Despite its open-world growing pains, Gravity Rush 2 is a charming game that's well worth playing, both for its story and its quality action moments. I just feel that it would have been a stronger overall title if it were more streamlined and leaned more on its best qualities rather than shoehorning in activities that don't match with its action-packed, gravity-shifting theme. Still, with a bit of patience for its foibles, I think you'll find that Kat's adventures in this weird world are quite worthwhile.
This is a title by a studio at the top of its game, lovingly crafted for players who enjoy lavishly crafted worlds and delightfully creative gameplay challenges. It's for the thieves, the mischief makers, the lovers of experimentation. It's for playful thinkers, for explorers, and for idealists and cynics alike. Dishonored 2 is stealth-action at its finest, and deserves every one of the awards it will no doubt be lavished with this winter.
Paper Mario: Color Splash has a lot going for it. Most of the time, it's the kind of game that simply brings a smile to your face as you enjoy the fresh world and amusing dialogue. If it weren't for the tedious side effects of the card system and the disappointingly unoriginal cast, it could be a genuine Game of the Year award contender. As it is, it's still thoroughly worthwhile for its enchanting paper world (and the attendant tunes) alone.
I'm so happy that this team at Eidos Montreal was able to continue on with the Deus Ex series. While Human Revolution was a promising title with some glaring issues, Mankind Divided is the work of a mature development team that has had the time to fix their weak points and improve on their strong ones. The result is a quality cyberpunk spy adventure with strong visual and level design, true opportunities for players to exercise choice, and some really cool cybernetic toys to play with. Go ahead, be the kind of Adam Jensen you want to be. Just don't forget to watch your back.
If you're looking for an inoffensive movie cash-in to play with your couch co-op partner and you're tired of Lego games, well, here ya go. Ghostbusters will get you through a few levels of mildly pleasant action before you shrug and see what's new on Netflix. That's about all she's got in the ol' proton pack, but as far as movie tie-in games go, it could certainly be much worse.
When I first learned about Carmageddon: Max Damage, I worried that it looked like an ill-begotten attempt to recapture the glory of a silly game from the '90s. It doesn't even get that far. In fact, I kind of wish I could bash it for going too far, like Duke Nukem Forever. No, this is just a game that feels half-assed from tip to toe. You can probably extend your enjoyment briefly by playing online against your friends, but there are just so many other, better novelty car games you could be playing. Go grab Mario Kart, Rocket League, Mad Max... hell, go grab that old copy of Twisted Metal Black. Just give Carmageddon: Max Damage a skip. It doesn't deserve your time and money.
Is there space in the gaming world for a first-person platformer? Absolutely, but I feel like the design decisions behind Mirror's Edge Catalyst limit the number of people it will ultimately appeal to. If it is "for you," you'll probably love it. If you're not sure about the first-person viewpoint or limited navigational tools, though, I recommend giving it a rental or a try-out with a friend's copy. It's a good game, but I can't guarantee it's one you'll enjoy playing.
Personally, I found this remaster to have improved things just enough to cement me as a fan of Twilight Princess. The world is far more vibrant than before, and turning off motion controls removes almost all the frustration I experienced with the Wii version. I have an enduring affection for Twilight Princess' idiosyncrasies, creepy Malo Mart and all, and I'm glad we've had the chance to see the title refreshed for the HD generation.
The love and care that was poured into this title is obvious, and translates into a terrifically entertaining experience that I encourage everybody to try out. Play with your friends, your parents, your kids; anybody who has ever enjoyed a video game should have a blast with PvZ Garden Warfare 2. In fact, I think I'm going to go load up Rose and turn some more zombies into goats right now.
If you enjoyed the original Dying Light, The Following keeps its base gameplay but adds a fresh perspective with the wide-open rural setting, mysterious story, and the dune buggy. There's plenty to see and do here, though you'll have to look off the beaten path to find the most interesting bits. If I had some good fun as a dyed-in-the-wool zombie game naysayer, I'm sure you z-fans will appreciate it quite a bit. Techland definitely put in a ton of time and effort to give the popular Dying Light the kind of expansion it deserves.
Xenoblade Chronicles X is the ultimate game about exploring and conquering a hostile alien planet. Its design hitches, though occasionally annoying, simply cannot take away from the triumph that is the planet Mira and its fantastic creatures. There are literally hundreds of hours of potential gameplay here, but even if you don't tackle everything, getting to know Mira is exciting, full of breathtaking surprises, and downright fun. If you find the patience to get over its learning curve, Xenoblade Chronicles X will reward that patience with a wealth of memorable experiences.
If you're looking for a casual tennis game to play with friends, Wii Sports Club Tennis is still where it's at. You can grab it for your Wii U on the eShop for under $15. Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash will do ya if you're big on using buttons instead of swinging Wii Remotes or if you absolutely must perform fancy shots. Just know that this is a full-priced game that says, "Here, play some tennis," and not much else.
The open-world/sandbox RPG genre that Bethesda helped create has moved on and done some amazing things. It's even spread into and influenced other genres like action-adventure and MMORPG-shooter. My hype to see how Bethesda would interpret all these innovations and incorporate them into the Fallout setting turned to disappointment when I stumbled through a game that features the same poorly-implemented combat and all the same old Gamebryo engine annoyances and glitches we've been dealing with for years. Fallout 4 will provide some good old-fashioned fun for players who are looking for a prettier Fallout 3 (now with Minecraft!), but it could have and should have been much, much better than that.
I'm so happy that Ubisoft remembered to put the fun back in Assassin's Creed. The series just turns out so much better with witty protagonists and lots of room for creativity. If you enjoyed Assassin's Creed II/Brotherhood and Black Flag, Syndicate will be right up your alley. It doesn't deviate enough from the formula to pull in players who don't enjoy the series in general, but it does evolve and polish the base systems considerably. The fun times greatly outweigh the occasional frustrations, and I can only hope that Ubisoft can be convinced to spread out series entries a bit more so that every Assassin's Creed game can be as good as Syndicate.
Though I was a bit disappointed by the Guitar Hero Live portion of the game, Guitar Hero TV is onto something special with a lot of potential longevity. I've scored the full game just under a "must buy" because players who mostly enjoy a beefy single-player campaign will find it lacking. However, I encourage fans of Guitar Hero to check out this package for Guitar Hero TV. It's both a blast from the past days of music videos on television, and a step into the future of interactive entertainment. I'm looking forward to seeing where Activision and FreeStyle take GHTV in the future – things like a more formal vocal competition or user-curated channels are all possibilities for this new format. I'll be watching and waiting to strum along.