For a small team to develop an ARPG as polished and as player-friendly as Last Epoch is astonishing. To do it with the complexity that the genre demands as a prerequisite is something else, and I'm truly, truly impressed by what's on offer at launch - and can't wait to see it grow.
Helldivers 2 keeps kicking me in the rear end, and I can't help but respect it. Visiting its warzones often feels like a one-way trip, to the point where I'm surprised to make it through. My group chats are awash with war stories of hard-fought victories and those times I dropped an airstrike on my head. And through all of the chaos, like a grizzled veteran who's seen some s**t, I've got a smile on my face every time I drop.
Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior is a treat, and a very pleasant surprise. Combat is slick, challenging, and thoughtful all at once, while the story, despite some obvious twists, is well worth experiencing. Here's hoping Sand Door Studios can expand further on its scope next time around - or I'll have to loop back and play it again.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, live service ambitions aside, is a fun shooter that feels like the closest you’ll get to a virtual DC Comics theme park; it looks great, and it’s full of recognisable characters. And, like a theme park, much of it feels hollow, designed by a committee for a focus group that may not even exist anymore to keep them engaged and coming back. Despite this, and like every time I've been to a theme park, I've come away feeling like I've had fun, as forgettable as the specifics may be.
It’s hard to talk about The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered without speaking directly to two different camps; those who have played it and want to know if it’s worth the ten-dollar upgrade fee, and those who have yet to experience it. For the first, I’d say there’s more than enough here to warrant the upgrade, especially if the game got under your skin the first time around. Collectible character models, No Return, and the developer commentary are likely worth the price of admission for you alone. For those who haven’t played it yet, I feel like I can say with my whole chest that The Last of Us Part 2 remains one of my favourite games of all time, and this remaster has only reminded me of that.
Asgard's Wrath 2 is the most impressive showcase for any VR headset I've seen and is a game I'm desperate to get back to even after writing this review. Packed full of secrets, layered with systems, and likely to get even better over time with new in-game events, it's a huge RPG that's worth exploring.
Ready or Not is a game that is designed to make players feel uncomfortable. In one way, its tense gunfights and the uncertainty of what's behind the next door achieve that in spades. On the other, the locations and missions will cut a little too close to reality for some.
Arizona Sunshine 2 is the closest VR has come to a popcorn action flick, and I found myself loving it for that. It's more than a little rowdy, and a tad rough around the edges, but it also offers some of the most delightful interactive elements of any Quest 3 game I've played so far.
From its breathless opening hours to its twisting narrative, Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty would be worth the price of admission for its plot and characters alone. That it also offers an impressive new district, open-world dynamic events and even more ways to build your own Cyberpunk mythos make it an even easier recommendation.
NBA 2K24 showcases a franchise in need of going back to the fundamentals. Its clumsy implementation of VC is nothing new, but it's now actively hampering the rest of the game - especially given the disappointment of MyCareer. And yet, on the court, NBA 2K24 remains the finest basketball sim I've played in years - it just needs to find its form again.
Madden NFL 24 feels like it needs a team talk that'll ruffle some feathers, but without it, the franchise feels like it'll be doomed to repeat the same season again, and again. It's time for EA to break the cycle, but if history is anything to go by, we could be approaching a redemption story.
Exoprimal isn't something anyone really expected, but landing on Bikitoa Island with no expectations may have made the game more enjoyable - at least in the earliest hours. Sadly, it doesn't tend to evolve past that, with its explosive opening volley followed by repetition that, while still fun, feels unfinished. While I'm hopeful more game modes are on the way, what's here right now that's enough bite to convince you to stick around for long.
Crash Team Rumble is fun in short bursts, and if you and your friends are looking for a new multiplayer title to check out, it’ll definitely keep you entertained for a few nights. Much of its longevity will be decided by its support, however, and while what’s here is fun at launch, it’s hard not to feel like it’s a little barebones.
It's rare that a game with 2002 feels, or even looks, as good as Metroid Prime Remastered in 2023. And yet, Retro Studios has somehow managed it -- even with no prior knowledge and a lack of history with the franchise, Metroid Prime Remastered is one of the best Switch games you can buy right now.
Fire Emblem Engage feels like a step backward in ways that this writer appreciates. Gone are the lessons, and in their place is a genuinely affecting story with plenty of whimsy and epic tactical conquests. It’s a great way to kick off the year for the Switch, and also happens to be one of the best-looking games on the platform, too.
Like a friend that refuses to grow up, Need for Speed: Unbound brings the franchise back with all of its inherent silliness and ill-advised driving. And, just like that friend, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Its story is forgettable, and its characters are more than a little irritating, but it’s a solid arcade racer that hopefully acts as a springboard for the franchise.
Marvel's Midnight Suns shines brightly in a year full of excellent strategy RPGs thanks to a heartfelt love for the license, and a huge roster of fantastically realized characters to go along with a unique card-based battle system. While there's definitely some filler to be found within the walls of the Abbey, this is an interesting new take on Marvel's mystical side, and one I can't wait to see more of.
It appears Warzone 2 is off to a very solid start. It’s worth mentioning there are some technical issues, with Al Mazrah’s huge map taking a little while to load, and the occasional stuttering (mainly on PC), but all-in-all, it feels more stable than Warzone 1 did during its rougher periods. Al Mazrah might just be 2023’s hottest destination if this early taste is anything to go by.
God of War Ragnarok is a complex, thoughtful game that takes everything that made its predecessor an unmissable experience to even greater heights. Its story is full of memorable characters, woven seamlessly into a series of worlds that feel more alive than ever, and its combat continues to add interesting new wrinkles dozens of hours in. Ragnarok is here, and it is glorious.