- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps
- Resident Evil 2
Espire 2 is exactly what I want in a VR game. A stealth infiltration game that makes you feel like a badass. It has some fun sandbox-like environments that showcase some of the best VR gameplay I’ve had the pleasure of playing. However, it’s not perfect thanks to a lacklustre story, terrible AI, and muddy visuals. Despite those issues, it’s still very much worth your time.
Signalis pretty much perfects this new wave of retro survival horror. It has a surprisingly engaging world that just pulls you in and never lets go. If you are a fan of the genre this is an absolute must-play. Signalis is easily one of my favourite games of this year.
The Winters’ Expansion feels like a victory lap for this era of Resident Evil. It closes the story with a smaller and more personal end to Winters’ storyline. Going through the same locations as the base game may feel cheap, but just enough has changed to justify it and the inclusion of third-person and expanded mercenaries means that there’s plenty of stuff to do here.
Kamiwaza: Way of the Thief is a game that shows its age in a ton of different ways: from its rough graphics, janky controls, and bizarre structure. However, it’s a game with charm and it provides a gameplay experience that I don’t think I have ever seen before. It combines action game genres into a fast-paced, janky stealth experience. If you can overlook a lot of its flaws, then I would actually recommend checking it out if it goes on sale.
Undetected is not amazing, but it is a surprising game in the best of ways. If you are a fan of the old-school Metal Gear Solid games and are tired of replaying Snake Eater for the millionth time, then it would be worth checking this game out. It’s a well-designed stealth action game, and impressive for what’s probably very low-budgeted, but it’s not perfect and it does lose steam in its second half.
Bonelab lays the foundation for the future of VR gaming. It is an immersive playground experience that highlights some of the best aspects of this burgeoning technology. Unfortunately, it also brings out some of its worst elements, namely nausea and a pitiful amount, and it’s just that, a foundation for more content down the line. I expect Bonelab to have an incredibly fleshed-out future with updates and mod support, but that’s not its present state, and there’s absolutely no guarantee that it will receive said expected amount of support later down the line. It’s an incredibly tough game to recommend in its current state, sadly enough.
Overwatch 2 isn’t the grand reinvention that many believed it was going to be. It’s still Overwatch, for the better or for the worse. However, in my opinion, it is still by far the best multiplayer shooter out there right now and its core mechanics never seem to get old. It’s just a big shame a solid core is being massively let down by an aggressive monetisation system and lack of gameplay rewards.
If you have a VR headset and are itching for something to play, Red Matter 2 is a must-play. It’s a clever little puzzle adventure game that continued to surprise me throughout, thanks to its intelligent puzzle design that keeps things interesting and varied. Not to mention the occasionally gorgeous visuals that must be pushing the Quest 2 to its limits.
Soulstice is a love letter to the PlayStation 2 era of the action genre, with frantic fast-paced combat and its own spin on things. However, it does bring some of that baggage with it and there are some glaring issues with pacing and repetition, especially in the opening hours. Thankfully, Soulstice does recover in the end and for fans of the genre it is absolutely worth checking out.
Insomniac’s Spider-Man is a surprising game for sure. I never got the chance to play it back in its PlayStation 4 release and was admittedly skeptical it was going to be this good. I was very wrong: I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the game thanks to a great story, fast-paced combat and traversal mechanics that are just way too exciting. Hopefully we can expect more quality ports from Sony going forward.
As a whole, Thymesia feels like a missed opportunity. The plague weapons and unique sense of progression carry its gameplay that can often feel a touch unfinished and forgettable. It’s short and very uneven: just when it’s starting to feel a bit more interesting, it ends in a very unspectacular fashion. If you are foaming for more soulslike games, then I guess that Thymesia can (maybe) be a good time. Even so, I’d strongly recommend grabbing it on sale.
As a whole, Twilight Zone VR provides three distinctively different experiences that all thematically work together within the same game. However, the game mechanics are far too simple to recommend and VR only barely elevates it into something a bit more playable. Without VR, this simply wouldn’t be a game worth anyone’s time.
DreadOut 2 isn’t necessarily a good game, but it’s got its charms. The combat is clunky and slow, explorations can be needlessly vague, and it’s not graphically impressive to say the least. That being said, it does still have some good ideas that make it somewhat entertaining. If you want to play a low budget horror title, I would highly recommend checking out the original DreadOut first and if you like that give the second one a shot. Otherwise DreadOut 2 doesn’t offer anything terribly interesting.
If you are a fan of musou games then you probably already have this one on the myriad of consoles it had been ported over the years. However if this is your first time, or you’re looking for some titles for your brand new Steam Deck (where it ended up fitting surprisingly well, glitches aside), then Warriors Orochi 3 provides a solid entry point for the genre. It provides players with dozens upon dozens of hours of content to dig into the button mashing genre of musou.
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is exactly what you would expect; more of the same sweet sweet gameplay loop. There’s a bunch of new monsters to fight in new and old locations. The only things letting down Sunbreak are the early game pacing issues, and depending on your tastes, not the finest roster of new monsters. Saying that, there is more than enough to keep you busy for many hours to come as you progress through the brutally tough Master Rank and endgame content. If this is the end of Rise, then Capcom sure have done it justice.
MADiSON is one of the most terrifying horror games I have played in the past few years. Unfortunately, it is held back from true greatness by some of its presentation and tedious sections. I can understand that for many it might rely a little too heavily on jumpscares, but I would argue that many of them are still very effective. MADiSON provides a relentless barrage of horror that few games can really compete with.
The tense exploration of the hotel calls back to the good old days of Resident Evil. It’s a wonderfully designed location that is easy to get lost in thanks to the little direction, yet still doesn’t feel too obtuse. Unfortunately, the game is let down by some weak combat and a story that is completely forgettable.
Neon White is not only the most surprising game of the year so far, but also my personal favourite of this year. It provides an interesting story told in the strikingly beautiful visual novel format. It also provides one of the most addicting and satisfying gameplay loops since Ghostrunner. The thrill of moving up those leaderboards and cutting down your times millisecond by millisecond never gets old. I really hope we see a lot more from Neon White in the future.
The horribly named Apotheorasis: Lab of the Blind Gods is a truly unique experience that almost certainly won’t be to everyone’s tastes. Uniquely driving an entire FPS entirely through sound is something that hasn’t really been done before. If you want something that dares to be different and breaks away from standard video game conventions then Apotheorasis is well worth checking out.