Despite some frustrating design choices, pacing and technical issues, there is a prevailing magnetic chemistry to Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden that is felt within its narrative and mirrored in its gameplay, in large part thanks to its two brilliantly written and acted protagonists. Its thoughtful dissection and unique exploration of grief ultimately resonated with me in a way that allowed me to forgive most of its other sins.
The Cub is a brief, energetic and beautiful thrill ride that already has me jumping back in for a second run. Expanding on the world introduced to us in the indie darling Golfclub: Nostalgia, there is so much to love about this charming, apocalyptic storybook platformer.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 is a low point for the series. A passable multiplayer suite can't prop up the uninspired campaign, and dreadfully dull zombies mode. The series needs to take a break from the annualised release schedule, and inject some much needed creativity into the legendary franchise.
With a few notable changes, and some subtle differences there is thrilling football to be played in EA Sports FC 24. However, for what marks a new era in the legendary sporting franchise, there isn't enough change, and a fair few of its past frustrations haunt what could have been the most exciting entry in years.
Whilst Mortal Kombat 1 has a lack of content, and a frustrating unlockable system, it is the most streamlined iteration to date. Refining the gameplay, the new kameo system, combined with a blockbuster story mode that has shaken the lore up, Mortal Kombat 1 is the most interesting it has been since Mortal Kombat 9.
Sumo Nottingham's fresh take on the asymmetric multiplayer genre is greatly welcomed. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre offers an intense horror experience when playing as the victims, and is equally as fun as chasing them down as the twisted Sawyer family. Faithfully capturing the iconic characters, and what made the original film so great, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a best in class of the genre.
Oxenfree II: Lost Signals may not be the most ambitious sequel, but it is certainly a great one. The atmospheric Pacific North West setting, Its incredibly authentic conversation system, well written and wonderfully realised characters, combine for a memorable follow up, that will resonate with those who enjoyed the original Oxenfree.
Other than playing as some of my favourite wrestlers, I struggled to find many redeeming qualities with AEW Fight Forever. The game is lacking in modes, match types, wrestlers, and creation suite options. Combined with a generic and alarmingly short career mode, AEW Fight Forever is far from elite.
WWE 2K23 sits at the head of the table as the best sports simulation game on the market. Fine tuning last year's entry to an impressive level of detail, and adding a layer of realism that is needed in a simulation game. With an array of modes, including the highly addictive MyGM, the introspective MyRise, the improved Showcase, and an extensive creation suite, wrestling fans will find themselves spoilt with WWE 2K23's offerings.
Some persistent technical issues that prove frustrating, an uneven campaign, and a formulaic open world can bog down an otherwise wonderful exploration of culture. Nonetheless, Tchia's unique gameplay elements, euphonious music, and often vibrant world make it worth checking out.
The Last Clockwinder utilises VR in a fun an interesting way, that never gets frustrating or overstays its welcome. Its limited scope works in favour of its world, but the otherwise relatable story being told only through audio recordings is a little disappointing. Regardless, The Last Clockwinder is a must play for PSVR2 owners.
Wild Hearts have dismantled the beast, and retrofit its parts into something more accessible and highly addictive in its own right. Obnoxious exposition and an uninspired narrative can sometimes get in the way of its well crafted gameplay loop, but the thrill of the hunt is more than worth it.
Mojiken's well crafted, charming small town, and it's handling of delicate subject matter, combined with its captivating narrative, carry you through to its bittersweet end, despite some pacing issues, and gameplay elements that feel out of place.
Chasing Static creates a strong sense of nostalgia as the appreciation of late 90's era horror games shines through. The game works well as a throwback, but it doesn't work as well as a horror game in its own right. More than that however it is ultimately let down by an abundance of overly familiar narrative choices. Minding that, fans of PlayStation 1 style horror should still find something to love.
Old Moon has crafted a delightfully atmospheric metroidvania, with satisfying gameplay, and endearing characters. Ghost Song boasts an intriguing narrative of self discovery, with a world of mystery that rewards exploration. Despite playing at its best too late in the campaign, Ghost Song is a beautifully somber, sometimes relatable experience, that I wasn't ready to leave by the time I had finished.
Hardspace: Shipbreaker is an expertly crafted work simulator. The methodical dismantling of the ships is very satisfying. It contains an addictive gameplay hook and an intriguing story that focuses on the exploitation of workers. It is a job well done indeed.
Voyage marks a mostly successful debut for Venturous Games. A lack of variety in puzzles is only briefly felt, thanks to concise runtime. The sluggish movement may look better than it feels, but a strikingly beautiful and vibrant world makes Voyage worth experiencing.
Herobeat Studios set out to create a game that raises environmental awareness, and in doing so they have created a heartfelt message in the form of a very charming video game. Endling: Extinction is Forever lacks some variety, but tugs on the heartstrings, with an emotional story and genuinely asks the player to reflect on current environmental issues.