Master Chief is back and better than ever. Halo Infinite introduces open-world elements that don’t distract from the main story and add value to its replayability and memorable action. Even with the inclusion of the thrilling Grappleshot, the gameplay still maintains its signature feel. Multiplayer may need a lot of finetuning, but it costs nothing to play and provides plenty of frantic fun for a group of friends and solo players. With more features and additions to come, Halo Infinite isn’t slowing down… No. I think we’re just getting started.
To The Rescue! delivers a meaningful message about animal welfare in a family-friendly package. An inoffensive tycoon game full of cute dogs and happy moments makes running a dog shelter a cheerful task. Yet, that task becomes painstakingly frustrating with a poor interface, micromanaging dozens of pups with a limited inventory and clumsy controls. It doesn’t help that there are many, many glitches and game-breaking bugs. Little Rock Games might be biting off more than they can chew with To The Rescue!.
Diablo 2: Resurrected is, if anything, a faithful remaster of the original game. The visual overhaul and fantastic cinematics maintain the dark tone of Sanctuary’s horrifying demons and tales. Unfortunately, that alone doesn’t hold up after 20 years of innovation. Annoying gameplay mechanics, constant selling and buying, restrictive controls, regressive character art, and finicky UI poorly date this adventure. More quality of life changes should be here to truly bring the classic back to life. Diablo fans may love this remaster; others will likely not.
The Artful Escape is a story about legacies, finding yourself, change and transition that presents itself in such an ingenious way that all can absolutely enjoy it. Gliding across the cosmos, playing electric guitar in unknown lands, and eventually vanquishing a divine complication with intricate audio design and superb music to accompany – it’s perplexing how captivating this interstellar adventure is. Inviting players on a musical journey through cosmic realms and challenging introspection, The Artful Escape is a masterpiece.
Aliens: Fireteam Elite is a valiant third-person shooter in the titular universe, yet still falls somewhat short. As a bite-sized, mindless action game on the surface, blasting away hordes upon hordes of xenomorphs with the M41A Pulse Rifle is excellent. Trying different classes, abilities, and unlockable weapons help keep gameplay refreshing during your first run. However, Fireteam Elite wants to be replayable and what’s on offer simply isn’t that fun to return to. Formulaic level design and often buggy AI make finishing missions a chore rather than a triumph. Series fans will enjoy the package, but Aliens: Fireteam Elite may struggle to survive against other co-op shooters. “Another glorious day in the Corps…” but not much longer than that.
The Ascent proves why the cyberpunk genre is so popular right now. There isn’t anything exactly different or unique about its story, but it perfects the atmosphere with terrific environment art and an otherworldly soundtrack. Combine that with outstanding twin-stick shooter gameplay and elements of wall cover, cool-down management, and role-playing to deepen the experience. Blasting through crews of Rojins with a rocket-firing gun, the Astrosmasher, being among my personal highlights. It may have accessibility and minor performance concerns, but it’s still sensational, action-packed, and so much fun. The Ascent may be the best cyberpunk game in the last year.
It’s unmistakable that Disgaea continues to be genuinely unique – there really isn’t anything else like it. Nothing really comes close with such a zany story, beyond ridiculous levelling, and an extreme amount of systems within the game. Every entry tries to change enough to warrant its existence, making improvements but creating new flaws. The 3D modelled characters will be hit or miss, and the current level balancing issues and lack of classes will certainly annoy fans. Yet the chaotic isometric tactical gameplay will always reign supreme over these issues, providing hours upon hours of complex mechanics and charming characters to tinker with. Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny is a delightfully addictive game packed with personality and content.
Impressively, this superhero action game isn’t just a cash-grab, shovelware release for kids. Batgirl, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and friends are charming representations of their cartoon and comic-book counterparts with heaps of flair. The slice of life elements are decent, with humorous stories and meaningful drama peppered throughout, but not without superficial parts.
ESO: Blackwood is familiar territory for fans of the universe. While it provides heaps of armour sets to collect, enemies to defeat, and captivating characters to meet, it won’t be anyone’s favourite. This chapter of the MMO lacks an unseen and astounding setting, like Elsywere and Summerset had before it. However, as a complete package, The Elder Scrolls Online continues to be one of the best quality MMO experiences.
There is some merit to how enjoyable the movement is in this game. However, it’s clear there are polish and refinements required if this bounty hunter wants to make bank. Necromunda: Hired Gun is messy and not the game Warhammer 40,000 fans or FPS lovers will be speaking about in years to come.
Dungeons and Dragons fans and CRPG veterans are going to love this game. Delving into forgotten dungeons with a cast of custom heroes who rely on well-planned character builds and combat scenarios is admittedly not ground-breaking. However, licensing the official tabletop ruleset and translating it so well into a video game will pique many people’s interest and pull them in for the long haul. Undoubtedly, parts of the mechanics need further explanation and plenty of bugs need addressing. Regardless, it’s amazing the depth and quality this indie studio has ardently delivered. Solasta: Crown of the Magister is a sure critical hit.
Whether you want to take the righteous route or become the true menace of Nottingham, Hood: Outlaws & Legends is certainly one of the best Robin Hood games to play. The art and world design care are impeccable, representing a grim and gory version of the English folklore. It’s empowering to play as legendary vigilantes and decimate the establishment or opposing forces with strategy and stealth. Although, it doesn’t come without its fair share of problems.
After the too close for comfort clash with the Baker family in Louisana, Resident Evil Village attempts to match that creepy tone and do more. Much more. As a result, this tale has facets of methodical horror combined with the ridiculous action of Resident Evil 5 or 6. While some players may not enjoy one or the other, undeniably Capcom does both very well. A better mix of the survival horror and extreme action could have made this stronger overall, as the messy pacing, lacking antagonist development, and easing difficulty hurt the overall adventure. The final package is still a wonderful spectacle of a video game. It’s entertaining, it’s engrossing, and it’s Resident Evil in every aspect. With the best visual/audio design in the series’ and a satisfying Metroidvania world design, Resident Evil Village is unmissable.
Mechanically this is a wonderful first-person shooter that is fun to play with plenty of strategy and room to learn. Unfortunately, it adopts the popular smooth and colourful style, oversaturated by many other shooters already available. Lacking individuality to stand out, a significantly declining player base, and a potentially damaging business model; this game competes in the wrong league.
Evil Genius 2: World Domination proves that exciting strategy games aren’t always super complex and difficult to learn. This base-builder is an outright joy to play for both hardcore players and those who just want to dip their toes in. Compared to the original, the gameplay is much more engaging and appropriately paced across the early to end game lairs. The often underutilised spy theme is used so well and feels fresh, with Rebellion Developments presenting it superbly in both style and substance. While it does suffer from some finicky menus and AI, it’s easy to be charmed by the rest of the package.
Everhood is its own surreal beast of indescribable nature. On the surface, the adventure is a straightforward story of thievery and reclaiming… but for what means? Underlying is a cryptic tale about humanity and the darkness burdening existence that many fans of these sorts of games will utterly love. The shadowy overworld and diverse characters along the journey are mysterious to match the game’s ineffable spirit. With an outstanding selection of music to battle to in the unique combat, each fight is a bopping joy with slight twists to the mechanics adding even more fun. Already a cult hit with fans of Undertale and other games of the sort, Everhood is a bizarre and groovy adventure that can’t be missed.
The unique mix of party-based RPG gameplay and Metroidvania style levels introduces a strangely enchanting combination. The hundred-strong roster of monsters is distinct with diverse skills and fantastic pixel art that compliment the outstanding environments they roam around. There are still a few changes needed to the combat systems, and some of the level design is sadly disappointing, yet the fascinating world of creatures gets its hooks deep with almost 30 hours of potential gameplay.