What's always been good about the franchise is still good here, but when it comes to making the next-gen leap, The Show 21 can't quite cut it. Series die-hards will likely enjoy the real-world rule changes, but if you're picking up the game for the first time in a while, last year's entry is as good as this one.
Monster Hunter Rise aims at old-school fans, those who were here before Monster Hunter World, and will be sure to enjoy themselves with this more compact entry. But for those who just recently came aboard the franchise, it will feel like a step down.
The core gameplay mechanics of Loop Hero are exceptional. There's something that is devilishly interesting about it, drawing you back into every run. It's the kind of game that you always want to play again. However, the grind can get tiresome and playing on PC is not an ideal setting for the late campaign marathon sessions.
Suzerain is a fascinating game told through incredibly dense and detailed writing with effective pacing and smart world-building. Its unique mix of player choices against a strategy backdrop make for a compelling adventure, even if presentation aspects are lacking. A game that is designed to challenge whatever political ideology you hold.
Godfall is such an unpleasant experience it's difficult for me to find anything to like. Occasionally, it flirts with just being a mediocre snooze, but then you hit an aggravating boss fight that reminds you of how poorly it was designed. It would take an entire shift in tone and genre to salvage anything offered.
There's fertile ground in this new direction for Yakuza; Kasuga and Co are worthwhile characters and the new RPG mechanics have potential. Still, this entry feels stuffed with forced mediocre side content, and like a rough draft of what's possible in the future.
Few games can offer something quite as weirdly creative as Paradise Killer. Exploring the island, talking with the suspects, piecing the mystery together, and holding the final trial is a thoroughly enjoyable ride in this open world crime mystery.
Crusader Kings III is a worthy heir to its predecessor and a grand strategy game that everyone absolutely has to try. You may bounce off initially, but if you give it some time, I believe most people will get swept away in its complex mechanics and interesting take on Middle Ages dynasties and politics.
NBA 2K21 marks a new low, which is really disappointing. At times, NBA 2K has been my favorite sports franchise, reinventing itself in ways that reverberated across the industry. But this year's edition feels incomplete and lacking. I would recommend revisiting older games before picking this one up; maybe the next-gen version will be more complete.
Wasteland 3 is a competent RPG that struggles to distinguish itself from the many other entries of the genre. With such games, the mechanics are all relatively the same, and the writing, choices, and world-building are so much more important. And in these areas, Wasteland 3 is proficient, but not overly impressive.
Skater XL feels incomplete. There's not a lot of content, and the game is lacking a personality, a vibe to engage the player. In a year that has Skate coming to mobile, the Pro Skater games being re-released (again), and Session also working its way through Early Access, you should hold off on Skater XL.
There are elements acting as a glue-stick, keeping Paper Mario: The Origami King from completely falling apart, but it is in desperate need of a vision. If you really need a Mario fix, look to the superior Super Mario Odyssey, which is already available on the Switch.
Superhot: Mind Control Delete feels like the fulfillment of the promise so many saw in the game when it was just a browser-based demo. With expanded mechanics, this takes an already smart concept and turns it into a powerhouse of design work. Part puzzler and part shooter - whatever it is, it's a truly unique experience worth checking it out.