It was inevitable that The Witcher 3 would close on a high, but few will have expected what they’ll find in Blood & Wine. While unrequited love, barrels of red with a blackberry aroma, and excessive amounts of pomp may not be what you think you want from The Witcher, it won’t be long until you’ve changed your mind.
Evolve is really good fun. With its four-player co-op matches sharing so much base DNA with Left 4 Dead, it's great that it feels like something completely different. It still shares that pace - extended moments of quiet followed by massive bursts of excitement - but provides it in a very different manner. There's not a huge amount of content in Evolve compared to many unlock-led games, but by keeping things tight the game always stays focussed on what's important: the thrill of the hunt. The almost absence of variety in the map design may well hack down Evolve's lasting appeal, but what's here in the main game is perfect for many great hours.
It's additions may feel almost wholly unnecessary, but they do nothing to dilute the genuinely great multiplayer core. The lack of online is surely a barrier to entry for many, but for those in the right environment - university halls, Friday-night game sessions, after school with buddies - TowerFall Ascension consistently delivers massive heaped doses of fun. It revels in humiliation - even saving death replays as GIFs for easy social media bragging - and is likely to destroy friendships for an hour or two. And the more heated the arguments and the fouler the swearing, the more likely you are to do it all over again next week.
True disasters crash, burn, and are never rebuilt. Visit a game of Conquest or Rush in Battlefield 4 today, and you could be easily fooled into thinking there'd never been a problem in the first place. Hopefully such a launch is one for the history books and not a future repeat, but Battlefield 4 is testament to both DICE's dedication to enduring design and getting things right, no matter how much pain they have to endure on the way.
Broken Age is a unique game. It's made directly for and on the demand of a very specific audience, rather than for any publisher. In some ways it's surprising that - despite being traditional - it doesn't feel like a Lucasarts game. That's likely what backers wanted, and whilst those elements are there, this is a Double Fine game to the final letter. It's gentle, loving, and fun; not a Grim Fandango rehash, but the gaming equivalent of a petting a kitten. If your eyes are not welling up with sheer joy at such a thought, then perhaps Broken Age is not for you. For everyone else, it's probably already in your Steam library anyway.
Simple in almost all respects, Luftrauser is one of Vlambeer's biggest triumphs because it strips back everything in the name of exposing the fun at the centre of the game. It's almost as if the designers were engineers of the rauser itself; reducing weight and tweaking fuel lines to ensure the most effective deliverer of death possible. The concessions to lower skilled pilots makes the bosses a bit of a non-event, but the overall result is a challenge that works for all players, and that's a genuine achievement. Wrapped in a stylish package with darting machine silhouettes and authentic World War 2 colour-pallet, Luftrausers is really quite special.