Helldivers 2 offers some chaotic and entertaining moments in the early stages, as you hop between planets with friends, call in devastating strikes, and spreading democracy. But as the hours begin to accumulate, increasing difficulty levels unravel some of the annoying design decisions, and along with persistent connectivity problems, it seems that the game could have used more prep time.
Ready or Not successfully imports the moment-to-moment gameplay and intensity of the classic SWAT franchise, but without much innovation and a host of major AI issues this tactical shooter was seemingly not quite ready to breach out of Early Access.
SteamWorld Build is a sufficiently well-designed management game that is initially engaging with a good blend of underground exploration, but it eventually becomes a bit repetitive and is over rather quickly, without much motivation to start up another town.
Cities: Skylines II is a modest improvement on its predecessor, integrating a good amount of features and content to feel like a worthwhile sequel. The underlying design remains great and should eventually reach its full potential, but a lack of structure and poor technical performance mean that it's not yet time to make the switch.
RoboCop: Rogue City faithfully recreates the classic character, but gives him nothing to work with. The narrative is dull, presentation is poor, and too many lackluster mechanics are shoehorned in. With unsatisfying action, this title is an empty metal shell of a game.
With familiar but still great gameplay that has a few new moves, strong presentation, and a mostly engaging story which gets better in the second half, Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is a crowd-pleasing blockbuster sequel that's worth playing for any superhero fan.
NHL 24 puts all of its pucks into the online play basket, so only players who fall into that category will find some excitement this year. The new controls and pressure mechanics leave something to be desired, and the complete lack of offline mode changes is baffling, as are the still incredibly slow menus.
Payday 3 introduces a few changes to its decade-old arcade heist formula, and yet still feels very much like a product of a bygone era. Returning fans will find many missing features and lack of content to grumble about, while newcomers were turned away with unplayable servers during launch week, and it's hard to tell if either group will be back.
After a couple of unsuccessful outings, The Crew franchise finally finds itself on solid ground with Motorfest. It has to borrow a lot ideas to get there, and still has plenty of oil leaks to deal with, but at least there's finally some enjoyable arcade racing to be had.
Goodbye Volcano High hits a few promising notes, put intended, with its good musical numbers, decent dialogue and nice art. However, notable issues and inconsistencies with the main story plus a few minor technical quirks keep this fantasy tale from reaching its full potential.
Baldur's Gate 3 is a great cRPG that manages to meet the lofty expectations of the franchise name. With excellent writing, engaging story, flexible player choice and compelling mechanics, even its minor second-half stumbles can't prevent the game from getting some of the highest rolls in the genre.