And therein lies the inherent issue with launching Halo Infinite as a platform for the Halo series. It’s clear that there’s tons of potential here, and there’s so much to love about what 343 Industries has already introduced, but playing it at launch feels like you’re playing the worst version of what could rightly wind up being a fantastic game. Game Pass lets subscribers experience games like Halo Infinite on a whim, and it also lets developers like 343 take risks on launching a “Halo platform” that’s a work-in-progress. Currently, its single-player campaign is fun if somewhat empty, while its multiplayer flickers between exhilarating and frustrating. With the former being available on Game Pass while the latter is free-to-play, it’s not much of a gamble to just play it despite its problems, but by now I think we all miss when games felt like they were finished at launch.
Forza Horizon 5 is the best Forza yet and, not only that, but it also makes a strong case for being the best racing game period. A joyous combo of arcade racing and simulation-level depth, all wrapped up in a beautiful bow thanks to its diverse, expansive Mexico setting, this is an unmissable iteration in what is arguably gaming’s most consistently fantastic series.
All in all, Football Manager 2022 is another sublime sports simulation. It once again proves that you can enjoy football games without directly controlling the players. Its new additions add to an experience already brimming with depth, and the refinement of the gameplay style means that you’ll struggle not to lose yourself within Sports Interactive’s digital training ground. Its proficiency on even the oldest of hardware means there’s really no excuse not to dive in. This is Football Manager at its best, the virtual equivalent of a top-corner goal.
Guardians of the Galaxy is a solid original story from Eidos Montreal that deviates from both the MCU and the comics, providing something for Marvel fans across mediums to enjoy. However, while it’s certainly a step up from publisher Square Enix’s Avengers, it suffers with its own notable bugs and glitches that detract from the on-screen action. The day one patch will hopefully tackle these problems, and if so this is a highly recommendable superhero game that doesn’t quite step it up like Insomniac’s Spider-Man series, though still does right by its unlikely group of misfit anti-heroes.
I’ve been impressed by my time with FIFA 22 thus far, with it shaping up to be one of the tightest entries in the series so far. While it doesn’t offer a great deal in terms of new modes, the improvements made to existing staples of the series such as Ultimate Team, Pro Clubs, and Volta are all welcome, helping to diversify current modes and make them much more distinguishable. We’ll have our full review soon.
Kena: Bridge of Spirit’s exceptional visuals clash with its unexceptional gameplay to create a gorgeous experience that would be forgettable if not for its technical prowess. Its combat, puzzles, and platforming are enjoyable but fail to set the world alight, though the adventure is elevated by the beauty of its open world and its highly animated characters.
Arcade racers should be better represented on console and PC, with Cruis’n Blast ticking a lot of boxes for those who love this genre and wish that it wasn’t almost solely confined to arcade cabinets. There are few games that will pitch a unicorn in a race against a UFO, and such possibilities in Cruis’n Blast should be celebrated appropriately. However, performance problems, the absence of online multiplayer, and the lack of things to do for the solo player make for an altogether disappointing port, that nonetheless just about offers enough to warrant the attention of arcade racing fans.
Considering Biomutant’s delayed and seemingly troubled road to release, I’m blindsided by just how good it is. Experiment 101 has clearly been afforded the time to see its vision through, something which is unfortunately far too rare in the cutthroat gaming industry. I did not expect this to be one of my favorites of the year so far, let alone one of the most enjoyable open-world games I’ve ever played. A true modern gaming miracle.
Handing in a four-star, 4,000-point photo of a Pokemon having a great time is satisfying, but New Pokemon Snap’s tedious progression makes it far more exhausting than it should be. I just wanted to see these beloved creatures frolicking with one another in their natural habitat, while simultaneously doing my best David Attenborough impersonation and capturing their antics on camera. However, its levels are far too structured for me to believe in its weird world, while its secrets are more laborious to uncover than they are fun. I had a reasonably enjoyable time with New Pokemon Snap, though it’s still a missed opportunity to do something with these creatures other than beat them up.
Like its predecessors, Resurrection isn’t for everyone. Different difficulty levels help soften the blow, but if you’re playing on anything tougher than Page mode, you’re going to die. A lot. Still, it’s tremendously satisfying when you finally beat a hard-as-nails boss or a tough stage, even if the sheer number of enemies and obstacles to overcome often feels unfair. This is a good-looking remake with plenty of new sights to take in, even if I’ve got a feeling that most won’t get to see them.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is an excellent combination of games, offering both co-op Mario mayhem and a 3D Mario collect-a-thon in a single package. While Mario 3D World might not be Nintendo at its most creative, it’s still a must-play multiplayer game for Nintendo Switch owners, and Bowser’s Fury is much more than just the cherry on the cake.
When played on PC, Cyberpunk 2077 is still an impressive, engrossing, and fun RPG despite its flaws. However, assuming that CD Projekt Red sticks to its word and fixes its problems, it has all the potential to be a genuine classic of its genre. As such, it’s difficult to recommend playing it at its worst, when its best could be something special.
Fuser lets you become a DJ from the safety of your own home, without having to deal with a global pandemic or 24-year-olds with jaws swinging like saloon doors. Its pricy entry point may be a turn-off for some, but when you’re enthusiastically bopping your head to a mash-up of Amy Winehouse, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Pitbull, you can almost forget that it wants to charge you $1.99 for Evanescence. It’s a fun time with tons of replayability, that will deserve a wider audience than the niche crowd it’s poised to appeal to.
FIFA 21 may not contain any brand new modes or major new features, but by providing substantial changes to gameplay and introducing key improvements, it has easily positioned itself as the best FIFA yet. Combining challenging yet satisfying defending with ludicrous goal-scoring opportunities takes its on-the-pitch action to new levels, while additions to its Career, Ultimate Team, and Pro Clubs modes make this an essential purchase for football fans.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is a triumphant return for the series and makes a strong claim for the best skateboarding game ever. It’s a must-play for fans of the series and newcomers alike, and I hope this isn’t the last Pro Skater game we see from Vicarious Visions.