Crackdown 3 is without a doubt the best Crackdown yet. It successfully builds upon the previous two games to offer an open world experience that, while formulaic, is still incredibly enticing. This is in part due to the very flexible combat system, which offers heaps of different ways to be as destructive as possible. It's structure has been seen before, sure, and as such Crackdown 3 doesn't break ground in many ways, but it's still such an enjoyable experience that I'm not sure it entirely matters.
YIIK is an ambitious little RPG with an intriguing premise and engaging battle mechanics that is ultimately let down by some poor pacing and a very unruly inventory management system. In a game where stats matter so much, this is a pretty big issue to have. Regardless, if you can see past its flaws, there's a kooky game here with a weird but wonderful plot and a lovable cast to enjoy.
What would otherwise be a mess is beautifully brought together in Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes. While much more simplistic when compared to its predecessors, Travis Strikes Again is a fun and fast paced action game that commands your attention from beginning to end. It has a few pacing issues, especially towards the end and the co-op implementation might not be perfect, but Travis Strikes Again is yet another momentous trip through the wicked and warped mind of Suda51.
While the second and third games are arguably better, Onimusha: Warlords serves as a perfect introduction to one of Capcom's most underrated franchises. So many minor improvements have been made here to make the game very playable by modern standards, though the fixed camera angles will remain polarising with modern audiences. Regardless, Onimusha: Warlords is a brief yet rewarding experience that combines simple yet satisfying combat and ghoulish enemy designs to create something that's still unique.
Darksiders III is the follow-up that fans have been waiting for, no doubt, but this is both its greatest strength and weakness. On one hand, it feels just like the previous two games albeit with a much better combat system and some fantastic encounters. On the other, much like Darksiders II, it's trying too many things at once and comes off as having an identity crisis. Without a doubt, though, Darksiders III is easily better than Darksiders II, and that's worth celebrating.
Though some elements are clearly still being developed and will evolve in the future, HITMAN 2 is a great example of games-as-a-service done right. Specifically, the base game is a an already strong offering that will no doubt grow into something even better as time goes by. Eclipsing the previous game in practically every way, HITMAN 2 successfully leverages strong level design, creative kills and absurdist situations to offer the best Hitman experience to date.
As far as kart racers go, Nickelodeon Kart Racers is a disappointing case of missed opportunity. Nickelodeon, as a brand, is rich with properties though barely any are appropriately handled here too, with a roster that's quite frankly anemic. Instead, Nickelodeon Kart Racers offers some serviceable kart racing that's ultimately devoid of any personality. Some kids who don't know any better will find some enjoyment here, but most probably won't.
Diablo III: Eternal Collection for the Nintendo Switch represents the best way to play Diablo III right now, whether it be with friends or by yourself with whatever controllers you have. While the exclusive gear and equipment are superficial and not a sole reason to buy on the Switch, Diablo III is a perfect fit for the platform, as cliché as it sounds. Sure, it's starting to show signs of ageing, but it still plays as well today as it did all those years ago.
Call of Cthulhu is one of the better games based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, and despite its visual shortcomings does a great job at commanding your attention from start to finish. It's not for everyone, however, and the emphasis on exploration and trial-and-error stealth mechanics is bound to turn some people off. Putting this aside, Call of Cthulhu feels like a triumph for many reasons – it's well paced, its story is intriguing and the uneasiness of it's chilling conclusion will stay with you long after you've turned it off.
With robust single-player offerings, as well as a fast paced and dynamic fighting system, Soulcalibur VI represents the best the series has been for a long time. It has a great and diverse roster of characters, and Geralt fits right into the world too. It's just a little bit of a shame that it's missing a few things from previous games. Despite this, Soulcalibur VI is easily the best Soulcalibur game and one of the best 3D fighters you can play right now.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey successfully builds upon the already strong foundation that Origins set to provide yet another Assassin's Creed experience that still feels fresh and, more importantly, fun to explore and dive into. Even better, it does all this without the typical bloat you'd expect, although Conquest Battles do feel like a missed opportunity. Despite this minor letdown, Odyssey eclipses Origins in practically every way, and is easily the best Assassin's Creed yet.
Transference is an ambitious experience that feels a little bit late to the party. It has an interesting premise and an atmospheric, well realised world brought to life with gusto, especially if playing in virtual reality. But despite all of this, it never truly transcends the slew of similar games that came before it and is over much too quickly.
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate builds upon the already comprehensive celebration of the Monster Hunter franchise that was established in the original Generations. There is heaps to do here regardless of whether you've played before, and the sheer volume of content on offer here is staggering. Yes, it's slightly less easy to pick up and play than Monster Hunter World, but what Generations Ultimate lacks in polish and pizazz it makes up for with unbridled depth and longevity.
Mixing the best parts of Left 4 Dead and adventure epics like Indiana Jones and Uncharted, Strange Brigade is better than it has any right to be. Enjoyable solo or with mates, the puzzles and the open level design gives the game replayability, but the pacing and the derivative art direction stop it from being immensely compelling.
Overcooked 2's simplistic control scheme and basic premise means that anybody in your circle of friends can pick up and enjoy the fast-paced action the franchise has come to be known for. An improvement in every aspect, Overcooked 2's addition of ever changing kitchen experiences as well as online multiplayer options cements itself as one of the best multiplayer (especially co-op) experiences you can buy right now. Delicious.
Vampyr is another fantastic concept from DONTNOD that falters ever so slightly in its execution. The story, the world and its characters are all oddly compelling, despite some visual and technical shortcomings. Despite its issues, Vampyr is a rare instance in a game where I felt like my choices meant something and had consequences. It's a huge shame that repetitive combat and exploration means it doesn't keep up that momentum from beginning to end.
SEGA Mega Drive Classics does a great job at modernising the classics, bringing in some games that we haven't seen in a release like this before, but at the same time drops some true classics like Sonic 3. While a plethora of features and some slick presentation make this feel like less of a cynical cash grab than it could be, the omission of these titles and cumbersome navigation makes this collection serviceable but less than definitive.
State of Decay 2 is just as good as the original but fails to make good on its major promises. There's some great quality of life improvements here and there, but the repetitive goals to work towards and cursory co-op options stop it from being any better than the original. Despite all this, State of Decay 2's gameplay loop is strangely alluring, but many won't put up with its technical shortcomings.
While Sea of Thieves is one of the best-looking games this generation, it unfortunately fails to live up to the expectations of most players. Incredibly fun with friends and designed to encourage teamwork successfully, Sea of Thieves just lacks the content or the staying power to be worth it. The foundation here is solid, and I'm sure it'll grow into something remarkable as time goes by, but in its current state, the state it's being offered in, it's hard to recommend.