1326 Published Reviews
Where Solar Ash goes from an intriguing ambient platformer to one of the year’s most fascinating releases is in its fixation on living as an act of being stuck—neither sucked into the Ultravoid nor truly set free, but rather pinned, for however long, in place. The story culminates in Rei meeting a being called Echo, who has a needle lodged through her chest, with blood cascading in a permanent pour. Such imagery is par for the course with Preston, whose games are alive to the wonders of transience. Nothing stays fixed for long.
HALO InfiniteXbox Series X
It was as though 343 had succumbed to rampancy, crowding its action with fragmented characters and diverting into muddy tributaries of plot. With Halo Infinite, the studio seems to want to break the cycle and start afresh. The irony is that it has done so by drawing closer to the past.
There remains about Pokémon Brilliant Diamond the glint of something far gone, and there is something warmly reassuring about the place.
Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive EditionPS5
If these games shaped or changed you, you might find the notion of their being shaped and changed, in turn, an unwelcome one.
Call of Duty: VanguardPS5
Its narrative is fractious and slight, compared to Sledgehammer’s previous work, but the chance for a chaotic, target-rich experience with friends exerts a stronger pull than usual.
Forza Horizon 5Xbox Series X
Corners are forgiving, the damage modelling summons up only dents of things past, and each of the eclectically gathered cars, from the crotchety AMC Gremlin to the 1994 Ferrari F355 Berlinetta, slips into a drift as if it were a reverie—sudden, fond, and fast. That is Forza Horizon 5 in a nutshell. It may well be more of the same, but Mexico beckons, ravishing the eye and devouring up the miles. Besides, it offers us—as they all do, true to their name—the thrilling prospect of looking ahead, not so much to the next game as to its first ten minutes. The wait starts here.
Marvel's Guardians of the GalaxyPS5
Where Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy proves most winsome, however, is in its twining of the intergalactic and the terrestrial.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of AshesPS5
If only House of Ashes were possessed with something malevolent enough to actually scare us; sadly, it commits a litany of sins, none of them original.
Back 4 BloodXbox Series X
In Back 4 Blood, we have been given a finely tooled zombie shooter, but it lacks the power of the original.
MercurySteam has carved out a new entry in one of the medium’s most celebrated series, and, even if it doesn’t fully measure up, that’s quite a bounty; the rewards clearly outweigh the risk. Where the studio succeeds—and where Metroid Dread elevates from noble and flawed effort to inspired riff—is in its embrace of the unreachable. Time and again, we look for Samus, but she is gone.
Far Cry 6PS5
As it happens, though I played for much longer, I had had more than my fill after the first four hours, with no desire to venture back in. Strange to tell, I mourn the very things—the scalable vantages, the unlockable skills—that Ubisoft has left behind for the sake of freshness. Stale though they might have gotten, there is a perverse comfort in their transferable ease.
Kena: Bridge of SpiritsPS5
Whether you demand more than comfort from your games will inform the way you see Kena: Bridge of Spirits; is it merely a graphically sumptuous example of design that you wish we would leave behind, or is it a vivifying tribute to a rich precursor legacy?
SableXbox Series X
Playing it is like going on a Gliding. It offers an otherworldly break from the busyness of life, and, when you do return to Earth, you will do so with a smooth landing, and without stress. In fact, as you prepare to leave the game the game will have already left you—a warning and a reassurance, all in one.
In an odd way, then, Glass Bottom Games has captured the truth of the situation; contrary to its mission of cuteness, it has made a game that feels hollow-boned, caged by unflattering mechanics.
More than felling each Visionary, however, and piecing together the history of Blackreef, I relished uncovering more about Colt.
Life is Strange: True ColorsPS5
True Colors is the best game in the series since Before the Storm, and it will satisfy your narrative craving for a time.
The Artful EscapeXbox Series X
The lack of challenge in The Artful Escape, not just in its play but in its emotional texture, somewhat shreds the odyssey.
No More Heroes 3Switch
“If it’s serious shit, more reason to say screw it,” says Travis, and whether you find the lack of gravitas—or, for that matter, of emotional texture—a problem, No More Heroes III should be played, if for no other reason than it could have been made by nobody else. If you are undecided on the matter, take the leap. It’s hardly serious shit, but I urge you to say screw it.
Twelve MinutesXbox Series X
Its end reaching, choice by choice, back to the beginning—that if you sliced a twelve-minute chunk from someone’s time on Earth it would, if probed and replayed often enough, tell their whole story. Twelve Minutes isn’t so much a story as a study; Antonio is testing us on what we know, and on what we can glean from his tightly wound puzzle. Your time starts now.
Psychonauts 2Xbox Series X
The surprise of Psychonauts was its mechanical competence; it felt like a short hop from one kind of brainy game to another. The sequel, by definition, cannot pack the same shock, but it arrives bearing new gifts.
Aliens: Fireteam EliteXbox Series X
Its objectives rarely stray beyond holding off waves of horrors as the timer ticks down, or fetching doodads to slot into low-ebbing power drives. There is nothing here that will annihilate your sleep, just an uncreative assembly of cherished images, and nothing new to glean from one of cinema’s most celebrated monsters. For better and for worse, you only need to know one thing: where they are.
art of rallySwitch
Art of Rally is that rarest of things: the video game as essay. Now and then, the medium throws up chewy cogitations on the nature of choice and of play—usually so inward-gazing as to cause neck ache—and you feel like saying, “Would you kindly shut up, and let me get back to it.” But the developers have instead filed a report on something they love, taking the delicious murk of their favoured sport, scouring it clean, and schooling us lightly in its history.
Burroughs and Holland do hit on a fine idea: that, if we could peer into the other lives sharing the pavement, like idle channel surfers, we would surely register a jarring shift of genres.
The AscentXbox Series X
We get the standard stream of skill points, to feed into our preferred areas: aim, balance, movement speed, etc. And you can upgrade your cyberdeck, the better to melt the circuits of enemies and locked doors. But it all comes back to open-plan gunning, and it takes more than ballistics to persuade us of real freedom.
The Great Ace Attorney ChroniclesPS4
At any rate, it sounds pretty dubious to me, and it takes a Russian—a blonde, burly sailor by the name of Strogenov—to cut through the clutter. Onboard the S.S. Burya, on its voyage from Japan to London, Strogenov listens to Sholmes’s deductions and delivers his own verdict, rich with impeccable Russianness. “You have talked long time and said many things. What is point?”