What Remains of Edith Finch is now the bar set for all Interactive Dramas going forwards. It’s a compelling anthology of little narratives that build up to much more than the sum of it’s parts.
Space Marine always stands out as an amazing example of capturing the feel of a universe through adaptation. It’s an exercise in showing how understanding a property can lead to a great game.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm is a fascinating adventure game that navigates themes of Grief, Teenage Friendship and finding your place in a changing world, all with the signature charm and attitude that’s come to be known of Life is Strange.
PUBG as a game shouldn’t work. It’s a multiplayer only game that requires around 100 players for a match. It looks bland as white rice. There’s fundamentally no narrative, no story. To start a game is to commit to a single 30 minute time sink where 99 players are going to lose. This game should have empty servers, critical panning and a bunch of postmortems to dissect exactly how bad of an idea it is. Yet it’s easily one of the most engrossing games I’ve played in a long time. Somehow PUBG is a highly compelling game that’s sucked up most of my year.
The Last Jedi is worth your time. Not just as a good Star Wars film, but as a fun, beautifully made adventure that sets the stage for the series to come. It has flaws, but the sum of the many parts is worth the whole experience.
Shadow of War is a game that demands the player’s attention. It is brash and loud, hurrying the player along a path of constant engagement Not a moment goes by without a prompt or an icon or a mission or an encounter with enemies. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I’ve had a great deal of fun playing, but it is utterly exhausting.
Even to this day, I’m still kind of stunned that Machine Games Wolfenstein: The New Order is quite this well written and designed as a game. Wolfenstein is the literal grandaddy of shooting games. You are B.J Blascowicz. A man with a gun, shooting from the first person.You shoot Nazis. Till there are no more. Sometimes the Nazis have magic, sometimes super science, sometimes both. You shoot them till they fall over.
Rust is an online only, always active survival game where your player character is random and fixed and the world is full of other players who want to ruin your day. Yet it’s a game that I’ve sunk hundreds of hours into, and it is fascinating to play.
Let’s get it out of the way. LA Noire is not a game for everyone. The story is cliched, oddly paced and tropey. The incredibly expensive facial recognition tech is somewhat let down by the clunky dialogue system. But in spite of all that, it does a fantastic job of capturing the feel of being at the heart of Noir Detective stories. Even Better, LA Noire is a perfect game to play with a group of friends. Following the clues, making connections and catching lying witnesses out is better with company
Heat Signature is a fascinating exercise in how well and how quickly you can improvise. You’ll be given a problem to solve. You’ll have a very short time to solve it. You’ll have a limited set of tools. You’re going to come up with some very fun solutions. Or die trying.