In refusing to dramatically innovate, Borderlands 3 continues to occupy a unique position in the RPG genre. Its blend of looting, shooting, and comedy makes for varied gameplay sequences, deep and meaningful player progression, and a couple of laughs along the way. It’s not going to convert anyone who wasn’t a fan of previous iterations, but in doing so, Borderlands 3 sticks to what it does best.
The Yakuza Remastered CollectionPS4
Alongside a typically excellent story fit to burst with brilliant characters, the title does an amazing job of balancing serious narrative beats with totally off-the-cuff side quests and in-depth distractions like karaoke, golf, and hostess dating. Yakuza 3 really solidified the series' reputation as a meme-worthy sandbox, and exploring both Okinawa and Kamurocho is still a joy.
Groundhog Day: Like Father Like SonPS4
The presentation is unimpressive, with character models particularly poor and terribly animated. The abundance of loading screens interrupts things far too frequently, and some of the writing and voice acting leaves a lot to be desired. Minigames pepper the experience but miss more than they hit, and the occasional issue with movement tracking can be a pain. At the end of the day, this is a neat experiment that fans of the film will enjoy, but overall it fails to measure up to the source material.
A curiously compelling gameplay loop makes Bus Simulator much more entertaining than it has any right to be. The presentation is poor, but the act of actually picking up passengers and taking them to A-to-B in an expanding open world is moreish, and the title has a self-aware sense of humour that’s easy to appreciate.
eFootball PES 2020 Standard EditionPS4
eFootball PES 2020 won't convince any FIFA fans over to Konami's side, but it will certainly appease those who are already enthralled with Master League and myClub. There really isn't too much to write home about this year, but when the gameplay is this enjoyable, there's hardly any reason to complain.
AI: The Somnium FilesPS4
AI: The Somnium Files tells an often engrossing tale. It takes a couple of hours to really get going, but when it does, it blossoms into one of the most impressively executed visual novels on PS4. A range of characters, both surprisingly deep and brilliantly stupid, elevate an already intriguing and smartly paced story. It's just a shame that the dream sequences, with their frustratingly obscure puzzle solving, can really put a dampener on the experience.
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch RemasteredPS4
It’s fair to say that Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch didn’t really need a remaster at all, but we won’t look a gift horse in the mouth, and choice is a good thing. It’s undoubtedly nice to have this standout last-generation title running so smoothly on PS4, and it’s just so tidy. After all, it’s also fair to say that this was and is a truly special game. Far more narratively focused than its sequel, this is a tentpole title for lovers of traditional Japanese role-playing games.
NBA 2K20’s absurd production values put it alongside MLB The Show 19 as the most convincing sports game on the market, and its under-the-hood gameplay improvements mean it’s the best-playing basketball simulation ever made. With a dizzying array of modes and options, including a reasonably well-written single player campaign featuring a Hollywood cast, this is a bulky package that will keep you on-court for potentially hundreds of hours.
Presentation wise, Headspun fares better. The grungy art style is somewhat charming and the FMV segments, while not exactly Citizen Kane, aren’t bad and succeed in telling a vaguely intriguing story. Regrettably though, characters inside the Cortex are less pleasant, relishing in awkward swears and slurs that taint the compelling theme of the game; the consequence of adult decisions, and what kind of person they turn us into.
This is a game in which it’s not out of place for a hamster to start talking to you, while trash TV transfixes its drooling owner. Nerdy references pepper the dialogue and hide in the lovingly crafted background art. Agatha herself is a wonderfully complicated character; we see things from her innocent and skewed perspective, for good or ill. The puzzling is relatively simplistic -- there's nothing here to match the nonsensical item combinations of the genre's luminaries. But this is a game more about story and tone than pixel hunting, and the result is a decent, bizarre experience.
Smoots Summer GamesPS4
The visual style is putrid, but there are some nice touches, like the inclusion of Mr. T as an avatar. Unfortunately, the gameplay generally feels unresponsive, and there’s really no room for skill beyond your ability to avoid blisters. This isn’t offensive by any means, but SEGA’s upcoming Olympics game is so much better that a visit to YO! Sushi is the closest it'll be getting to Japan.
If you’re skilled, you can speed through in a little over ten hours, though exploring every nook and cranny of the map and finding all of the collectables can take upwards of double that, especially considering there are two endings to experience. At any rate, Blasphemous is torturously fun, and one of the best the genre has to offer.
Metro Exodus: The Two ColonelsPS4
Metro Exodus: The Two Colonels is adequate in every sense of the word - it doesn't do anything impressively well nor insultingly bad. It's just okay, and while that might be enough to convince fans of the series to take a short trip underground, it's something that anyone else can safely skip.
GreedFall is Spiders' best game by some distance, and it's impressive how far the developer has come in just a few short years. It successfully scratches that BioWare itch with an intriguing world, likeable characters, and rock solid gameplay. However, aside from its unique setting, nothing about GreedFall truly stands out. Its combat is good but not great, its role-playing is largely fine but ultimately stunted, and its writing is competent but sometimes boring. GreedFall is right on the cusp of being something special. RPG fans will find a lot to like, but don't go in expecting the genre's next masterpiece.
The Ninja Saviors: Return of the WarriorsPS4
The incredibly short game length is compensated by the replay value of three varied starting characters, with two unlockable ones that weren't in the SNES game -- for example, Yaksha is available after beating single-player mode on normal difficulty. Two-player couch co-op gameplay is also new and welcomed in the remake, although you both share the Armour Gauge health meter and Battery Gauge special attack. While there are online rankings for fast stage completion, there's no online co-op.
River City GirlsPS4
With a bright, pixel art infused splash, River City Girls throws you headlong into an old-school brawler that at times evokes the best of the genre. Whether you line it up against Streets of Rage, the rather excellent Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game, or River City Ransom – a title which you’ll be unsurprised to hear River City Girls has a direct lineage to – it hits all the familiar highs and lows, while throwing in a few twists that mean it’s not just a by the numbers retro title.
Torchlight II is an older title that feels its age at times. Nevertheless, it remains a solid example of its genre and will keep you occupied for hours on end. Multiplayer, an expansive upgrade system, and a sea of worthwhile loot make up for the repetitive gameplay.
Monster Hunter: World - IcebornePS4
With everything that it brings to the table, Iceborne is a truly monstrous expansion. Capcom has gone above and beyond in crafting an additional adventure that breathes a shocking amount of new life into Monster Hunter World, setting a new benchmark for the series in terms of pure quality. Although many of the base game's gripes remain, it's ultimately very difficult to pick holes in such a supremely satisfying experience. Iceborne is Monster Hunter at its absolute best.
Root Letter: Last AnswerPS4
There isn't even a hint of an English voice-over, and the odd typo does lessen the quality of the script somewhat, but Visual Novel fans are sure to get a kick out of Root Letter: Last Answer. Its live action overhaul gives returning players a new way to experience the game, while newcomers are sure to be captured by its quirky cast of characters and a plot that'll keep you hooked through to its conclusion.
Final Fantasy VIII RemasteredPS4
It's easy to see why Final Fantasy VIII is considered one of the series' most divisive entries, but its story and gameplay systems remain unique 20 years after its original release. Final Fantasy VIII Remastered has its flaws -- the draw system is still a total pain in the arse -- but there's a magic and atmosphere to Squall's often mental adventure that's incredibly endearing. This is a PlayStation classic given a new lease of life, and it's still way more interesting than the majority of Japanese RPGs hitting our consoles today.
WRC 8 FIA World Rally ChampionshipPS4
The game opts for a sim-like model, but in practice is much more forgiving than DiRT Rally 2.0. It's not perfect; cars can be unpredictable, and sometimes spin out when it feels like they shouldn't. Overall, the driving is competent, and most importantly, delivers that thrill ride as you scream over treacherous terrain. It's a shame the presentation is somewhat lacking, because this is otherwise a solid rally experience.
Catherine: Full BodyPS4
Catherine: Full Body is the best way to experience an incredibly unique game. It oozes style eight years after its original release, and although its storytelling does stumble from time to time, this glimpse into the desperate life of Vincent Brooks is still more than worthy of your attention.
Edna & Harvey: Harvey's New EyesPS4
Sadly, Harvey’s New Eyes stumbles with occasional poor voice acting, and story and character work that doesn’t quite live up to the standard of the puzzles and visuals. The darker nature of the plot is a good contrast to the vibrant visual style, but the narrative is not as compelling as in other examples of the genre. That being said, Harvey’s New Eyes is likely to be an enjoyable experience for any point and click fan who picks it up.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of MedanPS4
Man of Medan kicks The Dark Pictures Anthology off with a whimper rather than a bang. The format has a lot of potential, but this was undoubtedly the wrong story to showcase it. The narrative is slight and rarely gets out of first gear, the characters are annoying, the scares limp, and the dialogue unnatural. There's constant technical hiccups. In fact, the scariest thing about Man of Medan is how it ever went gold in the state that it's in.