'Anime Dark Souls' was its billing, but it's not until Code Vein breaks free of the tried-and-tested formula that it shines brightly. With a difficulty balance that stretches from a leisurely stroll to hair-tearing madness, it's hard to know who this game is for. Code Vein is fun, though. Really, really fun, and a great place to start for anyone keen to dip their toe into a more chilled and relaxed Souls-like title.
Control is another absolute hit from Remedy, one that delivers from both a gameplay and narrative perspective. One of the generation's most intriguing game worlds and almost perfect pacing, the only thing that holds Control back from being an all-time classic is its unfortunate and frustrating technical issues.
My Time At Portia is one of the most wholesome, relaxing and chilled experiences of this generation. It's the perfect post-Sekiro experience, with a cast of wonderful characters, and a beautifully picturesque world with tons of activities to occupy your time. Sure, it's very much like Stardew Valley, but the emphasis on engineering over farming makes it its own beast. The loops might not be as alluring as Stardew's, but it's game that you won't regret playing, and will satisfy your inner soul.
The Division 2 is almost certainly a step up from its predecessor, offering more content than you can shake a stick at and enough tweaks to make it feel somewhat fresh. While Massive has attempted to rectify the issues of the original, it hasn't quite managed that yet: yes, enemies are still kind of bullet-spongey and the missions can get quite repetitive after a while, but aside from that, The Division 2 is an impressive follow-up, building upon what was already a solid foundation.
Anthem is a game that despite poor optimisation, agonising load times, bizarre design decisions and an unbalanced loot system, can actually be a lot of fun to play. The open-world, story, characters and combat are all solid, the rest, not so much. Anthem has potential to be a good game, it just isn’t right now. It could be one day though.
The term 'more of the same' is bandied about a lot in this industry, but when it comes to Crackdown 3, it is absolutely more of the same. With a few tweaks here and there, and a new city, there's no doubting that the gameplay still absolutely holds up. The structure and busywork tasks issues still persist from previous iterations though, which is perhaps the most disappointing aspect. Fun but repetitive best sums up Crackdown 3.
Darksiders III's shift to a more Dark-Soulsy experience seems to fit perfectly within the Darksiders universe. The third outing in the franchise is a solid effort by Gunfire Games – one of my favourite gaming experiences of the year, in fact – let down only by some shaky traversal mechanics, a dodgy compass and some downright unpleasant frame-rate issues.