Assassin's Creed Mirage offers a return to the roots the series is known for, shedding the RPG elements and massive open world for a more intimate experience. Social stealth and traditional parkour are back, and while they don't offer anything the franchise hasn't seen before, they're complemented by a gorgeous recreation of historical Baghdad. The setting is the true protagonist and offers players something new to experience where the gameplay fails to do so. Fans of the series are sure to be refreshed by this calculated step backwards for the franchise, before it inevitably returns to its massive RPG identity.
Mortal Kombat 1 absolutely shines in its gameplay, thanks to some healthy tweaks to the formula, not least of which is the excellent Kameo system. There are flashy combos aplenty and some fresh takes on series staples, which are sadly let down by currently lacklustre online options and a less compelling single player experience, bar the riveting story mode. Still, there's so much fun to be had for players obsessed with optimising their combos and getting their fists bloody in the ring, but the amount of content falls shy of what we've been spoiled with in other modern fighters on the market — at the time of this writing, at least.
Armored Core 6 manages to refresh a dated gameplay loop and make it feel like something entirely new. It excels in both its high-octane gameplay and dizzying variety of customisation options. Whether opting for speed or brute force - or something that notches its own point on the spectrum - AC6 offers personalised action gameplay the likes of which has seldom been seen before. Don't go in expecting a Souls-like, and it will surely be a satisfying time.
Highly addictive and impressively expansive, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is exactly what a sequel should be: bigger, better and more ambitious. Whether or not you liked Fallen Order, this is worth your time if you're a die-hard Star Wars fan or if you enjoy action-fuelled adventures that keep you on the edge of your seat. It's not perfect, but even if you assess it for its ambition alone, it's one of the standout titles of this generation so far and a really, really good Star Wars title.
Fire Emblem Engage offers the most rewarding, fleshed out and beautifully balanced strategic combat of the series so far, and performs beautifully on the Switch. Its story, characters and social sim element, however, are not up to the standard expected of this beloved franchise. While the combat has matured beautifully, the overall tone has taken a step back. If you're only interested in the trademark Fire Emblem combat, then you'll likely have more fun than you ever have with the series. For players who want a little more from Engage's characters and story, though… you may be disappointed.
Pokémon Violet offers a ton of familiar and enhanced fun, but the lack of polish and outright unacceptable performance let it down as one of Nintendo's most iconic franchises. The open-world setting and gameplay additions hint at an exciting future for the Pokémon franchise, but the state this was released in too often overshadows that. Before it's been patched up and optimised, it's tough to recommend.
Splatoon 3 is a delight. For long-time fans, you know what you're getting. It's more of the (admittedly excellent) same, albeit with tighter mechanics, some welcome balances and a brilliantly overhauled campaign experience. The changes here do not miss, but it could be argued that's because this entry ultimately plays it safe. If you enjoyed the first 2 Splatoon titles, you will love this. If you've never played Splatoon before, you will be absolutely charmed by what's on offer. If you were looking for something wholly different from what's come before… you may be left wanting. Nevertheless, Splatoon 3 is a very, very good shooter whose novelty makes it easy to recommend.
While Dusk Diver 2 mostly feels geared towards existing fans of the series, those looking to step into this franchise for the first time will still find it rewarding - provided they are down with the beat-em-up combat and anime tropes. The story is more compelling and the gameplay improvements are most welcome, resulting in an across-the-board upgrade to a well-liked hidden gem. The great thing about Dusk Diver 2 is that if it looks like your kind of game, then it probably is. Just bear in mind that the Switch version has some technical issues, at least of this writing.
JRPGs do not get better than this. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is Nintendo's finest to date and a must-play for fans of the genre. The moving story, delightful characters and deep, thrilling gameplay loop set this apart as a title that transcends the sum of its parts. There's so much to see and do and such a powerful story to be told, and it's all perfectly pieced together to result in a title that impresses on every level.
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is a refreshing take on the musou genre, demanding a more strategic approach that earns it the "Fire Emblem" name. Fans of this world will find plenty to enjoy - as will those seeking a new and improved musou formula. The experience suffers from some pacing issues and can become repetitive, but on the whole it's well worth playing for those looking for a new take on the Three Houses lore - or those who simply want to experience a deft reinterpretation of the musou genre.
Samurai Warriors 5 is a minimised musou that's been stripped back to its most fundamental parts. Perhaps this deconstruction was meant to revitalise interest in the genre, but it sadly leaves it feeling flat and mediocre. Omega Force hasn't forgotten how to make a musou, though; that much shines through in the combat which at times shows flickers of promise. There's just not enough to see and do here, and it becomes repetitive far too quickly. This, coupled with the fluctuating Nintendo Switch performance, makes it difficult to recommend.
Despite its subpar Destruction mode, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is a delight. The story will captivate the minds of those interested in pulpy sci-fi adventures, and the gorgeous art style and compelling script are enough to warrant putting up with some tedious RTS battle sequences. On the whole, this is a title easy to recommend for those who enjoy sci-fi and visual novels, as the strengths of 13 Sentinels more than makeup for its weaknesses.
Danganronpa Decadence bundles together the 3 main entries in the series, along with the original Danganronpa S: Ultimate Summer Camp. While Danganronpa S is undeniably the weakest of the titles, the other 3 entries hold up wonderfully by virtue of their exceedingly well-constructed plots and strong writing. They run great on the Switch, as well, making this bundle an excellent purchase for those who haven't yet experienced the gripping tales of despair that only the Danganronpa franchise can tell.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 on the Nintendo Switch is a fantastic port. Sure, it's graphically inferior and not as pretty to look at, but that's the only noticeable concession made to get it to run on Nintendo's beloved hybrid console. That's not to say it's being rendered in "potato mode," by the way - it still looks great for what it is, with each real-life skater clearly distinguishable despite the lower pixel count. With the outrageously impressive amount of content and extremely rewarding gameplay loop, there's nothing to stop this port being a solid recommendation for Switch owners.
Lost Judgment is a bittersweet event. The story aims for a mature tone but is too often a macabre, morbid misfire that strays too far from the balance between silly and serious that the series is famed for. It's not a poorly developed title, though; the outrageously brilliant combat and sandbox distractions are clear evidence of that. It just struggles to tell the sort of meaningful, believable and sensitively weighted story that players have come to expect from this talented team.
Far Cry 6 is a fun return to the series that feels both familiar and fresh. The new gear and weapons systems are compellingly fun, and the setting of Yara is a joy to get lost in. It doesn't quite escape the series' trademark foibles, but the interlocking gameplay systems and mechanics mesh satisfyingly to create a compelling open-world adventure. Far Cry 6 does enough to push the franchise's issues to the background most of the time, offering up an enjoyable experience that looks good, plays well and succeeds in capturing the essence of the series.
It feels strange saying this, but FIFA 22 is a sports game made with love, whose developers have obviously rediscovered the joy behind how a football sim should behave. The changes to gameplay and graphics, and the evolutions of established modes, give it the largest scope yet for a football sim - perhaps any sports game, ever. And it pays off. FIFA 22 is the most streamlined, self-aware and ultimately enjoyable FIFA title in years and makes a strong case for being its altogether best entry. It's just about the shakeup that the fans have been asking for for a long time, and it's a pleasure to say it's well worth playing for the next year.
Aside from minor mechanical inconsistency across both mainline titles, Overcooked! All You Can Eat is a lovingly-crafted remaster of two lovingly-crafted experiences, complete with their respective DLC packs at a mouthwatering price. There's never been a better way to enjoy the Overcooked! series and all the multiplayer carnage it offers. As a party game it is undeniably better when played with friends so bear that in mind, but for those hungry for some local co-op action, the genre is very much alive and well with this filled-to-the-brim hotpot of cheffing action.
Dragon Quest XI remains one of the best entries in the series, and thanks to this Definitive Edition - which boasts all the new content originally included in the Switch port - it manages to feel more polished, more streamlined and more enjoyable. The fact that this is an incredible experience is only marginally diminished by some controversial graphics alterations and a less than savoury removal of previous versions from virtual storefronts in favour of this edition. Still, the content that is on offer here is superior to the original version of the game and more than justifies a re-entry into this endearing, fantastical tale.
While Fatal Fury: First Contact's nostalgia factor and smart fighting mechanics mean that its appearance is welcome on the Switch, it sadly doesn't offer enough content to justify spending ages of time with. Still, it's perfect for a quick bout and shines in its presentation, meaning that there's still something to appreciate and admire here - even if not for overly long.