962 Published Reviews
Marvel's Iron Man VRPS4
Almost all of Iron Man VR’s issues stem from the technical limitations of the PlayStation 4 and its headset. But while the enemy variety is definitely a problem the way the game embraces the Iron Man mythos, and really makes you feel like Tony Stark himself, is at least as good as Spider-Man. Frankly, we’re now far more interested in seeing a next gen sequel to this than we are old web-head.
The fact that this is a PC-only release suggests it is an experiment, to at least some degree, but we can only hope that it’s a success, or at least that the Trackmania franchise is not too damaged by it. The game is enormous fun – it wouldn’t have lasted almost two decades if it wasn’t – but this latest attempt to try and expand its appeal, to those that still haven’t heard of it, may do more harm than good.
Star Wars Episode I: RacerPS4
Compared to that, and the best of the WipEout series, Racer can’t really compete but it is proof that not every Star Wars game has be a story-based epic and that even something as flawed as The Phantom Menace can be the inspiration for a good game.
The Isle of ArmorSwitch
It’ll take around four or five hours to see the majority of the content and whether you want to do that will largely depend on how much you care about catching ‘em all. As bland as it can be, we would rather have an expansion than a separate enhanced edition. But then we’d also rather the parent game was more ambitious than Pokémon Sword and Shield turned out to be.
With missions that can easily take three or more hours to complete it’s easy to admire the game’s commitment to being old school but there was a chance to update the formula here, and make it more accessible, and it’s been missed entirely. That won’t be a problem for anyone that’s prepared to put in the appropriate time commitment, but it also won’t do anything to stop the Commandos formula remaining as rare as the Western setting itself.
Combining a first person shooter with a real-time strategy game is a good idea, we used to love Pandemic’s Battlezone games, but this is not the way to do it. There’s not nearly enough strategy to make that angle seem worthwhile and the combat is slow and uninteresting. With some further iteration perhaps Disintegration could be turned around, but rather than offering the best of both worlds it frequently feels like the worst.
The Last of Us: Part IIPS4
Throughout the game, Ellie’s motivation is love and yet the trail of death and destruction she leaves in her wake breeds nothing but hate and violence. These are heady concepts for an action video game, or any kind of popular entertainment, and while The Last Of Us Part 2 is not a perfect experience it is an absolutely essential one.
Borderlands Legendary CollectionSwitch
If you’re yet to jump into the weird, wonderful world of Borderlands, the Legendary Collection is a perfect opportunity to do just that. But if you’ve already been to Pandora and back, the prospect of doing so again on the Switch is still a surprisingly tempting one.
XCOM 2 CollectionSwitch
There’s currently no clue as to what the future of XCOM is, but with both Chimera Squad and this we hope things are building up to an announcement for XCOM 3. If that’s released on the next gen consoles then hopefully there’ll be no technical distractions at all, but even with them XCOM 2 loses almost none of its appeal and remains one of the very best games of the generation.
Skelattack is an enjoyable little action platformer but the truth is it probably would’ve passed by without notice if it hadn’t been for Konami’s involvement. But that’s fine, as that’s essentially the point of them publishing it in the first place. Skelattack won’t change the world but if it changes one of gaming’s oldest publishers, and helps them fall back in love with video games, it will have performed a very important role indeed.
Shantae and the Seven SirensXbox One
If you’ve never played a Shantae game before then this is a perfectly entertaining, if undemanding and unambitious, Metroidvania but if Shantae wants to make it to her 20th anniversary she’s going to have to learn some genuinely new tricks.
Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide ClassicsSwitch
Rather than the future of video games this offers an insight into their analogue ancestry and proves that a game’s age is no impediment to its ability to entertain and enthral. What at first seems to be cheap filler for Nintendo’s undernourished release schedules is actually a fascinating journey through the world of pre-video game entertainment.
Bug Fables: The Everlasting SaplingSwitch
Not that you have to have to have played a Paper Mario game to appreciate it though, as Bug Fables is one of the best role-players of the year so far and proof that even when you’re copying someone else’s style of game there’s plenty of scope to create something unique and original of your own.
Mortal Kombat 11: AftermathPS4
If you have a copy of Mortal Kombat 11 it’s absolutely worth putting it on again to see what’s changed, as the free update is unusually generous. But that’s in direct contrast to Aftermath, which is some of the worst value for money we’ve seen in any DLC for a long time.
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive EditionSwitch
Xenoblade Chronicles was always one of the best Japanese role-players of the last generation and it feels no less impressive now, with visuals and a fantastic soundtrack that stand up remarkably well 10 years later. There now seems every reason to expect a Xenoblade Chronicles 3 at some point in the future, and hopefully that will further help to prove that Japanese role-players can be fun and accessible for everyone.
Knowing that many species have been hunted almost to extinction because of being portrayed as relentless killing machines leaves a sour taste when you’re playing something as witless, and just plain boring, as Maneater. Maybe there is a way to turn a shark simulator into an interesting and compelling game but after two attempts we’re not convinced and there’s certainly not enough here to get your teeth into.
Minecraft DungeonsXbox One
The short campaign length and lack of depth would’ve been more problematic if it weren’t for the very reasonable price tag, which is below that of most indie games and takes a lot of the edge off most complaints. Minecraft Dungeons does what it sets out to with a certain amount of panache and some great presentation, but it’s set its sights surprisingly low and at this point it’s hard to imagine it having anything like the longevity of the parent game.
The Wonderful 101: RemasteredSwitch
There is a great game somewhere inside The Wonderful 101 but rather than exposing it for a wider audience this just buries it deeper, amidst purposefully obtuse controls, puzzles, and gameplay mechanics. The Wonderful 101 has squandered its second chance and on the basis of this remaster it doesn’t really deserve another.
Mafia II: Definitive EditionPS4
If you’ve already played Mafia 2 in the past there’s relatively little to bring you back now except nostalgia. But the story still stands up today, whether you know what’s coming or not, and the gut punch of an ending remains well worth experiencing.
WHAT THE GOLF?Switch
In the end, the closest comparison for What The Golf? is not any existing golf sim but instead Nintendo’s surrealist mini-game compendium WarioWare. What The Golf? not only has a very similar style of humour and disregard for convention but also the same sense of tireless invention and desire never to do the same thing twice. Also, neither game has anything to do with golf.
Lonely Mountains: DownhillSwitch
Lonely Mountains is not the sort of game to turn heads in terms of either its concept or visuals, but its precise controls and beguiling atmosphere are the virtual breath of fresh air which the current lockdown is denying us all. It does, perhaps, all get a bit too unforgiving by the end but there’s plenty of content and it provides some of the most enjoyably uncomplicated action of recent months.
No video game is perfect, not even the very best ones, but while there’s plenty of faults to find with Void Bastards it’s got heart and a gameplay loop that keeps you coming back for more punishment again and again. But then with a name like that you know it can’t be all bad.
John Wick HexPS4
John Wick Hex is an excellent game and the perfect example of how to adapt a movie while capturing exactly what makes it so unique and turning that into engaging, and in this case highly original, gameplay. But because this is an ugly-looking strategy game that seems to have negated the draw of the licence and made John Wick Hex a more difficult sell than it should be. But we wish other movie tie-ins had even half the ambition that this does, no matter what they look like.
Sakura Wars is very much an acquired taste but even if you take offence at its portrayal of women, and it’d be perfectly understandable if you did, we still find it a difficult game to hate. Perhaps it would be better with improved combat and a more diverse cast but for better or worse Sakura Wars is pretty much exactly what it wants to be.
Trials of ManaSwitch
The other central problem is that the two things Secret Of Mana, and by association all its related games, is best known for is its excellent graphics and its co-op gameplay. And neither of those are present for this remake. Nobody’s going to spend Final Fantasy 7 Remake money funding a remake of Trials Of Mana but, again, that only hammers home that maybe this wasn’t such a good idea in the first place.