618 Published Reviews
BRAVELY DEFAULT IISwitch
The hardcore JRPG lovers looking for meaty Switch representation will froth over this, but as a new entry in the field, Bravely Default II only displays acid rain level nostalgia. It’s the dinosaur they just added feathers to, to make it seem like something new, but really, it’s all the same skeletal system we’ve known and studied already for so long.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s FurySwitch
Bowser's Fury is one the best videogame remixes of all time. And that's a remix in the musical sense, where 3D World is stripped apart, tossed aside, new things brought in, and other bits of inspiration bubble to the surface.
Little Nightmares IIPC
Little Nightmares II is a rarity in the interactive horror space, an experience that can terrify and creep you out without spilling a single drop of digital blood.
The combat too and dashing about is a little imprecise (even when using a d-pad) which can lead to some frustrating boss encounters. In the end, through brevity, variety, and focus, Olija is a rewarding slice of action, contemplative fiction, with great action-adventure design.
The MediumXbox Series X
For a title devoid of action, outside of a couple of stealth sequences and a ‘run towards the screen from the giant monster bit’, The Medium might commune with the spirit world... but it fails to communicate all that well with the player.
Immersion that breaks whenever you come across a bug or you can see the seams due to missing AI or missing features. No doubt Cyberpunk 2077 will be a better game on all platforms in three months time, and then three months after that. For now, it’s breathtaking on PC - for all the right, and wrong, reasons.
Immortals: Fenyx RisingPC
As a newly unique offering from Ubisoft, Immortals Fenyx Rising is something to savour. Yeah, it’s the publisher's third massive open-world release in the space of three months but what you get here is charming and refreshing to a fault. A wonderfully realised journey into myth and legend where everything fits as neatly as a chest-plate forged in the fires of Hephaistos’s Great Forge.
Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles MoralesPS5
Sony fanpeeps will sing its praises from Manhattan rooftops and it fills a gap. There’s just a question of “is it enough?” and even as a massive comic book geek and lover of all things wall-crawling, I’d have waited another six months for a more fleshed-out experience, and one that doesn’t overly mimic the foundation of its origins. Miles might learn from Peter, and Peter might be the ‘A’ Spider-Man, but that doesn’t need to mean Miles lives exclusively in his design shadow.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of CalamitySwitch
In Age of Calamity you have more of these, both in quantity and in terms of high quality production values. To the point where you can’t wait to see what happens next. Going one step further, Age of Calamity doesn’t feel like just another spinoff. It feels like a third piece in the Breath of the Wild story, one that sits alongside the original and the inevitable sequel. A TriForce if you will.
But there's no question in my mind that some elements could have been improved upon without negatively impacting the overall experience, and the blind pursuit of flawless recreation comes at what I feel is a heavy cost. You will find no better looking or better running game than Demon's Souls with the launch of the new consoles. But I think you will find no worse (From designed) Souls game.
Despite that less than acceptable end game experience, I can still recognise the glimmer of potential in Godfall. For a first outing, Counterplay has achieved something that's undeniably striking in the visuals department, though that's marred by sameiness and the odd, isolated framerate hitch.
Sackboy: A Big AdventurePS5
As it turns it’s a solid little adventure that left us wanting for a more full-sized Astro game in the future. And with Sackboy’s subtle use of the DualSense controller – outside of the borderline horrific death screams of Sackboy when you fall off a ledge that come through the speaker – it feels more like a cross-gen title than something designed to take advantage of next-gen hardware.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold WarXbox Series X
Like Treyarch before them, it feels like Cold War is Raven’s break-free moment, and their “love letter” reads passionately and completely with this Black Ops entry. We’ve talked up Assassin’s Creed Valhalla maybe being the only real next-gen title this year, but with Cold War, Activision is making a cold case for Cold War to be considered in the same conversation. And so far, we’ve collected all the evidence we need to agree.
Playing off the in-game visuals and surround sound coming through your headset or speaker setup it’s as much a proof of concept as it is a fine 3D platformer and a celebration of all things PlayStation. It leaves you wanting, and pining for a full-sized Astro adventure too. One built from the ground-up for Sony’s new console and groundbreaking new controller.
Yakuza: Like a DragonPC
In the end though even in the form of a traditional RPG, Yakuza: Like a Dragon feels remarkably fresh and delightful to a fault. The story is as engaging as the wonderful cast and the blend of modern-day Japan with videogame sensibilities reinforces Ichiban’s positivity and outlook as something to strive for.
Assassin's Creed ValhallaXbox Series X
Game of Thrones’ Magnus Bruun is a shoe-in for best voice actor in a videogame this year but, more importantly, Valhalla is a game that will drag you along the Bifröst bridge and into the vision of Fenrir. How you handle all of this is up to you, but to boldly state in the positive, this is as anti Assassin’s Creed as we’ve yet played, and we love it all the more for it.
Watch Dogs LegionPC
In the end, with more varied activities that went beyond the usual by-the-numbers story missions, say, a more emergent city full of events to match the unpredictability of who you control - then Watch Dogs: Legion could have been an experience on par with its impressive technology. As it stands it’s a fight and a cause worth joining, but like its cast your reasons might only extend to the escape from the monotony of a normal everyday existence.
If you're the sort who cycles on and off, who dips in depending on how they've evolved your favourite feature on any given year, hopefully I've given you enough information to make an informed decision. But if you're like me, playing every year, then know this: NBA 2K21 is the best basketball game around, but it's also the only one. And as any high-level competitor will tell you, that's never a good thing for long.
As an avid fan of Diablo III’s transition into a build-your-own action-RPG superhero, Hades is often reminiscent of that Blizzard classic at its best - where weapon choice can then inform skills, variations, and switching things up based on what you’re presented with. There’s so much surprise in store and the narrative and mechanics are so intertwined that to discuss some of it in detail would feel like spoiling it.
EA SPORTS FIFA 21PC
FIFA 21 is great. The small refinements make the biggest impressions this year, and I’m excited to see how the next-gen versions pan out. It’s finally good to be a Career Mode player again, and I just hope that over the coming years we see a bigger focus on Volta and less on pushing players into paying for FUT coins.
STAR WARS: SquadronsPC
In the end though, by not committing to either the sim-style of TIE Fighter or the arcade-action of Rogue Squadron – the middle-ground falls a short of brilliance. Most campaign missions follow a similar flow, rarely delving into sheer cinematic spectacle or pure sim-like protracted and intense battles. But there’s no denying that when played in VR Squadrons often feels like a dream come true - and when it stays on target, it’s a force to be reckoned with.
Super Mario 3D All-StarsSwitch
The game is out now at a decent price and is worth more than a couple hours of your time or, maybe your kid who never played these can learn a thing or two. Either way, pick it up. This package alone is worth owning a Switch for.
Mafia: Definitive EditionPC
Lost Heaven is still, at its core, a backdrop. There aren’t side-quests or little pockets of environmental storytelling to find. Outside of an okay but not amazing Free Ride mode that unlocks after you complete the first chapter, the first and now build-from-the-ground-up Mafia remake is a straight to the point crime epic that more than lives up to the original. It surpasses it. And if nothing else, I could drive around Lost Heaven for hours simply listening to the radio.
Serious Sam 4PC
Played in co-op with unlimited respawns and you could even go so far as to recommend it to fans looking purely at that side of the game. But then you remember that the cannonball gun doesn’t show-up until several hours into the campaign, right near the end, and that you had to use a piss-weak pistol for a lot of the time. Shooting at the same aliens from Serious Sam’s of old - in environments that are, well, even uglier than a one-eyed reptilian.
What we’re presented with throughout the campaign and as a whole though is as they say, rough around the edges. A scrappy mech with inconsistent and sometimes unpredictable movement. Perhaps the machine of choice for a squad of Polanian fighters looking to take back a village or two from the overwhelming size of the Rusviet army but not something you’d want for a full-scale invasion.