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Plutarch said of Alexander the Great: “when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer.” If anything, my experience of Imperator: Rome has left me feeling the exact opposite: I want to weep, as I know I will never find the time to conquer everything this game has to offer.
The thing is, the problems are there. I don’t know if I can recommend this to someone who isn’t a word nerd. But at the same time, what Inkle have achieved in Heaven’s Vault is tremendous. I don’t know what to compare it to, because there isn’t anything.
It’s Winter is short and without much to ‘do’, which is clearly a problem for some folks who want to feel they’ve wrung the most value out of their spending money, but I wouldn’t want it more complex and I certainly wouldn’t want it longer: that would break the spell.
I am not incredibly enthused to fight more baddies in Outward. I’m not that excited to speak to more of its cardboardy NPCs. I’m not looking forward to getting up from my chair to do some light cardio while I wait for my character to warm up by a campfire in the middle of a snowstorm, so I don’t get diseased and have to trek to the nearest village for a herbal tea and sleep for a day before I’m healthy again. But that travel, maaaaan. It absolutely nails it.
Yes, Sekiro hurts. But look at this smile as well. Shadows Die Twice is a beautiful, masochistic misadventure. Some of its boss fights are so stupendous, I dare not speak about them. It is a test of mettle and nerve that proves From Software are still winning the arms race against us cheesey rats.
But this is wonderful. Completely wonderful. Original, inspired, challenging, and most importantly of all, that constant sense of “Oh no, how will I ever do this one!” so quickly followed by, “I AM A GENIUS!” It’s a very, very smart game, that has the humility to let you, the player, feel like the clever one