While it's perhaps not the graphical powerhouse we would use to showcase our new console to friends and family, WRC 9 on PlayStation 5 runs at a consistently smooth 60 frames-per-second at 4K resolution, and marks a significant improvement over its last-gen underling. However, it's the game's use of the haptic feedback technology provided by DualSense that really takes centre stage here, potentially offering a transformative experience for players who choose to play with a controller.
Project CARS 3 marks a significant departure for the series, abandoning most of its sim heritage in favour of arcade racing. Offering a variety of different cars and tracks, there's plenty of content on offer, making for a fun distraction, but it lacks the excitement we expect from wheel-to-wheel racing. It takes inspiration from all over the place, but it's perhaps most closely aligned with Sony's own DriveClub. It would seem, then, that the PS4 cycle is ending the way it began. We're just not sure we'd pick this over what's come before.
With beautiful environments and plenty to discover, Mortal Shell is a compelling world to explore. After a steep learning curve, its combat is challenging but fascinating, and with a great sense of reward once you master it. It might be a little too similar to Dark Souls in terms of overall tone and style, but it brings enough new ideas functionally to make it stand out from the crowd. Ultimately, this is a great entry into a demanding sub-genre that fans won't want to miss.
Code Vein is a stylish JRPG with an interesting combat system that just falls short in a few areas. Its inspirations are clearly worn on its sleeve, but it brings enough to the table to stand out on its own. This title has promise, and we think the developer could iron it out into a worthy franchise if it's given the chance to make future instalments.
It's fair to say that Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch didn't really need a remaster at all, but we won't look a gift horse in the mouth, and choice is a good thing. It's undoubtedly nice to have this standout last-generation title running so smoothly on PS4, and it's just so tidy. After all, it's also fair to say that this was and is a truly special game. Far more narratively focused than its sequel, this is a tentpole title for lovers of traditional Japanese role-playing games.
Beat Saber is a thrilling rhythm game that makes ideal use of virtual reality to envelop you in an enthralling tour down the coloured highway, time after time. We suspect it's the kind of game that will resonate with just about anyone, VR sceptic or not, and it's an essential addition to any PlayStation VR owner's library.
Once you get to grips with how it handles, V-Rally 4 is a competent and lightweight arcade-style off-road racer with a fair bit of charm that harkens back to the series' foundations. Aiming for spectacle and variety in design, it looks and feels like a 2018 V-Rally game. However, a shallow and disappointing career mode, irritating music, and a handful of visual and gameplay bugs means you're likely to grow weary in a short space of time.
Bridge Constructor Stunts bucks conformity and injects a little pizzazz into proceedings with a more entertaining and liberating play on the series formula. Perhaps a better fit for mobile play, it lacks enough depth to keep console players genuinely engaged, and it's a little reluctant to let you play with the toys. Still, there are a few hours of fun to be had here.
There's little to get here that you can't get from a mobile game, except you wouldn't sit in front of a 55-inch screen to play something like Temple Run. Assault Gunners HD Edition doesn't benefit from being on PS4 at all; if anything, it's worse off. With little to no depth or nuance, Assault Gunners HD Edition is a mindless action game that offers very little in return for your dedicated time in front of the TV.
VRFC is not a good representation of football, but that doesn't mean it's bad. Like the table-top variety, it doesn't need to be accurate to be entertaining, and once you embrace the insanity there's fun to be had. VRFC is flawed and disconnected, but also spontaneous, amusing, challenging, and fun. At this budget price, we can think of worse ways to spend a weekend.
Ultimately, Mulaka succeeds in the story it wishes to tell, but it falls short in two of its primary gameplay tenets: action and adventure. Controls are fiddly, environments a little sparse, and combat inadequate. It excels in using the video game format to widen knowledge of a culture that admittedly many around the world will know very little about, but as a game to interact with, its deficiencies outshine its ideas and make it somewhat forgettable.
Even with what looks like decent ideas on paper, the implementation of just about everything in Out of Ammo is heinous. Looking for any semblance of positivity is like trying to find something new to watch on Netflix before your takeaway gets cold. No matter how good your day has been, Out of Ammo is willing and able to bring you down with a thump. You have been warned.
A less focused outing than its predecessor, Lost Sphear gets lost amid its various, undercooked systems, and it fails to successfully consolidate its many inspirations. It's a pleasant enough game with a nice aesthetic, but we doubt we'll be looking back on this one with too much sentimentality.
We had some fun with Mortal Blitz's brief 90 minute campaign, but it's hard to ignore the lack of imagination that's gone into its makeup. For every moment of glee, mostly afforded by the VR headset than any real design philosophy, there's an equal moment of disappointment. As a genre, it perfectly suits the VR medium, but the repetitive and uninspiring design leaves little to reflect on with too much positivity.
Star Ocean: The Last Hope straddles the line between highs and lows – it's both exhilarating and bombastic in equal measure, even though its story never reaches the same euphoria as its predecessor. It makes up for this with a tactical and action-packed combat system, interesting crew management system, tons of content, and a marvellous remaster job that has the game running beautifully on both PS4 and PS4 Pro.
It's especially important to remember that Star Ocean: Till the End of Time is a 13-year-old game, and you'll notice this from the off. It was a bit of a dungeon-slog in 2004, and the spotlight's even brighter now. Some awkward dialogue sections and rudimentary dungeon design aside, the fundamentals of this classic JRPG keep it more than relevant, with a progressive battle system, a series best soundtrack, and a thought-provoking narrative that concludes the Star Ocean timeline with aplomb.
For a free side course of Final Fantasy XV goodness, you can't go wrong with A King's Tale. It's nothing special – either as a new entry to the narrative or as a 2D brawler – but it provides some depth to a character that lacked development which, in turn, further expands upon the personality of Noctis and his relationship with Regis. Despite some lazy moments of design and unnecessarily repetitive combat sequences, there's a couple of hours of fun to be had here with a surprisingly good combat system and a nice, nostalgia-inducing presentation.
Tales of Berseria takes a positive turn with a much darker theme, a great cast of characters, and perhaps the best storyline that the series has seen for quite some time. The fast and tactical battle system is also a definite step up, but the game is starting to look dated and needs to lose its last-gen shackles. For those disillusioned fans of recent Final Fantasy outings, however, Tales of Berseria might just be the game that they're looking for, with a more traditional Japanese RPG setup that sticks closely to what it knows, while offering a new and exciting narrative direction.
Yesterday Origins has a strong cast of characters, an intriguing plot, and beautiful presentation. When you manage to work it all out, the game can be a real joy, but when things go wrong, it can be frustratingly slow and pedantic. Like its narrative, it jumps back in time to remind us of when games were far more frustrating and constrained. It brings back elements of gaming's past that we like, but it also brings back those that we don't. We've come a long way, but if all those troubles feel far away, well Yesterday Origins, to quote The Beetles, makes them look "as though they're here to stay".
If this is indeed Two Tribes' swansong, then it's a goodbye wave accompanying tears and smiles. This is a fine way to leave, and it's pertinent to think that its final legacy is accomplished through the use of aspects which are, sadly, already in the rear-view mirror. It takes a lot of commitment for a relatively small game, and it's sometimes a little too eager for you to suffer its wrath. However, the charm, style, and sophistication by which it mixes up so many different styles successfully is a testament both to RIVE's great design and also some of the most beloved games of years gone by.