Layers of Fear 2 is narratively brilliant but lacks some much-needed polish that would truly make it great. The game subsequently struggles to deliver consistently over the course of its roughly eight-hour length, but it is ultimately this short campaign and its thrilling atmosphere that saves it from becoming monotonous, allowing its expertly crafted story to truly shine. The game lives up to its name as a layered and nuanced tale of horror, making it worth experiencing for any fan of the genre.
It's a game behind the times, from the way it plays to its awkward design choices, and its weak performance and optimisation on consoles is further cause for frustration. For those willing to put themselves through an unbalanced learning curve there is some enjoyment to be had on the far side, but beyond the fleeting charm of some of the levels, the rest of the experience falls flat.
For better or worse, Assassin's Creed III Remastered introduces the polarising Connor Kenway to current gen consoles. Aside from some impressive graphical reworking, it is in many ways a simple port: bugs and issues with the original remain largely the same outside of some much-appreciated quality of life improvements and a handful of minor tweaks. Those who enjoyed the original, as well as Assassin's Creed fans who haven't yet played it, will likely appreciate this remaster for what it is, as long as nothing revolutionary is expected of it.
Mortal Kombat 11 caters to the hype as far as its combat is concerned, managing to expand on the series' trademark formula and provide an entertaining story mode to boot. In a truly admirable feat of game design, every character manages to feel fresh despite some of them being around since 1992. Long-time fans and newcomers alike will have plenty to enjoy with this title. The only thing holding Mortal Kombat 11 back is its convoluted gear system, but with NetherRealm committed to continually improve upon its creation, that is subject to change. As it stands, this is a great fighting experience.
The Messenger is a unique and enjoyable 2D platformer with a strong personality and exciting gameplay, and its fine-tuned appearance on the PS4 is a welcome one. The first half of the game is worthy of unfettered praise, but the experience takes a hefty blow at the halfway point from a failed attempt at expanding the scope. This aside, it remains a lovingly conceived game and is well worth playing through on this basis, but its flaws prevent it from going down as a true classic. In light of the fact that this is the first game by Sabotage, it's fair to say that the studio's future is bright.
Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal plays it safe with the series' established formula, which is ironic considering these titles are anything but safe. The series has always stuck to its roots and embraced the perverseness that in equal measures repels and attracts gamers, and this entry does little but remind the gaming world that these games exist. Aside from Burst Re:Newal being a ground-up remake, there's surprisingly few innovations to take the series into uncharted territory, but the combat is nevertheless enjoyable, and the story interesting enough to just about support the weaker points of the experience.
Both Hitman: Blood Money and Hitman: Absolution are a stealth gamer's delight, and a decent addition to the PS4's growing catalogue of classics. Veterans and newcomers alike will find something to enjoy in this diverse pairing, but the over-the-top price tag is likely to discourage many who are on the fence. Nevertheless, the remastering is good, and both titles play well on the system, even though there are no major graphical changes over the originals, beyond a resolution bump and some minor interface tweaks.
Short and sweet, I am the Hero is another example of why you don't need a big budget or a 50-hour campaign to make a good videogame. Smooth, deep combat and sharp, well-crafted levels and enemies ensure that this bite-size experience is an enjoyable one even despite its repetitive soundtrack and poor English translation.
With initial excitement having died down a few months after the game's release, FIFA 19 stands exposed for what it is: another recycled iteration of a franchise that sorely needs refreshing. Both off the pitch and on it, FIFA 19 is a hollow experience, yet another broken promise and a slap in the face of what we have come to expect from good game development. To truly compete in the gaming arena, FIFA must lace its boots and pull up its socks if it is to achieve what it too lazily sets out to each year.
Stylish presentation and quirky fun are Ninjin: Clash of Carrots's standout selling points. Retro graphics and an eccentric storyline are the heart and soul of the experience, even if the script is at times frustratingly over-the-top. Ultimately, Ninjin holds up as a mostly fun experience, but its co-op modes, amusing story, and enemy variety fail to overpower an over-simplicity that lets it down.