All in all, Destroy All Humans is a solid remake of a great little game. Naturally the mission designs and some of the other gameplay elements are a little creaky in 2020, but the developers have done a good job of modifying the core gameplay so that it holds up quite well while still retaining the feel of the original game. Hopefully those who played Destroy All Humans back in 2005 can relive their memories along with a brand new audience who can discover the joys of anal probing.
Being booted back to the dashboard pretty consistently was a massive blow to my enjoyment, so that needs to get patched out quickly, but otherwise, this is the biggest and best F1 package we've got from Codemasters to date. My Team adds a heap of extra longevity to the game. On top of that, there's now a dedicated E-sports menu, online leagues and weekly events, so there's plenty of content to enjoy. The new Podium Pass system is the only question mark. Hopefully, Codemasters will resist the urge to turn its F1 license into yet another horrendous "live-service" marketplace, and will instead continue to build on their great new My Team mode and deliver outstanding on-track action for us Formula 1 fans.
Desperados 3 is not a case of the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s a case of the awesome, the great and the good. There’s a few weak points here and there, but overall this is a sumptuous piece of real-time tactics. It’s rewarding and satisfying to play, doesn’t hold your hand and makes you feel like a badass when you pull off the perfect plan. And when everything goes wrong and the bullets are flying it’s always your fault. You can see where you went wrong, and so you just reload a save and tweak your plan a bit. We’ve already had some terrific tactical games this year, but this is the best of the bunch. Utterly, utterly brilliant.
It’s such a cool concept and the core gameplay is absurdly fun at times. But once the initial novelty of biting pesky humans in half wears off you’re left with a meatless carcass. Maybe wait for a sale on this one, unless you’re after a mindless power-fantasy and don’t mind repetitive missions.
I really liked Saints Row: the Third when it came out some nine years ago, and I’m impressed by how well it actually holds up. Yeah, the driving and shooting feel quite basic, but honestly GTA V doesn’t feel any better in terms of its core movement, shooting and driving yet people still love it. Saints Row: the Third usually finds inventive, funny and entertaining ways to stage its missions and gameplay so that you never notice the problems with it. The result is a game that’s just plain fun and has a bunch of memorable missions, moments and characters. So many games try to be gritty and realistic, or present high concepts,. Sometimes you really just want to sit down and ride a panda-quadbike around while dressed like a wizard and shooting at Luchadores.
I’m actually surprised by how disarmingly cute, charming and engaging Before We Leave really is. I’ve always been able to fire up strategy games and wind up losing a few hours before I’ve realized what’s happening, but Before We Leave is especially good at it. It’s the perfect lazy evening game for when you kind of want to build up a colony and watch it grow but don’t fancy all the moral schtick of Frostpunk or the complexity of something like Cities Skylines. Balancing Monkey Games have done a terrific job.
It feels unfair to rag on the game so much though. Shred 2! is made by one guy and a friend who leant some coding help. If you can accept the limitations that come with that, then there is fun to be had. It’s the kind of game I could see attracting a small but hardcore group of fans who are willing to put in the time and have the patience to work with its flaws. Hell, I’d probably myself in that camp because while at first I honestly disliked Shred 2! it grew on me like some sort of hideous growth. Once the clumsy controls click with you and you begin to learn the game’s many quirks it becomes genuinely fun, challenging and satisfying to play.
I didn’t go into Gears Tactics expecting very much. Why would I? And yet really it makes so much sense. Those giant walking meat-slabs have jumped perfectly from their cover-based shooting to turn-based cover shooting. Splash Damage have done an outstanding job taking the foundations laid by XCOM and building on top of that before loading it all in a heavy, sweaty layer of Gears armour before strapping a Lancer to it. The lack of a more meaningful metagame between the action hurts it a little, but Gears Tactics more than makes up for it with it’s fantastically fun tactical plotting and in the way it lets you chainsaw Grubs in half. Which XCOM doesn’t. And really, isn’t that what we all want in life?
I never would have imagined that the weirdest thing of 2020 is that I’m playing Streets of Rage 4. I never saw this coming. I never once considered that after 26-years since Streets of Rage 3 we’d get a sequel. How did this even happen? Where did this come from? I don’t know. I don’t care, because Streets of Rage 4 is a hell of a sequel.
For such a meagre price XCOM: Chimera Squad packs somewhere in the realm of 20-hours of content into its slim frame. It almost feels unfair to compare it so frequently to XCOM 2 since it’s a small-scale spin-off. But Chimera Squad manages to find its own identity while still retaining the general feel of XCOM, even if the pre-defined characters and lack of perma-death might put veterans of the franchise off entirely. And that’s fair because making up your own squad and forming tales of their heroics and their demises has been core to XCOM since it returned from the dead in 2013. But if you can look past that there’s a lot to like in XCOM: Chimera Squad, and if you’re a lover of turn-based tactics games then this is well worth playing, though it has some incredibly tough competition in Gears Tactics at the moment.