High on Life is likely a divisive game. While the gameplay is more than sufficient - if you're happy with an unrefined, almost arcade-style shooter - you then come to the dialogue and "comedy", which, to me, was overdone to the point of annoyance. Funny to begin with but repeated so much that a drinking game would lead to liver failure. Fortunately, being on game pass, you don't have to fork out too much to see if you like it.
Marvel's Midnight Suns is a strong tactical RPG that feels like something that wouldn't be amiss in the MCU. Some elements can feel a little bloated, but it's a very strong game. The characterisation is top-notch, with some excellent scriptwriting and voice-acting to support it. Outside of the RPG aspects, combat is fun, engaging, and challenging - particularly at higher difficulty levels. I've had a lot of fun with the game, and I'm still having fun with it, and I can't help but think that fans of the genre - and Marvel - would enjoy it as much as me.
The game's simple nature binds a Little to the Left, but it achieves its aims very well. Even when testing your brain with a puzzle, it is a calming game. It offers various puzzles, some with multiple solutions, a daily puzzle to keep coming back to, and a little amusing narrative in the background that all cat owners will find familiar. This is a game I've enjoyed, and I can find myself returning to it, offering an excellent refresher and palate cleanser.
Grounded is undoubtedly one of the best survival games around. While it falls into some of the same traps, getting very grindy and gatekeeping progression while not signposting as well as it should do, there's little doubt that it's a very engaging game. Where many games will give you a world to play around in, Grounded places you in a living, breathing world and has you engage with every element in interesting ways.
That would be my verdict of The DioField Chronicle. It has some good elements, but they are often covered by the average, meaning little gets the chance to stand out. Were it a little tighter, a little faster and not requiring you to do so much busy work, I could see this being a more enjoyable experience.
Two Point Campus follows the track laid by Two Point Hospital, keeping the same comedic look and tone, the same humour in its courses and curses. Like their first title, this combines strong simulation and management mechanics with accessibility that works well with the aforementioned tone and aesthetic. Two Point Studios know their work, and they're no doubt leading the class in more ways than one.
Starship Troopers: Terran Command is most certainly the game of the film. It gives off the same feel like the film and sticks very close to the source material with the use of bugs, the actions of the empire and the tactics of the Mobile Infantry; all that is an unequivocal positive. However, there are a few issues in gameplay. It feels like an older strategy game than it is, lacking some modern sensibilities, limited game modes, and featuring poor pathfinding. Still, despite these issues, it is a genuinely fun and strategic title that fans of the franchise will thoroughly enjoy, and general strategy fans should also enjoy.
Kao the Kangaroo is a mixed bag. Far from bad, it offers decent platforming across several well-designed levels, though some issues hold it back. Some bugs certainly impact gameplay, with camera control also a gameplay-inhibiting factor. The lack of real challenge throughout most of the game will also be a limiting factor for replay value, though there is a level of exploration and several collectibles to find. While certainly not up there as one of the best platformers, Kao isn't a bad way to pass your time, and it's fortunately not priced as high as most new releases.
The Quarry is yet another impressive title by Supermassive Games. While it doesn't veer away from their previous titles, their ability to write an interesting story with compelling characters is only improving. Featuring several red herrings and twists, The Quarry will keep you guessing and gives you an ever-increasing impact on how the story turns out. There are still a few niggles here and there, such as the sloth-like character movement and a few facial animation and audio quirks, but this looks better than ever and features an excellent soundtrack. If you're a fan of Until Dawn or The Dark Pictures games, you'll like this; particularly as the larger budget comes with a much bigger cast and a much larger and more branching story.
Kapital: Sparks of Revolution is a perfectly serviceable city building game that attempts to add class struggle and other aspects such as state corruption and intervention into the mix. While it doesn't achieve everything it set out to do, the ideas are there and offer something interesting to play. Where it added some of these interesting ideas, it has also sadly skimped on other core areas; there is only one map, and the balance isn't great with the game constantly threatening to overwhelm you. All things considered, I'd still recommend it for fans of the genre, just with the knowledge that it isn't the most detailed and better options exist.
Expedition Zero is an interesting game with some good ideas and exceptional atmosphere use. Still, the positives are let down by several bugs, issues around areas of the game feeling unfinished and other frustrations. There's certainly a chance you'll have some good moments with the game, but I can only imagine these moments will be outweighed by other less fun and more annoying moments.
Elex II is a baffling game. The combat is clunky and can be very difficult, and the game has more than a few bugs, with other issues like a glacial pace. However, the game is genuinely interesting to explore and fun, for all its problems - and there are many. The story and its turns are engaging, and it's impossible not to see the care and enthusiasm from Piranha Bytes. Elex II is Eurojank, and I can't help but enjoy it because of (or despite, take your pick) that.
Not Tonight 2 looks to build upon Not Tonight and the Papers, Please formula, but veers too far away from what gave the first its impact. One-off challenges and the veering between serious and slapstick make the game feel too unfocused, ultimately detracting from the game. It's not bad by any stretch of the imagination, it still looks and sounds great, but there are a few too many negatives and it's ultimately a shadow of the first.
Gran Turismo 7 is an excellent game. It looks fantastic, with features like the photo and scapes modes, making the game look eerily photo-realistic. On the track, racing is top-notch. Every car feels unique; every change in the garage and every decision on the track matters. However, it doesn't mean there aren't issues. Always online requirements have failed me numerous times and lost progress when the servers have died; this is before launch. In addition to this, there's just a looming issue of time; the game doesn't value your time with the campaign (cafe menus), having it move at a glacially slow pace at best. Also, the soundtrack is atrocious. Still, whatever faults I find, they are far outweighed by overwhelming positives.
Expeditions: Rome is a surprisingly detailed tactical RPG that takes you through three huge theatres of the Roman republic on a personal quest for revenge or triumph. This story is what you make of it, packed full of meaningful decisions that influence many aspects of the game. Adding to this story is a robust character development system that feeds into the excellent combat, with multiple side-missions to develop both characters equipment and stories, as well as your war camp. The game feels like it could become dull, but never reached that point and is one well worth it for any RPG fan.
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun - Aiko's Choice is more of the original, which means it's more of one of the best real-time tactics games around. The few issues that you could have with the original, such as the difficulty curve, are made worse due to the location of these missions within the larger story - and with it being standalone - which could make it inaccessible. The lack of introduction to characters, presuming foreknowledge, also means new players will find it hard to get into. Even with these flaws, I could only recommend it as it looks great, sounds great, and plays even better.
Chorus is undoubtedly ambitious, with Fishlabs undeniably putting in a lot of effort into their first full title. Aesthetically, there's a lot to praise the game for, with a photo mode that genuinely feels useful to capture the visual splendour of space and the action of combat. Combat here is also fun, responsive, and generally great to play, even if it can feel overused due to a significant lack of variety in the rest of the game. Add this lack of variety to an ambitious story, but poorly developed, and you get Chorus. For every positive, there is an undeniable negative. Is it worth playing? I would say yes, but how much mileage you get out of it will be very subjective.
Football Manager 2022 is yet another improvement on the long-running series, one that brings the beautiful game to life more than ever before and recreates both the small and large moments that make the sport so engaging. The options are near limitless, and the game puts even more at your fingertips, from the Data Hub to improved staff meetings, all adding onto a revamped match engine. This is the closest Sports Interactive has come to perfection, with only small elements feeling aged and needing polishing.