Let’s be realistic. For an annual sports franchise, it’s not necessarily practical to expect huge evolution year on year. It’s also fair to say that at a minimum, players should expect EA to deliver incremental quality of life improvements and make an effort to hone their overall experience of the game for the better. Whilst there is only so far the needle can be pushed year on year, the launch of a new Madden on next-gen systems presented EA with an opportunity to really raise the bar. That’s why it’s particularly disappointing that Madden 22 only offers stagnant content and, sadly, creative disinterest.
Unfortunately, the best way to describe Dariusburst Another Chronicle EX+ is as follows: a console port that feels like it isn’t supposed to be played on console. As a result, it feels like a cheap experience – a rehash of highlights without any thought as to how the package fits together as a whole. Perhaps most egregiously, the medium through which this console version is played appears to be an afterthought at best.
Spelunky 2 is likely to delight those who revere its predecessor. As for newcomers, a whole new world of curiosity, frustration, rage quitting, perseverance and reward awaits. This is a game that may be a challenge to get into for some, but sooner rather than later determination to succeed will likely evolve into devotion. This will be a game that will always encourage players to come back for more.
Totally Reliable Delivery Service is a game that might provide passing entertainment to a group of friends for an hour or two; and the more challenging deliveries do generate some hilarious moments whilst making one ever more determined to try and complete them. But the novelty soon wears off, and there’s not really anything here that is likely to convince many to stay.
The Surge 2 has some really satisfying moments. It’s worth an investment based on the wealth of customisation options available, solid progression and genuinely fun combat. These innovations go some way to making up for the lack engrossing story or meaningful characters. However, the overriding sense is that the positive traits of Surge 2 often feel suffocated, mainly by a lack of visual and narrative investment in the world that surrounds its core mechanics.
Ultimately, AI: The Somnium Files is a game that has moments of brilliance that are obscured by a disjointed narrative and investigative process. Aside from the Somnium sequences – which are, admittedly, very cool – the game failed to motivate me to truly engage with its overarching story. I just didn’t find it appealing.
Ape Out is a game that is entirely the sum of its parts. Whilst many indie games look stylish, or sound cool, or have a solid gameplay mechanic, rarely do all three coalesce into something so memorably original. Ape Out will surely be one of the most unique games of 2019 and whilst it’s short, it packs a knockout punch.
It's worth a look because of its unique style, which really is a cut above the rest, and it is clear that White Rabbit have had a good crack at producing a game that tries to be creative with an established formula. However, be prepared for a journey that's a bit of a slog in more ways than one.
Ultimately, Tesla vs. Lovecraft isn't particularly innovative but is, nonetheless, extremely enjoyable and easy to pick up and play. Milestone challenges and higher difficulty levels will encourage players to come back for more. However, a woefully underdeveloped story contributes to an overall lack of personality depth, which leaves this game feeling less memorable than its solid gameplay perhaps deserves.
However, it's also likely to leave those older players thinking some things are better left alone as happy memories. It's the same reason that new players are unlikely to be enamoured. It's difficult to play a game like this in isolation. Sooner or later, the mind wanders back to the present – the truth is, the genre has come on in leaps and bounds since Age of Empires came on the scene all those years ago and this is one remaster that feels like it doesn't really belong.
Bridge Constructor Portal is not the Portal game many would have been expecting, but with the reassuring presence of GLaDOS and the Companion Cubes (also, coincidently, the name of my new band), it's nevertheless enough to scratch that 'fun with portals' itch left in the wake of Portal 2.
Freedom of choice is a wonderful thing, and this game has it in abundance. In a way, it saddens me to think that I have likely already missed numerous small-yet-endearing side quests; that I've passed characters by without ever knowing the stories they have to tell. This game is magical, and magically intense – it is an experience that has been passionately and painstakingly realised by developer Larian.
The overall lack of polish, the game's repetitive nature and the completely dysfunctional way in which information is presented to the player is a real let down. As a result, I don't think Warriors All-Stars is a game that is going to win over many new fans. The combat is accessible but everything else is a bit of a chore.