Don't be fooled into thinking Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales is some minor spin-off of Insomniac Games' PS4 exclusive. Sure, it's not as long, but the experience is packed with enough new gameplay ideas and design refinements that it feels every bit like a true, substantial successor. Throw in a story that does justice to Miles as a character and tech that wonderfully showcases the power of the PlayStation 5, and you just might have one of the best console launch titles of the modern era.
Marvel's Avengers squanders the potential of what might have been a fun superhero romp by grafting on an annoying, overly repetitive games-as-a-service component. Playing as the cast of heroes offers decent thrills, and the campaign tells an enjoyable enough story, but odds are good you'll get bored long before you grind your way to the top.
Whether or not you consider The Last of Us Part II to be a worthwhile continuation of Joel and Ellie's story, there's no doubt that Naughty Dog has crafted a sequel that's every bit as ambitious and well-considered as the original, with quite possibly the best stealth-action gameplay realized to date.
On a superficial level, Predator: Hunting Grounds succeeds at translating elements of the original 1987 movie into a four-on-one multiplayer game, and the matchups are occasionally tense and thrilling. But shoddy game balance, sloppy design, frequent bugs, and significant technical shortcomings squander most of the potential.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare does a lot right from a gameplay standpoint—at least as far as campaign and multiplayer are concerned. But a confused story that simultaneously has too much and too little to say about war makes it a poor successor to the legacy of Call of Duty 4.
The Outer Worlds is an impressive spiritual successor to Obsidian's work on Fallout: New Vegas, mixing familiar design elements and the same zany attitude with an imaginative new universe and even deeper role-playing. While you can breeze through the main questline a bit quicker than in similar games, this is the sort of RPG experience you'll want to play through multiple times, with multiple builds, to see all the systems and narrative paths on offer.
Concrete Genie's painting tech impresses at first and its heart is certainly in the right place, but the game ultimately proves too aimless to support its already brief running time. Adorning the city in landscapes of your own creation quickly loses its luster as you realize that what you create lacks meaningful interactivity. Even the jarring addition of combat midway through doesn't do much to counter the sense that Pixelopus couldn't find a way to build out a full game around a simple gameplay idea.
Telling Lies may borrow its core mechanic from Her Story, but shifting from monologues to two-sided conversations brilliantly expands the investigative gameplay, and a pivot from murder mystery to political thriller gives director Sam Barlow a much richer set of ideas to explore. A few storytelling hiccups and awkward edges do little to detract from a thought-provoking look at the modern surveillance state—delivered not through soapbox lecture but by forcing you, unsettlingly, to participate.