If you tore chunks out of Dying Light, Far Cry, The Last of Us, Sons of Anarchy and a bunch of other open-world titles then threw them all into a blender, you’d probably end up with something akin to Days Gone. It’s a game with lots to enjoy, a ton of world to explore and some sensational visuals to take in. As seemingly generic as much of it is on first glance, Days Gone opens up to prove that it’s capable of punching its weight in a crowded area of the gaming landscape. A slow start to the story might put some off, and there are still a few technical issues that raise their head on the odd occasion, but there is plenty in here that gives you cause to overlook them. Farewell, Oregon, I had a great time clearing you out of Freaks.
Overall, Spider-Man is the game that a lot of people hoped it would be. An incredible traversal system that will have ironically been protoyped on a competitor’s exclusive title, a franchise with instant mainstream appeal and a story that, without giving anything away, sets things up nicely for a sequel without feeling lacking, all combine to make Spider-Man a must-play for 2018.
A game that will have you swearing at your grandma, and threatening violence upon your closest friends after half an hour, Overcooked 2 is one of the best party games that you can get your hands on, and it's easily the most fun I've had with a multiplayer game in years. The single player can sometimes get a bit overwhelming (please don't play this if you have anxiety!) but with 4 people playing side by side or, for the first time, over the internet, it's an excellent title that will have you in stitches of laughter while cursing your head off. A worthy purchase, even if you've played the original to death.
As an unashamed fan of Quantic Dream's previous output, Detroit: Become Human is a mixed bag. On one hand, there is a continuation of the work that they've done with the previous titles, and they have crafted a wonderfully bleak world with Detroit. While it doesn't quite push the boundaries as much as Heavy Rain, there are some interesting ideas planted in the early stages of the story that never blossom fully, but still gives a somewhat satisfying conclusion, regardless of how you decide to play. On the other hand, the occasionally frustrating control issues and borderline laughable moments in the script made me shake my head on more than one occasion. It's a real shame, because there is an absolutely brilliant game tucked away somewhere in here. As it stands, it's only going to be great if you're willing to look past the obvious inherent flaws.
Shadow of the Colossus is one of the most critically revered games of the PS2 era, and with this remake, Bluepoint Games have shown that it can stand head and shoulders above most games that are released today. A wonderful experience from start to finish, and a game that is considered to be a landmark in the medium, and with good reason. A phenomenal game that has not only stood the test of time, it has become an absolute must-play in anyone's PlayStation 4 library through a simply staggering amount of work from Bluepoint. A seminal game that should not be missed.
A magnificent technical achievement, Horizon Zero Dawn mixes up the open world style in all the right ways, with an intriguing premise that kept me entertained, and which dug its hooks into me the deeper I got into it. A stunning game that deserves your attention. Plus, it has robot dinosaurs.
Gravity Rush 2 is a great neon-infused romp that, whilst not perfect, does everything right by fans of the original. Mechanically complex whilst never feeling overwhelming, the feeling of floating round the sky at high speed before landing a devastating combo on one of your enemies feels incredible, and whilst the story suffers from some pacing issues, it’s a game that’s as fun as it is fast and furious.
For all of the expectation, all of the hype, and all of the anticipation, The Last Guardian is a wonderful game. Infusing the best elements of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, Fumito Ueda and his team have created something gloriously unique, with unparalleled ambition that has been realised almost perfectly. If you don't find yourself falling head over heels for Trico, then there's something wrong with you. Whilst there are a few moments in the game that do make it feel slightly dated, and the frame rate dips here and there, the scope, narrative and sheer beauty elevate this above anything that Team Ico have put out before. Does it live up to the impossible hype? To me, it comes exceptionally close.
Titanfall 2 builds on the very strong foundations laid by the original, improving the multiplayer by improving the progression mechanics and introducing some fun new mechanics. This feels like the freshest and most interesting multiplayer game of the year, and it’s capped off by a wonderful single player campaign that ticks all the right boxes. It’s just a shame that it’s releasing when it is, as this is a game that deserves, if not demands, that any fans of the FPS genre should play it.
Overall, the Return to Arkham wasn’t quite as welcoming as I’d hoped it would be. The changes to certain character models and environments, be it subtle or blatant, have combined to strip the Asylum of some of its creepy charm, whilst technical issues mar both titles in the collection. It almost feels like the game could do with another few months of development, even after the delay, as the performance is something that could theoretically be tweaked and improved. Hopefully the team at Virtuos can get some patches together and tighten up the frame rate and adjust some of the lighting and colour grading, because if they do? This will be essential. As it stands, though, it’s a collection of two technically underwhelming ports of two incredible games that make some disappointing art style choices.
In spite of the immediately obvious drop in graphical fidelity, Driveclub VR has a great sense of immersion that can only be achieved with VR, and the PlayStation VR headset produces an experience that I don’t think I’ve ever had from a racing game before. An impressive swansong for a game that never had it easy, DriveClub VR is well worth picking up if you’re grabbing a headset in the coming weeks.
Overall, RIGS is a fast paced, fun and frenetic futuristic sports game. Guerrilla Cambridge have figured out exactly what is needed for a VR sports title, as well as a VR Mech title and somehow fused the two. Immensely enjoyable, RIGS demonstrates what the PSVR can do to truly immerse you in a world that you simply can’t get in actual reality and is incredibly stylish whilst doing so.
They told us they were done with Arkham. Rocksteady lied to us. But that’s OK. As well as being a great showcase for how VR should be done, Arkham VR is a short, sharp, and sometimes shocking Batman experience that should really be played by anyone with access to a headset and any fondness for the caped crusader at all.
Functionally solid but ultimately repetitive, Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is a good example of one of the types of VR game you can expect to play. These types of shooting galleries are a dime a dozen on Steam and the Oculus store, but this is a good example of how well they can be done, particularly when mixed with a bunch of horror elements. If you want something to scare the living daylights out of your house guests or people at a party, throw this on and watch them squirm!
Rive is a gorgeous looking game, which has taken two styles and fused them together pretty successfully. The blend of traditional twin joystick shooter and action platformer fits perfectly with what Two Tribes have done, but there are some caveats. The insane difficulty spikes destroy the pacing of the game at times, and sometimes the feeling when you get through an area that’s causing you trouble isn’t triumph, but relief. I suppose it’s to be expected from a game that starts off with its only playable mode being “Hard Mode”. Despite this, however, Rive proves itself to be more than competent, and is genuinely one of the better looking games of the year so far in terms of style. A game that fans of the genres should enjoy, Rive deserves your attention, but may well struggle to hold it all the way through.
ABZU, to put it bluntly, is a bit special. A stunning example of game design, allowing you to dictate your own pace through an ocean that gets more complex in both design and feel as you descend, with some moments that, in my opinion, surpass some of Journey's standout points. A beautifully simple game in terms of mechanics, ABZU's strength lies in its world and the emotional resonance it has with its player. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, this game should be made available on the NHS. It is, quite simply, wonderful.
I am absolutely staggered that Telltale have put their name to this game, as releasing this under the guise of it being a finished product is disgusting. I don’t follow too much in terms of the Steam Greenlight/Early Access scene, and genuinely didn’t know that this was an unfinished product. It’s being released at a ‘budget’ price of £30, with “DLC Packs” included. Here’s a tip, guys. If you want to hock DLC for a game, make sure it’s finished before you let it dribble out onto consoles. There was a point where every man and his dog was making a PC game trying to capture some of the DayZ market, and this feels like a rushed hangover of that time. In time, this could change. However, 7 Days to Die is being released and marketed as a completed game on consoles, and we are reviewing it as such. It is a buggy, glitch-ridden mess of a game, which looks like an A-Level project and has less atmosphere than the moon. The fact that it’s being released and pushed in this state is, quite simply, unforgivable.
Playdead have taken everything that Limbo offered, and expanded it exponentially with Inside. Crafting a sublime 2D platformer with another unique art style, they take so many unexpected turns with the game that they may as well ship it with a sat nav. A game that starts you off as a boy in the wood will immediately draw comparisons to their 2010 debut, but the connective threads between Limbo and Inside are slowly pulled apart as the latter goes on and begins its descent into something all the more disturbing. A fantastic example of polishing a game until it’s done, Inside may only be around 4 hours long but it’s been well worth the 6 year wait.
A game that had the potential to not only evoke memories of a classic franchise, but also stand alone on its own two feet, Shadow of the Beast stumbles and doesn't quite live up to the potential it clearly has. There are some lovely looking areas and when the combat sticks, it's enjoyable. The problem is that there are more moments of pure frustration than delight, including control issues and that unfathomable decision to force you to unlock native language subtitles. If you're after a blast of nostalgia and nothing else, however, the original 1989 title is included in the game as an unlockable, but this remake doesn't really add much to the legacy of the franchise.
Uncharted 4 is an exceptional game. Naughty Dog have knocked it out of the park in pretty much every area, and this truly does feel like the sequel they've wanted to make for years. They have taken elements from the previous Uncharted games as well as The Last Of Us, honed and refined them, and created quite possibly the best action game I've ever played. A tight story with superb pacing, incredible set pieces and simply unbelievable visuals, Uncharted 4 should be mandatory if you own a PS4.