This huge, wide-open shooter constantly shows its flaws in its mission variety and vehicle physics, but its strong, sandbox-style gameplay and seamless co-op kept me coming back for more madness. If you must repeat experiences over and over, you could far worse than helicopter chases, assassination missions, or drug busts gone wildly wrong.
A lot of games tout the ability to “play how you want to play,” but Sniper Elite 4’s missions and mechanics actually are robust enough to back up that claim. Picking apart the Nazi war machine piece by piece, using whatever plan comes to mind, is a blast. The way it encourages you to stay mindful, experiment, and get better is a refreshing vote of confidence, even if it doesn’t always reward the extra effort you’re putting in.
In a time when shooters are competing to have the most modes, the biggest campaign, the most guns, and generally the most “stuff,” along comes Killing Floor 2, totally unconcerned with running that race. Its lack of modes and bosses will eventually turn away anyone but the most dedicated of fans, but its foundation is so fun and rock solid that, even if you only plan on playing for a few weeks with your friends, there’s plenty here to enjoy.
Eagle Flight surprised me with how quickly I felt at home flying and fighting with other birds above Paris. It features some of the best and most responsive and comfortable gameplay available on the PSVR, though like most current VR games its appeal may be short-lived if you’re not a completionist who’s crazy about collectibles or high scores. This is a weird idea, well executed, that soars high.
Vault-Tec Workshop’s wealth of new structures and tools make it essential for hardcore crafters and Overseer wannabes alike. Its handful of hilarious characters and quests don’t stand up on their own, but they’re not the reason you’d attend the show in the first place. This is settlement builder’s dream, through and through.
Like its flat, plain protagonist Qbby, BoxBoxBoy! is deceptively capable. With one simple yet flexible mechanic, it uses crafty level design to constantly push the boundaries of what seems possible with just one tool. There are a few times when this puzzle-platformer leans too heavily into classic run-and-jump territory it’s not suited for, but when it stays the course, BoxBoxBoy! is a great example of how to do a lot with only a little.
Umbrella Corps is a bad competitive shooter that doesn’t even know how to take advantage of its few strengths. Its mechanics frequently contradict each other, balance is absurd, controls are clumsy, and it fails to pull anything meaningful from the Resident Evil universe other than some recognizable settings. With no great story hooks for horror fans and mechanics that can’t compare to most modern shooters, Umbrella Corps feels like a game made for no one.
From its four-player co-op campaign to the brand-new powers and a fleshed-out Zombies mode, Black Ops 3 meaningfully pushes the Call of Duty series forward on several fronts. Even where it doesn't innovate, it still meets the high bar Call of Duty fans should expect. Black Ops 3 isn't the best Call of Duty game ever, but it's the biggest and most feature-packed game we've seen out of the series yet.
You don't have to be a hardcore golf fan to get hooked on Mario Golf: World Tour. It rewards good play, gives plenty to do, and is a great teacher. Its incremental approach to challenge kept me coming back to test myself, and the post-game challenges and multiplayer modes inspired me to play in new ways even after I thought I was a pro.