This tale of a boy and a monster takes places in an imaginative world filled with South American-style houses, reason-defying physics, and a heartfelt story that explores the relationship between a child and an alcoholic, abusive parent. With Portal 2, Valve has left intact the first quality, expanded and elaborated on the second, and done a bit to address the third. What this adds up to is a sequel that stands up proudly to the original, updating the characteristics that made it a distinctive success without dulling their memory.
Limited multiplayer and post-campaign options slightly diminish the replay factor, but in almost every way Portal 2 is just as amusing and exhilarating as its predecessor. The first-person puzzle game focuses on solving increasingly challenging puzzles using a dimension-shifting tool within a mansion filled with wacky inventions.
It's a very basic plot that kickstarts the action, but Scribblenauts Unlimited excels at sparking imagination as you attempt to solve puzzles. It's one the wordsmiths and imaginauts will love. The game's not quite a platformer; it's a puzzle game, packaged with a brooding sci-fi story set in space. Finnish company Facepalm Games delivers a fascinating, memorable exploration title that can sustain at least two plays through because of multiple endings and achievements. Playground Games has, however, somehow managed to pull it off once again, this time with Forza Horizon 3, a ridiculously addictive racing game that represents the series' first appearance as a PC game, courtesy of Microsoft's Xbox Play Anywhere initiative.
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The Australian setting gives the development team a cool box of toys to play with, as Oz's climate and beautifully rugged landscape mix well with the series' trademark fast cars, open-world exploration, and reckless driving. Forza Horizon 3 is a resplendent racing game that celebrates car culture and youthful festival energy, but its frame-rate hiccups mar an otherwise excellent racing experience. But developer Playground Games has taken its incredible racing-and-music festival formula and added even more goodness, including new vehicles, fresh and addicting solo and multiplayer modes, and seasonal effects that impact the environment and change how you approach driving.
Simply put, Forza Horizon 4 is the best racing game on PC. A handful of media properties have managed to dig deeper, however, creating more rewarding experiences. Horizon Chase Turbo zooms into that category thanks to simple, but thrilling, racing action inspired by s and s tiles like Rad Racer and Top Gear. Gamers weaned on Forza, Gran Turismo, and other contemporary racing titles may find Horizon Chase Turbo a tad shallow, but those who dig arcade-style racers with fast action, tight controls, and hummable music will find little fault in its simplicity.
This entry, crafted by Bugbear Entertainment, brings a chaotic element to the familiar gameplay by adding environmental and vehicular destruction as you race for street cred in the fictional Shatter Bay. The story is something you can flat out ignore—it's a racing game, after all—but the driving action is interesting and varied.
Just play against human opponents if you wish to maintain your sanity. Don't worry, Dark Souls II avoids the missteps of its predecessor's infamous port, allowing you to focus on the rich, gloomy action-RPG world and fantastic, unforgiving gameplay. Dark Souls II is a relentless barrage of demonic enemies and enraging boss encounters that will test your reflexes—and your patience.
This is not a game for the faint of heart or quick of temper, so clear your desk of ceramics, take the framed pictures off the walls, and prepare to enter the dark world of Drangleic. In fact, the newest Souls game incorporates gameplay and design elements from virtually all of the team's recent titles. As a result, the gorgeous and action-packed Dark Souls III feels highly familiar, yet fresh and content-rich at the same time.
Like all of From Software's launches, however, the game is in need of a few patches to adjust weapon balance.
The add-on contains a good chunk of content that, with some much-needed tweaks to the base Diablo III, make the whole game feel fresh and fun. It draws inspiration from classic fables and myths, setting the game in a world burdened with the return of a destructive red dragon. Its combat is flashy and engaging, and the open-world environments are rich with detail, but the quest-driven plot and sparse character development weaken what would be an otherwise interesting story.
The RPG leveling stalls combat, as well, so you won't fight at your full potential until you've leveled your class sufficiently. These issues may turn off less patient players, but those hoping for a grand, long-lived adventure across an action-packed open world will find plenty to discover and enjoy.
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The quantum strides made in Morrowind and Oblivion continue in Skyrim, which provides the most delicious perspective to date on this fascinating world over which you have almost complete control. It's no challenge to set yourself up as a warrior, a wizard, or a pickpocketing miscreant, of either gender, of any of ten species, and with just the physical and facial characteristics you desire.
Both role-playing games boast graphical overhauls that enhance the beauty of their worlds and newly added features not found in the console versions. Ain't PC gaming grand? On the upside, the space opera has several sizable open-world environments to explore and a thrilling combat system. On the downside, it has infamously awkward animations, tedious menus, and performance issues. Nonetheless, if you're looking to blast aliens with zany space magic or woo an exotic space lady or gentleman, Mass Effect: Andromeda is a game that has some entertaining elements that are worth your time.
In fact, one of the great things about this RPG, beside the incredible character development, is that you can upload your character from last game directly into this one. In terms of fresh features, there's a new cover system, and a revamped health recovery system lets you heal most wounds by camping out of harm's way. Although Mass Effect 2 is much more shooter-like than the original, role-playing is still at the game's core.
It does in Mass Effect 3. Picking up where Mass Effect 2 left off, Mass Effect 3 thrusts you back into the persona of Commander Shepard, who's standing at the brink of one of the most daunting challenges ever. He's tasked with nothing less than rescuing the Earth, and the entire Milky Way, from the clutches of the all-consuming Reapers that are threatening them as never before. Packed with action, character development, and customizability that transcend what you find in most games, Mass Effect 3 is an entertaining and frequently engrossing trip into the psychology of helplessness, if one that doesn't realize all of its towering ambitions.
But with Monster Hunter World, Capcom enhanced animations, streamlined gameplay, and made tons of quality-of-life adjustments designed to appeal to core and casual audiences alike. And the moves worked. Tracking and battling huge, snarling beasts with a variety of crafted armor and weaponry is an absolute joy, especially while doing so with friends in multiplayer mode. Developed by Level-5 in collaboration with former Studio Ghibli character designer Yoshiyuki Momose and composer Joe Hisashi, Ni No Kuni II is an audio-visual treat that leads you through a world seemingly crafted from a child's imagination.
Revenant Kingdom has some frame rate issues and doesn't offer many challenges, but it's a magical ride nonetheless. Platinum Games' previous works excel on the gameplay front, but their stories are generally campy schlock. Taro's games, on the other hand, are brilliantly depressing stories tied together with weak gameplay. Nier: Automata is a marriage of Platinum Games' intense action combat and Taro's wacky, yet somber storytelling, and is easily one of the better games released in , thanks to the hot android-on-robot combat.
Unfortunately, Nier: Automata suffers from some technical issues. A lack of developer support compounds this, so you'll need to rely on fan-made patches if you want to get the very best performance out of the game. The player-summoning cooperative gameplay, corpse-run death system, shortcut-rich levels, and enemy-respawning checkpoints will all feel familiar to Dark Soul aficionados. However, Nioh is very much its own beast, and is filled with highly technical action and stronger narrative elements than the Souls titles.
This Complete Edition includes the original console game, as well as all of the DLC content, so newcomers have dozens of hours of action to master. Perhaps to the game's detriment, Nioh has a mountain of systems that new players must learn before they can tackle the higher difficulties. Still, Nioh won't disappoint gamers hungry for a rich and immersive action game. Naturally, The Stick of Truth fans know exactly what they're getting themselves into: topical, highly satirical, and utterly absurd South Park comedy that's paired with a deep, grid-based RPG combat system.
It's a refreshing RPG, if only because the gameplay, hard language, ridiculous scenarios, and show references keep you smiling until the end. Fractured slips up once in a while; the superhero-themed exploration elements utilize some highly tedious menu switching and quick time event QTE mechanics, and the game is surprisingly buggy. However, if you can look past these issues, you're in for an enjoyable time.
CRPGs have seen a recent resurgence with the release of Divinity: Original Sin and Shadowrun, and developer InXile Entertainment has followed suit with a proper sequel to its classic. You can either choose from a list of premade characters or create a more specialized and customized party by allocating skill points and attributes. There is no single protagonist; instead, you control a party of Desert Rangers. Wasteland 2 isn't without flaws, however. The combat in particular is a tad underwhelming, but it's still an enjoyable return to post-apocalyptic Arizona and California.
Geralt of Rivia sets out one last time to slay beasts, collect bounties, and protect the child of destiny. CD Projekt Red changes the game formula by introducing a massive, open world filled with monsters to hunt and quests to undertake. But it also greatly improves the series' combat by making alchemy more accessible and tightening the action controls. The rich story narrative that drives the game is rife with tragedy, folkloric horror, humor, and intrigue, keeping you on your toes every step of the way.
The action-RPG is an unabashedly uncomplicated game that features basic mouse controls and PlayStation One-era visuals.
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The simplicity, however, isn't detrimental to the game: Xanadu Next makes excellent use of its uncomplicated systems to deliver a fantastic dungeon-crawling experience that's well worth checking out. The game has a few minor issues that hold it back from action-RPG greatness, such as its clunky controller support and occasionally tedious progression. Thankfully, Adol is still a skilled warrior who, along with a handful of uniquely skilled party members, is willing to hack and slash his way through hordes of monsters.
This action-RPG may not have reliable party AI, but its combat, sense of exploration, and rocking tunes are excellent. This newer version of Ys VI features an XSEED localization that includes an improved translation, a more challenging game mode called Catastrophe Mode, enhanced graphical settings, and Steam support—features that more than make up for the missing content that was in the Konami-published port. You play as one of five gothic lolitas who defend their land from a demon invasion using familiars and intense, enemy-wrecking firepower.
It's a simple premise that's bolstered by huge enemies, big explosions, beautifully detailed environments, and a thrilling goth-rock score. All in all, Deathsmiles is a thoroughly enjoyable PC shooter, despite cramped environments and sprites that were already considered a bit dated at the time of its original arcade release.
Developed by Cave, a company that's created many space-shooter classics, DoDonPachi Resurrection boasts high-powered offensive and defensive options for annihilating aliens. The game also has multiple ships, multiple endings, and local co-op play.
The s saw Robotron: popularize the genre with easy to use twin-stick controls, while the s added Arnold Schwarzenegger flair and Paul Verhoeven panache with Smash TV. Recently, the best shooter wasn't newfangled fare like Halo or Gears of War, but a simple gem called Geometry Wars.
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True to its title, sequel Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions takes the addictive shape-shooting action into the third dimension with near-immaculate results. The game is rendered with Tron-like grids, wire-framed objects that explode into kaleidoscopic fireworks as a Daft Punk-ish soundtrack pulses in the background. It's a feast for the senses. It wasn't until that the game received a PC port, but the wait was worth it. Ikaruga is now available as a Steam game that retains the unique color-switching mechanic found in the previous arcade and console versions, but adds video uploads, numerous options, and a handful of Steam-specific features.