Rainbow Six Extraction is a refreshing addition to the co-op shooter genre that ditches endless horde slaying for refined, tactical, and stealthy gameplay. With enough support and new content, Extraction could set a new benchmark for co-op games.
The Anacrusis’ Game Preview launch is plagued with performance issues. In its current form, it also lacks any kind of identity, punch, or vigour. It is one of the most lacklustre games of its genre right now and Stray Bombay has a lot to do to make this the refreshing co-op experience many expected it to be.
The Horizon formula has been perfected in Forza Horizon 5. Playground Games has retained what fans loved in previous games, but offers fine-tuned gameplay and a more diverse open world to explore. This is one of the most polished games of the year, and with continued support and regular content, it has the potential to thrive.
Guardians of the Galaxy shines when it focuses on the characters and the world around them. It might not be the most innovative game this year, but it excellently executes the tried-and-true linear action-adventure formula to deliver a great single-player experience.
Far Cry 6 makes some meaningful narrative improvements, helped by a fantastic performance by Esposito. However, repetitive and familiar gameplay, combined with a restrictive progression system, means changes are needed in the future if Ubisoft wants the series to continue.
Psychonauts 2 is a superb sequel that appeals to both long-time fans and newcomers. With a engaging story full of twists and turns, excellent witty dialogue, and a gorgeous visual palette, exploring people's minds has never been so fun and thrilling.
Where The Heart Leads is a fascinating and enthralling look at life and the full timeline of it and just how every moment shapes us as humans. Marrying gameplay and narrative wonderfully, Armature has created one of the best narrative-adventures ever. Overall, it is a little long and the opening doesn't grab like the end does, but even still, Where The Heart Leads is a journey like no other. It is an experience that I will carry with me as I progress through life.
Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 is a step up for CI Games and the franchise. Running much better than its predecessor and finding the right gameplay formula, the experience is a fun one that allows you to turn your brain off and just let loose, sniping some fools from a cliffside. Whilst not amazing, I am hopeful for the future of the franchise and where CI Games takes it.
Metro Exodus on PS5 is one of the best survival wastelands to explore on the new console. With enhanced textures, stunning ray-tracing and global illumination, and immersive DualSense implementation, what is on offer here is an experience like no other. If you skipped it on PS4 or want to play again, there is ample enhancements here that make the Moscow Wasteland worth exploring all over again.
Technically Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a PS5 showstopper, offering stunning graphics and set pieces that make use of the PS5's SSD, while also looking like the best animated movie we have ever seen. But, although combat is fun, the narrative of Rift Apart really drags down the experience, not treating its characters with respect and not meaningfully progressing the story for long time fans and leaving newcomers confused. Rift Apart is a fun ride, but ultimately not one you will be talking about for years to come.
Despite a gorgeous world, stunning sketchbook visuals, and fantastic music, Stonefly is actively dragged down because of its frustrating and cumbersome combat mechanics that create situations that are a pain to tackle. Everything surrounding combat is great, but there is so much of blowing bugs off of platforms that I Don't recommend you give Stonefly a try.
Days Gone on PC is an impressive technical upgrade from the PS4 version, running flawlessly and looking gorgeous, thanks to the increased detail. The game still has major flaws and is largely uninteresting and bland, but the tick-box formula and amount to do will grab some people. That said, don't expect PlayStation and Sony's typical great narrative and gameplay the brand is known for.
Returnal is a masterclass in how to create gripping, exhilarating arcade action and feels like the first game to truly realise the PS5's potential. It uses everything the system offers to craft an experience completely unlike anything else available today at this budget. Apart from narrative missteps, Housemarque's latest is flawless and a game that everyone who owns a PS5 and every gamer should experience at some point. I hope this is the start of a new, prosperous franchise for PlayStation and Housemaque.
Judgement is a fine and serviceable port of the PS4 game, but apart from enhanced visuals and 60 FPS gameplay, the overall experience doesn't feel that much more enhanced than what you saw on PS4. This is definitely the way to play for newcomers but those who have already seen Yagami's journey through shouldn't worry about missing much here.
Outriders is an excellent video game that doesn't drown itself in marketplaces and all the traditional systems we have come to know from a live service. By positioning itself as a complete experience, with dozens of hours of content to play through, along with engaging, varied, and deep combat, it exceeds expectations and manages to lay a firm foundation for a franchise that I hope manifests itself in the future.
Sometimes, Balan Wonderworld evokes a bygone era of platformers very well, but this is all too fleeting a feeling. All the creativity seems to have gone into the characters and music while the actual act of platforming leaves a lot to be desired. It's far from the worst modern platformer, but given the names involved, it's a thoroughly underwhelming one.