Cyberpunk 2077, when it works, is a shallow popcorn flick of a video game, not a industry shaping experience that redefines the open-world RPG genre. Perhaps the bigger problem, particularly for console owners, is that Cyberpunk 2077 doesn't work. It's a mess of half-baked ideas and rough gameplay that should have never been released in the first place. While the PC version faces criticism for various issues and praise for others, the PS4 version of Cyberpunk 2077 feels and looks like a whole different game that simply needed a lot more time.
Suffice to say that Bungie is recapturing the magic that Destiny has always had at its core. It's exploring concepts and story ideas that fans have been speculating about for years. And it's focusing on developing a game for the players who love Destiny, not trying desperately to change things to get new players on board. As a living world, iterative in design with an evolving narrative and constantly updated content, Destiny 2 changes persistently, but Beyond Light feels like a whole new foundation rooted in the kind of space magic and vision that has made Destiny special all along. I can't wait to see what comes next.
Overall, Immortals Fenyx Rising is a surprising break from the traditional Ubisoft open-world fare, perhaps hinting at some newfound creative freedoms that we'll hopefully see play out in the future. Cribbing Breath of the Wild is a strength even as Immortals iterates and takes its own twist. And the deep dive into Greek mythology ends up being a fascinating foundation upon whose shoulders the entire premise rests. From the first magnificent glide onto the Golden Isle, Immortals Fenyx Rising is an unforgettable treat that surprised me more than I thought it would.
What you end up with is an experience that shows a ton of promise, but ends up being entirely average. It's hard to call Watch Dogs Legion a bad game outright. It's a serviceable, if traditional, open-world game with a boring story and novelty mechanics that play out better on paper than in execution. The PS5 version makes expected improvements to visuals and load times, but isn't a standout example of a "next-gen" title.
Demon's Souls on PS5 is a brand new vision of a classic, one that captured the hearts, minds, and frustrations of many a player more than ten years ago. Bluepoint retains its pedigree of respecting the original while making the new update seem wholly fresh. If you missed Demon's Souls the first time around, or maybe if you just want to relive some old traumas, the PS5 remake is an excellent archstone to pass through for newcomers and Boletarian veterans alike. Who knew that one of the best PS5 launch titles would come from recapturing the lightning in a bottle that struck back in 2009? You may have died again, but Demon's Souls lives on thanks to Bluepoint and the PS5.
In terms of PS5 launch titles, Sackboy: A Big Adventure didn't make headlines as a highly anticipated game, but it manages to be one of the most charming and fun PS5 games so far. Its heart was an unexpected delight, with a level of detail and polish that made it an absolute joy to play. Snipped free of the level creation side of LBP, Sackboy manages to swingamajig his way to platforming heights that the character never has before, in more detail than ever on PS5.
Bugsnax is a delight in the most unexpected of ways. Despite its cartoonish and exceptionally goofy exterior, it's got deep messages of community, relationships, and belonging. Though there are certainly missed opportunities for a bigger gameplay loop around catching the various Bugsnax, everything about Bugsnax is a joy, perhaps the reason that I wanted more from it. It may not be an obvious showcase of the PS5's power and capabilities, but it's certainly a unique game that shouldn't be missed.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is a return to form for the franchise sub-series. While perhaps not as visually splendid as last year's Modern Warfare, it gets the Black Ops series back to boots on the ground, introducing new characters and elements while lending adequate time and attention to series favorites. Treyarch expertly steps in to continue the recent interconnected Call of Duty franchise shift, exploring and evolving the series while still creating a game that not just retains but oozes that signature Treyarch style. Perhaps more than any Call of Duty game before it, I'm more excited than ever to see where it goes in the future.
FUSER is all about player creativity and freedom. It's less focused on technical recitation of precise button presses and more on how in the groove you can get yourself. For decades, Harmonix has been harnessing the power of music and delivering a feeling of super stardom to players. FUSER puts that directly into the players' hands more than any game before it. Even with a PS5 and next-gen games in hand, I can't turn the music off. If you yearn for the days of the plastic instrument revolution, just without all that junk taking up space, FUSER will put you as close to the stage as any music game possibly can.
Marvel's Spider-Man Miles Morales is the perfect showcase of the PS5, espousing multiple enhancements to its last-gen predecessor while also feeling familiar. Even apart from its standing as a flagship PS5 launch title, Miles Morales is Insomniac perfecting the formula from the original game and offering an experience that is more concise, focused, and full of heart than the first.