1587 Published Reviews
Mafia II: Definitive EditionXbox One
At its core, Mafia II: Definitive Edition is a good game. Its mechanics don’t impress like they used to, but they get the job done. And besides, the story is the focus here, and it still grips you like a vice. It’s just a shame that it’s plagued by technical issues on console, particularly on PS4. If you’re someone who can work though them, Mafia II: Definitive Edition is worth picking up due to its budget price – it even includes all DLC previously released for the game.
The game has its moments, and just roaming around is good for a couple of minutes of watery entertainment. But its clunky combat and repetitive, tedious gameplay means that, despite its toothy protagonist, Maneater lacks any bite.
Minecraft DungeonsXbox One
Exploring its vast levels is a delight, and coming across new loot is just as fulfilling here as it is in any loot-based game. Smooth controls and a range of abilities make it an absolute joy to play; even when you die, you’ll be eager to pick yourself back up and start again. Considering the game’s asking price, Minecraft Dungeons should be a must-buy for anyone who enjoys a good dungeon-crawling adventure.
Saints Row: The Third RemasteredPC
With Saints Row: The Third Remastered, however, Sperasoft and Volition have pretty much improved every single asset and implemented graphical features that make it stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the prettiest open world games available right now. This is still Saints Row: The Third – which is to say that it’s one of the most enjoyable open-world games ever made – only now it looks and plays better then ever.
WHAT THE GOLF?Switch
The biggest disservice you can do to What The Golf? is to simply assume it’s some kind of arcade golf game. Not even close. It’s one of the most creative, hilarious and unique games you’ll find. A mix of puzzle solving, arcade fun and downright zany concepts, it’s pure entertainment at its finest. What The Golf? is exactly the kind of joyful experience we all need in our lives right now.
Neversong did nothing but impress as I made my way through its weird and wonderful world. There’s nothing quite like it, but if you’re a fan of games like Night in the Woods or Limbo, then Neversong fits into a similar category. It will send shivers down your spine one moment and have you cackling the next despite its macabre and serious tone.
Dark Nights with Poe and MunroPC
It doesn’t quite reach the lofty heights of The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker or The Shapeshifting Detective, but its episodic format, coupled with excellent performances and quality writing, means that Dark Nights with Poe and Munro is well worth tuning in for.
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega MixSwitch
It’s hard to not be charmed with Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix. The visuals are more consistent and pleasing to the eyes than ever, the song list is gargantuan, and the gameplay is just as solid as it’s ever been. Only the new Mix Mode is a let-down in this package, but it really doesn’t matter as it’s simply an optional way to play. Whether you’re a series fan or a newcomer looking for the perfect entry point, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix fits the bill.
Ion FuryXbox One
Ultimately, Ion Fury is just a disappointment on console. It would have been a nice diversion had it been at least as good as the PC version, but it’s a thoughtless port that doesn’t take console nuances into account. Even worse, it suffers from technical issues that suck even more fun out of it. Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison deserves better.
It does a brilliant job of feeling like a blast from the past, yet the responsive controls and cover mechanics firmly plant it in the modern age. It’s the best of both worlds, basically, and if you’ve ever enjoyed mowing down legions of goons on a 2D plane while characters’ wisecracks compete against synthesised 80s beats for your attention, you’ll absolutely love it.
Arcade SpiritsXbox One
If you enjoy getting lost in a great story based around realistic characters, then you shouldn’t hesitate to play Arcade Spirits. Its story throws enough twists and turns to keep you captivated for its six to eight-hour runtime, and it’s hard not to get invested. It’s a shame the voice acting is inconsistent, but it’s not enough of a bugbear to ruin what is otherwise an excellent visual novel.
Spirit of the NorthSwitch
It’s not perfect by any means – the controls can be awkward, and getting stuck and needing to restart is frustrating – but look past that and you’ve got a wonderful, engaging adventure on your hands. If you’re looking for a relaxing game about exploration and discovery, Spirit of the North is a great one to pick, regardless of your age or skill level.
Despite its questionable development status, Stranded Deep has a lot to offer. I’d welcome further development, but even in its current incarnation, this compelling survival sim is more than worth diving into.
Someday You'll ReturnPC
There are definitely times when Someday You’ll Return‘s Czechoslovakian charm shines through. But reaching those islands of excellence means pushing through a game that grows more meandering and repetitive with each chapter. Throw in a protagonist who’s anything but sympathetic and you’ve got a trip that’ll thoroughly test your patience.
A Summer's End - Hong Kong 1986PC
While A Summer’s End: Hong Kong 1986 isn’t without its downfalls, I’m glad it exists. The dialogue needs some work, but it’s still a valuable addition to the visual novel genre. Not only because of its awesome setting, but because it’s exciting to see a project proudly and loudly waving its LGBTQ+ story. With two different endings, A Summer’s End is worth two playthroughs – even just to admire the fantastic artwork, music and creative concepts a second time around.
Daymare: 1998Xbox One
It’s a slice of old-fashioned survival horror, with a modern twist and some original features thrown in for good measure. Those original features aren’t all great, however, and the unevenness of the overall package – though reflected in the game’s budget price – makes it very much a love/hate affair. Though maybe “love” is too strong a word. Perhaps tolerate/hate affair is more appropriate.
The Inner FriendXbox One
Going into the game not really knowing what to expect, The Inner Friend proved to be a pleasant surprise. With an intriguing concept, open story, immersive environments and dynamic yet silent characters, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything else as unique. If you can look past the few technical issues – which can hopefully be ironed out with a patch – you’ll find a worthwhile story about overcoming loneliness and self-doubt, cherishing your friendships and rediscovering who you are.
Predator: Hunting GroundsPS4
Predator: Hunting Grounds isn’t a terrible game. Not at all. But it’s just not good enough. The core of the game is decent, but it needs more maps, more interesting objectives when playing as the Fireteam, and simply more polish. On top of that, while playing as the Predator can be fun, you’ve got to be prepared to spend nearly half your time waiting on matchmaking, and then you could just find yourself running around a jungle like a headless chicken if the opposing Fireteam has its collective head screwed on.
Trials of ManaPS4
As awful as the acting is though, it’s not enough to completely ruin Trials of Mana. If you’re a fan of JRPGs you’ll find a lot to like here. It looks great, it’s easy to play, and it’s not the longest slog in the world – you’ll see the credits roll in about 20 hours. Sure, there are a few frustrations, but it remains true to the Mana series and overall provides an enjoyable – if a little uninspiring – adventure for fans of the genre.
Streets of Rage 4PS4
Fans couldn’t have asked for more in a new entry in the beloved series. And even better, Streets of Rage 4 proves that there’s still life in it. It’s a tour de force of sumptuous art, mesmerising music, and trance-inducing action. Take nostalgia out of the equation, and Streets of Rage 4 is the best entry in the series yet.
Deliver Us the MoonPS4
With a beautiful marriage of puzzles, story, graphics and sound, Deliver Us the Moon is a unique exploration game that anyone with a fascination with space will enjoy. While some of the timed puzzles can be a bit aggravating and the checkpoints unforgiving, Deliver Us the Moon‘s story alone is enough to keep you moving forward. It’s short enough to complete in just a few sittings, but you’ll struggle to put it down once you’ve started.
It’s not a flawless experience; using lookout towers to discover new locations is a little old hat and the handling of SnowRunner’s smallest vehicles feels a bit off. However, even when you’re struggling up an incline with a 20-tonne load, SnowRunner is a joy to play.
It’s a lengthy story, too, with optional combat scenarios, a card-based mini-game, and multiple endings to pad out the playing time. And though the combat isn’t anything special, it’s enjoyable enough to keep you slashing and blasting away when it becomes a much more prominent aspect of the game. A unique combination of genres, Sakura Wars is ultimately a compelling adventure that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
Gears Tactics is the best Gears of War game since the original trilogy came to a close. The genre may have changed, but the action still has the same immediacy, and it’s just as much fun as ever to chainsaw an enemy in half or blow them to bits with a frag grenade. The joy of leading a four-man squad against the Locust Horde once more is heightened by the fact that you’re in control of all of their actions and how they’ve been developed.
Lacklustre animation aside, Pirates Outlaws is a great addition to the strategy card game genre. It might not push the boundaries or offer up anything extraordinary, but it is a solid, genuinely fun and easy-to-play adventure. It’s a game that I can see myself going back to time and again, because I know there’s still more it can offer me. If you’re a fan of pirates and a fan of strategy card games, you should set your sights on Pirates Outlaws, me hearties.