TIME Video Games

The 5 Best PC Games Right Now

An essential video game checklist for new PC owners

Wading into the PC games scene if you’re a new PC gamer is like coming across one of those museum-sized history wall maps where every time period’s displayed at once. Because the PC’s been more or less a continuous platform, you have a daunting number of choices. This isn’t a “best PC games of all time” list, therefore, so much as a best ones at the moment.

  • Divinity: Original Sin

    Divinity: Original Sin‘s story about a mystery energy source and murder and you eventually getting really, really powerful is just the glaze on a nostalgic banquet of classic gaming bullet points: stat-riddled character forging, a massive multi-environmental fantasy world, open-ended storytelling, tactically intricate combat in rounds, a laundry list of spells and skills and enemies and loot, cooperative multiplayer and a do-it-yourself toolkit, all rolled into an old-school-meets-new-tech isometric roleplaying package.

    Buy this game if… You have positive history with isometric party-based roleplaying games, you loved the decades-ago Ultima games, or you’ve always wanted to see what an older-school isometric RPG might look like skinned with contemporary design ideas.

    Steer clear if… You’re no fan of roleplaying games, or anything with lots of fiddly stats and systems and arcane terminology.

    What critics said: “The most creative turn-based combat seen in an RPG, combined with a dash of humor, has resulted in a fine stew of gaming” (Quarter to Three); “A potent, frustrating, demanding, amusing, tedious, exhilarating world unto itself” (RPG Fan); “Complex yet approachable, nostalgic yet modern, cliché-ridden yet strange and singular in so many ways” (Polygon).

    ESRB Rating: Mature

  • Guild Wars 2

    Guild Wars 2 isn’t something that grabs you off the block, like, say, the series premiere of Breaking Bad. It takes awhile to get rolling. But once it does, it’s hands down the best online multiplayer romp on the planet, obsessed with keeping you entertained in a way that’s constantly diverting: have snowball fights, hunt for worm eggs in ice caverns, play a barrel-tossing game, gather scraps to build snowmen, protect towns from sweeping bear horde assaults and knock out enemy portals that spawn creatures like The Avengers‘ Chitauri. It’s simply the pinball machine of MMOs.

    Buy this game if… You’re up for trying an MMO, you want an MMO you can actually dip into and out of, you don’t want to pay a monthly fee but also want freemium content that’s basically invisible, or you love games that relentlessly upend and exceed your expectations.

    Steer clear if… Sprawling fantasy funhouses aren’t your thing.

    What critics said: “…one of those rare games that knocks your life off-kilter like a meteoroid banging into a satellite” (TIME); “…what happens when a group of talented, smart, dedicated, imaginative, bold, consumer-friendly creators get together and spend years solving problems and making something wonderful” (Quarter to Three); “…rewards skill and variety rather than mindless grinding” (Polygon).

    ESRB Rating: Teen

  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

    Part of the allure of Blizzard rolling its bejeweled carriage through the hoof-tramped mud of a played-out genre (collectible card games) is the Blizzard name. But that names signifies scrupulous playtesting and elaborate design values, all of which converge here to make Hearthstone the quickest, slickest, goofiest, most lavish online CCG around.

    Buy this game if… You’ve always been curious about CCGs and want the fastest, friendliest introduction to the genre.

    Steer clear if… You’re not a competitive card gamer.

    What critics said: “…overflowing with character and imagination, feeds off and fuels a vibrant community of players” (Eurogamer); “It has, through painstaking effort, upgraded the card duel into a thoroughly modern form” (Edge); “…successfully pulled me into a genre that I didn’t care about in the least” (Polygon).

    ESRB Rating: Teen

  • Legend of Grimrock II

    Legend of Grimrock II harks back to PC gaming days when who cared that some crazy dude even more crazily turned an entire island into a flaming, monster-riddled, spike-suffused death trap–just go with it. This is a game about the game, not plot plausibility, though it tells a decent enough rip. It’s a grid-based dungeon crawler nonpareil, and just about the best one yet made.

    Buy this game if… You miss Wizardry, Dungeon Master and Eye of the Beholder, you want to play a modern exemplar of the whole “grid-based dungeon spelunking” thing.

    Steer clear if… Fixed first-person perspective freaks you out.

    What critics said: “…another glorious glimpse of the past, a window to a genre dead and buried and brought back to life with care and respect” (GameSpot); “…Almost Human may be looking to the past for inspiration, but it’s created one of the best pure role-playing games of the year” (Eurogamer); “…a puzzle box within which are a hundred more such boxes within which are yet more” (RPG Fan).

    ESRB Rating: Unrated

  • Shovel Knight

    The best NES game you never played sporting glorious high-definition pixel-block levels and incredible chiptunes and superlative platform-bounding gameplay? Shovel Knight is something like a crowdfunded miracle, the new archetype in gaming (or any other creative medium) for what letting developers who know exactly what they’re doing actually do it, unencumbered.

    Buy this game if… You miss the 8-bit NES aesthetic, you want to play the apotheosis of the best side-scrolling, platforming games popularized by Nintendo’s breakthrough 1980s system.

    Steer clear if… You don’t have (or care to own) a gamepad for your PC.

    What critics said: “The graphics, gameplay, and soundtrack are all pitch-perfect for an NES game… all you’re missing is the original cartridge” (USgamer); “…a game that is as bright, rich, and lovely as nostalgia would have us believe our favorite NES games always were” (Kill Screen); “…a game that handles like a brick that handles like a Maserati” (Wired).

    ESRB Rating: Everyone

TIME Television

Watch Anita Sarkeesian School Stephen Colbert on GamerGate

She even declares Colbert a feminist

The maker of a feminist video game who has faced vitriol from some members of the “GamerGate” online movement stopped by The Colbert Report on Wednesday and handily schooled the host’s fake gamer persona.

“I’m saving the princess, and I’m supposed to let the princess die? Is that what you want?” Colbert asks Anita Sarkeesian incredulously.

“Well maybe the princess shouldn’t be a damsel and she could save herself,” Sarkeesian replies, drawing cheers from women in the crowd. (“I didn’t know you brought a posse,” Colbert jokingly responds.)

The GamerGate movement, named after the Twitter hashtag that has fueled its growth, purports to challenge poor ethics in video-game journalism. But it has also unleashed a wave of sexist comments and threats against women in the overall gaming industry.

Sarkeesian, who has publicly criticized video-game culture for its portrayal of women, canceled a talk at Utah State University earlier this month after the school received an email threat of a shooting massacre. While the school considered it safe for the talk to continue, Sarkeesian decided to pull out of the event because the school was barred by state law from disallowing legal guns on campus during the event.

“They’re lashing out because we’re challenging the status quo of gaming as a male-dominated space,” Sarkeesian says. By the end of the interview, she even declares Colbert a feminist after he asks if he’s allowed — as a man — to be one.

See the full interview below:

TIME Video Games

Nintendo Just Turned Profitable and Wii U Sales Are Past 7 Million

Wii U sales more than doubled between April and September 2014, bolstered by sales of Mario Kart 8.

Surprise, Nintendo just made a pile of unexpected money: 14.3 billion yen in net income, or about $132 million, for the six month fiscal period that ended in September. For the same period last year, the company posted just 600 million yen in net income.

And in the last three months, July to September, the company’s had unexpected quarterly operating profits as well, reaching 9.3 billion yen, or about $86 million, reports Reuters, which adds that the weaker yen boosted overseas earnings. Analysts had predicted a significant loss for the quarter.

The unanticipated turnaround means Nintendo could see its first annual profit in four years. And the company’s sticking with its full-year prediction, made back in May, of 40 billion yen (versus a 46 billion yen loss last year).

Wii U sales look considerably better, too, with 1.1 million units sold between April and September — more than double the prior year’s sales. Software sales were 9.4 million units for the period, up from 6.3 million units the prior year, and Nintendo cites Mario Kart 8 and Hyrule Warriors as key drivers. The Wii U is now sitting at a relatively healthy 7.29 million units shipped worldwide, behind Sony’s more than 10 million PlayStation 4s sold (reported in August) and ahead of Microsoft’s 5 million Xbox Ones shipped (reported in April).

The only downer for Nintendo here is 3DS hardware sales, which dropped from 3.89 million units April-September 2013 to 2.09 million units for the same period this year. Nintendo says it sold about 23 million software units for the period, down from about 27 million units the prior year. (Note that Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS, the likely game-changer for 3DS hardware sales in 2014, only arrived a few weeks ago — late September in Japan, early October everywhere else.)

But the takeaway seems clear: Nintendo’s skating these systems from first-party release to first-party release, and seems to be making serious headway — so far, anyway. Long-term survival on that basis sounds improbable in theory, but then you look at the Mario Kart 8 phenomenon, and the breaking Super Smash Bros. for 3DS one, and all the glowing reviews for Bayonetta 2, then ahead to amiibo and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, and — moving on to 2015 — a formidable-looking lineup that includes Splatoon, Mario Maker, Mario Party 10, Yoshi’s Wooly World, Xenoblade Chronicles X and the next Legend of Zelda.

TIME Video Games

This Is Why Nintendo Is Crushing It All of a Sudden

General Images Of Nintendo Ahead Of Earnings
A man walks in front of a Nintendo Co. logo outside the company's offices in Tokyo, Japan. Bloomberg via Getty Images

No one expected the game maker to turn a profit this quarter

Nintendo’s latest earnings report surprised everybody. On Oct. 28, the struggling Japanese games maker said its net profit was $224 million from July to September. Most analysts had expected the company to post earnings nearly four times less, according to the Wall Street Journal. The stunning earnings also helped the game maker recover from a nearly $75 million loss last year.

Here’s why Nintendo is beating everyone’s expectations:

Gamers worldwide still love Super Smash Bros.

Nintendo said Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, which was released in Japan and began overseas shipping in Sept., has already logged 3.22 million units in sales globally.

Nintendo’s life simulator game has become a hit overseas.

Sales of Tomodachi Life, a life simulation game, marked 1.27 million units in worldwide sales this fiscal year. The popularity of the 3DS-only game, along with that of Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, also helped boost sales of the handheld console.

The Mario Kart franchise isn’t hitting the brakes.

Mario Kart 8, the latest racing game in the series supported by Wii U, has displayed steady sales even though it was released in May.

A spinoff of The Legend of Zelda is reigniting old flames.

Nintendo’s new video game Hyrule Warriors is gaining popularity with global audiences who are getting a second chance to play with legendary characters Zelda, Link and Lana from the Zelda series.

The Yen is depreciating, which is working in Nintendo’s favor.

Nintendo said it logged 15.5 billion yen ($143 million) in exchange gains due to the depreciation of the yen, which was greater in recent months than it was last year.

TIME Video Games

Judge Dismisses Manuel Noriega’s Call of Duty Lawsuit

(L) Panamanian strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega takes part in a news conference at the Atlapa center in Panama City on Oct. 11,1998.(R) The character Noriega claims was created in his likeness.
Panamanian strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega (left) sues Activision over a portrayal of him in Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 game (right) Alberto Lowe—Reuters; Activision/AP

The former dictator of Panama sought damages for a character based on him

A California judge Tuesday threw out a lawsuit filed by former dictator Manual Noriega against a video game he claimed depicted him in a bad light.

Manuel Noriega, who ruled Panama for most of the 1980s, sought charges in July against video game publisher Activision, for creating a character based on him without permission in Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Wall Street Journal reported. Noriega said the 2012 shooter game unlawfully depicted him “as a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state,” according to court documents.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge William H. Fahey tossed the lawsuit on grounds that Noriega’s likeness was sufficiently “transformative”–meaning that its use was adopted for the sake of commentary or expression. Fahey also argued that the video game did not benefit from Noriega’s inclusion, as the former soldier and convicted drug trafficker had argued.

“The Court concludes that the marketability and economic value of the challenged work in this case comes not from Noriega, but from the creativity, skill and reputation of defendants,” Fahey wrote in court documents.

The dismissal was supported by former NYC major and Activision co-counsel Rudy Giuliani, who called Noriega’s claims “audacious,” as it touches on the issue of the many other video games and works of art that draw from and freely interpret historical or political figures.

“This ruling is an important victory and we thank the court for protecting free speech,” said Rudy Giuliani. “This was an absurd lawsuit from the very beginning and we’re gratified that in the end, a notorious criminal didn’t win. This is not just a win for the makers of Call of Duty, but is a victory for works of art across the entertainment and publishing industries throughout the world.”

TIME Video Games

Your Favorite 90s-Era Star Wars Games Are Finally Back

X-Wing GOG/LucasArts

X-Wing, TIE Fighter and more

A slew of classic Star Wars games which vanished along with the 90′s era computers they were designed to run on have been resurrected for modern-day computers.

Gaming site GOG has partnered with Disney Interactive to re-release 20 hit games from LucasArts, including X-Wing and TIE Fighter, as well as the popular adventure series Sam & Max. The titles were a popular request on GOG’s community forum, where fans can wax nostalgic about long-vanished titles and lobby for their return.

Want to try out your old favorites? Head over to GOG, hop in your X-Wing and may the force be with you.

TIME Video Games

The 5 Best Xbox One Games Right Now

Have a look at our essential video game checklist for new Xbox One owners

So you just picked up an Xbox One, and you’re wondering what to buy. That’s something we can say now—the “after you bought it” thing—because with consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, every game is available through the console’s e-tail store as a digital download. Or maybe you haven’t bought one yet, but you’re leaning in Microsoft’s general direction. Either way, we think these are hands-down the best games on the platform at the moment.

  • Child of Light

    Ubisoft’s Child of Light is like platforming through a fairy tale painting, a roleplaying adventure in which you guide an Austrian girl who’s died and been transported to another world through a dark fantasy landscape, battling folk creatures to restore the sun, moon and stars. The turn-based battle system and skill-based character progression are straightforward enough, but most unusual for a game: both the narration and dialogue unfurl in poetic verse.

    Buy this game if… You’re into modern poetry, like the earlier Final Fantasy roleplaying games, enjoy unusual settings and stories that veer from classic fantasy tropes, and love the idea of scrolling through beautifully hand-drawn landscapes.

    Steer clear if… You’re no fan of fairy tales, turn-based combat, side-scrolling roleplaying games or stories told as poems.

    What critics said: “… riffs on beloved roleplaying tropes while serving up an evocative, hand-drawn fantasy pastiche with traces of Yoshitaka Amano and Hayao Miyazaki” (TIME); “…a memorable experience that’s as fun to play as it is artistically pleasing” (Gamesradar); “… a wonderfully realized, somber adventure” (GameSpot).

    ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+

  • Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition

    Blizzard third dance with the devil turns out to be the series’ best, with the slickest boss fights, craftable gear, legendary item sets and an emporium’s worth of unlockable achievements. It’s even better on consoles, where using the gamepad to dodge enemies or just stroll around feels like the more natural fit. If you’re new to this installment, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions also come with the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls expansion.

    Buy this game if… Wailing on hordes of attacking enemies sounds fun, you like games with endless leveling up possibilities, you like settings steeped in Judeo-Christian demonology.

    Steer clear if… You’re burned out on hack-and-slash games, or you’re looking for a fantasy game with a well-written story.

    What critics said: “…a mediocre action-RPG [starting out] that eventually turns into a good and sometimes even great one” (TIME); “the definitive version of Diablo III” (GameSpot).

    ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+

  • Forza Horizon 2

    In Forza Horizon 2, you can drive a gleaming 2015 Lamborghini Huracán (among other luxury vehicles you’ll probably never get to in real life) through the game’s open world–a world that’s three times bigger than the original Forza Horizon–while availing yourself of improved Drivatar technology (A.I. vehicles you can race against, based on the driving attributes of real players’ in your friends list) and admiring the startling visual effects, like the way light now refracts through drops of moisture, the render tech plausibly simulating something as intangible but essential as the earth’s atmosphere.

    Buy this game if… You love obnoxiously beautiful cars, you love the idea of racing luxury vehicles through gorgeously photorealistic scenery (southern France and northern Italy), or you’d like to race against friends online even when they’re not online.

    Steer clear if… You’re no fan of racing games, or the notion of playing them with a gamepad (in which case there are optional racing wheels available, but the high fidelity ones cost more than the Xbox One itself).

    What critics said: “A meticulously crafted, marvelous-looking and superbly designed racer that dishes up an absolute feast of automotive madness and mayhem” (USgamer); “…Horizon 2 earns its stripes with a breezy determination to simply show you a ruddy good time” (Telegraph); “…one of the best racing-game experiences I’ve ever had” (GamesBeat).

    ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+

  • Sunset Overdrive

    Sunset Overdrive is developer Insomniac’s first try at an open world game, tapping the same screwball vein as its Ratchet & Clank series, only with a grownup twist. Imagine a punk-informed quasi-parkour game by way of a zany skateboarding simulation by way of a metropolis-sized circus playground that knowingly winks at you as it periodically deconstructs itself.

    Buy this game if… Grinding, back-flipping and zip-lining on wires, cables, pipes, railings and pretty much the edge of anything while blasting lunatic mutants sounds appealing.

    Steer clear if… You hate goofball humor, you’re not into open-world games.

    What critics said: “…you’re some kind of grind-fu god, working a style meter that requires continuously deft finger work into an acrobatic lather” (TIME); “…probably the most enjoyable game I’ve played so far this generation” (EGM); “…piles the number of options you can choose from sky-high” (Joystiq).

    ESRB Rating: Mature

  • Titanfall

    Titanfall covers the Xbox One’s online-only angle reasonably well if you’re looking for a game about shooting guns or piloting giant mechs that shoot even bigger guns and the option to alternate between both modes in a single match. The idea’s simple enough: two teams of six players engage in all-out ballistic combat on multiplayer maps while attempting to complete team objectives and summoning giant, drivable mechs that periodically drop from the sky.

    Buy this game if… You love the idea of being able to alternate between playing as a nimble, wall-running soldier and a giant rock-em-sock-em mech in an futuristic online gunslinging extravaganza.

    Steer clear if… You find highly competitive, frenetically paced first-person shooters overwhelming.

    What critics said: “…for a certain kind of highly competitive someone with more of an e-sports mentality.” (TIME); “…a thunderously good time; an accessible yet skilful, hulking yet ferociously nimble shot in the arm for a well-populated genre” (Telegraph); “by reinventing the way you move, Titanfall reinvents what it feels like to play a competitive shooter” (GameSpot).

    ESRB Rating: Mature

TIME Video Games

The Xbox One’s Price Just Dropped $50 Until Next Year

Microsoft says you can knock $50 off any Xbox One, bundle or base, through January 3, 2015.

The once-$499 Xbox One, which plummeted to $399 in June, just dropped in price again: You can have one starting next week for $350.

It’s a limited-time thing, but Microsoft’s giving fence-sitters plenty of time to make up their minds, running the promotional pricing from November 2 (next Sunday) through January 3, 2015. You’ll have to find a participating retailer, but Microsoft’s list covers the majors.

It’s also an “any Xbox One” thing, so you can basically knock $50 off whatever you like, from the base model without a game to any of the bundles, including the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Unity ($349, or $449 with Kinect and Dance Central Spotlight), Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare ($449 with 1TB hard drive and custom housing) and Sunset Overdrive ($349 and a white finish) SKUs.

Phil Spencer’s wrong when he boasts, “Only on Xbox One can you play some of the most anticipated exclusives, newest blockbuster franchises and innovative independent games of the year.” The Xbox One checks those boxes, sure, but so does Sony’s PlayStation 4 (to say nothing of Windows PCs). I’d include Nintendo’s Wii U, which checks the “most anticipated exclusives” and “innovative independent games” boxes, but it fumbles the “newest blockbuster franchises” one because of the abject state of third-party support.

The Xbox One’s temporary price drop is both a sign of how much Microsoft’s trying to change the sales narrative around its flagship console — the perception that its basically getting clobbered by the PlayStation 4 worldwide — and an indication that the company’s willing to do more than it’s competition to make that happen. If you want an example of a system that’s arguably not doing enough, price-wise, to shore up the gulf between its price and perceived value, look no further than Nintendo’s Wii U.

TIME Games

Sunset Overdrive Review: Masterful Grindhouse

Insomniac Games/Microsoft

Still need a reason to own an Xbox One? Here it is.

At heart, Sunset Overdrive is a nerd-power fantasy that wants you to know it knows it’s a nerd-power fantasy. But it’s also about pulling the Xbox One out of the Bermuda Triangle. Sony’s PlayStation 4 has sold so well that even Sony’s baffled, whereas Microsoft clammed up about Xbox One sales back in April. Microsoft’s implied system sales have been solid, but the console needs a holiday dunk shot beyond recycled Halo. Now it definitely has one in Insomniac Games’ magnificent Sunset Overdrive.

Most probably know Insomniac for the Ratchet & Clank platform hoppers, where a bipedal cat and robot sidekick gallivant around the universe. You can see the lines back to those games here — the colorful environments, ridiculous weaponry and general daffiness — but Sunset Overdrive is a lot more than just Ratchet & Clank for grownups.

In the game you play a nerd who can grind — who cares how or why — on nearly anything, Cirque du Soleiling around a zany postapocalyptic metropolis, pulping exploding mutants and ruthless robots, egged on by gorgeous scenery and goofball factions and a punk backbeat. Imagine Tony Hawk meets Sam Raimi crossed with Sid Vicious multiplied by pinball.

The plot’s intentionally daft enough to slide almost beneath notice: a corporate soda maker’s new energy drink turns imbibers into mutants, because, to paraphrase one of the characters you interact with, “Y’know, science and somethin’-somethin’ bullsh–.” It’s just a permission slip to build a city that’s effectively a giant fun-park ride.

Insomniac Games/Microsoft

Nothing has to make sense, which is how the game then goes about making perfect sense. Sandbox games let you go anywhere, but eventually amount to doing this thing to get that thing to level up and do the next thing. But what you’re thinking during the cutscene exposition and wordy banter is “What’s my next upgrade?” or “How do I collect this many of that?” or “How’s my next opponent going to fight?” or “What’s that part of the map going to play like?”

It’s as if Sunset Overdrive reads minds, because it cannonballs you from thrill to thrill, burning all the exposition and busywork to the ground and using what little there is to slyly poke fun at genre conventions. “Bryllcream, what kind of a name is that?” says the protagonist at one point after hearing another character’s goofy handle. “One that’s easy to remember, I guess,” goes the response. It’s a moment that stands for everything else about the game: subtext schmubtext, just go with the flow.

And boy does this thing flow. Never in a game world this big and geometrically complex have I felt as firmly connected to the skyline and simultaneously able to power through it, chaining leaps, air dashes, swings, flips, attacks, wall runs, zip-line “undergrinds,” trampoline bounces and ground pounds while skating across anything with an edge. Sunset City — that’s its name, though most of the game transpires under blue skies — has been scrupulously overlaid with railways and cables and packed with elaborate angular structures so you can grind from one side of the city to any other without touching down. This, finally, is the aerial skating game Sucker Punch’s Infamous only teased five years ago.

Insomniac Games / Microsoft

Staying off the ground is essential. On the ground you’re slow and clumsy, but in the air you’re some kind of grind-fu god, working a style meter that requires continuously deft finger work into an acrobatic lather by mixing maneuvers and weapon attacks — a familiar idea that’s been scaled way up here. Basically, think of the ground in Sunset Overdrive as kryptonite.

Then think about how ridiculous you’d want your nonsense arsenal of destruction to be, and Sunset Overdrive manages to go one better. So, for instance, you can wield: a rifle that flings vinyl records that bounce from enemy to enemy, an explosive teddy-bear launcher, a crowd-control gun that deploys taunting holographic decoys, a pistol that spits projectiles that turn into floating turrets, and a weapon (dubbed “The Dude”) that lobs incendiary bowling balls.

Nonsensical, but not superficial. The pyrotechnics feel purposeful, and each weapon deploys unique damage against the game’s four basic enemy types — you’ll die, and die again, then die some more if you opt to fight robots with shotguns or human thugs with harpoon launchers, for instance (though dying itself is delightful and a clever in-joke here — a collage of cultural sendups playing with the idea that these kinds of games are basically immortality simulators).

All of that’s fed by a backend system of configurable power-ups you unlock by feats of derring-do as the game unfolds. You can finesse these in all kinds of cool ways, from monkeying with weapon damage to how fast the style meter climbs to the sort of ballistic damage you want to kick out (shockwaves, tesla bolts, tornadoes and more) as you jump style levels. It’s an elegant relational lattice that feels balanced and very you-centric, where the permutations from your choices amount to meaningfully different ways of squaring off with opponents or completing challenges.

Insomniac Games/Microsoft

My only complaints are a few niggling completeness problems Insomniac needs to fix: I encountered a few missions that wouldn’t advance without resets, a few spots where enemies weirdly stopped being able to damage me, half a dozen places where I got stuck in the world geometry and had to reset the game, and I don’t know if it was code shenanigans or the Xbox One, but the game crashed outright twice.

I suppose I should say something about the next-gen stuff, the crazy number of enemies the game can shoehorn into battles at once, the crazy-big bosses and ambitiously multilayered missions and combat scenarios, the magnificent architectural and kaleidoscopic sweep of Sunset City itself. But at this point I don’t really notice that stuff. And that’s the biggest compliment I can pay the game, really — that it’s great without bothering to highlight the chrome.

Insomniac calls Sunset Overdrive a “traversal shooter,” as if that explains anything. I’d just call it a damned good time.

5 out of 5

Xbox One

TIME Tech

A Video Game You Can Play As… A Slice of Bread

Haven't you always wanted to experience life through the perspective of bread? You can do it in this game

lost-at-e-minor_logo

This article originally appeared on Lost at E Minor.

Guys, remember when we showed you the video game where you could play as a wild goat? That was pretty awesome and weird. Well, now you can play a video game as a slice of bread. Simply called I Am Bread, this truly bizarre video game allows you to wander through different rooms of a house before reaching the table.

Take a dip in the toilet, check out the washing machine, even climb on top of the ceiling fan for a great view of the living room and dining area—whatever you’ve always wanted to do as a slice of bread, you can do it in this game.

The game was created by Bossa Studios in the UK, a pretty zany bunch of gamers who have already released games such as Surgeon Simulator, Deep Dungeons of Doom, and Monstermind.

(Via U Funk)

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