Doom Eternal doesn't just set the bar, it breaks it. Many of the best games of the FPS genre do what has already been done, and can do it really, really well, but Doom Eternal does what no other game has done before, crafting a fast-paced power fantasy that sets your brain cells on fire. It's an addictive exploration of the mythic Doomslayer character that delivers hours of blood-drenched fun, dozens of memorable collectibles, and a fan-pleasing story book-ended with gorgeous worlds and unforgettable music. Doom Eternal is a ripping, tearing masterpiece.
Assault Android Cactus+ is a masterclass in twin-stick shooting. The controls are simple, but the environments and enemy waves are complex and perfectly crafted. The huge variety of game modes and unlockables help give me a reason to keep coming back again and again. For a solo-player who loves some arcade action, or a group of friends looking for their next co-op challenge, Assault Android Cactus+ is a must buy.
Atelier Sophie is a wonderful change of pace from every other JRPG I've played. The simple, homegrown story is a breath of fresh air, and the unique focus on alchemy and item gathering over combat and grinding helps it stand out even more. Most surprising of all, though, is that a game all about picking up items, navigating menus and walking around the same town for hours and hours kept me more engaged than almost any other JRPG I've played. Atelier Sophie is a wonderful game, and if you're a new player like me, it's a great way to get yourself hooked on the rest of the franchise.
Watch Dogs 2 is the perfect sequel. It takes everything that made the first game unique and original, and expands on all of it. Everything is better, from the hacking, to the story, the setting and the variety of content. Watch Dogs 2 is far from being just more of the same. An apt comparison could be the jump from the first Assassins Creed game to Assassins Creed 2. While the first was a promising yet clunky new idea, the sequel delivered on that idea and turned it into one of the most iconic series of the last decade. With Watch Dogs 2, Ubisoft is well on its way to recreating that same magic.
It’s hard to find a truly glaring flaw in Yomawari: Night Alone. My biggest complaint of a lack of story or creature explanations is honestly something that other players might have zero problems with. It’s even something that I admit myself adds to the mystique and charm of the game. I’m awful at playing horror games, and I’m always too scared to make any real progress. Yomawari creates a great atmosphere of tension and terror that rarely relies on cheap scares, and it was the perfect formula to keep me hooked until the end. If you’re looking for a good alternate horror game, look no further.
When it comes to visual novels, VA-11 Hall-A is king. Never before have I seen such a perfect balance of sharp writing, gorgeous visuals and downright delicious music that also manages to pack in hours of engagement without ever overstaying it's welcome. Furthermore, the combination of drink-mixing action and visual novel storytelling creates an addictive gameplay loop that makes the game even harder to put down once you pick it up. VA-11 Hall-A is a gem of creativity from the most unlikely of places, and I can't wait to see what the team has up their sleeve next.
Gravity Rush 2 is everything I wanted out of a sequel. It’s bigger, better, it’s drop-dead gorgeous and it never stagnates. You’re always given something new to play wit, whether it’s a new power, a new city, a new gameplay element. Every time I found myself settling into things, the game added one more thing onto my already packed plate, and I always welcomed it. The beautiful world, the wonderful character and the constantly evolving gameplay had me glued to my seat for hours, and for as much as I came to love the first Gravity Rush, it never had me feeling as engaged as the sequel has managed to.
Steins;Gate 0 is phenomenal. Every part of it is bigger and better than the game that came before it. Rather than a tacked on sequel storyline that disturbs the perfect ending of the original, it explores a wealth of material hidden between that story’s many layers, and ends up creating a narrative that almost rivals that of the original. It’s a game that is, without a doubt, for a specific crowd, and while it’s inaccessible to newcomers, the entire point is to explore another side to the narrative in a manner that would be lost on new players.
Berserk and the Band of the Hawk is the pinnacle of musou games, as far as I’m concerned. Omega Force and Koei Tecmo have experimented with the formula for years, and everything they’ve learned and perfected has led up to this game. Berserk Musou gives you the addictive, outrageous hack-and-slash combat musou games have had for ages. It gives you the unique characters and varied mission structures that musou games have only had in the last few years. And on top of that it gives you a gripping, mature, and masterful narrative that a musou game has never had. Until now.