New games release on Xbox One and PC each week, and it can be quite difficult keeping track of them all, especially during the summer when so many blockbuster titles are taking up people’s attention with their expansive marketing campaigns. Some of the games reviewed this week you may not even have heard of. This time around, we’re taking a look at 2. Sudden Strike 4: European Battlefields Edition, Unravel Two, and War Thunder.
Unravel Two is the sequel to the original platformer which launched a few years ago. When EA announced Unravel on its E3 2015 stage, many gamers were in disbelief because a publisher known only for microtransaction-laden “AAA” games was funding such a title. The game was moving because it revolved around memory loss and dementia. However, it suffered from slightly clunky controls and could’ve used more polish when it came to its movement mechanics.
While the mechanics are roughly the same, there are a few notable additions in Unravel Two. Apart from featuring much tighter controls, the game requires you to maneuver two “Yarnys” and solve various puzzles. Couch co-op is the focus here, but curiously there isn’t an online multiplayer option. This seems like quite a significant oversight and should’ve been part of the package.
Unlike the first game, Unravel Two feels much better in your hands. It’s unclear if this is the result of fine-tuning the gameplay for a controller or simply playing on an Xbox One X at 4K 60 FPS. The Yarnys are more responsive and you immediately notice this when you’re pushing objects or jumping from wall to wall. The platforming is perfect and can go toe-to-toe with the best in the genre.
Even though Unravel Two’s story isn’t as impactful as its predecessor’s, it’s a much better game because the developer focused on gameplay more than anything else. You don’t have to play the original to enjoy this one because the story is clear and immediately focuses in on the objective. If you’re looking for a responsive platformer between those heavy-hitters on Xbox One this month, then be sure to give Unravel Two a go. It’s photorealistic visuals also make it stand out from the crowd.
Xbox One X
Sudden Strike 4: European Battlefields Edition
Sudden Strike 4 is a real-time strategy game which takes place in World War II. You have to command an army and accomplish various objectives in your quest for supremacy. While the multiplayer features a lot of modes to compete against friends, the single-player option contains three campaigns. You can play as the Allied, German or Soviet forces across twenty missions. Each of the missions in the different campaigns is based on real-life World War II battles.
The game is great, but the computer-controlled enemies are thick as nails. Some of their actions are completely baffling and it’s clear that the developer needed to put more work into designing the artificial intelligence. We haven’t seen such simplicity since the early days of gaming.
Sudden Strike 4 revolves around using unique units to take out enemies instead of mindlessly gathering resources. Unfortunately, some of the events are scripted and predictable. Lastly, there are skill trees and other commander customizations this time around. Generals such as George Patton also make an appearance and play a major role in the game and how you carry out your plans.
Overall, Sudden Strike 4 is a worthy installment in the franchise, but one that needs more work when it comes to the challenge it offers. The visuals are great, the gameplay is great, but enemy interactions are simple. If that were fixed, it would make Sudden Strike 4 an absolutely amazing experience. However, we’ll probably have to wait for a sequel to see that.
Xbox One X
War Thunder is a massively multiplayer online vehicle combat game which pits you against dozens of other players. You can take the fight to them in the air or battle them across land. Unfortunately, the controls aren’t as straightforward as you might think and there are numerous reports that the cross-play feature is leading to a lot of cheating. It’s unclear if this is true but social media is filled with such posts ever since the Xbox One version came out a few days ago.
Apparently the base Xbox One version doesn’t run that well, and those on PC can turn off advanced graphical options on the ground which allows them to see players hidden in shrubs. Luckily, the air combat is satisfying and a lot of fun. However, it’s not as simple as flying your aircraft using normal controls because you have to watch the nose angle so that you don’t crash into the ground. Watching YouTube tutorials is a great way to become better at the game.
Much like World of Tanks, War Thunder takes a while to learn and get good at. As they say, practice makes perfect and figuring out how to engage other aircraft and succeed will take time. You’ll have to adopt your own style of combat by experimenting with what works and what doesn’t. Anticipating where an enemy is flying is the key to success, much like a shooter like Halo 5: Guardians where you do better if you anticipate you opponent’s moves.
This is by far the most challenging aspect and you keep on forgetting to do that. Playing “in the moment” is exhilarating but not a viable strategy. Thinking ahead, and treating each enemy encounter like a game of chess will serve you well. Luckily, the Xbox One X version looks incredibly crisp and runs amazing well. While there are a few performance issues, it’s a great experience. We wouldn’t recommend buying the expensive $99.99 packs to get early access, but if you want a competent dogfighting simulator, then paying the base $19.99 to play War Thunder early is worth it.
Xbox One X
Out of all of these games, we would recommend Unravel Two the most. It’s a lot of fun and gives you that nostalgic feeling of playing old-school adventure games. All of the titles this week provide their own unique experiences, so give them a shot if you’re interested. It just depends on what you like, but we all have our favorites.