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Month in review: September 2018

I'll skip over things I've covered in previous months unless I have anything additional to add.

Spider-Man (PS4)

Excellent game, a load of fun. Focuses mostly on the right things to make a good Spider-Man game. The cinematic quality of many of the missions, especially the big boss fights are really impressive, and the story and characters were surprisingly well developed.

I got somewhat close to getting the platinum trophy for this game by accident, I never trophy hunt (God of War earlier this year was the first time for me), but that emphasises how much I just enjoyed playing the game to go and do the small side distractions.

I'm looking forward to the DLC, I'll almost definitely be getting that (depending on other games released at that time).

Deadpool 2

I wasn't really a fan of the first Deadpool film, it was fun, but the novelty wears off quite quickly and doesn't carry it as far as I think it did for many others. But that might not be purely the fault of the film alone, the character itself was never particularly compelling for me.

Deadpool 2 was an improvement, I don't regret watching it, but like the first film - it didn't leave much of an impression.

Avengers: Infinity War

I've enjoyed the recent Marvel films, they've got a formula and  people who know how to make fundamentally sound films. They've settled in to the characters and everything is just falling together quite nicely, so they're all much easier to enjoy than they used to be.

Infinity War is, as we all know, a culmination of the last decade of MCU films and the execution is impressive. It's tight, focused and weighty. Will I rush out to see the next Avengers film at the cinema rather than waiting for the blu-ray release? I'm still not sure, but I'm certainly a lot more likely than I was before Infinity War, so that's an achievement in itself.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Star Wars isn't special anymore. The Force Awakens was a technically sound, but unambitious and rather plain entry, Rogue One was more interesting but was uneven and ultimately, surprisingly, weightless. The Last Jedi was a mess, but had higher peaks than the other two films by far (and deeper troughs). There are bright points, I think the cast are great, some new characters are great, but the cadence of releases coupled with the up-and-down quality of them has just spoiled any excitement I had for the series.

This is why I didn't see Solo at the cinema like I did with the The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and Rogue One. However, it is film I had the least amount of problems with. The way Han Solo's backstory was set up, getting the familiar pieces in place, felt needlessly rushed. But, it was enjoyable, great cast and cool characters.

I'm somewhat interested in seeing where they take it from here, which is more than what I can say for the rest of the franchise.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (PC)

The Tomb Raider reboot games (since 2013) have been rather good. Clearly inspired by the developments to the.. genre.. Uncharted aped from the older Tomb Raider games, but in a way that I actually preferred. I think the games play better than Uncharted, they're not as flashy or as cinematic - and that's a deliberate decision for the most part - they're not going for the same things.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider feels a bit confused as to what it wants to be. It has de-emphasised combat, but has seemingly retained many mechanics and characteristics of the previous games which were there to support combat. I'm actually quite happy with the decision to balance away from combat and more towards exploration and puzzles, but the upgrades and area structure feels misleading and disconnected.

You're encouraged to upgrade your combat equipment and skills, but many of the upgrades I've chosen have yet to feel necessary. I am really enjoying the game though, as I did the previous, they are good games, just each time they narrowly being something even better.

Forza Horizon 4 (PC)

The Forza Horizon games are some of the best racing games, ever. Forza Horizon 4 is a worthy entry to the series, that it's set in Britain is even better. I have a few gripes around the AI and the newer progression system, but overall - a brilliant game.