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Review: Winter 2018 Top Games

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The year has barely started, and there are already several releases that simply cannot be missed - especially lucky for fans of fantasy and the Middle Ages.

But even if you prefer other settings, you should still not pass by right away: Monster Hunter: World and Kingdom Come: Deliverance offer new game mechanics that can truly captivate, and Final Fantasy XII and Shadow of theColossus are already classic.

Monster Hunter: World

The Monster Hunter series has long been popular in its homeland - in Japan, but World was the first part of it to achieve recognition in the West. Why this happened becomes clear right after we met - such a large, beautiful and interesting game simply could not go unnoticed.

The player will become a hunter, hunting down and killing monsters, in order to then make new equipment out of their skins, claws and other goodness. You need this to kill monsters more efficiently, to make yourself new equipment, to kill monsters more efficiently ... The cycle is endless, and yes, it is based on a typical grind from JRPG. But only this is not a JRPG - the gameplay here does not exist for the sake of opening another piece of the plot (it is, but is not remarkable in any way), in Monster Hunter: World they play precisely to kill monsters.

After all, each of them is interesting - often they are creatures of gigantic size, sometimes with a skyscraper, and to kill them you will have to try a lot: you need to look for a special approach to each, and just finding it will be the most interesting part of the gameplay - adrenaline action is mixed here with tactics. The size of the opponents, by the way, makes the game akin to another project from the collection - Shadow of the Colossus. Do you like to fight huge monsters? There is a holiday on your street!

A large map becomes a battlefield every time, and you can prepare for a battle by strengthening in advance, and use the landscape in its course. The beasts do not hesitate to do this either - for example, the beast can climb a hill, and then how to jump when the player does not expect it at all! They did a good job on the world: it is perceived as a truly living ecosystem, the local forests are full of living creatures, both dangerous and harmless, as well as many mysterious paths that beckon into the unknown, and exotic plants. Everything has been worked out down to the smallest detail, and the forests look more alive than real ones.

But the main thing is that all these details are needed not as simple decorations, but are actively involved in the gameplay: everything can be used - to create a potion, a trap, a throwing projectile or something else needed in the hunting economy. The gameplay works like a clock and will not get bored for a long time, but World plays in completely different colors in multiplayer, for which it was primarily created: it is best to pass it in a party for four, distributing roles. The pleasure increases significantly!

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

If Monster Hunter is a simulator for hunting fantasy monsters, then Deliverance is a simulator of the middle ages. He tries to pretend to be an ordinary role-playing game, but don't be fooled: everything is much more serious here. If the hero is exhausted and wants to sleep, then his eyes literally start to stick together. If he didn't eat on time, he collapses from hunger. I didn't bandage the wound - and blood flows from it, and people die from blood loss here.

Such meticulousness of the developers annoys someone (simplifying mods have been invented for them), because it makes the gameplay more difficult and fills it with numerous little things that the player has to do periodically - give the protagonist a rest, wash him, feed him and take care in every possible way. It is not so easy to do all this - for example, food is constantly spoiled, and therefore you cannot just take out the next portion from the inventory every time, you must periodically look for it. But many players, on the contrary, liked these attempts of the game to become something more than a regular RPG.

Deliverance copes well with the things usual for role-playing games: the plot is skillfully written, abundant in twists and turns and is very ramified. You will play as Jindrich - the son of an ordinary blacksmith in medieval Bohemia. It's nice that this is not a repetition of what has already been passed a hundred times, but a really little-known time and place for the players, and even with a Slavic flavor, which the developers have embodied excellently - after all, they themselves are from the Czech Republic and have turned to the history of their country.

During the showdown between the feudal lords, the hometown of Indrich was burned, so he began an adult life full of dangers and adventures, hoping to take revenge. The plot is nowhere more standard, but further it will be much more interesting, and all roads are open for the player - no one will limit you in this big world, you can go anywhere and develop the hero as you like.

The Czech debutants have a great game, a long and exciting adventure from among those that make you return to your world over and over again and will never be forgotten. Unless there were a lot of bugs in it at the time of release, and patches fix the situation slowly. But the game is still good, and you just need to try.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

PlayStation 2 owners received this game back in 2006, but even for them the revised edition could be a great opportunity to once again plunge into the world of the twelfth "Final", which many fans consider the last really good game in the series. PC gamers, on the other hand, only have to join this once underestimated project, the attitude towards which is getting warmer every year.

The creators of Final Fantasy XII did not hesitate to break the traditions of the series: the gameplay was shoveled, and the story turned out to be nothing like the previous ones - this predetermined the ambiguous attitude of the fans. Interestingly, she was scolded for too much politics in the plot. How so, many fans were indignant, where real fantasies, they remained only in the name! The game shows a local conflict on the periphery of the world, which is why many fans of the JRPG genre lacked scale - surprisingly, it turned out to be too Western in spirit to be accepted with a bang.

But she has an interesting and unusual narrative, the plot has a core, behind it you can see the author's thought and ideas, and the characters really grow up because of the events happening to them - not so often you will find something like this in games. It also has a large open and detailed world - a first for the JRPG genre.

For its time, the gameplay of FF XII was fresh, especially the system of "gambits", which allowed the party members to pre-set a set of actions depending on the circumstances, which significantly accelerated the passage of secondary battles. But to a modern player, it may seem a bit archaic: you have to run a lot here, you don't have to log side tasks (how can you not remember the notebooks with which you sometimes had to play old RPGs!), And when switching between locations, you will need to constantly load. But isn't all this small stuff?

We can't guarantee that you will enjoy FF XII, but this is a truly huge game that comes out every five years, and its latest version is worth trying to dive into. Will tighten - so with the head.

Shadow of the Colossus

And again, a repetition of the past, but what a! The original game was a revelation back in 2005 and received many awards, but now Sony is offering PlayStation 4 owners its remake with new graphics and tighter gameplay. Should fans buy it - the question is not even worth it, but what about the rest?

If you missed this game twelve years ago, then you should know that it does not fit into the framework of usual genres. Team Ico, as always, makes games that don't try to explain or live up to expectations - it just embodies the vision of game designer Fumita Ueda. You need to kill giants to resurrect your friend - and that's it. Where is the connection, how did she even die, what happened? Nobody will explain.

The game world is huge, beautiful and empty - and this is not an omission, as it was intended. Everything here works for the atmosphere - emptiness and silence, that is what will accompany you on the way to the next colossus. Fights with them are the main part of the game, and each colossus is a work of design art, and if the former are relatively unpretentious, then each next enemy turns out to be more interesting. PlayStation 2 pulled the game with great difficulty, and the difficulty in places increased simply due to the low frame rate - now this problem is finally gone, and you can enjoy the gameplay in the form in which it was conceived by the developers.

In some ways, the game is outdated - if, when it first came out, battles with colossus were really a new word, since then they have been copied in one form or another more than once. Still, such atmospheric and author's projects can be counted on the fingers of one hand, and here it is - a chance to join, especially since the technical part no longer interferes.

The Topic of Article: Review: Winter 2018 Top Games.
Author: Jake Pinkman


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