RimWorld has become a lauded classic on PC, and with the Xbox port, Double Eleven delivers a master class in how to bring games designed for mouse and keyboard intuitively to console. RimWorld is an utterly brutal survival sim where cutesy simplistic graphics belies endless depth, and you get procedural drama on a scale I have never before experienced in video game form. This game is a masterpiece, and RimWorld for Xbox faithfully shepherds the budding franchise to a brand new audience.
Initially, I was concerned Dying Light 2 wouldn't find its own voice in a world crammed with shallow open worlds designed for busy work rather than fun, but the more I played, the more I found that wasn't the case. Dying Light 2 truly shines with its high-stakes nighttime gameplay, which turns the modern and tired open-world formula on its head. While some of the writing isn't the best and next-gen console performance is a bit disappointing, Dying Light 2 offers a tight experience that builds on the original.
FUGA: Melodies of Steel cuts through the bleakness of its setting with heartwarming characters and childlike optimism, although its punishing turn-based tactical play may force you into gut-wrenching perma-death situations. FUGA is an underrated gem, and deserves the attention of JRPG fans everywhere.
The Ascent is a solid evolution of the twin-stick formula, offering some of the most detailed and impressive visuals the gen has to offer so far. However, The Ascent needs a couple of polish passes as of writing, due to bugs and other glitches. Additionally, the game suffers from a lack of testing, with balance problems and structural issues that weaken the latter half of the game.
Resident Evil Village is one of the first games that feels truly "next-gen," with absolutely stunning tech bolstered by the industry-leading RE Engine. Stunning visuals, truly bizarre creatures, a memorable parade of eccentric characters, and truly satisfying gameplay make Resident Evil Village soar, even if a few quirks in the plot delivery deflate the spectacle. Resident Evil Village is a truly excellent game and one of the best entries in the legendary franchise. Long may it continue.
Blizzard clearly learned from the mistakes from Battle for Azeroth's endgame launch state, injecting piles of content that actually contribute to player power in meaningful ways. On the one hand, the time gating on the story elements is irritating, but it's not like most players will find themselves short of things to do. Shadowlands has some of the most stunning art in the game's lengthy history, and the cinematic treatment represents a step up for the studio. Despite balance issues, Shadowlands may end up among the likes of Legion and The Burning Crusade as one of the game's best expansions to date.
Cyberpunk 2077 is an open-world masterpiece that features some of the most immersive and liberating storytelling this industry has to offer. With full freedom to choose V's personality, looks, and gameplay style, Cyberpunk 2077 gives the player an unrelenting amount of control in a world that delivers dozens upon dozens of hours of high-quality content. Cyberpunk 2077 is a mammoth achievement and solidifies CD Projekt RED's place at the top of the pile.
Wasteland 3 is a testament to the power of the branching narrative, taking it far beyond binary choices and into a grand canopy of cause and effect. It gives the wintry climbs of Colorado a lifelike quality that must have been painstaking to build. The most impressive RPG in years, Wasteland 3 is a masterpiece.
Many of Battletoads' design sensibilities may seem archaic in 2020, but that was ultimately Dlala trying to build on the chaotic formula set by the original. Battletoads struggles as a single-player game but soars as a varied couch co-op experience party game for up to three friends. And hey, it's often laugh-out-loud funny too.