It's never that V-Rally 4 is actively bad, but the 16-year wait since V-Rally 3 is no way near worth it. No part of the overall experience surpasses the benchmarks set by more polished, mechanically complex, spectacular or enjoyable racing games from both the arcade and sim camps. Even compared to the universally disappointing Dirt 4, V-Rally 4 feels like it's missing more than a few tricks.
With F1 2017, Codemasters has reached that stable plateau you see from established sports franchise like FIFA or NBA. This is by no means a major overhaul – if you've bounced off of these types of racers before, F1 2017 won't try to re-convince you of any merits. But nor should it need to.
Despite its strategic depth and craft, you can't help but feel that Fire Emblem has had its run on 3DS. This isn't a criticism per se, and it's more remarkable now than ever that the handheld console with a low-rent screen and barely any processing power is still able to churn out such deep and engrossing experiences. Intelligent Systems is likely looking to Nintendo Switch for its next big strategic adventure – but for now, Shadows of Valentia is great enough to warrant dusting off your indestructible little pocket toy for one last hurrah.
Prey's greatest success is its approach to choice and exploration. For players looking for a direct and focused single player shooter experience, this will undoubtedly disappoint and perhaps even frustrate, but for players looking for a smart and immersive world rife with intrigue and tension, Prey is a quality companion for some true classics.
The result is a game that packs meaning into almost everything you do. It doesn’t surpass the emotional heights of its late 90s forebear, but Numenera’s incredibly distinct world and unique approach to gameplay offer something really untraditional to sink your time, thoughts and choices into. For RPG fans this is super exciting, and will be sure to entertain across multiple playthroughs over dozens, if not hundreds of hours.
In short, For Honor is bloated in a way it doesn't need to be, but in a way that's completely unsurprising for Ubisoft. A ton of cosmetic upgrades and progression rankings can't save it from being an ultimately narrow experience. It may not wholly satisfy anyone craving an enormous single-player campaign or competitive multiplayer, but if you want a surprisingly competent fighting game that's capable of offering some great, tense and skill-based encounters, For Honor has enough to offer. Ubisoft may have marketed the game as a big, broad battler, but in truth it's just about you and your opponent and that's where it is at its best.
Your enjoyment of Dead Rising 4 will entirely depend on how long you can tolerate its multiple novelties. The novelty of killing thousands of zombies (again); of screwing around with crafting silly weapons and wearing dumb outfits (again); of returning to Willamette (again), this time with its Christmas theme; and of playing as Frank West (again).
Dishonored 2 is a fabulously immersive role-playing game that rewards exploration, experimentation and repeat playthroughs. It’s a shade less well written than its forebear, but it’s far better designed. The Clockwork Mansion will likely go down as one of the all-time best missions in gaming, and Dishonored 2 may well be the game of 2016.