It’s easy to recommend Midnight Fight Express. For one thing, it’ll launch into Game Pass on the day of its release, August 23. But even if Game Pass wasn’t a factor, it would still be worth buying for just how cool it makes you feel, how good it looks in motion – and best of all: how it allows both of those feelings to be accessible to most players.
What ultimately matters, however, is that Elden Ring succeeds at almost every goal it sets out to achieve. It’s the culmination of years of refinement of FromSoftware’s formula. Mechanically, and thematically, this is a game making a statement: that you can buck industry tendencies even as you adopt their trends.
I am hopeful that 2042 will be a more interesting Battlefield game at some point next year, but having been through varying degrees of rough launches with this series - from BF 2142 through BF 5 - I can’t say I have the stamina to perform the dance of chastising DICE for technical problems and missing features, only to turn around and celebrate when the game is inevitably ‘good now, actually’ a year into it.
Judged on its own terms, Call of Duty: Vanguard offers a solid, albeit predictable campaign, an engaging multiplayer with deep progression systems and satisfying gunplay, and a Zombies mode that will only serve as a minor distraction in its current state.
The Ascent’s ambition is often the most surprising thing about it. I went in expecting a decent, simple cyberpunk top-down shooter. Instead, I got a compelling action game that feels great to play, and an introduction into a world I can’t wait to see expanded in future sequels. The Ascent is the type of indie superstar game you bring up to prove how much can be accomplished by a small team today.
Another Call of Duty that doesn’t really change anyone’s mind about Call of Duty. Whatever’s there that I thought might actually be making a leap was seemingly just good marketing. In that sense, I suppose, it’s been pretty successful. [OpenCritic note: Jeremy Peel and Sherif Saad separately reviewed the campaign (4/5) and multiplayer (3/5). The scores have been averaged.]