Days Gone seems like a classic case of a game that grew too big for its own good. The production values are excellent and it packs some tense gameplay and emotional stories, but the poor pacing, tedious open world, and padded length significantly drag it down overall.
Metro Exodus is a masterful execution of a dying breed of video game: the measured, finely tuned, linear single player action game. From start to finish it's an amazing thrill ride that rarely takes a moment to catch its breath and it lacks the bloated filler that plague so many other
Wargroove is the best kind of strategy game because it has enough depth and complexity to be endlessly compelling in the hands of the best players but is also simple enough to understand for anyone to pick up and enjoy the charming pixel art. With a ton of content and an amazingly detailed level editor, Wargroove is like a love letter to turn-based strategy games.
Mutant Year Zero makes some subtle innovations for the tactical strategy genre outside of combat that transforms this from just another XCOM clone to a clever mixture of stealth, tactics, and RPG mechanics adding up to an adventure that's highly recommended.
Darksiders III will go down as the black sheep of the franchise. While the core gameplay itself is fun and it does a good enough job streamlining things with a more interesting cast of characters, it all just comes across as a bit too by-the-numbers to turn heads and doesn't push boundaries enough to really stand out. If it weren't for the technical issues this could be more highly-recommended, but as it stands, only die-hard fans should consider checking this one out.
Ultimately the toys-to-life aspect feels like it gets in the way a bit of an otherwise competent and fun space shooter that's packed to the brim with things to do. Flying ships feels great and the occasional difficulty spikes rarely take away from the excitement of tearing through the atmosphere onto a new planet's surface. But not all platforms are created equally, with the Switch's Star Fox content shining as a bright point.
PUBG v1.0 on Xbox One runs smoothly, features three vastly different maps, and includes a ton of weapons, gear, and items to use in the deadliest online game. Its unique brand of tense, realistic shooting mixed with slow-paced tactical combat manages to stay fresh and exciting even after hundreds of matches. It makes coming back for another attempt at a "chicken dinner" victory hard to resist.
Phantom Doctrine has a lot of competition in the broader turn-based strategy genre and its unique Cold War-era setting isn't quite enough to really set it apart when all the cards are down. While the setting is great and fresh, the generally lackluster gameplay and mismatch of mechanics hold it back from feeling as clean as it should. Its best moments seem to happen almost completely at random or by accident instead of by design.
Earthfall is a valiant effort at trying to capture the lightning in a bottle once again that was Left 4 Dead. On paper it does a lot of things right, but in practice it lacks the soul and fire of what made Valve's iconic zombie games so effective almost a decade ago.
Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion feels like a return to the old days of licensed video games. The developers took a classic genre in the turn-based RPG, boiled it down to its core mechanics, and plastered the Adventure Time setting and characters onto it with far too few original ideas. Even though it feels like a faithful recreation of the show's personality and charm thanks to the original cast and solid writing, the uninspired gameplay drags down any goodwill it builds between encounters.