The Master Books are bursting with interesting tidbits that helped me to contextualise each game and the storyline as a whole better than ever before, but there’s relatively little within the games themselves to make this a real must-have if you still have access to previous collections and releases.
EAFC 24 might go about achieving its goals in a slightly different way to the FIFA series, but it lands at the same end result. The same tempting sticker book collect-a-thon and absorbing gameplay carousel makes EAFC 24 a virtual footballing platform that demands your attention and is difficult to put down. Emulating the signature moves of your sporting heroes with box-office Playstyles is a highlight, but there will always be questions about whether the mechanic can stand up to the test of millions of players probing for overpowered exploits.
Although it takes place on the same map as Breath of the Wild (with a few key changes owing to the time-skip and Upheaval, of course), Tears of the Kingdom feels different enough from its predecessor thanks to the new powers and mechanics to stand all on its own. It’s a massive open world that feels dense and exciting without getting clogged up with icon fatigue, since so much of the play is based around physics interactions with the core mechanics, rather than rigid systems
Although it starts out remarkably similar to the 2018 God of War both mechanically and graphically, God of War Ragnarok gradually builds into a meaningful evolution for the series, expanding the scope of gameplay both stealthily and overtly, while delivering a tense and twisty story that bends legend around its characters in exciting and endlessly interesting ways.
Really, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is all the action from the Star Wars series, swaddled in the slapstick silliness LEGO has become known for in entertainment. While it’s not a 1-to-1 retelling and your favourite moment might have been left in the toy chest, it’s a knowing showcase of Star Wars’ place in pop culture – memes and all – in a deep, but accessible package.
Ultimately, the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Siege of Paris DLC is a worthy add-on with a good story and great emphasis on more interactive gameplay. While its narrative stakes feel relatively low, Eivor has real impetus in how everything unfolds throughout the well-paced plot.
While it does feel like a smaller package in terms of grand story presentation, the new additions and quality-of-life fixes make it less grindy to play, with greater flexibility in exploration, navigation, and resource collection adding to the portable possibilities.
In the midst of such intense anticipation and scrutiny, it’s easy to get carried away with what Cyberpunk 2077 could have been. The final experience might be more familiar than many predicted, with plenty of elements that aren’t perfect, but it’s dripping with detail and engaging stories. With so much to see and do, Cyberpunk 2077 is the kind of RPG where you blink and hours go by, which is just what we need to finish off 2020.