Jupiter & Mars may only be a few hours long but it feels like a drag. Its message is admirable but swimming through its empty world is tedious. The basic stealth sections, block smashing mechanics, and environmental puzzles simply aren’t a lot of fun and the visuals are too lifeless to make it a world still worth visiting.
Dangerous Driving is undeniably fun. Taking out other racers at 200mph always will be insanely enjoyable and Three Fields has taken full advantage of Burnout nostalgia. However, underwhelming crash physics, poorly balanced AI racers, and some technical problems keep their game from being the modernization of Criterion's classic that fans hoped it would be.
Dirt Rally 2.0 isn't afraid to throw you in at the deep end with its sophisticated rally action, giving you a lot to think about and a steep learning curve to conquer. Hurtling along the beautiful rally stages or fighting your rivals in a Rally Cross final is exhilarating. Even with some poorly structured content, Dirt Rally 2.0 is still the best simulation of the sport you'll find.
The freedom to plan and execute a variety of insane kill fantasies makes for missions that are fun and original even after multiple playthroughs. Hitman 2 is a wonderfully designed, enjoyable, and rewarding stealth sandbox that'll only continue to develop.
Whether you're playing in VR or not, Tetris Effect is an incredible achievement. The familiar gameplay, stunning visuals, and beautiful music all come together to evoke a variety of different emotions. For a couple of minutes, you're captured by what's happening around you and it's magical. It's a near perfect puzzle game, but it's even closer to perfection in VR.
There are plenty of possibilities for interpretation, and being so close to the story may see you connect to it, but I never felt like the students' protector. As a character with the power to alter their path, it's disappointing that I rarely felt like more than an observer.
Transference certainly showcases the potential of VR storytelling in the style Spectrevision are attempting. Even if its short story isn't always effectively told, and some of the puzzles distract, the atmosphere that's been created through detailed world design, incredible lighting effects, and intense sound design makes for a terrifying experience.
While the underwhelming finale of Alex Hunter story and the lack of meaningful changes seen by some of the modes will be frustrating for some fans, FIFA 19 is generally a huge step forward for the series and shines in the ways that matter most. Ultimate Team has been made more appealing by a fairer and more rewarding structure, but it's the gameplay changes that add fluidity, precision, and reliability to the play that make FIFA 19 the best game the series has seen this generation.
Firewall Zero Hour is a masterclass in accessible, immersive VR first-person shooting. Its sharp, intuitive tactical gameplay and well-designed maps make for intense 4v4 action that's a level above anything else available on PlayStation VR. However, it cannot be ignored that the progression slog and rapidly emptying lobbies make Firewall a difficult game to commit to.
Strange Brigade's serviceable but flawed gameplay and forgettable story make for an incredibly generic third-person shooter, but its charming personality, great level design, and well integrated puzzles make for a B-movie romp that's a lot more fun than you might initially expect, even if you plan to play alone.
Choosing to focus on improving the already excellent career mode for F1 2018, rather than adding something entirely new and shallow, was a great decision on Codemasters' part. The new iteration offers Formula One fans a near perfect simulation of the sport, complete down to the last technical detail, but the assist settings and satisfying racing make it a viable racing option for even those with cursory F1 knowledge.
The structure of Juan's journey may feel overly familiar to anyone that played Drinkbox's first game, but Guacamelee 2 doubles down on the style, personality, and gameplay that made it such a joy to play. The adventure is full of silly jokes and unique characters, it's a much longer experience, and the combat is deep and engaging enough that it's possible to look past the fact that you've seen most of it before.
Dead Cells is an incredible mix of well designed elements. The compelling die, upgrade, improve loop is complemented by a risk and reward Metroidvania-inspired level design, and each run is made to feel fresh with different layouts and varied weapons, but it's the excellent combat and traversal that stand out.
Overcooked 2 is one of the best co-op multiplayer games around, no matter how you plan to approach it. If you're after something ridiculous to mess around with, setting fires instead of feeding your customers, that's easily found, but jumping into the wonderfully designed dynamic levels to test yourself and a partner with the new recipes is equally as fun.