Over the last month, my social life has suffered, my diet has gotten worse, and I have spent many an hour sitting on a beanbag and yelling into my headset. When I’m not in this fictional Washington DC, I’m sure as heck thinking of it. The Division 2 is that good. The cocktail of great features, compelling mission design, and immediate fun is a potent one that leaves me wanting more every time. Massive and Ubisoft have done exceedingly well in their launch of The Division 2, though it remains to be seen whether they can support the community with exciting updates in the long run. Time will certainly tell, but at the moment, The Division 2 is a game I would unreservedly recommend.
Overall, I have mixed feelings about New Dawn. While I applaud Ubisoft for being willing to introduce new mechanics into the tried and true Far Cry formula, it’s a shame that not many of them are successful. The RPG-esque hit point system doesn’t feel at home in what has so far been a traditional first-person shooter series. Weapon upgrades have been dumbed down without the meaningful updates that were available in previous games. And the setting, despite being visually appealing, doesn’t offer returning players anything significant beyond a merely serviceable narrative. New Dawn isn’t a bad game, but it certainly feels like a missed opportunity.
Diablo III is a beautiful marriage of excellent content, timeless gameplay and the Switch’s plug and play design. Despite its age, it still manages to be a fun hack and slash adventure that is best experienced with friends. The Switch’s library has dramatically matured since it launched in 2017, and I do hope more developers emulate Blizzard’s lead and bring the appropriate franchises to this unique console. If you own a Switch and are looking for a fun, casual multiplayer game, you’ll enjoy Diablo III.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is undoubtedly a technical masterpiece and a new high watermark for cinematic storytelling. Whether players will enjoy playing Red Dead 2, however, will depend on how accommodating they are to Rockstar’s strong design choices. These choices prioritise immersion and realism over pure fun and will be off-putting to some. But perhaps we need to consider that maybe fun wasn’t the goal here; these mechanics were crafted to pull players into the world. After more than 70 hours with Red Dead 2, I had embodied and become Arthur. His choices were mine. Viewed from that lens, Rockstar has succeeded in giving players an unprecedented level of agency. Despite some gameplay quirks, I would wholeheartedly recommend Red Dead Redemption 2 as a must-play to all fans of video games. After all, isn’t escapism the very reason we play video games?
When I first saw Overcooked 2, I knew there was something special about the game. The fact that Nintendo chose what was a little-known, independently developed game to showcase at E3 this year alongside flagship franchises such as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate demonstrated their faith in the game. And that faith was not misplaced. New features such as the throwing mechanic, online multiplayer and improved production values sweeten what is already one of the best multiplayer experiences on the console. And although there are some negative points (such as the lack of native voice chat during online play), these are minor gripes when compared to the mayhem and pure, unadulterated fun that local multiplayer sessions offer. If you have three friends and are looking for some of the most fun on the Nintendo Switch, you’d be hard pressed to pass on Overcooked 2.
Praise must be given to the developers at Codemasters for creating something truly original – a “racing” game that’s not about racing at all. It would have been easy for them to create another Motorstorm clone. Instead, they took elements of arguably one of today’s most popular genres, hero shooters, and combined it with fresh thinking of what a vehicular combat game can be, resulting in one of the most fun arcade “racers” on the market. Despite its lean offering and sometimes questionable presentation, Onrush is a fun ride and worth recommending to those looking for a different racing experience.
Ultimately, Yakuza 6 is a confident, self-assured game. Despite some of its technical issues and simplified combat mechanics, there is no other game currently available on the platform which quite combines its mature story, multi-faceted characters and offbeat side missions. The story is full of heart and charm and is bound to stick with players long after the credits roll. Yakuza 6 is a fitting send-off to series mainstay Kazuma Kiryu and is one of the more memorable games on the PlayStation 4 in recent memory.
Far Cry 5 is by no means a perfect game. There are inconsistencies in its tone, the villains are forgettable compared to those in the series’ previous entries, and some of the mission design can be repetitive in nature. The co-op also comes with disappointing compromises. Ultimately, though, these shortcomings are made easier to bear in light of the game’s excellent gunplay, well-designed world, and stellar presentation. Planning and mounting the many assaults in the game never gets old, and the moment-to-moment gameplay is exhilarating and always makes you want to come back for more. This is what great games are all about, and what makes Far Cry 5 so easy to recommend.
Need for Speed Payback is a fun but ultimately flawed and frustrating game. I was optimistic going in based on what had been shown prior to release, and while the racing action is indeed as tight as ever (albeit lacking in set pieces which were so prominently advertised), there are just too many issues which add up to drag the experience down. It’s another classic case of quantity over quality, and while it isn’t an inherently bad game, it’s seriously let down by its linear structure, tedious progression and upgrade system, and terrible dialogue.
Gran Turismo Sport is a great driving game when reviewed in isolation. It’s got great racing, amazing visuals and stunning attention to detail which would make most petrol-heads froth. However, it also falls short when compared to its competition who boast more cars, tracks and just more fun. This ultimately makes GT Sport tough to recommend.