I don’t play as much as I used to back in the days, but I still like to try new stuff once in a while. Here are some of the games I’ve been enjoying lately and some comments.
Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader: Look, I used to play Warhammer (albeit
Fantasy) as a kid, so I knew where I was getting. Overall a fun time sinkhole, but not particularly inspired. Some aspects are fun (a couple sidequests, the ambientation, the x-com-like combat), others are a chore (the skill tree is a big mess and I refuse to understand it, for example). A 6?
FTL: I played on and off for a while, but it’s the first time I took some time to really undertand the mechanics. It’s funny how a limited ammount of moving parts make for a great game loop. There is something there to say about ludonarrative as well.
Inscryption: I played it back in the day, when it made waves. It’s still super fun, specially the first part. From then on it keeps adding twists, but the constant feel of feeling the rug being pulled is a bit too much. Still, very cool, and it kind of blew my mind again despite knowing how it fares.
Baldurs Gate III: Look, I’m an RPG fan. I’ve played a lot, including some infamous titles. Yet I haven’t been so enraptured by an isometric RPG since Dragon Age: Origins (excluding the equally excellent
Disco Elysium). It’s a solid 10/10 for me. I was concerned about the writting, but it’s actually pretty good, helped by an amazing voice acting effort. Almost everyone has a proper name (even generic NPCs) and unique dialogue, the combat is very fun and memorably designed and, overall, feels like a D&D campaign from the start. Loved it so far.
Cyberpunk 2077: well, it’s a game that doesn’t know what kind of game is it. A light RPG, mediocre FPS with more style than substance, holding a couple gems here and there - it could have been great.
The witness: still going through it. So far, a twisted puzzle game.
Deep Rock Galactic: I actually bought it some time ago, but didn’t really play much until now. Fun game. It’s nothing remotely brainy though.
Dredge: fun, and nice, but I expected heavier terror/survival undertones. Also, a bit short. Lots of potential missed, if you ask me, because the game loop is fun.
Yes, Your Grace: halfway between the graphic novel and a resource manager in a pseudo-medieval setting. The main game loop is fun, though once you learn a trick or two it becomes way too easy. A second run is not worth it; the game has little replay value. Still, I liked it and would recommend it.
Hardspace: Shipbreaker: you are a spaceship scrapper working for a global corporation where labour laws can’t reach you. The mechanics are oddly satisfying, the ambience as well - the writing, however, is a bit meh, particularly on the character dialogs. Other than that, very entertaining.
Immortality: Very weird format, but I’m loving it so far. It’s kind of an interactive movie about an actress, where each significant object in a scene (either from one of her movies or the cinema industry around) can lead to other scenes. I won’t spoil much, but it’s very good at it.
PS:Advancing more into the story, I’ll just say this: if you use a joystick, consider using also the pad if you see a yuxtaposed scene where the L stick doesn’t work. And that’s as much as I can tell you without spoiling.
Elden Ring: You probably know much about this already. I’m not going to say anything more insightful about it than Noah Caldwell-Gervais said in his superb analysis on Souls inheritors.
Grim Fandango (Remastered): Still the masterpiece it once was. Much praise has gone to the music (one of my favourite videogame OSTs) and the cinematography of the camera’s position, but I forgot how just plain hilarious this game is. Sadly, the mechanics have aged badly, as in most LucasArts graphical adventures, and the remaster isn’t much to look at. Still one of my favourite games.
Citizen Sleeper: A sci-fi story exploring concepts of identity, labour/capitalism, cyberpunk (in the right ways: at its intersection with capital) and such. It feels like a graphical novel with extra steps: it’s organized in cycles where you can use actions that have a chance of success of failure (via dices). It’s fun, and its aided by a very curated aesthetic and a compelling setting. Some of the subplots fell flat for me: the game really tries to make you like (or, at least, empathize with) most characters, and if certain qualities don’t work you get stuck in tasks for the sake of advancing a story you are not invested in.
Also: the game has, sadly, little replay value, as one can get most of the “endings” in one playthrough, and the novelty and pressing of the early game quickly fade out. Still, it was a relatively cozy game that I’d recommend if you are into sci-fi.
Norco: Pixel-art distopian surrealist game set in Louisiana. It has a dreamlike quality, kind of like Kentucky Route Zero. Most of the dialog is very solid. It’s has also gorgeous art. The bit I liked the least is the (rare) combat system, but other than that, I would recommend to most people into pixel-art or the click adventure genre.
Rimworld: I got into this game a bit more in depth lately. Probably you know that it’s basically simple Dwarf Fortress; I like it, but the potential for emerging narratives is more constrained, or at least that’s my impression, and lots of it has to do with the way it’s 2D rather than 3-D divided in Z levels. Anyway, I’m nitpicking, it’s a great game.