Video games often deal in illusions, proffering the fantasy of control and power even when your meaningful influence is minimal. Monster Hunter: World, the new third-person action game from Capcom, absolutely deals in fantasy. It plucks you from reality and sets you in the domains of exotically imposing monsters that you must hunt. In this game, however, the sense of accomplishment and pride that comes from felling them is anything but an illusion.
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I went into Chasm searching for something that would knock me on my arse. What I found was entertaining, but nothing more. Plenty of secrets, hidden dangers, and mysterious evils lurk deep within Chasm’s side-scrolling labyrinth, which is made lively and vibrant thanks to some truly amazing pixel art.
Halfway through 2018 though, there’s almost nothing in Chasm I feel like I haven’t seen before.
In Hollow Knight, looks can be deceiving. A sad little lamplit town may hide the entrance to a beautiful buried kingdom. A towering knight might turn out to be a sad, small thing in oversized armour. An onrushing green beast may actually be a wee creature disguised by a pile of leaves. And a simple-looking 2D action game can slowly unfurl into one of gaming's great adventures.
When Dark Souls released in 2011, it helped solidify a new genre of action RPG. Since then, players have held onto the game, with fight clubs and massive, yearly revisitations. Dark Souls is more ritual than game at this point, and it was only inevitable that we'd get a remaster. I think I'm ok with that.
Someone is a spy and you need to take them out. There's only thirty seconds left for them to bug the ambassador and complete their mission. You see movement out of the corner of your eye? Is that balding man reaching towards the ambassador's pocket? You take the shot and the party goers scream. Over Skype, your friend laughs at you and, realising you've screwed up, all you can do is laugh as well. That's Spy Party.
Playing Sea of Thieves feels a bit like working in a theatre before the set has been completely built. There's plenty of space to goof around and a few swords in the wings to have mock fights with, but none of its quite ready for show time. A lack of features and polish has frustrated some players, but those willing to meet the game halfway will discover a game that's exciting and pensive in equal measure. Sea of Thieves is as fickle and changeable as the sea itself.
I've spent a long time trekking across Far Cry 5's fictional Hope County, Montana fighting the members of an apocalyptic cult led by a man called Joseph Seed, and I'm still not sure what their deal is. They drive around blasting weird Christian synth and shooting non-members on sight. It's weird and terrifying and unsatisfyingly explored in this epic-length game. For all its nods to contemporary politics and societal strife, Far Cry 5 is just another fun permutation of the usual Far Cry formula with nothing very interesting to say.