Ultimately, Mafia III is a game that's held back by its conventional anchors. It wants to be game about the South but remains content to use its setting rarely as little more than a local color curiosity. It proposes a radical representation of race but falls prey to the conventional chores of open-world banality. Though it initially seems eager to "Tell about the South," Mafia III does not have the patience or interest to do so.
Civilization VI carries forward almost all of the mechanics from V: spies, trading routes, religion, ideologies, the hexagonal map, and so on. As a result, the game is just as strong as its previous incarnation, while nevertheless finding ways to expand upon this experience.
Thoth’s main addition to the twin-stick shooter is its constant intimidation tactics. The short segments you set out to beat—64 in all—keep you aghast constantly, and you’ll learn quickly that even when things look peaceful it can mean that something deadly hasn’t shown itself to you yet. Silence is just an opportunity for a bomb to go off.
The Last of Us took a boring idea and made everything about it sublime; Aragami takes a lot of good ideas and neglects to make any of them great. Even the story feels uninterested in itself: the cutscenes are mostly under 10 seconds, and the characters habitually preface expository statements with phrases like “By the way” and “In case you were wondering.”
Pavilion is a series of puzzles that become sentences. The painted visuals and Tony Gerber’s haunting soundscape establish mood for the actors in the narrative: protagonist as subject, his actions as verb, the ambiguous goal as object. I was simply there to put it in order or to play with its syntax.