8260 Published Reviews
While Need for Speed Heat feels a little more like a mosaic of existing concepts rather than something especially trendsetting, Ghost has certainly scraped these ideas from some of the most-loved games in the now 25-year-old series. Heat doesn’t always sizzle but it’s definitely much hotter than I’d expected. This is easily the most impressive Need for Speed game in many years.
Pistol Whip deserves to be discussed alongside Beat Saber, which I think is still virtual reality’s best and most fun ambassador. The two are both rhythm games that engross you in the music as you fight your way through a series of moving obstacles. Though I felt similar thrills the first time I played both, Pistol Whip’s gunplay manages to feel mechanically unique, and I am excited to push my high score and master the harder difficulties – even if it means having a sore neck.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020Switch
As we’ve come to expect from these bi-annual crossover minigame collections, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 packs a colorful and recognizable cast and a fair amount of fun into exciting, bite-sized mini-games that highlight some of the most iconic events in the Olympics. But there are also some duds, including a painful story mode. Even though the colorful and recognizable cast of characters injects a great amount of diversity and personality into the events, the relatively small retro sampling and lackluster multiplayer features hold it back from scoring Gold.
There is a fascinating, fleshed-out world of supernatural science fiction to enjoy across its sprawling and spectacular map, so it’s a real shame that it’s all been saddled on a gameplay backbone that struggles to adequately support its weight over the full course of the journey. It’s fitting that Kojima Productions’ latest is so preoccupied with social media inspired praise, because in some ways I did ‘Like’ Death Stranding. I just didn’t ever love it.
Overall, the campaign is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s strength. Its well-designed missions make for excellent weapon testing grounds and feature a slew of interesting mechanics that wouldn’t work anywhere else. Some of its best parts come about because of the secretive nature of this war, and that includes some heavy moments that are generally done well.
Moons of MadnessPC
Nothing about the Lovecraftian horror of Moons of Madness is outright terrible, but its slow, chore-heavy gameplay doesn’t conjure up a lot of reasons to forgive the fact that there’s just not a lot of incentive to visit its haunted corner of Mars. Although there are moments of cinematic flourish, the basic puzzles, insubstantial gameplay, confusing storylines, and a lack of genuine scares make it a hard sell. As it stands, you’re better off avoiding this Mars expedition.
DORAEMON STORY OF SEASONSSwitch
With Doraemon Story of Seasons, developer Marvelous is resting on its laurels and a licensing tie-in. All the ambiance and anime in the world can’t save this Story of Seasons from descending into tedium. The actual farming heart of it is feeling awfully antiquated nowadays – it's been nearly four years since Stardew Valley upended the genre, but Marvelous still has nothing new to bring to the table. But worst of all, it commits the cardinal sin of farming sims: it feels like work.
Luigi's Mansion 3Switch
Mario, it turns out, isn’t the only plumber in Nintendo’s employ who can carry his own great game. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is so much fun, so charming, and so smartly designed that, moving forward, I really hope we get more than three of these games every 20 years. It’s absolutely the best Ghostbusters game ever made – it just happens to star Mario’s scaredy-cat brother rather than Peter Venkman and Ray Stantz.
Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for NeighborvillePC
Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville’s PvE campaigns aren't worth your time, but the PvP multiplayer is addictive, chaotic fun. Once a match finishes, it’s always tempting to hang around for one more, grabbing a new character this time with a completely different playstyle. The formula hasn't changed much since Garden Warfare 2, but it's still amusing, still frantic, and the newly expanded roster gives fans of the franchise plenty of reasons to return.
WWE 2K20Xbox One
WWE 2K19 looked like it stopped the downward trend for the series, but WWE 2K20 doubles back, breaks its ankle, and tumbles down the slope. Fundamental parts that felt totally fine in WWE 2K19 now feel clumsy, the impressive roster of 238 superstars is all but meaningless when a majority of them look like they crawled out of a PS2-era wrestling game, and while 2K20’s MyCareer mode offers a better wrestling story mode than most previous WWE 2K games, that’s a low bar to clear – it’s still saddled with bad progression and a plodding pace. This is a mess that 2K needs to clean up in a hurry.
This tribute to an often-forgotten game and its memorable underdog protagonist is gorgeous and nostalgia-inducing remake, but it was mostly that nostalgia that made it endearing enough for me to replay a whole level for the third time because I was killed by a bug or an unfair boss battle. That kind of oversight makes sense in a remaster where you mostly expect updated textures, but in a remake it doesn’t go far enough to resurrect MediEvil for the present day.
Overwatch®: Legendary EditionSwitch
Overwatch on Switch is a less-than optimal way to play one of the most satisfying online games ever made, but it’s still one of the best around. Technical issues are plenty, and in most cases are noticeable, but never truly ruin the fun or makes it truly unplayable. If you already play Overwatch consistently on another console then there are very few reasons to own it on Switch – and in fact it may be extremely frustrating to go back and forth between them – but if it's your introduction the beautifully crafted world of Overwatch then it still promises a whole lot of fun.
The Outer WorldsPC
With The Outer Worlds, Obsidian has found its own path in the space between Bethesda and BioWare, and it’s a great one. And considering that new RPGs from either of those influential developers are still years away, this game couldn’t have been timed any better. It’s not as explorable as one big open world but it still packs in a large portion of flexible quests and conflicts within its series of smaller ones. And the combat, character, and companion systems have enough new spins on existing ideas to make it feel like an homage with its own personality rather than a copy.
Ring Fit AdventureSwitch
Ring Fit Adventure is a marathon, not a sprint, just like adapting a healthy lifestyle should be. The last couple of weeks haven’t altered my life or made me look like The Rock all of a sudden, but as a way of getting into (or back into, in my case) a pattern of healthy living, it’s been a solid push in the right direction. After about 18 hours and more than half the adventure done, I fully expect to keep playing as the weeks go on. That’s not to see where Ring Fit Adventure’s fairly weak story goes, but rather to keep engaging with the fun and challenging blend of exercise and RPG mechanics it provides.
Disco Elysium is a unique blend of noir-detective fiction, traditional pen-and-paper RPGs, and a large helping of existentialist theory. Its twisting plot, cast of memorable characters, and sheer depth of choice combine to create an experience that begs to be savoured. A few minor gripes aside, it hits on almost every single one of the marks it sets out to achieve and left me yearning to spend more time in its world.
Little Town HeroSwitch
Little Town Hero exudes charm from every corner of its adorable little village, and couples that personality with an absurd and utterly unique combat system full of combos I loved discovering. Its knack for turning exciting fights into slow-paced battles that sometimes hand you frustrating losses based on random dice rolls may have worn on me at times, especially before I unlocked some of my hero’s stronger abilities, but it’s still a town I was happy to have visited.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt — Complete EditionSwitch
The Switch port of The Witcher 3: Complete Edition certainly isn’t how I’d recommend you experience CD Projekt Red’s epic fantasy masterpiece for the first time, but it’s serviceable if you’re unable to play on PC or a more powerful console — or prefer to do your monster hunting away from a TV. On a full-size screen, however, it suffers to the point where it looks more reminiscent of the 360 generation than the current one.
This marginally prettier and inconsistent remaster doesn’t really make for a profoundly different or improved experience over the 2009 original, and there was a lot of room for improvements that could’ve made it more enjoyable to play through and appreciate all of that fan service. Ghostbusters was a great tie-in back in 2009 but this remaster doesn’t really make for a vastly improved experience.
Asgard’s Wrath is a fantastic action-adventure RPG that can stand with the best of them on consoles and PC, but the fact that it’s meticulously crafted for VR means it sits in a league of its own. Asgard’s Wrath represents something VR enthusiasts have been waiting for for years now: the first absolute must-play virtual reality game that feels fully fleshed-out rather than a glorified tech demo. Its beautiful world, excellent combat, great interface, and straightforward but detailed story come together to form something spectacular.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint seems to be trying to please everyone. Its slow-burn of a single-player story coexists with an open-world bombastic romp with friends, which leads into a play-everyday grind for PvP-rewards, faction and raid gear with seasonal content, and a realistically gritty wargame of survival. But almost every ingredient clashes with another, making them all feel a little more padded, underwhelming, or contradicting than they need to be. But fun can be salvaged if you focus on one or two of those and just limit your expectations.
Call of Duty: MobileiOS
Call of Duty: Mobile represents the best the juggernaut franchise has ever been on a handheld platform. The leveling path is rewarding, even without spending money, and there are lots of modes to jump around between, including an impressive battle royale mode. Unfortunately, it is still a shooter controlled by a touch-screen with no bluetooth controller support – even though I was impressed, the accuracy and usability will still never be as good as its console and PC counterparts.
Destiny 2: ShadowkeepXbox One
Shadowkeep improves Destiny 2 in a wide assortment of ways and gives dedicated fans a taste of things to come from an independent Bungie, but it’s ultimately just a taste. Once you’ve burned through it, you’re met with a massive grind that makes up the bulk of this expansion. It also makes Destiny 2 a little tougher to recommend to the uninitiated because of the added complexity that caters to experienced Guardians.
John Wick HexPC
It’s hard to appreciate its handful of smart ideas when every slick series of moves you pull off by deftly managing a group of enemies’ attack timelines is countered by a dozen other encounters that play out awkwardly due to animation glitches and a stingy persistent health system. John Wick Hex certainly does have its moments of tactical joy and tells a decent simple story, but it’s so consistently unpolished that it’s hard to appreciate them.
It’s more streamlined than the original in terms of team management and it’s definitely way too lean on tracks, but Grid packs fun, fast-paced racing into an easy-to-digest format. Sure, it’s unrealistic for the final race to be Prototypes jumping up and down San Francisco’s iconic hills, but Grid isn’t trying to be a realistic facsimile of modern racing. Hell, with throngs of spectators dangling over the Armco, if Grid were realistic the tracks would just be a sea of severed hands and heads.
Success in Concrete Genie comes easily – probably too easily for some – but that ease lets its best moments breathe. It’s less about challenging you to get through traditional video game obstacles than it is about letting you challenge yourself to keep coming up with new and creative ideas, new designs, and new places to put them around this dilapidated city. At heart, it’s an exercise in the pleasure of the artistic process – just like Concrete Genie’s core idea, you never really have to paint, but I absolutely wanted to.