Blood & TruthPS4
Technical issues aside, Blood and Truth is cracking fun and feels like a real system-seller for PSVR. It's such a shining example of the tech at it's best you almost wish it could have been a launch title. Sure, games like Rush of Blood, Doom VFR and Superhot have proved guns and VR are fun, but this is the first time a realistic shooter has felt satisfying and right in VR.
Team Sonic RacingPS4
Sonic is in a rough space with it's latest game, movie, and spin-off all failing to meet the low expectations given them. Team Sonic Racing could be a fun experience if it's core mechanics were tweaked to be tighter, fluid, and far more arcadey. There are bits of polish than shine through every now and then, but the entire game feels like it was rushed through development.
The inventive mechanics do make it a game that gets more ambitious the longer you spend playing it, and the world is so beautiful (in a tragically grim kind of way) that it’s genuinely begging for a photo mode. If you’re in the mood for a perfectly respectable, undemanding weekend game, A Plague Tale: Innocence is for you, though fair warning: The sight of so many dead bodies might shock anyone watching over your shoulder.
It’s a recurring theme in Heaven’s Vault: everything I like about it is, at least partly, ruined by the things I don’t. The world is fascinating, and I’ve enjoyed digging into its rich past, but getting from point to point is a chore. It’s a joy to learn a new, Ancient language, but finding inscriptions can be fiddly. The writing in Heaven’s Vault makes the towns you visit come alive—but the story struggles to find its voice.
Yoshi's Crafted WorldSwitch
The difficulty in recommending this game is that it’s an absolutely solid Nintendo platformer, but it doesn’t really do anything ambitious or use its conceit to great effect. I consistently wanted to soldier on to see what the next gorgeous world would entail, but when all was said and done, the experience felt slightly hollow, even if I’d had my eyes bleached by Yoshi’s cute capers.
SEKIRO: Shadows Die TwicePS4
As annoying as these issues are, they’re dwarfed by the excellence of Sekiro’s bosses and combat. Give it your patience and it’ll reward you with some of the best fights in any video game, poetic side stories and a world full of secrets. It’s the hardest game I’ve ever completed and yet, as soon as I beat the final boss, I booted up a new game. I’m determined to explore the side stories I missed - and stab that bloody ape in the neck just one more time.
Tom Clancy's The Division 2PS4
All in all, The Division 2 has nailed the game as a live service thing. The teams over at Ubisoft have really pulled off an impressive looter shooter that's full of content that's satisfying to complete and constantly pushing you forward. There have been so many "just five more minutes" moments that have turned into "another few hours" that I am concerned how much The Division 2 may eclipse other games.
The story though is mostly going to be hot nonsense for those unfamiliar with the series, as it references and pays off on a surprising amount of lore - though enough is unique to this adventure and explained to the point where it makes a certain amount of thrilling sense. It's a wild, exhilarating ride from start to finish.
Fortnite isn’t the same game it was on release. It’s not even the same game it was right before Christmas. Epic is leading the industry forward with Fortnite, and while the game can be frustrating at times due to the random nature of loot drops or players simply being better than you, it’s utterly foolish to claim that Fortnite isn’t an incredible game. If you overexerted yourself with Fortnite last year and it grew stale, hop back on and try it out again. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Leveling up adds an extra layer that Trials really didn't need - it's always been about chasing after faster times and flawless runs, not grinding for levels and loot. Perhaps fixing the leveling issues would be as simple as a post-launch patch tuning some Contract reward numbers. But whenever you're actively revving up your bike in Trials Rising, the XP faff falls away, and all you can think about is maintaining your smooth, speedy ride.
Great Javelins, awesome powers, and a stunning landscape can get you so far, but with no real content to fill the world with, Anthem becomes a game that's devoid of soul. Obviously, it's intended as a game that will evolve over time, and as Destiny has proved, it's possible to turn it all around in the months (and possibly years) to come.
An ambitious brawler that suffers from something of an identity crisis, Jump Force will nevertheless delight anime fans – especially those of a vintage who knows the more obscure characters included here. A bit more finesse on the controls, making them less complex and more responsive, would have elevated the whole experience greatly, as would a more coherent and polished story mode, but it's a solid enough experience with more than enough spectacle and strategy to satisfy.
Crackdown 3Xbox One
Crackdown 3 is bonkers chaotic fun but also a case of wasted potential. The series deserved an iterative revival but instead, we have the tried-and-tested Crackdown backbone with remastered visuals and a touch more chaos, sadly squandering the promise of its few interesting additions in the process
Overall, if you liked Far Cry 5, you’re sure to find Far Cry New Dawn thoroughly satisfying. Expeditions, re-claimable Outposts, and the upgradable Prosperity hint that the series is growing into something different, something better. Plus the world around you is alive, whether that’s the sound of music steadily growing louder as a Highwaymen convoy comes in your direction, coming across vultures pecking at a dead body, or seeing an animal trot through the trees with a gun in its mouth on the way to its den.
Their journey takes them through the best and worst the world has to offer, and by god does it have a lot to offer. Metro Exodus is at once comfortingly familiar and a massive step forward for the series, both in terms of how it plays and how it tells its stories. It's not only the best Metro game yet, it's one of the best shooters I've played in years.