Just as it was ten years ago, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a succinct, yet economical, adventure that wastes no time in delivering a beautiful and devastating co-op experience that, through this remake, can now be shared with another-even if that dilutes the game's novel concept as a result.
Ultros takes the durable, and fortunately resurgent, genre of Metroidvania and places a clever roguelike spin on it that incorporates memory and gardening, placing it all within a cosmic womb orbiting a black hole at the edge of space. It'll be El Heurvo's art that's sure to capture your attention at first, but Ultros' several wedded ideas flower into a game that does well to keep it.
The Last of Us Part II Remastered might ring up an emotional toll that some aren't ready to part with so soon after its original launch, however it's still a worthwhile release thanks in large part to its celebratory behind-the-scene glimpses at how the game came to be. Adding more value to the package is No Return, an excellent, compact roguelike that feels like an apt showcase for the game's blunt force combat.
Arizona Sunshine 2 is a bloody, pulpy and, most importantly, meaty experience that turns undead dismemberment from a somewhat dated trope into a fun workout that gives you more than enough toys to play with. And with a loyal pup at your side, this sequel is not only a blast but it feels like the killer app the platform has been needing.
Andy Brophy's Knuckle Sandwich will likely go down as the year's strangest and most endearing video game. It takes the framework of past icons such as Mother and Earthbound and injects a little bit of ocker into the mix to create an off-the-wall roleplaying game that'll play to both the nostalgia harboured for our sunburnt country as well as the genre's decades-long history.
KarmaZoo is a charming and cute platformer that places co-operation and togetherness at the forefront of an experience that, without a keen community, could be a fleeting one. And that'd be a shame, because both Loop and Totem serve up an undeniably fun way to stay on the universe's right side.
While I'm sure there were countless drafts and edits throughout the journey to this point, this Alan Wake II is proof that great things come to those who wait. Like breaking through after a thirteen year stretch of writer's block, I can only imagine the sense of relief in letting this monster of a game loose.
Ghostrunner II, for half of a game, manages to recapture the lightning in a bottle that made the first a high-octane thrill ride. The other half is a dull, albeit thematically rich, journey to an outside world that is, in theory, worthy of the runtime but fails in practice for the kind of game Ghostrunner is.
World of Horror is a must play for fans of the sickly and macabre. It's a confronting title on several fronts, from its haunting one-bit tales to its, at times, overwhelming role-playing systems. Once you get your head around it though, it's an endlessly replayable source of supernatural horror that more than honours the works of H.P Lovecraft and Junji Ito.
Cocoon's focus on recursive exploration, which sees you peel back the filmic overlay of several coexisting realities to writhe in the depth of their fathoms-deep trickery, is incredibly intelligent in its design and is truly the most technically impressive puzzle game I've played since perhaps Portal. And it achieves all of this whilst sharing clear genetics with its forerunners.
On the back of Phantom Liberty, along with a really substantial rebuild of all of the game's core systems, Cyberpunk 2077 manages to wash its hands of its past failures and emerges as the genuine article. At last, it's the intoxicating escape I once thought it was and stands out, to me, as the premiere role-playing resort in what might very well be a modern golden age for the genre.
Gunbrella is a wonderful, quirky noir-punk shooter that, like the abominations confronting the hero gunman, is made up of what should be many discordant parts. Yet what we get is a lore-rich world with slick movement in its bedrock that'll spawn an unlikely love of umbrellas not heard of since the day that Tom Holland splashed about in fishnets.
If what you're hoping for is The Elder Scrolls or Fallout in space, then Starfield is that. Not only does it have countless stories begging to be sought out against a vast and beckoning star chart, it's also the most polished Bethesda Game Studios title we've ever had.
In a market with so many deck-building games, leave it to Deconstructeam to turn the paradigm upright and create a card-builder, a brilliant outlet for player expression. The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood is a stimulating crash course in coven politics of all kinds: identity, community, and straight up politics-politics.
Stray Gods might be a well-written, narrative-driven murder mystery that drags us to Olympus and back again, but it fails to deliver anything remotely close to an earworm after hours of forgettable melodies. Though Bailey and Baker do enough to earn their flowers, the production itself does little to land Stray Gods a place among the musical pantheon.
Venba is a sweet, short-lived episode that presents the place held by food and cooking within our lives and cultures as near-on divine. It explores familiar relationships, as well as the ones we keep, for better or worse, with food itself, and left me with plenty to ponder as the credits rolled.
A picture might be worth a thousand words, but stepping inside a picture is worth so much more. In what is the best game of the last decade, Viewfinder places theatricality, in the form of its mystifying world and its inventive systems, at the forefront of the experience.
AEW: Fight Forever's focus is clear right out of the gate. It sacrifices things it can't deliver due to budget to serve up a wrestling video game that is so shamelessly rooted in Iwashita's genetic code with No Mercy. Despite its shortcomings, Fight Forever feels as time-honoured and classic as Hulk Hogan's trunks.
After three decades, System Shock still serves up a sci-fi banquet complete with one of the greatest antagonists and features that revolutionised a genre. Classic games are left open to classic stumbling blocks, however, as some of the design shows considerable depreciation.