Dusk has been on my radar for 2018 thanks to its commitment to old-school FPS design. The game has been a labor of love over the course of developing its three episode structure. With the game finally out, we have the perfect example of a title that knows what it wants to be, and you’re just going to have to come along for the ride.
Thunder Lotus is a studio that knows how to impress from an aesthetics point of view. Their previous game Jotun was beautiful to look at, but did not wow in terms of gameplay. With Sundered, the developers go further in terms of game design with a metroidvania rogue-like mixed with Lovecraft. Unfortunately, questionable design decisions waste any good will that the game’s beautiful aesthetics earn.
The Darksiders franchise is one of the strangest AAA (or AA) series of games to be released. Originally beginning with the premise of making a five title series; each one controlling a horseman of the Apocalypse before having them come together, THQ’s problems and lack of sales led to the series being sidelined. After remastered editions of the first two, the former developers are picking things up again with the third game and Fury’s story.
With each game mirroring another design, Darksiders 3 tries to be like Dark Souls, but fails to grasp the finer points of why that franchise works.
Mutant Year Zero: the Search for Eden is an interesting mix of real-time exploration and turn-based combat. If completely successful, it would be poised to deliver the next big take on turn-based design since XCOM 1 and 2 by Firaxis and Battletech by Harebrained Schemes. However, in trying to find the best of both worlds, the game can’t quite square the circle with its design.