Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a week. Teach a man to turn into a Cheep Cheep, and he’ll find enough entertainment for a lifetime. When it comes to videogames, an exciting set of tools can completely transform an experience – whether it’s the clever framework propping up an otherwise lacklustre package, or the magical concept that immortalises a title in the annals of Edge history.
Thank goodness for the minds behind Marvel Vs Capcom: Infinite (p110), who have saved a muddled mish-mash of universes from total scorn with a smart set of systems that can produce fighting-game fireworks, given the chance. It’s the same focus on the fundamentals – and how a player might use them to make something unique – that has elevated content-light brawler Absolver (p106) to elegant, innovative heights. And although the forward-thinking structure of Star Fox 2 (p118) hasn’t quite justified the wait, the experimental
Divinity: Original Sin II (p116) has used its development time to offer total creative freedom to the player. Blood turrets and blessed puddles, indeed.
We’re a little sad, then, that the solidly put together and undeniably charismatic Destiny 2 (p102) has lost a little of the MMO shooter’s propensity for imaginative play. The reduction in impenetrable RPG elements makes for a game much more welcoming to newcomers, but the dedicated, more improvisational space magician may find they’ve had their fill sooner than expected. Some games, however, are built to last: rare combinations of mechanical flexibility, ingenuity and charm that reward not just our greedy lizard brains, but our sense of wonder, too. Super Mario Odyssey is one such creation. Turn the page and, for the first time anywhere in the world, you can find out why.