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Recommended: A good arena shooter that is a bit thin on content or explanation of its unique mechanics. Well worth the price point, but make sure you get a few friends to play with, as the multiplayer community is small at best and the single-player mode is just bots.
Review: Styx-Master of Shadows
Recommended: Styx Master of Shadows is an interesting little stealth title. While not developed by a AAA studio, the quality behind it is really quite impressive. Part Thief and Dishonored, Styx manages to retain its own sense of identity in the wake of it's story and gameplay mechanics.
Review: Life is Strange (Episode 1)
Recommended: A somewhat cumbersome UI and some graphical issues don't keep Life is Strange from presenting an indeed strange and interesting game. Subtle humour offers a dash of flavour and some absolutely brilliant voice acting helps this adventure game stand out among others.
Review: This War of Mine
Recommended: The gameplay mechanics aren't anything to write home about, but the way the game uses tried-and-tested tools to tell your own gripping survival story is quite unique to This War of Mine. It takes those well-proven and simplistic tools and elevates them with what it accomplishes with them. It's probably not going to be your jive if you're more mechanics-focussed in your gaming preferences, but if you can enjoy a compelling survival story, This War of Mine delivers. In spades.
Review: Alien: Isolation
This isn't a game for everyone. There is a lot of trial and error, especially due to the classic style "save points" and the game can be frustrating to those without patience. That being said it can also be incredibly rewarding at times and is a must-have for any fan of the Alien film—as well as boasting enough to keep any general Aliens fans enthralled in its masterful execution.
Review: Viking Conquest
A strong story campaign and an interesting series of new mechanics unfortunately can't save the absolutely bug-ridden mess that this game is in its current state. Crashes to desktop are frequent and there are many bugs and design flaws, from enemy armies not spawning to a "ferry" being a horse, this game has a lot of promise stymied by an absolute lack of any quality assurance and bug testing.
Review: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Multiplayer)
Smoke Signals or I Will Be Heard
This is a story. Well, kind of a few stories, actually. It's not my usual work, in any usual format, but these are not usual times. This is going to be long, probably uncomfortable, and share some views you might not agree with. Perhaps that is something you do not like. Please don't read on, if that bothers you.
Oh, and when I say long, I mean long. Like you're in for trying to 100% Just Cause 2 long here, in an article. Fair warning.
Click to read Maiyannah Lysander's full editorial.
Neutral: There is certainly enough to love in the story and roleplaying of Blackguards, but the combats are pretty painful. Drawn out mercilessly in some cases and filled with the occasional newbie trap, the tactical combat system is slow, clunky, and makes the game feel like much more of a grind than it needs to. Nonetheless, a high-production game that is worth picking up on a sale if the slow pace and high micro on the combat isn't something that turns you off (or indeed, appeals to you).
Recommended: The story is daunting at first, but Bayonetta offers a brilliant and varied spectacle fighter. The depth of combat options and great flourishes in art design have a lot to offer, as does how the protagonist absolutely exudes character. It can be a bit difficult, relies on some pretty bullshit QTEs in part, and has some rough edges, but it is nonetheless a quite fun game.
Neutral: It's a very functional arena shooter "roguelite", but there wasn't anything that I really enjoyed. It seemed really unsubstantial, something that I can't say I didn't very mildly enjoy while I played but immediately forgot about after playing. The art style is the one notable thing, everything else treads on ground so well-trodden its not so much that as basically purged with fire and salt right now, and while the art style may be of interest to some, it didn't hold mine.
Recommended: More of a niche title given the roguelite elements, but it is a solid arena shooter, with only a few minor flaws. You'll find a lot to like if you've been following the recent trend of shooter "roguelites". A few obscure bugs and some accessibility issues don't keep this from being one of the best examples of this emerging genre to date.
Not Recommended: There's a good game in here desperately trying to get out, but it feels far too buggy and disjointed to recommend. Some good character writing is what will no doubt salvage the game for some, but the actual combat is fairly uninviting, and the overarching story never seems to amount to much. On a good enough sale, pick it up if you want to be a Dragon Age completionist, but honestly, you wouldn't be missing a whole lot if you skipped it.
Recommended: While it feels that there could be more to Victory at Sea, if you're complaining that the game is fun and you want more of it, its not a bad complaint. It combines an interesting mission-based overworld with a highly-positional tactical battle view that I found rather compelling. My two big complaints would be that the UI could use some streamlining in places, and that some people may find the simplicity of the guns modelled a bit off-putting, but I found the game a good bit of fun and challenge in equal measure.
Recommended: If you're able to look past its rather glaring interface issues, there's a lot of fun to be had with Quest of Decay. This game showcases simplicity at its finest, with a lot of its mechanics built around pre-existing or simple ideas that have been tweaked or taken in a slightly new direction. If you're a fan of roguelites or dungeon crawling games and are looking for a game to satisfy your fix, you'll be able to find that here. Despite the game's lack of permadeath, difficulty is quite high and gameplay is challenging.
Neutral: A game that is literally style over substance, Shadowrun Returns absolutely oozes theme and setting, but to this day - well after release and promised patches - has a variety of flaws in a janky, unfinished, and buggy engine that seems to use questionable dice. There's fun to be had here most certainly, but for me, there was frustration in approximately equal measure. Worth picking up if you are a fan of Shadowrun and/or attracted to it's premise or themes, but if you're looking for a game to prove to you what western RPGs were in their heyday, this is not it.