Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon is a game you can check off your list in a manageable timeframe, a nod to the simpler times of gaming. It’s a reminder that sometimes, you don’t need vast open worlds or endless quests to have a blast.
While the game has the same creative forces behind Dead Space, and many of the features are retconned into the game, it’s not quite lived up to my expectations. The game strikes me as a conglomerate of ideas, like a novel approach to dodging, a similar but different storyline, tough combat borrowed from challenging games like Dark Souls, packed into a beautifully presented game. But here’s the thing: all of these ideas sound great in isolation. But the execution here in The Callisto Protocol makes for an inferior gaming experience compared to other titles. It’s almost like all the devs got into one room and pitched a bunch of ideas, smushed them together, without anyone really thinking about their practical application. Is The Callisto Protocol a bad game? No, it isn’t. But is it great? No, it isn’t. Is it worth playing? Yes. But not at this price point.
I can’t hide my disappointment with The Chant. I had a real hankering for a supernatural game this year, after getting some hands-on time at Gamescom. Instead, I’ve been left with questions about what this game could have been. It could’ve usurped Until Dawn, one of the best recent examples of a supernatural horror game, but with a more intriguing and deeper plot. It could’ve been a new fascinating way to approach and manage combat situations with three meters that operate together in harmony, giving you complex gameplay decisions to tackle alongside challenging combat. It could’ve been a new campy horror game, a guilty pleasure, similar to some of those dreadful TV shows I named at the start. But unfortunately, it’s neither of these things. Instead, you’re left with a story that feels incomplete and lacking depth. You’re left with combat that lacks any sort of meaningful challenge. And ultimately, you’ll be left like me: very, very salty.
If FromSoftware was The Fellowship of The Ring, then Elden Ring is Mt Doom; the terminus of an epic journey spanning over a decade. It consolidates all the acclaimed Japanese studio's ideas into one cohesive and brilliant package. Its art design, lore, and world design are arguably the studio's most inspired work to date. And considering these are the folks that created Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, this is high praise indeed. Elden Ring's open-world design is almost puritan in its purpose, reflecting the single-mindedness behind all the previous Souls games.
I was wrong about Rainbow Six Extraction. It’s good fun and feels like a meaningful extension of the Rainbow Six franchise. It’s also priced very competitively, starting at $39.99/£31.99 for the cost of admission. It’s actually got fairly decent background lore and story to it, which is a welcome and unexpected bonus. While I do have reservations about how long we’ll be playing this game for, as well as mechanics that got left behind, given Ubisoft’s commitment to Rainbow Six Siege, and how much they’ve continued to support and add to that game, I’ve no doubt that they’ll do the same with Rainbow Six Extraction. A year or two from now, I’m certain we’ll have a compelling reason to continue playing this game. Evaluating what we have right now, I think it’s a great price for a great game, so, as long as you’ve got two friends to play with, you’re going to have a blast. And if you’ve made it all the way down here, and want to know if Lord Tachanka’s mounted machine gun still chugga-chugga’s, well, comrade, it does, it most certainly does.
It’s difficult to recommend Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall. While I’m confident comfort settings will be patched in upcoming releases, and the tracking issues with combat will be resolved, it’s more complicated to address some of my other concerns with the game. A dull and impenetrable plot, coupled with uninspiring combat and limited enemy design, make for a fairly meaningless experience. You’d be better off playing The Wizards or Blade and Sorcery for your fix of fantasy VR hack and slash.
First impressions matter: from the people you meet, the look and feel of a restaurant, or the state of that used car you’re buying. Unplugged delivers that spark, that flutter in your chest, those hairs on the back of your neck that stand up, as you fire up the game and crunch your way through its 20-ish tracks. After a few drinks at a gig, the air guitar inevitably comes out, as I’m screaming lyrics to some of my favourite tunes. Now, I can do this in the comfort of my own home, without inflicting this misery on other people – and so can you!
If you’ve got cash to burn, and if you’ve got a hankering for a zombie apocalypse meets free running simulator, you can’t go wrong with Dying Light: Platinum Edition. It’s got a load of stuff to keep you busy, including a decent campaign, stellar expansion content, and the myriad of bits and bobs they’ve released since 2015. And if you’ve got a friend or two, that’s keen to book a ticket to Harran – even better. When I first played in 2015, I had double the fun with a mate, corralling and cajoling the undead to create stupid kill boxes to dismember and decapitate in an array of ludicrous ways. But if cash is tight, consider waiting for Dying Light 2 that’s due to lurch its way onto a PC or console near you in early December.
Is Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition worth picking up? It absolutely is for the price it’s being sold at. It’s a little over 30 quid/dollars and with the DLC and took me about 20-25 hours to get through with a young puppy in the house. It obviously includes the base game, but also comes with the story DLC that came out with the expansion pass. Both add new narrative beats to the game. But where Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition really lets itself down is the execution of the world it is based in. Sure, crafting an arsenal to butcher hundreds of faceless bandits is fun. But Metro Exodus’ complex post-apocalyptic world has such a deep lore, begging to explored properly. It deserves better than this.
Dirt 5 is that one friend you love to go out drinking with. It’s brash, bold, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s got a bunch of awesome tracks and a dynamic weather system that works really well, and then the Playgrounds mode injects much-needed longevity into a game that might become stale after 20-30 hours or so. However, if you’re looking for a racing experience where detail, precision, and tinkering is important to then Dirt 5 isn’t for you. But if it is, you’ll have a blast.
With a shadowy totalitarian state pulling the strings (thinly disguising North Korea) and a bio-terrorist threat in a major European city, The Complex could have much to say about politics, ethics, and other meaningful subjects. Instead, the game meanders in mediocrity to its meaningless climax, leaving with you little motivation to replay the game to explore alternative decisions.