People Can Fly's special brand of explosive gunplay is better than ever in Outriders, but the game loses its way by shoehorning in too many of the RPG mechanics that have become bog standard for the "looter shooter" genre. What should have been a rollercoaster all the way through ends up feeling more like a car in stop-and-go traffic.
Really, though, 3 Out of 10’s biggest sin is that, when it comes to the actual “sitcom” parts of this “playable sitcom,” players basically have no influence on what happens. Most narrative games that let players make decisions to drive the story are high-stakes dramas. But if something is a playable sitcom, it seems strange that I can’t choose what the characters do or, especially, what jokes they make. Instead, it just seems like another game, albeit with a slightly shorter runtime and a slightly more humorous tone.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury is the Wii U port that Switch owners have been waiting for. Besides the inclusion of online multiplayer, 3D World is the same good game that players already experienced on the Wii U, and fans of the series who missed it the first time around will enjoy its hybridization of 2D and 3D Mario gameplay. But the highlight of the package is Bowser's Fury, a scaled-down but surprisingly robust mini 3D Mario game that actually takes some chances.
Disjunction deconstructs the stealth genre and boils it down to its simplest and most readable mechanics. Mix in a cool cyberpunk aesthetic and interesting if optional gadgets, and it's a winning formula. Unfortunately, the game stops well short of fully mining either its trope-heavy story or stealth formula, leading to an experience that ultimately feels repetitive.
Hitman 3 is a fantastic capstone to a standout series. Yes, a lot of what you experience will seem familiar if you've played the last two games, but IO Interactive continues to take interesting risks that largely play off while still perfecting the elements that make Hitman so special. The best compliment I can pay Hitman 3 is that I want to finish writing this review so I can go back to playing it.
If it came out a few months ago or a few months later, Immortals Fenyx Rising might have stood out more. But the problem is that it's coming after a gauntlet of better Ubisoft products without doing much to improve upon the formula. Sometimes, it actively works against itself in what it's decided to steal from Breath of the Wild, too. However, its surprisingly engaging story and a late-game trek up a mountain save it from being entirely lost to history.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity ingeniously translates The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild's world, style, and gameplay into the Warriors formula, and fans of both series will be extremely satisfied with how both are reimagined here. But if you were expecting a more straightforward prequel that truly mined the tragedy of the war against Calamity Ganon, instead of relying on tired tropes like time travel, you might be left a little shell-shocked.
Watch Dogs: Legion pushes through Ubisoft's generally noncommittal attitude towards storytelling and exploiting current events to create something that feels like a genuine shift, or at least the prototype of that shift. It might be a sloppy game in many regards, but Legion offers a novel way to experience an open world, with its interconnected NPCs and the introduction of permadeath to the genre.
Mafia: Definitive Edition is the best of both worlds. Its updated graphics bring Lost Heaven and its inhabitants to life without burdening them with modern game design elements. While the characters themselves haven't aged as well, Mafia: Definitive Edition, though based on a game that's nearly 20 years old, feels more refreshing than most open-world games.
Spelunky 2 rests on the laurels of its predecessor, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It still retains all of the gameplay mechanics and level design that made the original such a satisfying experience. But as a sequel, Spelunky 2 feels a little too scared to expand its horizons. For a game that's all about taking risks, Spelunky 2 is surprisingly risk-averse.