Behind that familiar loop of dungeon diving and looting are several dozen features that each feel like the Marianas trench of progression systems—they’re that deep. Skill gems can be chained together to create practically limitless spell combos, while the passive skill tree has hundreds of nodes to choose from that each shape your character in their own small way. And then, of course, jdb slot comes the gear, which is a whole separate school of learning that can take months to fully understand. Path of Exile is certainly daunting and it won’t appeal to everyone. Part city-builder, part survival game, Frostpunk is about making difficult choices and dealing with the consequences. Unless you’re looking for a hardcore sim, Forza Horizon is still the best racing series around.
The fighting itself is great, too, like an ultra-lo-fi Bushido Blade. Kills come in one hit as you thrust and parry and throw your swords with simple controls that result in complex dances of stance and aggression. It’s exciting, hilarious, and tests the hell out of your reaction time and ability to predict your opponent’s moves.
Vanila XCOM 2 was a tough, lean survival game that held you to account with a doomsday countdown. War of the Chosen gives you even more problems in the form of three minibosses who stalk you throughout your campaign. Fortunately, you can befriend three resistance factions—each with their own suite of gadgets for you to research—and use their leads to track down your nemeses.
Square Enix doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to being an MMO, though. Final Fantasy 14 is formulaic in its progression and the equipment system is pretty bland. The story reaches some surprising highs and Final Fantasy fans will be pleased to hear that FF14 has a nearly endless supply of memorable boss fights to work through. It might not be as expansive as other MMOs, but Final Fantasy 14 is beautiful and charming. There’s 10 acts to explore, each one touring you through desecrated temples or corrupted jungles full of the walking dead. It’s a grim place to be, but the kinetic combat and enticing rewards make the journey worth it.
A wonderful puzzle game in which you rearrange words to create new rules for the world. “It’s part logic puzzle, part existential quandary, part love letter to how much potential is contained in the tiny building blocks of language, ” said Philippa in her Baba is You review.
Every few months, Grinding Gear Games rolls out a new temporary challenge league that introduces entirely new progression systems, cosmetics, and enemies but requires starting a new character. Normally that’d sound like a chore, but Path of Exile is so robust that starting fresh is just a chance to learn something new. A free-to-play spiritual successor to the beloved Diablo 2, Path of Exile is a dauntingly complex action RPG that will make even the most zealous theorycrafter weep tears of joy.