- No Man's Sky
- Horizon Zero Dawn
Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & The Secret Fairy is an accessible RPG that fans of the series will appreciate. There's not a huge challenge for much of the adventure, but then Atelier Ryza doesn't bill itself as being particularly demanding. The tactics mixed in with real-time battling is a good mix, and other quality of life aspects help to move the player along the rather lengthy campaign. Hundreds of side quests flesh out the story for those who wish to be fully engrossed in the world, while those who prefer to stick to the main plot can easily do so. A lack of next-generation features isn't surprising to see this early on in the PS5's lifecycle, but at least load times are non-existent here. Atelier Ryza 2 is an easy game to enjoy without thinking too much, and sometimes that's just what the alchemist ordered.
Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World: The Prophecy of the Throne should please fans of the novel/anime. It doesn't do enough to explain the world Subaru finds himself in, but the game's album does attempt to rectify this. At any rate, The Prophecy of the Throne is an easy to digest visual novel with fun artwork and good voice acting, with a bit of turn-based gameplay thrown in for good measure. What more could Subaru ask for?
Worms Rumble is a fun twist on the tried-and-true Worms format. While it can be purchased standalone for $14.99, considering the online nature of its matches, most players will be better off subscribing to PlayStation Plus and adding it to their library via the free download being offered this month. Regardless, Worms Rumble is worth playing for a few rounds, and then a couple more, and so on until suddenly it's 2 AM and you really should be asleep as you have work in a few hours but just one more game couldn't hurt since you're so close to unlocking that next skin anyway… While destructible terrain may no longer be a feature, the interactivity of the sprawling maps makes up for it. Worms Rumble is easy to play but difficult to master, and worth your time whether you're a fan of the series or enjoy fast-paced competitive games that test your reflexes and quick thinking.
Is Assassin's Creed Valhalla the best entry in the series yet? Some would be tempted to say so. While the map size might overwhelm some players, it remains an easy game to mainline with the right navigation mode turned on. In fact, the quick load times help to make this an even easier task than in previous generations. This is an iteration of Assassin's Creed that has a bit of everything from the previous games, as refined as we have seen to date.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is the Yakuza many have come to know and love. An engrossing story, even if it does veer into the quirky and downright bizarre all the time, keeps players invested in Ichiban's quest to become a hero. The turn-based battles make the game even more accessible than earlier entries, with a few real-time aspects such as dodging and damage multipliers thrown in for good measure. Some odd monetization makes getting the complete version of the game pricier than usual, but it seems some next-gen games are priced higher these days as the norm. Still, you're not missing anything essential if you opt to buy the base version of this game. Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a seriously fun time and a great soft reboot of a beloved franchise.
Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars is a strategy game that has the perfect atmosphere for the season we currently find ourselves in, and we're not strictly talking about Halloween here! Some cumbersome menu navigation and mostly unchallenging AI means that without even local hot-seat multiplayer, players looking for more challenging opponents will unfortunately need to look elsewhere. Still, console gamers who are desperate for more strategy games should look to Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars to get their fix, and at a wallet-friendly price point of $49.99 to boot.
DIRT 5 is the fun one in the DiRT family now – this is the racing game you boot up when you want to have a great time without really thinking about much else. It's funny, coming from the seriousness of DiRT 4, to see just how much has changed in three years. An irreverent style that features a campaign consisting of over 130 events, a promising arena creator that should provide countless hours of user-generated content, and four-player split screen all add up to a fun racing game that doesn't take itself too seriously and is more about simply having fun sliding your way to the finish line. A free PS5 upgrade down the line will ensure DIRT 5 stays on racers' minds for a while to come, as well. For those who want absolute realism and a focus on rally racing, DiRT Rally 2.0 is still your jam. For everyone else, there's DIRT 5.
RIDE 4 is the motorcycle racer for motorcycle fans. This is a double-edged sword, of course, because outside of this core audience there won't be much pickup from non-fans. The demanding physics helps to achieve great immersion in first-person view, custom liveries can easily be crafted, and the career mode gives a nice sense of progression, even if it is very low-profile. This all adds up to a neat package that fans are sure to enjoy.
WRC 9 continues to give the Dirt series a run for its money. This year saw a safe update to the series, with extra content being the main new feature. If you enjoyed WRC 8, picking up WRC 9 is a no-brainer. If you skipped out on last year's entry, however, it can be had for a cheaper price these days, and by the time you've seen all that game has to offer, WRC 9 will then be an even better deal. This is the off-roading game to play while we await DiRT 5 later this year, when the competition should really get interesting.
Project CARS 3 represents a huge shift in Slightly Mad Studios' attitude towards racing games. I suppose this means the studio lives up to their name! What Project CARS 3 lacks in realism, it now makes up for with accessibility. However, lacking the flair of other established racers in this arcade-sim genre such as The Crew 2 or Need for Speed will make it a tougher sell. Still, there are a couple hundred new events to try, with hundreds of cars to tweak, upgrade, and drive. So, if Project CARS is to continue down this path of more friendly racing, then they are on the right track, but whether their regular fans will be along for the ride is another question entirely.