Tales of Vesperia rightfully holds its reputation as one of the most surprising JRPG experiences out there. With a wonderful cast of colourfully fleshed out characters, this adventure is one that you won't soon forget and will be happy that you embarked on it. The start is still slow and the decision to use a new voice actor in new scenes is pretty jarring, but once you get over that and allow the game to spread its wings, you're off to paradise.
While going away from the franchise's roots may have been an interesting idea in some far off universe, we instead got a game devoid of any cohesion or structure that is also really badly designed to the point of frustration. Suda51's off-the-shelf humour couldn't save a story so full of holes that you can mistake it for Swiss cheese. Nothing in this world can make me recommend this game. With dull combat, terrible visuals and just lazy design, this is an instantly forgettable game that failed its legacy completely. A true tragedy.
The conclusion to The City That Never Sleeps still carries the sins of the previous entries, giving us recycled activities and a rushed story, but the overall experience is a genuinely fun final romp through New York City. Lots of areas could have been improved, but if you're looking for more Spidey action, that's exactly what you're going to get.
Beat Saber is, quite simply, the perfect VR game. Slashing blocks with lightsabers couldn't be more fun and it's accessible to everyone. It takes the concept of virtual reality and implements a hyper-focused gameplay experience to deliver an experience unlike anything you've ever seen before. While being relatively simple in its design, everything is just set dressing for the lightsaber flailing madness that you'll partake in. And you'll love every second of it.
Turf Wars is the awkward middle child of the City That Never Sleeps story DLC. It doesn't have the initial excitement of The Heist and is more or less just a set up for the final DLC, but it's still a load of fun considering we get to jump back into the world of Spider-Man.
Hitman 2 isn't a revolution, it's a refinement of what worked and an irresistible package of worthwhile and replayable content. Creativity and audacious planning is rewarded and options are given for any potential playstyle from the casual murderer to the gilded assassin. With even more content planned for the future and the plethora of challenges and modes to take part in, this is one game that satisfies all your assassination needs and more. Some slight performance problems and a throwaway story does hobble it a bit, but make no mistake, this is the definitive Hitman experience in one convenient and polished package.
"Triumph" is a word often lazily used by reviewers to describe games that receive high scores, but it's the only word I can come up with to describe Red Dead Redemption 2. A technical marvel, a narrative powerhouse and a game that will enter the halls of gaming history as a new high standard that many games would only dream to reach. Its slow and methodical nature may deter some, but if you can give the necessary patience, the reward is better than a train robbery going off without a hitch. You owe it to yourself to get this game.
If you've ever wanted to murder your neighbours when they exceed a comfortable decibel limit, then this is the perfect game for you. You'll find satisfaction in the game's many clever puzzles that deliver pure murderous fun and the almost contemplative nature as you avoid getting caught. Coupled with a great art style, this is a fun little romp that your secretly psychotic heart can indulge in.
Salt and Sanctuary wears its obvious inspiration on its sleeve. It takes the magic ingredients from the Souls franchise and makes something of its own on a 2D plane. All of its individual aspects gel well to create an ultra-hard side-scrolling adventure through the dark and dreary. The Switch port is well done and makes it the perfect way to die horribly wherever it is convenient.
Vroom Kaboom had a winning formula and its eclectic mixture of deck building, tower defence and vehicular mayhem sounded like something out of an adrenaline junky's dream journal. But the game falls short in almost every category and proves that if you want to be everything, you'll just end up being nothing.
Take a journey through the most hostile unknown environment on Earth inside a claustrophobic suit while you're also going mad from trauma. Narcosis pulls out all the stops in its pursuit to be the best underwater survival horror and for the most part, it succeeds in that lofty goal.
Survival horror is the perfect fit for virtual reality and The Persistence wants to set the benchmark for how it should be done properly. With full movement, immaculately detailed environments and the genuine feeling of horror, this is one of the best that the genre can offer in VR right now.
Lack of variety is this cute tower defence game's ultimate downfall. It builds a very solid foundation of what could have been an incredible game but falls very short in its objectives. You'll grow tired of it during your first few nights as you fight off cute monsters in your bedroom. It's still an endearing game despite its flaws and may be worth it on a sale sometime, but don't expect your pillows to explode from this.
Vampyr is not a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination, but what it tries to achieve is infinitely commendable. Its melding of difficulty with moral decisions as you play a vampiric doctor thrust into an impossible situation is ingenious and the world feels populated with deep characters that you'll get to know. The narrative is certainly its strongest aspect with everything ranging from small domestic disputes to grand schemes that would shake up its early 1900s flu-ridden world. Vampyr is a curiosity that you should at least give a shot.
Yakuza 6: The Song of Life is the modern Yakuza experience that you've been waiting for, with a couple of caveats. It has everything that you can love from a Yakuza game such as the fun activities and wonderfully realised world, but it also has an extremely mature and emotional main narrative that deserves your attention. The combat is its weakspot with it being simplified to the point where it's repetitious and some aspects can be shallow. However, it is a fine swan song for the legendary Kiryu and you still can't find something quite like it out there.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a perfect fit for the Switch, delivering impeccable platforming goodness with Donkey Kong and his family. It's beautiful both from a visual and auditory standpoint and each level you play has its own identity or unique flavour. The game is as tough as a gorilla in a barrel, but the Switch exclusive features such as Funky Kong and the generous items you can use help to assuage some of that frustration. A must for any Switch owner for sure.
Coffin Dodgers is a game that could have been the indie analogue to Mario Kart, but instead it's a bland racer with almost no variety or attractive concept. It's as bland as it comes and you're better off saving your money and buying a whole host of better split-screen enabled racers. Don't even give it the time of day.
Lost Sphear wants to harken back to the great classic JRPGs of yesteryear such as Chrono Trigger and early Final Fantasy games. However, it falters way too much in its execution by providing characters that severely suffer from being tropes and provide eye-rolling dialogue. While the combat is quite enjoyable and the story picks up steam at around the midway point, it is way too slow on the uptake and delivers an experience that can just be classified as serviceable.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War expands on the unique ideas of its predecessor to varying degrees of success. There are deeper mechanics, the Nemesis system is buffed up and much more prevalent and there are interesting characters that you meet on your adventure. However, it adheres too much on the previous game's mechanics and often feels like a retread. There is a mountain of content to play through and even though much of it can feel the same after a while, the momentum it sustains can keep you engaged. A very solid open-world experience awaits you if you choose to jump in and if you enjoyed the previous game, you will have a lot more of it to play in this iteration.