Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood might be fun during minute-to-minute gameplay, but it is seriously lacking in complexity when it comes to actual “role-playing”. If you’re after an experience akin to Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, you’ll have to hold out for its sequel.
As a linear, narrative-driven horror game, The Medium is easy to recommend – and a no-brainer if you have an Xbox Game Pass subscription – thanks to the balance of unsettling exploration, involved puzzles, a handful of terrifying encounters, and frequent narrative beats.
If you’re looking for a charming, visually-spectacular, mechanically-satisfying platform-puzzler, that’s exponentially better with friends, Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince offers up tons of content at half the price of a typical big-budget release.
The Surge 2 doesn’t feel like a massive technological step forward from the original, but on the narrative and gameplay front, it exceeds or refines the experience. Jericho City is a joy to explore, the narrative is more complex, bosses more numerous, and the excellent combat and progression system still engaging.
The sights and sounds of the forest keep you unsettled, Ellis’ flashbacks and conversations slowly unravel his past, puzzling and combat is nicely interspersed with exploration, and Bullet is one of my new favourite animal companions in a video game.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood is a great coop experience that manages to retain several elements of the prior Wolfenstein games – the gunplay, the characters, the excellent writing, and presentation – but changes up the mission-flow, enemy encounters, and the levelling mechanics to better facilitate a faster-paced game.
They Are Billions on console is still a great survival RTS, but is let down by poor controls and variable performance. Despite those issues, I’d recommend it to RTS fans craving new content (it's not as though we get many RTS games on console), but take note it still requires some work.
Metro Exodus demands patience and prior knowledge if you’re looking to appreciate every narrative moment, and the control scheme is likely to confound new players, but it’s an essential purchase to fans of the prior games that want to see Artyom’s journey through to the end.
I’m not a huge ‘Souls fan, at least not since bouncing off Dark Souls 2, and I tend to shy away from these games as I get older; however, even though Ashen has some difficulty spikes that remind me of those games, the vibrant world, likeable characters, companion system, and soothing soundtrack all kept me coming back.
Amnesia: The Collection offers up a good 15+ hours of tense exploration, puzzling, and scares that survival-horror fans should enjoy. With a strong focus on the narrative and mostly linear progression, you're unlikely to play through them more than once, but it's still great value for money.
In summary, Owlboy is a near-perfect retro adventure that doesn’t emulate classic 16-bit titles so much as it gives us what we remember them to be. Sprawling and epic, even in the confines of a 2D plane, full of likeable protagonists, nefarious villains, tough encounters, and an uplifting story that you’ll walk away from satisfied.
Legrand Legacy is a strange proposition: it’s a love letter to JRPGs, produced by a small indie team with AAA ambitions but a small budget, capable of providing over two dozen hours of classic gameplay brought down by some rough edges and bland writing, all priced at what you’d expect for a AA game.