242 Published Reviews
Assassin's Creed OriginsPS4
Not all mechanical choices work – whoever decided that the waypoint icons on a predominantly yellow map should be white and, er, a slightly darker yellow, needs a stern talking to – and some irritating glitches persist, but the good here way outweighs the bad, and it’s been some time since we’ve been able to say that so readily – so happily – about an Assassin’s Creed game. Enjoy exploring Bayek’s world – we certainly did.
Call Of Duty: WWII doesn’t surprise in any way – the campaign not being daring and falling back on FPS tropes we’d had enough of the last time COD was in World War II doesn’t surprise. Multiplayer offering a mix of solid highs and bewildering lows doesn’t surprise. Loot boxes littering your headquarters don’t surprise.
Super Mario OdysseySwitch
And so really the score that this game is getting should be pretty obvious. We don’t give out tens lightly, but we have to ask, what more could we have wanted from this game? What could it have offered that would have made it better? The answer is not much. Playing Super Mario Odyssey is to experience pure joy. We couldn’t wish for anything more than that from this series or from Nintendo.
Cuphead is wonderful. It has occasional sticking points – the final run of boss battles can, for example, be a little rough around the edges, especially as they abandon the otherwise scintillating rhythm and pattern design that holds the rest of the game up so impeccably. But any complaints we could leverage at Cuphead are markedly small, especially when weighted against what it has been able to achieve. It’s challenging, beautiful and unique.
Uncharted: The Lost LegacyPS4
Whether Chloe and friends get another shot after this excellent leading debut or Naughty Dog deigns to throw more characters into the spotlight is kind of irrelevant at this point, though – this is proof positive that it’s possible to retire a PlayStation icon while having their legacy live on.
Hellblade: Senua's SacrificePS4
And on occasion some of the effects – film grain, hallucinations, transitions between world states – can feel a little cheap, as if they’re hiding cracks beneath. But Hellblade is so well executed in so many ways, so committed to its mission and has integrated concept and design so well that we found it easy to look past these things to enjoy it immensely.
Bungie’s roadmap for the game’s first weeks and months shows new seasonal events and activities coming every few weeks, so we’re confident that the game will have legs just like its predecessor – a steady flow of new content should keep even the most ardent fans busy, so let’s hope that’s what is in store. The studio built great things on weaker foundations with the previous game, so it’s going to be exciting to see just how tall a Tower it can build when it’s working off an even stronger base from day one.
Absolver has a bit of an identity crisis too. When it’s focused on the RPG side of things, it’s a bit basic, with some really grind-y aspects to character advancement. Upping statistics might grant you more damage, but that’s a much less useful thing to have than the knowledge of an opponent’s combo strings, or a read on their tendencies.
After Edith finishes reminiscing, the text whooshes up the fireplace. A neat bit of animation at first, what it really shows is that her words are one with the house. They build her memories, construct the past around your ears while the portraits on the walls and the book titles whisper the anecdotes she doesn’t mention. The Finch home doesn’t have secrets anymore. But it’ll always have those personalities waiting inside.
Just as in the immersive sims that Arkane is so dutifully paying homage to here with Prey, it’s a game that feels like it has been designed to let the player fight back against the developer and find their own way through. Talos I is a broad, but claustrophobically combined, space that showcases a real, genuine sense of creativity from the team. It captures the vibe and greatness of System Shock‘s own haunted station, or perhaps even Deus Ex’s incredible cyberpunk-infused cityscape.
Animation still feels stiff and robotic and zoning might well be too strong as it is now but in most other respects, Injustice 2 is a clear success. Even with the host of other great fighters released this year, we can still see ourselves coming back for a few loot boxes or multiplayer sessions for the foreseeable future, especially considering how much more DLC characters will add with their new loot. Another cracking fighter from a studio still on the up.
Everything is a game about how connected the universe is, from an atom to a galaxy, with every size and scale of thing around it and within it. Exploring Everything’s scale and depth alone will likely be intriguing enough to keep you going, but once you begin to find its hidden oddities the philosophy and mind-bending structure another level is revealed.
The puzzles themselves all offer a new challenge and some of the toughest are those that use the least number of buttons and prompts from the controller. It ramps up brilliantly and is nicely paced too. With the game taking maybe two or three hours depending on how quickly you solve things we’d say it’s a good length for a VR game too. It might not have the intense insanity of a Keep Talking, but it’s up there with some of the best implementation of PSVR we’ve seen to date.
Little Nightmares is a small triumph, then, with impressive design, engaging if relatively narrow gameplay and some wonderful world-building. Your character Six proves to be far from the empty cipher she might first appear to be. Your journey of discovery as to her true nature is just as interesting as the wider evaluation of this gory, globulous and gluttonous collection of misfit creatures and the strange building they appear to be amassing in. It manages to combine room-contained puzzle mechanics with action platforming rather well and the stealth element is both challenging and not too frustrating (always a hard balance to strike).
Mario Kart 8 DeluxeSwitch
This is really a greatest hits of Mario Kart in one package, offering some of the most memorable tracks and a bundle of new ones, a crazy number of customisation options, and some smart enhancements to gameplay. But the bottom line is that the Switch feels built for this kind of multiplayer and mobile experience, and for that reason it is an essential purchase.
The implementation of the verb system is emblematic of the difficulty faced when making a game like this. What do you keep from adventure game history and what do you jettison? When do you modernise and when do you not? If you do modernise, how far do you go? There are missteps in the answers Thimbleweed Park gives to these questions, but it just about gets the balance right. At least, it does if you are part of the audience at which this game is pitched.
Reviewing games can feel fairly binary most of the time. Most of them are often either objectively good or objectively bad, and then something like Yooka-Laylee comes along and causes problems because, even after hours of playing, it’s bloody difficult to quantify whether or not it actually holds up. Ultimately, this is a 3D platformer from 2001 that has inexplicably appeared in another timeline and ended up here, in 2017, when the best platformers around are 2D and technical, not 3D and a bit clunky.
At its heart, HW2 is a console RTS that does what it needs to fit the broader appeal of the modern console generation. On PC its approach to game design will keep it off most GOTY lists, but on Xbox One its seamless gamepad control scheme and hefty selection modes make it a must for Halo devotees. Look past the shortcuts and you’ll find the best effort yet to light the real-time strategy fire on console.
Super Bomberman RSwitch
The game supports up to eight players, tuning into that couchplay madness that’s already making 1-2 Switch and Snipperclips so popular. It’s here that lack of any real new innovation gets a pass, with that oh-so-addictive fun of trapping a friend between your bomb and their own, only to see them fired off the map in a blaze of smoke, making it all very worthwhile.
It’s a game that will fit in at any party or family home, but it’s a shame that because of the simple fact it isn’t packed in with the console it won’t necessarily find its audience. For those that pick it up, that first time through, with new people – it’s genuinely magic. After that, there’s little left.
For HonorXbox One
Like Siege, For Honor is in the beginning stages of becoming something truly unique and brilliant. If you’ve ever struggled to get into fighting games, are eager for a new multiplayer game to try your hand at, or are simply interested in what happens when Ubisoft diverts its resources out of populating open worlds with content and into an experience that thrives because of its nuanced design, then try For Honor – you won’t regret it.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildSwitch
Breath Of The Wild delivers a huge world, and one that is interesting to explore even when such escapades prove fruitless. It comes good with satisfying combat and dozens of reasons to carry on playing after the credits. For all of its issues, it’s a game that manages to reinvent itself, comfortably, effortlessly, in a space dominated by the industry’s triple-A heavyweights. This is one of the most creative and engrossing open-world games in quite some time.
Horizon Zero DawnPS4
This generation has been blessed by some excellent RPG and action-adventure offerings so far and while Horizon Zero Dawn sometimes shows its team’s relative inexperience in places, the overall construction, the combat and the characters elevate it into the upper echelons of the genre. It might not be Witcher III level of excellence, but for a first attempt from Guerrilla, it’s impressively close.
Resident Evil 7: BiohazardPS4
Resident Evil VII is exhilarating and terrifying in equal measure. It’s a brave and bold move for Capcom, feeling quintessentially classic while still feeling fresh and adventurous in its ambitions. Ultimately, Resident Evil VII is a breathtaking return to form for a series we long thought had abandoned any hope of redemption.
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King3DS
Dragon Quest VIII is a pretty lengthy game, with the total playtime for the main story racking up to around 40 hours. However, despite the somewhat basic battle system, the game keeps itself fresh by letting us explore dungeons, grab loot and givingour characters costumes, it never feels like it’s been padded out like so many other JRPGs.