Assassin's Creed Origins is a pharaoh's tomb chock-full of shiny treasures for gamers, especially those fascinated with Ancient Egypt. The side quests may feel a little repetitive, but the credible, nuanced characters and diversity of the main plot make up for it. And with so much to explore and do in its jaw-dropping setting, Origins is exceptional.
One of the core debates within Observer: System Redux is whether augmentation makes recipients more or less. In the case of this enhanced edition of the acclaimed, dark cyberpunk tale, it's definitely a case of more. Barring a few graphic and gameplay niggles, the developers have taken a cult indie classic and improved it further, providing a better balance of mystery thriller and psychological horror to accompany the brain-spearing next-gen visuals.
Remarkably flexible, frantic, fun and funny, Cook, Serve, Delicious! 3?! serves up a cooking sim that's great value for money, and entirely what you make of it. All the ingredients are there, whether you want to stick to comfort food with very little mental nourishment, or dial up your ambitions with complex culinary masterpieces that must be served to the second. Micro-management skills aside, you're given the freedom to determine how engrossing your experience is.
Literally straddling the line between supernatural and real-world horror, The Medium is satisfying, sleek, and sophisticated in every department. While it makes only limited use of its signature simultaneous reality mechanic, and features some of the same gameplay frustrations as earlier Bloober Team games, it's easy to overlook such stumbles. The Medium sidesteps scare gimmicks to deliver a masterclass in mature horror, one rooted in atmosphere, all-round restraint and an enthralling region-specific story. Note: On Xbox we scored the game 8.0 for some intermittent performance issues.
With a wicked sense of humour, loads of visual flair, and a surprising amount of cerebral satisfaction packed into its deceit-filled race against the clock, Overboard! is a delight. It's one to keep within arm's reach when you're in the mood for short bursts of frantic, but low-effort, fun.
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is a prime example for anyone making the case that video games are a powerful art form. Creatively ambitious, it's exceptionally well-thought-out and implemented – making it striking at both a sensorial and psychological level as it delves deep into an exploration of life with psychosis. It has its gameplay flaws but remains must-experience for adult audiences. An instant classic for this generation.
It has its flaws, and definitely isn't mainstream, but 11-11: Memories Retold is an important and emotionally potent game. For players with patience, and those who lean towards shorter, contemplative and character-driven gaming experiences, it's something to add to your library. For everyone though, gamer and non-gamers alike, it is an engrossing and educational look at war from a relatable, individual perspective. And right now it feels like the world could do with just such a well-though-out reminder about the humanity of others.
It'll be an acquired taste, but for those who have the patience for its deliberate opaqueness, Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is the type of game its fans will be playing on and off for months, if not years. Its challenging nature makes it equal parts compelling and frustrating, but there's no question this smart survival adventure contains loads of rewards for persistent players.
The video game equivalent of a shot of espresso, award-winning Fractured Minds is a short, potent and tonally dark exploration of living with anxiety and other mental health issues. In some ways, it's obviously the effort of a teenage game developer. In others, well, a good many adult creators can learn from its perceptiveness and sophisticated implementation.
Visually striking and mentally satisfying, Creaks is a puzzle platformer that fully embraces its oddball nature. Some control and pacing niggles aside, it's a bright new genre entry, sure to have extra appeal for people with darker, cerebral tastes in entertainment.