1295 Published Reviews
Ratchet & Clank: Rift ApartPS5
Quite how the Ratchet & Clank die-hards will react to the Marvellousness of Rift Apart I don’t know. They may well be soothed by the similarities and irked by the differences. Witness Ratchet revving up his Hoverboots, as though they were rollerblades, and scalding through the scenery like Tony Stark, and you might lament the lessening of traditional, grounded platforming.
Wonder Boy Asha in Monster WorldSwitch
It’s a creepy image, but it doesn’t creep into the rest of the game; its gloom is gone in a blink. What we need, I think, is an ailing landscape, dimming and doomed, against which Asha—whose hair is as supernaturally green as apple Kool-Aid—would stand out. Then again, maybe that is what we got.
We need more of this strangeness in our AAA open worlds, and, if the DNA of Biomutant sparks a re-evolution of some of the genre’s dull spots, perhaps we can forgive the dull spots present here. The story? KLICK! The combat? DING! The world? KAAA-POW!
Moments like these are where Mundaun succeeds, and where Ziegler’s visual technique is most potent. Its frights are rooted in a place that is drawn in fine detail, and those that live there are smeared by darkness.
New Pokemon SnapSwitch
Though it comes with a crop of upgrades, and its graphics have been brushed to a smooth shine, what it offers, despite its title, is the joy of the old.
Resident Evil VillagePS5
Still, reaching the credits, I sat back, exhausted and disappointed at where the series had ended up. In Kamiya’s final journal entry, he reflected on the change brought about by Mikami—whose services we really could have used here—saying, “I easily went into the world of devils…” Indeed, I wonder if we can so easily make our way back.
Complex systems are made simple, by committing their clutter to muscle memory, and play—good play, at any rate—requires that you, like Selene, ride its enigmatic loop.
NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139...PS4
It’s a dead ringer for the Temple of Time—especially the one in Breath of the Wild, dusted with decay. Is it any wonder that, later on, the narrative jumps ahead, jolting our hero into adulthood? Taro is clearly fixed on the power of lost time. More than a decade on from the original release of Nier Replicant, he’s asking us to take a second look.
Behold the Glukkon airship that gives chase to Abe and his people: oarlike sails sticking out from its flanks, stirring through the dirty air like a spoon through coffee. And the lone Mudokon at the outset, staggering through the wastes, clutching his side. Abe draws near and finds the poor fellow pierced by a bullet and soaked in a pool of sticky crimson. Abe the saviour is too late. But who knows? Maybe his chance will come again.
OutridersXbox Series X
The best time I had with the game was a ten-minute stretch that contained (a) no crashes or bugs, (b) the right level and world tier—essentially, a measure of enemy toughness—and (c) a harmony of tactics, sorcery, and gunfire.
If only Naka, staying true to form, had given the whole thing a dose of high speed; his work only holds together when it hurtles past our eyes, growing vivid with velocity.
MONSTER HUNTER RISESwitch
It’s difficult not to be bowled over as you watch a feline chef and his staff caper through a culinary ritual of song.
Maquette is, for most of its runtime, a pleasant distraction. The art direction, by Tim Doolen, favours flat, dusty shades, punched through by pink domes and golden spires, and the soundtrack is warmed by the acoustic crooning of various indie bands.
Little Nightmares IIPS5
It’s worth pointing out that few other studios have the confidence to take this approach to horror: not to jolt you with sudden frights or to ration your ammunition, but to probe and puncture your emotional ease by putting foulness in such close proximity to the childish.
Call of the SeaXbox Series X
No such obsessions blow through Call of the Sea. Instead, we get a story whose late twists are telegraphed within the first hour or so, and an ending drenched with homage to the Shape of Water. The journey, however, is worth taking.
The MediumXbox Series X
It’s a shame, because Bloober Team has summoned a rich atmosphere, under all that writing, and one or two sequences offer glimpses of a purer game. A garden path in someone’s memory, winding under a sky of yellow-green gauze. Or a childhood home, stained by trauma, with black bile running down the wallpaper.
As much as Hitman III was a pleasure to play, it left me longing for the mood of the old games—for that European concoction of sirens and splashing rain, drenched in Jesper Kyd’s cold scores. I’m as excited as anyone for Project 007, but I wonder how long we will be left looking for 47—a wraith in a red tie, who has proven elusive enough to slip IO’s grasp.
The scenes that have lodged most deeply in my memory are not those devoted to the chases, the shootouts, or the narrow squeaks, but those possessed of a quiet empathy.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold WarPS5
What I didn’t expect from the new Call of Duty was downtime, and the suggestion, at least in the first half, that guns, while great for going in blazing, can provide just as potent a thrill when holstered.
You wanted the sprite to win, and you welcomed the explosion of spring. By contrast, the creatures of The Pathless put up a good fight, but, once you’ve felled them, and the shadows leak away, you almost wish they would rage against the dawning of the light.
One reaction to seeing Sackboy dressed up as a yak—complete with plush horns, fur, and a flapping tongue—and pouncing his way through a level lined with spikes while Let’s Dance, by David Bowie, blasts forth would be to say, “It’s possible that I’m being manipulated here.” Another reaction would be to enjoy yourself.
For those already in thrall to Miyazaki, Bluepoint has paid the finest tribute: it has crafted a game that has, like one of his looping levels, deposited us back at the beginning, illuminating our route through the years.
At the end of Astro’s Playroom, it’s worth taking the time to survey the PlayStation Labo: the gleaming hub into which is herded the treasures of your efforts—the consoles, the peripherals, the discs—along with a trove of your own private recollections. Evidently, that is what Sony has done, too, taking stock of the chapters behind, and looking to what lies ahead.
The FalconeerXbox Series X
Far more than the combat—whose charm ebbs away on a tide of repetition after the first few hours—the draw of The Falconeer is its suggestion that, while we may be shaped by our stories, they don’t pin us down, that the mere act of living is to take flight from the past.
Assassin's Creed ValhallaPS4
Sadly, that string of hours, spent clambering up towers and defogging the map, bounding across the fields in a hopeful, happy loop, was the last of the fun on offer. Why should this be the case? Why do these games so often, these days, thicken and stale before their stories are done? I can put my finger on a couple of reasons.