NASCAR Heat 4Xbox One
NASCAR Heat 4 is, without a doubt, the best NASCAR racing game yet, but there’s still some room for improvement. Many will find its online features lacking; career mode still isn’t what you’d call “deep”; and crashes remain unspectacular. Still, the whole experience is engaging enough to make it worthwhile. There is pleasure to be found in managing your team and coming out on top, which means you’ll find yourself returning to NASCAR Heat 4 until next year’s inevitable follow-up.
Super Dodgeball BeatsXbox One
It might not be the best rhythm game out there, but there’s no arguing that Super Dodgeball beats is pretty fun. Its frustrating power-up system and troublesome timing lets it down somewhat, but it’s still worth playing thanks to its brilliant soundtrack, wonderful character design and delightful visuals.
Groundhog Day: Like Father Like SonPS4
The game undermines the memory of the movie, thus potentially alienating fans. Yet it also regurgitates the film’s plot and relies on it to prop up its bland characters, meaning those who are unfamiliar with Groundhog Day will lose out. The game’s jokes rarely land and it expects you to stand up and clap when it recycles a line from the original movie. Groundhog Day is a film with heart; something that, despite its best efforts, Like Father Like Son is sorely lacking.
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch RemasteredPS4
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is just as fantastic as it was upon its initial release. From its Ghibli-illustrated cutscenes, to its brilliant world and characters you can’t help but fall in love with, it remains one of the finest JRPGs of recent years. The remaster is handy if you don’t have a copy on an older console, but if your PlayStation 3 is still in working order, you may want to hold off on grabbing this one until the price goes down a bit.
The political air of the game packs a big punch and makes even the most laid back of players step back and think about how it connects to our actual current political climate. Headliner: Novinews has a powerful message and makes a statement (and it even includes a non-binary option for its main character, which is always a plus in my mind). It may be an ultimately short experience, but Headliner: Novinews is one worth investing in. Taking you on a twisting, heart-pounding journey, few games make you consider your actions in the same way.
Torchlight IIXbox One
Released at roughly the same time, Torchlight II shows just how much Diablo III has improved since launch, and the level of effort put into its console ports. While Diablo III is absolutely impeccable on console, Torchlight II feels neutered and a bit stunted. It doesn’t feel like it’s had the level of care it deserves. Still, it’s a good game at its core. It’s just no longer the serious contender to Diablo’s action RPG crown that it once was.
The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive SeriesXbox One
It’s hardly a deal-breaker. Assuming those few bugs get ironed out, The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series is without a doubt the best way to play and own these now-classic games. The visual and performance improvements are clear to see, and even if you’ve played the games to death, the special features alone make the collection a tempting purchase.
GreedFall certainly left me wanting more; while its story may be a bit shallow in places, it’s still got a lot of depth, a fluid, intuitive combat system and enough morally-grey missions to bring me back to Teer Fradee some time soon. Forget waiting for the next Dragon Age, GreedFall is an impressive debut for what could well become a classic series.
Sitting between Castlevania and Dark Souls, its combat is fast-paced and requires timing and skill, the difficulty pitched just perfectly. But it’s the sense of discovery and hardship that your character goes through that really makes it what it is, as well as the atmospheric world they inhabit. Blasphemous may not be entirely original structurally or mechanically, but The Game Kitchen has cooked up something that feels very unique.
Creature in the WellXbox One
Thankfully, it’s not enough of a complaint to sink the game. Creature in the Well has more staying power than the pinball machines that inspired it, and that’s even before you consider its distinctive visual style and entertaining story. It won’t turn you into a pinball wizard, but it will provide you with several hours of unique entertainment.
River City GirlsXbox One
River City Girls‘ semi-open world does it no favours, and neither does the abundance of pointless items you can buy or its recruitment system. Even its RPG elements are unnecessary. If it was a simple side-scrolling beat ’em up with stages, I think I’d enjoy it a hell of a lot more. Regardless, there is a lot here to like despite some frustrations, so if you fancy walking some streets while pummelling goons, it’s certainly worth a look. Especially if you have someone at hand to play it with you.
It really is one of the best local co-op games available. By keeping things simple it’s attractive to all, just like its quirky art style. And while success is rewarding, failing is often just as much fun. If you’re after a game that’s addictive, hilarious and can help build a team, look no further. Heave Ho builds bonds. Although it might also possibly break them if you fail too much.
I’d love for Sam Barlow to add some kind of “movie” mode to Telling Lies, allowing us to see conversations happen in real time, with videos playing out in chronological order. It’s unlikely that’ll ever happen, though. As it is, Telling Lies’ compelling narrative and phenomenal acting will be enough to spur you on. Searching and scrubbing through videos can be a chore, but it’s worth it, if just for that one tiny piece of information you’ve been waiting to find.
WRC 8 FIA World Rally ChampionshipXbox One
It’s a pretty impressive rally game then, WRC 8. Sure, it doesn’t play or look quite as good as DiRT Rally 2.0, but its career mode does a lot to make up for that. There’s a real nice variety to the events that it lets you take part in, and its crew management aspects are implemented wonderfully. From the moment you start your career you’re engrossed, and the rally action is just as demanding and exciting as it should be. Even if you already have DiRT Rally 2.0 in your life you should probably consider making a little bit of room for WRC 8.
Overall, Oninaki isn’t a bad game, but it’s not going to wow you in any way. Its story is interesting but presented in a way that fails to truly grab your attention; like the recent Crystar, it stands out by not being cheery like most JRPGs. But what really cements it as a ho-hum action RPG is its combat, which never develops quite as you’d expect it to despite its fairly unique Daemon system. With some additional tweaking, including making its combat a bit more fluid, Oninaki could have been something special. As it is, it’s simply okay.
Children of MortaPC
Children of Morta would be a perfectly good linear dungeon crawler; it would also be a pretty good roguelike. But it genuinely manages to strike the perfect balance between the two, offering addictive, challenging and varied gameplay, as well as strong narrative, characters and world building. Besides some difficulty issues with the two-player mode and the melee characters, it’s a pretty great game.
Thankfully, Headspun is still playable for the most part – the bugs just take away from some of the enjoyment. Cortex is fun to explore, and seeing the place come back to life provides a rewarding sense of progress. The FMV cutscenes, too, while rough around the edges, are engaging, and you’ll be keen to see where the narrative takes you. With its unique ideas and presentation, Headspun stands out for trying to be different, and for that it should be celebrated. It’s just disappointing that it wasn’t given that last coat of much-needed polish.
Lionsgate was wise to let Bloober Team loose with its Blair Witch IP. It has treated it with respect, delivering a game that truly does justice to the source material. While its centre part lets it down somewhat, and Bullet’s pathfinding could do with a bit of improvement, it’s one of the scariest horror games ever made. And your reliance on Bullet, as well as the manipulation of found video footage, adds gameplay meat to what usually ends up being little more than a walking simulator. If you’re brave enough, you should definitely enter the woods and face the Blair Witch.
Knights and BikesPC
Knights and Bikes excels in its uniqueness. The hand-drawn characters are adorable and detailed. Demelza and Nessa’s dialogue is sweet and funny. The world and story that the folks over at Foam Swords have created is equal parts exciting and inherently sad. The narrative covers difficult topics in a whimsical way that will have players at times on the verge of tears and laughing out loud only moments later. Whether you play alone or with a friend, Knights and Bikes is a sensational adventure game.
The Ninja Saviors: Return of the WarriorsSwitch
The Ninja Saviors – Return of the Warriors should be considered a must-have for fans of side-scrolling beat ’em ups. It has some flaws, but it’s still a standout title in the genre that remains fun to play thanks to the updates that have been made. It’s just a shame that some of its later bosses feel a bit cheap, especially when playing as certain characters. Those with patience, persistence, or indeed, skill, will overlook this issue, however, and simply have a brilliant time flooring mobs of goons.
Agent A: A puzzle in disguiseXbox One
If you can put up with the odd groan-worthy joke, Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise is a very welcome call back to puzzle games of old. It’s a great way to take your brain out for a spin without pushing it too hard. The story might not be the most developed, but it doesn’t matter; Agent A isn’t a game you play for its narrative – it’s entirely about the puzzles. And thankfully, for the most part, they deliver exactly as promised.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man Of MedanXbox One
The horror genre is a tough nut to crack, but Man of Medan proves, once again, that Supermassive Games is truly the master of video game horror. I’m more excited than ever to see what the rest of the Dark Pictures Anthology will hold.
Hotline Miami CollectionSwitch
Needless to say, The Miami Collection finds a welcome home on the Nintendo Switch. Fans of both games will find the same violent, hard-as-nails adventure with its fun, freaky 80s soundtrack. The first Hotline Miami remains one of the greatest indie games of all time, and having the second (also great) game included in one package makes for the perfect way to play, especially if you’ve somehow missed out on the franchise so far. If you’re looking for a game to both frustrate and entertain while on the bus or on the sofa, then Hotline Miami Collection should be your first pick.
MXGP 2019Xbox One
MXGP 2019 isn’t a bad game by any stretch of the imagination. But it is a disappointing one. Booting it up, the beautifully revamped menus give you hope that Milestone went all-out to make this year’s entry in its MXGP series the best. As soon as you get into your first race, however, you realise that it’s not. It has more modes that do indeed add plenty of longevity, but the core experience has taken a step back.