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.
What could have been an intriguing, unique, if somewhat underwhelming RPG is completely crippled by a terrible save system and game-breaking bugs. Kingdom Come: Deliverance's well-publicized adherence to historical accuracy pays off in its thoughtfully designed landscapes and intriguing combat system, even if its survival-style mechanics fall somewhat flat. It's just a shame that the more positive qualities are doomed to exist within a game that ended up being unplayable.
Martha is Dead starts off strong, with an intriguing story amid a tumultuous backdrop, and a main gameplay mechanic with a ton of room to evolve. Unfortunately, the game squanders every opportunity it has to develop its story or gameplay in interesting ways, instead relying on overplayed tropes and unnecessary mechanics. While Martha is Dead's disturbing imagery might not deserve censorship, its creators betray the trust that it asks of its players, ultimately delivering a shallow experience that does more harm than good.
Biomutant is trying to be too many things. It can be fun when you're comboing supernatural abilities and homemade weaponry to take down a group of bad guys as a furry little post-apocalyptic ronin. But its RPG mechanics are so clunky and uneven, and its various story threads are so underdeveloped, that you'll end up feeling like nothing you do actually matters. If you just want to explore yet another open-world and beat up some bad guys, then Biomutant will keep you busy for a few hours. Just be ready to encounter a slew of baffling and questionably executed design choices.
If not for its uninspired design and lack of effort in the storytelling, One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows might have actually been a good game. Oddly for a fighting game, it focuses almost entirely on its single-player, often to its detriment. But if you can look past the repetitive structure and the uneven pacing, there's actually some fun combat to be found, and its multiplayer meta is surprisingly addictive.
Looting for better gear is a trend that's taken over gaming, but it's never seemed as unnecessary and as cynical as it does in Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint. Turning the game into an amalgamation of Wildlands and The Division, Breakpoint's gear system ruins any immersion you may have felt in pretending to be an elite spec ops soldier. If that was the game's only issue, it might have still been salvageable, but its predictable story, graphical infidelity, and obnoxious open world make this a failed experiment at marrying two or three different properties from the same publisher.
All MachineGames and Arkane Studios needed to do was make a straightforward, cooperative Wolfenstein experience. Instead, Youngblood replaces the series' celebrated narrative twists and turns with humdrum XP grinding and a live-service model. It would be bad in most games, but the fact that it's in a Wolfenstein title makes it sting a little bit worse.
The Callisto Protocol feels like a throwback title, for better and worse. While the Dead Space comparisons are unavoidable, director Glen Schofield's return to survival horror does bring with it several new concepts, but many, like the melee combat system, suffer from poor execution. Still, if you're looking for a fun, B-movie disaster story with some famous Hollywood faces and a more straightforward, linear single-player experience, you could do worse-at least until the Dead Space remake launches next year.
You Suck at Parking introduces a creative twist to the isometric racing genre where "stopping" is the entire point. Its campaign is surprisingly extensive, with enough new obstacles and traps introduced throughout to keep things interesting. Unfortunately (and surprisingly), it's the multiplayer that lets the game down by not offering enough variety or reasons to keep coming back, even with a season pass hanging over your head.
Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong can be a compelling experience, especially for those who are already familiar with the World of Darkness. Its RPG mechanics lend depth to an otherwise standard narrative adventure, as long as you can grasp their meaning. But wonky gameplay balance and even wonkier facial animations, not to mention some of the more overwritten and under-earned emotional beats, can make falling in love with its vampires harder to swallow than a mouthful of blood.
Trek to Yomi is one of the most visually striking games to launch in a while, delivering on the promise that a samurai game can truly capture the look and feel of classic Japanese cinema. Unfortunately, good looks can only get you so far, as the gameplay and story don't quite live up to the standards set by its art direction. But if you are in the mood for a samurai game, you could do worse than Trek to Yomi.
The best and worst thing about Tiny Tina's Wonderlands is that it feels like another Borderlands game. The shooter gameplay is as tight and responsive as ever, the weapons are fun to use, and the writing is a marked improvement over Borderlands 3. The characters are once again at the center of the game's comedy, and the performances are great (when the actors are actually committing to their roles). But, because this is more Borderlands, a lot of the same annoyances with the series persist, especially when it comes to inventory management and the sheer amount of meaningless loot. Really, Wonderlands' worst offense is that it can't get over the series' legacy of looting and shooting, and misses the opportunity to take real inspiration from the tabletop worlds that it parodies.
Dying Light 2 Stay Human’s enhanced parkour and intricate level design make for some of the most fun you can have moving through a video game world, and the hand-to-hand combat is simple but effective. Most impressive is the sense of scale and gravity that makes leaping between rooftops feel so death-defying. Unfortunately, its story wallows in post-apocalyptic clichés and misanthropy, and its choice-based narrative often drops its most interesting plot threads.
Rainbow Six Extraction takes Siege's best parts-its characters and its gunplay-and successfully adapts them to a cooperative experience, but repetitive level design and an uneven progression system make the game feel more boring than it has any right to be. Extraction had all the elements it needed to be a great co-op "zombie" game, including an exact blueprint in Outbreak, but Ubisoft's obsession with keeping players grinding forever won out, making Extraction feel like more of an obligation than an escape.
Call of Duty: Vanguard sometimes strains under the pressure of fulfilling its obligations to the all-consuming Warzone platform that the series has become. Vanguard's Gunsmith and Operators might dictate the game's World War II fiction in weird and hilarious ways, but it can still offer the same thrills you'd expect. Still, there's no denying that Vanguard feels like a watered down entry for the franchise, which is now more motivated by microtransactions than by telling a compelling World War II narrative.
Life is Strange: True Colors has a lot of the ingredients that make the series so beloved, most notably in its compelling protagonist. Technical advancements for the series bring its story to life with fantastic performances and a keen eye for detail. Unfortunately, the story it brings to life is full of stutters and stops, and takes far too long to develop. Where Life is Strange games are full of movement, True Colors feels painfully stagnant for too long.
For the first home console game in the series in nearly two decades, Mario Golf: Super Rush is a bit underwhelming, at least in terms of what it has to offer. Speed Golf and Battle Golf are both great ideas, but they aren't fleshed out enough to feel like main modes. Golf Adventure is a great way to add depth to what basically amounts to an extended tutorial, but it too suffers from pacing problems. Thankfully, the bulk of the game-the actual golfing-feels better than ever by being both technically challenging and more accessible.
Chivalry II is great fun when it works. Its combat is simple to learn and less simple to master, but incredibly rewarding no matter your skill level. The new 64-player matches and objective-based modes ensure intense, prolonged battles, and the variety in the classes will keep you motivated to grind for that next weapon. But the lack of variety in the maps and subclass abilities, and the overwhelming connection issues, make the game more frustrating than it should be.
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.
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.