No Man's Sky Beyond really has brought everything promised to players, and then some. While the initial launch was full of bugs, Hello Games has hardly left their offices, as they have released nearly ten patches post-update. One update in particular, 2.05, smoothed a lot of stability issues out, and Hello Games has been fixing things at a freakishly fast pace. This cannot be stressed enough: No Man's Sky Beyond is a killer VR app on any platform, but it is a showcase-worthy example on the PSVR. Dust off those Move controllers and head back into the Euclid galaxy–you'll be instantly glad you did.
Solo: Islands of the Heart is perhaps the most introspective game to release this year. The gameplay may not have much to do with the story, but the puzzles are decent roadblocks on the journey. The whole adventure will only take most gamers 4-6 hours to complete, and while that may feel like enough for the price ($19.99) for some, just as the puzzles start to get more challenging, the game is over. Fans of puzzle games may want to check out Solo: Islands of the Heart, but those who are expecting a major challenge will probably want to look elsewhere.
Sea of Solitude is an interactive story that has bits of a game peppered into it. Like gamey meat, it's not for everyone. Some players may want more to do than run around looking for seagulls and messages in bottles in between story moments and the occasional "fight" sequence. The story (which we have not spoiled here) is likely to resonate with many people, but for some it won't be enough to overcome a lack of fun gameplay to take players in between exposition. It is a worthy attempt, but just falls a bit short.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is a faithful remake of a classic karting game, with extra content from across the franchise to boot. Whether playing the respectfully challenging campaign mode to unlock all kinds of parts, stickers, and more, or skirmishing with strangers and friends both online and off, those who have fond memories of the original will get their money's worth out of the racer, without a doubt. The sliding mechanic still takes some getting used to after all these years, but it just wouldn't be CTR without it.
MotoGP 19 stands as a serviceable motorcycle road racing game. It's a step forward with the inclusion of MotoE, and the historical races provide an intense challenge. Fans of the series should appreciate vastly improved loading times, a better (if still underwhelming) presentation, and especially customization options. While not the best racing game on the market today, the MotoGP series has come back into its own as a respectable franchise with the release of MotoGP 19.
Brief Battles is a fun party game that is easy to pick up and play, while also being rewarding to master. The novel ability to be able to climb along most surfaces inspired some great level design, while still being approachable. A large variety of levels, and even plenty of solo/co-op modes, ensures Brief Battle's replayability. Juicy Cupcake has created a whimsical game everyone can get into, that is far deeper than its simple controls and silly sense of humor betray.
The solid fighting mechanics, lengthy story mode, beautifully grotesque presentation, consistent performance, countless unlockables, and customization options all add up to an overall enjoyable experience that fighting game fans should not miss.
Space Junkies is a fun arena-style shooter, with an unfortunate control scheme. The addition of cross-platform play helps to get a game going, at the expense of any sort of balance. PC players have the advantage of a much better control scheme. Move controller compatibility would go a long way towards rectifying this, even if it's still not an ideal control mechanism. As a technical showcase, Space Junkies looks and attempts to play as a fast-paced arena shooter, and it mostly gets that part right. It's just a shame the controls get in the way on console, making the PSVR version feel lesser.
R.B.I. Baseball 19 is once again a disappointment. The extremely low production values, lack of game modes, inconsistent animations, and uninspired gameplay result in one lackluster delivery. R.B.I. Baseball 19 would be a hard sell at $19.99, which incidentally is the same price you can currently nab the superior MLB The Show 18 for. But for the launch price of $29.99? Don't even consider it.
Trials Rising is pure, unadulterated, arcade fun at its finest. The mechanics are simple, and indeed anyone can play. But mastering the techniques to get ever faster times can take countless hours. The extreme levels will really test players' resolve, but the payoff of finally finishing the Everest level, for instance, is worth the obstacle-filled journey. There's so much content packed into Trials Rising, it's hard to believe the game is launching at $24.99.
ChromaGun VR feels like the form the game should have launched in from the start. The campaign is only a handful of hours, which is about the same amount of time most people can handle VR in its current state. The Aim Controller works quite well in this (mostly) non-violent puzzle shooter, even if lefties have to adapt to the control scheme. Still, an undo function could've saved players from some frustration when they either misfire or accidentally use the wrong color. ChromaGun VR is a funny, occasionally challenging first-person puzzler, and one that is enhanced in VR.
DiRT Rally 2.0 features some positively exhilarating racing. While there aren't a ton of different modes to choose from this time around, there are plenty of courses to make up for it. The lack of real-time multiplayer may dissuade some from purchasing it, as they can't directly compete with friends, but the asynchronous challenge events provide plenty of real-world competition on a daily and weekly basis. As usual, Codemasters knows rally racing like no one else.
Metro Exodus is an entertaining post-apocalyptic shooter that isn't afraid to take chances with the series' formula. There are still occasional jump scares, resources are scarce, and often times humans are your worst enemy. The addition of large, open levels really freed up 4A Games to make a world all the more detailed and believable. A few technical issues hold the game back a bit, but they are by no means a deal breaker. Fans of the Metro series shouldn't hesitate to pick up Metro Exodus at launch, and fans of survival horror should also find plenty to like here.
Apex Legends is an expertly-crafted battle royale shooter, which is no surprise when you consider the development team behind it. It feels like the culmination of lessons learned from other games in the genre, almost as if battle royale has finally grown up. Combining the hero shooting concept of Overwatch and others before it with battle royale seems obvious, in hindsight. What isn't so obvious is that injecting Titanfall-inspired gunplay makes the package much more compelling. We are only a week into the life of Apex Legends, but the outlook is looking pretty great from where we're standing.
The Mage's Tale isn't a game that shows hints of what the future may hold for virtual reality, but rather an example that the future is now. It stands on its own as a genuinely fun experience that shows this space has started to mature. Most faults with this adventure lie in the assumption that gamers will have ample room to stand up and stretch in a large play space. Controls are also bound to suffer, since Sony's Move controllers were not designed with VR in mind. Yet the core game is solid, and those hoping to feel like a wizard-in-training need only boot up The Mage's Tale and strap on a headset.