Oh, to be dead again.

Shooters have certainly changed since Doom 3 landed on Xbox and PC over a decade ago, so it comes as a relief to discover that the new Doom embodies the spirit that I loved about its predecessors. Sure, it’s laced with modern touches–Glory Kills get a lot of attention–but after a handful of hours with the campaign, the core experience is thus far familiar-feeling in the ways that truly matter. The demons are tough, the guns are fantastic, and the atmosphere is gnarly. So far, so good. Without early access to Doom, I haven’t been able to play enough to write a full review yet. Like anyone picking it up at launch, I will be knee-deep in virtual blood and ammo casings over the weekend, prepping for my full review early next week.

Details

Too many hooks.

For a game with so many strong personalities, Battleborn somehow lacks a cohesive identity. Every facet from the characters to the progression to the visual presentation feels overloaded with ideas–some good, some bad, some just confusing. Because it throws so much against the wall, the end result is a scattered grabbag of manic gameplay, complex leveling, and cartoony humor. It vacillates wildly between excitement and predictability, innovation and routine, inspiration and incomprehensibility. In short, Battleborn is fun but messy, and while I appreciate its hyper-stimulating approach, parsing the experience underneath can be maddeningly tricky.

Details

Interstellar remains.

Galak-Z is a game of tense moments and heavy decisions. Its first expansion The Void, to its detriment, is one long adrenaline rush from start to finish. Galak-Z’s frenetic core mechanics are intact, but The Void has sacrificed much of what makes the game so great in the first place.

Details

Old-school multiplayer shooting with flair.

Housemarque has produced action games with an old school pedigree for years, but Alienation may be its most intense release yet. The epitome of the retro-style, overhead four-player shooter done up with new school technology, this is a game that clearly shows off the developer’s skills at crafting intense action experiences. Alienation isn’t that far removed from Housemarque’s Dead Nation; the aliens you fight here frequently move in a zombie-like fashion. The overhead, isometric perspective and focus on team-based survival feel very familiar, too. However: the devil is in the details. There’s a decided focus on refinement over Housemarque’s past games in Alienation.

Details