game.
You’re kidding yourself. Because however invested you become, however much enjoyment you take from competency and victory, however many times you watch that replay back of the Volta goal you scored by flicking it backwards over a defender, losing another with an elastico and backheeling it into the net (at least double figures now), FIFA 20’s biggest failing is in producing an enjoyable football match.
The Surge 2PC
The steely smash-and-crunch of the combat merrily pushed me through its 20-hour campaign and beyond into New Game +, compelling me to ignore the rudimentary world and focus on those glorious moments where sparks, limbs and scrap metal fly with brutal abandon. Deck13 has come a long way, welding together a solid, structurally sound Soulslike that adeptly showcases what makes this genre special.
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch RemasteredPC
On paper it sounds sickeningly sweet, though there are hints of the undercurrent of darkness that runs through Ghibli’s best work, even if it’s hardly Grave of the Fireflies. Wrath of the White Witch is traditional to a fault, and lacks the kingdom-building hook of its sequel, but it makes for a mostly pleasant, sporadically delightful, 40-plus hours of playful escapism.
Untitled Goose GamePC
There’s no denying that once you approach the six hour mark, the joke (slowly) begins to wear thin. The game's small village gets repetitive after a while, but that really, really doesn’t matter. This wasn’t designed for GTA levels of playtime, and I can’t remember the last game that made me laugh so loudly and so often while I was playing it. It’s the sort of game that makes your friends, when they see you playing it, say “goose a go, mate”.
eFootball PES 2020PC
PES still plays more convincing football than its rival. Players don’t seem to snap between canned animations anything like as much as in FIFA, and for eFooty purists that’s all that matters. Those with a soft spot for decadent presentation and narratives, though, will be frustrated by eFootball PES 2020’s unwillingness to compete on those terms.
Still, Blasphemous tempted me back thanks to its multiple endings, the requirements for which are suitably vague. After one completion I had enough understanding of its world to have a clue as to where I should look and, like with any good Metroidvania, I feel intrigued enough to return for at least one more playthrough.
Children of MortaPC
The Bergson's are charming but their quest is a bit too lifeless. A middling dungeon crawler elevated by its style.
GreedFall is not the heir to the Dragon Age throne, but it is, in a word, adequate. Rather than planting its flag in one truly standout, unique system, it spreads itself thin across all of the systems one might expect from a Dragon Age-type game. If Dragon Age is a veteran gone on sabbatical, GreedFall is keeping its seat warm without making a mess of the office in its absence. It's a decent RPG, but not the new darling of the genre by any stretch.
A polished and surprisingly varied campaign married to stalwart PvE and PvP modes which gently refine the classic Gears experience.
Between the bugs, the extended non-jokes, the self-aggrandizing jabs at game design trends, and a few cameos I won't spoil but that made me audibly groan, Borderlands 3 has a lot in common with Gearbox fan events as of late. There's a lot of loud, extended posturing while holding what everyone really came for hostage. It's a shame, because Tales from the Borderlands found a delicate balance of absurdity, self-awareness, and genuine heart. A better Borderlands is possible, it's just not Borderlands 3.
An interesting horror game that never manages to escape the shadow of its ‘90s inspiration.
The core combat remains engaging and fun, and swapping between different heroes and loadouts is a blast, but Pagan Online is impossible to recommend without several caveats: the bugginess, the hero grind, and the limited multiplayer.
Hunt: Showdown's primary issue is that by the time you've mapped out the bayou's hideouts and passageways and found a groove with your roster of hunters, a grind sets in quick. The map got repetitive, as did the relatively short list of weapons and three available bounties. After a time the only substantial unlockables are lore, which, though well-written and fascinating, isn't enough to sustain my interest long-term.
Headspun is a well-meaning attempt at exploring a fascinating topic. Wandering around certain rooms like the Dream Theater and Memory Bank, you see some some vivid imagery, and are faced with interesting questions about the relationship between memories and identity. But it never delves deeper, restricting you to tedious minigames and superfluous base-building while you wait to see how story pans out. Headspun failed to entrench itself in my memory, and I wouldn't feel differently even if its swarms of bugs were squashed.
World of Warcraft ClassicPC
World of Warcraft Classic is still the exact same MMO I remembered losing so many nights to as a teenager, and 15 years later it's still just as fun and as frustrating as I'd hoped it would be.