The 2016 incarnation of the Hitman franchise is one of the first big names to try out the episodic model for its new game, and it’s a great fit. Hitman is well suited for the episodic approach since the focus isn’t a narrative that you want to barrel through quickly to get to the ending, it’s a series of elaborate, self-contained locations where you practice your trade as a silent assassin.
Enter the Gungeon jumps into the fray with its own offbeat genre soup, and it’s particularly tasty: A bullet hell roguelike. You guide one of four characters through increasingly difficult, randomly generated floors of the titular Gungeon, clashing with enemies that spew all manner of bullet patterns at you.
On its release day last month, Street Fighter V was missing a ton of features, from a promised Story Mode to any meaningful training challenges to even Arcade mode. All of these features are planned to arrive in the next six months, as well as six new characters on a monthly basis. It’s not cool or acceptable that something so half-assed was pushed out onto store shelves, but dammit, when you play the game you’ve just gotta shake your head and give them a pass. It’s that good.
The latest game in the Rainbow Six franchise serves as a nice bit of counter programming during this holiday gaming season. While the other big shooters of the season (Halo, Call of Duty, Star Wars Battlefront) are focused on bombast, Rainbow Six Siege turns down the spectacle and explores tense, high-stakes combat in tight areas.
Just Cause 3 is an incredible action movie amusement park filled with the tools to create any explosive, over-the-top Bond/Bourne/John McClane fantasy that may be swimming around in your head. The fictional Republic of Medici is your faux Mediterranean powder keg playground, and your character, Rico Rodriguez, is completely at ease in it, whether he’s soaring through the sky in a wingsuit, grapple hooking around an industrial park, racing cars into fuel tanks, or surfing a jet into an enemy encampment.
A new Platinum Games joint is like a new Quentin Tarantino movie or a Ryan Murphy TV show – if you call yourself a fan of the art form, you have to check it out. Platinum is a superstar developer that has both the desire to experiment and the technical chops to bring their ambitions to playable reality.
The best game trilogies don’t start out as trilogies. (This usually rings true for trilogies in other media as well.) If you look too far into the future and try to create some grand plan, chances are you’ve forgotten to focus on the here and now, and nobody will want to play the first game you make, let alone its two sequels.
Confession: I have a pretty worn-out copy of Need For Speed: The Run up on my shelf. It’s not the greatest game (I have a feeling that most of the other copies are heaped in trade-in bins across the country), but in my eyes it takes a worthwhile stab at the holy grail of racing titles: The cross-country USA trek.
Amidst a Fall release schedule filled mostly with dark, stone-faced titles – Shadow of Mordor, Alien Isolation, Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty – it’s nice to see something different, something that recalls the big, fun, full-color games of years past, like Jet Set Radio, Jak & Daxter, and Ratchet & Clank.