Written by Maiyannah Bishop and published on Apr 2, 2020.
Not Recommended: Sundered is the most disappointing game I've played to date. I've played games and had worse experiences, and I've played games which have had more glaring design flaws, but none quite so disappointing. Sundered is a beautifully-wrought disaster of a game which marries an absolutely gorgeous art and animation with detailed sound design and atmospheric music ... with some of the most slipshod and lazy-feeling design I've experienced in a long time. Where there was the promise of a metroidvania is more a bullet-hell button-mashing brawler, devoid of any feeling of taking skill or granting any accomplishment. Aggravating maps full of procedurally-generated tunnels that don't last long before they get repetitive, and bosses that feel more akin to battles of attrition than tests of skill. Not really worth it except on a deep sale, if you're willing to put up with an experience that's fairly uninspired and rough in every aspect outside art direction.
Written by Trever Bierschbach and published on Feb 16, 2020.
Recommended: Hnefatafl is the ancient strategy game developed in Scandanavia, and popular across Europe until it was replaced by Chess as the more fashionable game to play. I got my set at GenCon from an artist known for his hand-carved Viking horns, and it's a beautiful and fun addition to our game library. It's easy to learn, and challenging to master. If you're someone who likes classic and old games like Chess, Backgammon, or Othello this game will be right up your alley. You can pick up a copy at almost any store that sells quality board games, or check out Where the Gods Live to see the artistic pieces done by Brian Marshall.
Written by Maiyannah Bishop and published on Feb 2, 2020.
Neutral: Darkest Dungeon spins a tale of insanity and despair that looks and sounds brilliant, but is something of a veneer western town, with quite plain mechanics underneath. Worth a play if you can stand a decent amount of artificial difficulty. It isn't going to sell you on it, if you aren't.
Written by Maiyannah Bishop and published on Dec 31, 2019.
Neutral: The Long Dark's recent updates have added some more to the game, but it's a game experience that increasingly is being shown as somewhat shallow. A somewhat zen and immersive survival experience falls prey to a pressure to make it more challenging, and the game does so by giving you challenges you have little chance to survive. The story is plodding, staid, and kind of bog-standard stereotypical mysticism which handles its themes extremely heavy-handedly. There's still plenty of fun to be had here in the survival mode, but its been dulled since initial release.
Written by Maiyannah Bishop and published on Jun 2, 2019.
Neutral: The Necromancer finds their way back into Diablo with ROTN, but their implementation is confused and overshadowed by a steep increase in artificial difficulty. Worth it for a fan, likely not for a newcomer.
Written by Trever Bierschbach and published on Dec 26, 2018.
Recommended: Baldur's Gate is a great game, even today. Getting the original or the extended edition shouldn't really be a factor either. The NPCs that were added don't have a serious impact on the game, and the mechanical changes won't be noticeable to anyone outside a hard-core D&D player. You're going to get hours of gameplay and story, for pretty cheap at this point. You can even find it as part of a package with the other games in the franchise. It's a small price to pay for hours of fun for new players, and some fond memories for those of us who played it back in the day.