Borderlands 3: Moxxi's Heist of the Handsome Jackpot is more of what fans love. Sublime shooting mechanics and inventive loot form the backbone of an assault on Handsome Jack's riches, making for a speedy riot that touches on everything wonderful about the looter shooter. This is Borderlands 3 condensed into eight hours of blistering action, and with an engaging narrative to boot, it makes for an experience that fans would be foolish to skip.
The game pitches itself as FMV horror, and while the experience does incorporate those two elements the more you play, it never amounts to anything more than cheap jump scares and creepy episodes of breaking the fourth wall. It's effective enough the first time, but diminishing returns weaken the tactic dramatically.
By making a point of keeping things simple, Arise: A Simple Story excels in all the right places. Basic 3D platforming is elevated by the introduction of time manipulation, transforming the beauty of its locations into an interactable piece of art. And when its visual design is already this stunning, it makes for an experience that delights every sense imaginable.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is one of the very best games of 2019. Its engaging gameplay loops may have been lifted from other titles, but it's during combat where the game really shines with enjoyable lightsaber duels and numerous abilities that keep things fresh. Backed by a narrative that will bring delight to the Star Wars faithful, its wonderful main plot and referential nature makes the title an essential playthrough for anyone in tune with the force.
Despite feeling out of date in one too many key areas, Terminator: Resistance manages to serve up a campaign just about worthy enough for those looking to switch their brain off and enjoy some mindless action. Its efforts to heighten the importance of relationships and interactions go a long way to differentiating the experience but held back by technical deficiencies, the vision isn't quite fully realised.
Following years of mysterious anticipation, Death Stranding delivers on all fronts. An accomplished, fascinating set of gameplay mechanics allow you to make deliveries the way you want to, while social features let the game live on once you've put the controller down. It may become slightly tiresome as you hit the halfway mark, but the phenomenal narrative is on hand to pick things back up again and its outstanding visuals are the cherry on top. Death Stranding doesn't raise the bar for any particular genre, it creates an entirely new one.
By keeping simplicity at its core, Monkey King: Hero Is Back offers an entertaining if somewhat mindless distraction to the blockbuster titles releasing around it. Sure, it's a little bit too short, the narrative isn't particularly gripping, and it looks like an early PS3 game, but that all falls by the wayside in the heat of battle. Thanks to fun brawling mechanics, Monkey King: Hero Is Back does just enough to deserve your attention.