1125 Published Reviews
It’s still highly competent though, with plenty of personality and a good sense of progression, although that does admittedly slow as you get deeper into its realms. The difficulty level evolves from welcoming to challenging, as you get to know each ability and weapon, which helps to offset the fiercer enemies and more damaging traps.
Given that it can be acquired for next to nothing, and includes some brand new content, this remaster has plenty to offer both new and old fans. Even in remastered form, Quake isn’t perfect but it’s easy to see why it originally made such an impact on the games industry and it can only be hoped that this is the prelude to a more sustained return.
Aliens: Fireteam ElitePS5
Fireteam Elite would be improved with better graphics and more game modes but that’s really only half the problem. While Aliens was a great influence on the early days of video games it has little relevance now, especially as military technology catches up with 1986’s version of the future. However, that probably won’t stop other publishers trying again sooner or later, for if there’s one thing the Alien movies teach us it’s that the company never learns.
A highly competent alternative to Civilization but the list of unequivocal improvements is disappointingly short, with an unfortunate lack of real innovation.
If you’re not too bothered about seeking constant action, but prefer your games to possess a discernible intelligence, overlying a message which is delivered in a subtle yet insistent manner, then you’ll love Road 96. The illusion of generating your own road movie works perfectly, and whether you view it as simple escapism or something deeper it manages to entertain either way.
Axiom Verge 2Switch
A curious sequel whose simplified combat and lack of challenge undermines some of the best level design and puzzles in any recent Metroidvania.
The Forgotten CityXbox Series X
Despite having originally been a mod for a 10-year-old action role-player, The Forgotten City is easily one of the best narrative driven games of the modern era. Not only because of how cleverly it’s constructed, and how well written it is, but because it has something to say. And, unlike so many story-based games, it says it through you, not at you.
Death's DoorXbox Series X
With a gentle sense of humour and a winning charm Death’s Door is almost perfectly formed. It may not be doing anything particularly new but there are few games that hit their targets with quite the same level of efficiency. Originality is nothing without quality of execution, but the reverse is not true and Death’s Door is a pleasure to play from beginning to end.
As gaming gets more mainstream and attracts an increasingly broad cross section of the population, tiles like this, which don’t rely on the usual tropes of violence or competition, broaden video games’ appeal, letting those less used to holding a joypad experience some of what makes the hobby so alluring.
The AscentXbox Series X
The one-note combat and tedious structure, combined with the lack of matchmaking and classes, makes for a thoroughly unentertaining experience that is all the more frustrating for how incredible it looks and how much potential the basic concept has. Maybe cyberpunk is just jinked but The Ascent has clearly failed to raise the bar for the setting or co-op shooters in general.
From its highly unusual setting and immaculately observed slice of authentic London life, to the genuine characters and delightfully loopy plot, Last Stop is a pleasure to play. Its relatively mellow pace and continual decision making create an entertaining flow that quickly becomes addictive. Along with Virginia, this makes Variable State a studio well worth keeping an eye on.
The Great Ace Attorney ChroniclesPS4
Ace Attorney meets Sherlock Holmes turns out to be a great premise for a new game, with a subtle change in formula that works as both absurdist comedy and historical drama.
NEO: The World Ends With YouPS4
It’s entertaining and highly original, even compared to the first game. It contains some fun puzzle-solving and some cleverly inventive mechanics, like its time-travelling, which make it feel even more distinctive. It’s also satisfyingly meaty, with well over 30 hours of gameplay. With its stylish visuals, bizarre premise, and unique gameplay, this new The World Ends With You looks set to enjoy exactly the same cult classic status as its predecessor.
As an entry point into MOBAs it’s a success – adapting familiar Pokémon concepts in a way that makes an otherwise intimidating genre easy to understand and rewarding for long-time Pokémon fans. It’s just a shame the wonky package, tied to its free-to-play model, takes the shine off its best qualities.
It’s very clear that Cris Tales has been a labour of love and if you share anything like the same affection for the genre as developers Dreams Uncorporated and SYCK then it’s almost impossible not to enjoy the game’s clever mix of the new and the familiar. There are some elements of the old 16-bit games we wish they hadn’t included but Cris Tales is ambitious enough that it’s not just a slavish copy of what already exists, and even with its flaws this is still one of the best JRPGs of recent years.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HDSwitch
This is unquestionably a better version of Skyward Sword than the one released a decade ago but the flaws run too deep for it to ever be regarded as a classic. It may not be the best entry in the series but it’s far from the worst and, as can now be seen more clearly, it is one of the most innovative.
Braking Point is a particular joy, even though it could easily have felt gimmicky, and some clever tweaks bring a new level of accessibility. If you haven’t bought a Formula One game for a while you should find F1 2021 surprisingly fresh and innovative but for hardcore F1 fans this is simply a must-buy.
Disgaea 6: Defiance of DestinySwitch
Disgaea 6 is not a very good sequel. Not only is the whole concept beginning to feel tired but the new features pander to the series’ existing audience rather than trying to open it up to a new one. The core gameplay is still a lot of fun but without an engaging cast of characters, or any exciting new ideas, this struggles to justify itself and raises some serious questions over whether there should even be a Disgaea 7.
Dungeons & Dragons: Dark AlliancePS5
A co-op brawler with ties to older games makes complete sense when trying to reenergise the Dungeons & Dragons brand for video games but this is an almost complete failure on every level. Even if it had been completely bug free it’s slow, repetitive, boring, and doesn’t even get its fan service right. Rather than being the triumphant return of an iconic franchise this makes the official Dungeons & Dragons licence seem more like a curse than a benefit.
Mario Golf: Super RushSwitch
Although the appeal of the game does depend to some degree on what you think of real golf this is overall a better package than Mario Tennis Aces and the best sports game Nintendo has put out in several years. There’s nothing very surprising or innovative about Mario Golf: Super Rush but that doesn’t interfere at all with its simple and reassuringly familiar pleasures.
As a new IP it’s hard to know how well Scarlet Nexus will do but it certainly has all the hallmarks of a new cult classic, one that could even break into the mainstream with the right marketing and word of mouth. At a time when multiple companies seem afraid to appear ‘too Japanese’ going in the opposite direction has paid off handsomely for Bandai Namco.
LEGO Builder's JourneyPC
Much like the Lego movies, Builder’s Journey feels like something that’s far better than it needed to be, especially in the way it makes Lego itself intrinsic to the story it’s telling. The amazing graphics are merely a bonus, but they help to make this feel like an even more substantial release and proof that Lego games don’t have to all be the same – or even just aimed at kids.
Alex Kidd in Miracle World DXSwitch
For those who see themselves as platform game fanatics, with an interest in how the genre developed, this is a must-buy. But it helps that Alex Kidd In Miracle World DX is sensibly priced, which should also make it an attractive purchase for the merely retro-curious, who may struggle a bit with it at first, but will then surely click with its distinctive rhythms and patterns.
Chicory: A Colorful TalePS5
Chicory: A Colorful Tale is one of the best indie games of recent years and certainly deserves to be spoken of in the same breath as the likes of Celeste and Night In The Woods. It has boss battles and even a local co-op mode, but more than that it has originality and heart. If there’s one benefit to it being released so close to E3 it’s that it shows how unimportant a big budget is to a game’s quality… and especially its artistic creativity.
Game Builder GarageSwitch
It’s excellent, and as an introduction to game design for children it’s perfectly pitched, offering plenty of guidance for each new concept, even if it does eventually get quite complex. It’s not easy creating games with the same panache as Dreams or Super Mario Maker, but it’s still a brilliantly framed and accessible creative tool.