There is no doubt in my mind, that Cuphead is one of the best titles on the Xbox One. I would even go so far as to say that everyone should try it, at least once. I know the game is not for everyone, I honestly did not think it would be for me; but the adventure has been well worthwhile and the lessons learnt should, in my humble opinion, be experienced by all.
Very few games have managed to captured my attention and awe as much as Assassin’s Creed Origins. Despite having spent more than 80 hours in the game (40 to 50 of those spent only on the campaign), I am still inexplicably drawn back to the incredibly well realised ancient Egypt that the game provides. Simply put, the unforgettable and enigmatic ancient Egyptian setting is wonderfully brought to life through outstanding auditory and visual design. Coupled with solid, fluid and fun gameplay; and tied together beautifully with a captivating story arc and copious amounts of interesting and fun side quests; makes Assassin’s Creed Origins the best entry yet in the long running franchise.
In a year that is going to be rather dry in terms of exclusive games, Microsoft certainly have a unique, yet barren, gem with Sea of Thieves. Once Rare addresses the content issues, however, the game will offer a sublime time where gamers can sail the seas with a tankard in one hand, cutlass in the other, and a map pinned to the back of the nearest barrel of grog; ready for further adventure.
There is no denying Jurassic World Evolution is enjoyable. It is a game that has a lot of wonderful charm that pulls on the strings of nostalgia from a franchise that, in some ways, has lost the awe that made the original film so unforgettable. From digging for dinosaur DNA through to eventually hatching a new dinosaur; Jurassic World Evolution has a certain kind of addictive magic to it. Alas, it is a magic that appears to have been tainted by a lack of development time. In its current form, Jurassic World Evolution is a good game that has the potential to, in time, be great. With solid and well thought out core mechanics already in place, all the game really needs now is some extra polish. Given Frontier’s heritage and penchant for updating their games years after release; it is safe to say that the game is in good hands. Until then, however, the game’s flaws will continue to erode away the sheen of a title that really has the potential to be remarkable.
After five years, Crystal Dynamics' reboot of Lara Croft's origin story has come full circle with Shadow of the Tomb Raider. The game successfully builds on the foundations left by the 2013 and 2015 releases in the rebooted trilogy, respectively, and does a wonderful job of fleshing out the final arc in Lara's 'origin' story. Although the overall narrative may not be as strong as in previous titles, it does offer enough to keep players engaged throughout.
Astro Bot Rescue Mission offers a level of interactivity and polish that has not yet been seen on the PSVR platform. It is quite clear that the game was built specifically for VR, and in so doing was obviously a labour of love for Japan Studio. Quite simply, the game offers the best implementation of PSVR yet seen on the platform. It features solid and refined gameplay and crisp Pixar-Like visuals; all of which are bundled together in a title with so much charm, character and charisma, that it would be a travesty not to experience. Without a doubt, the game is a true PSVR classic.
Although Florence is a short and sweet look into the love life of a 20-something young woman, the experience is one that I feel is well worth enjoying. Granted, it features a story that will leave you wanting for more. Much like many of the most compelling artistic works, however, the feelings it elicits will forever be remembered and cherished.
Anthem is a game that requires patience and time to be fulfilling. It is more about the journey and experience of becoming a legendary Freelancer, than it is about being 'all-powerful' and grinding for the next piece of loot. With that said, there is no denying that the game has many flaws. From a lacklustre campaign, through to unusual omissions in tutorial management, many of the game's issues are inexcusable. Despite this, there is something truly special about Anthem. Perhaps it is the exceptional visuals and audio, coupled with sublime platforming like gameplay, that is addictive. It could also be the interesting and overarching narrative that leaves players yearning for more. Either way, Bioware and EA will hopefully take the time to make the game as legendary as it is trying to be.
Control is an interesting title. It features some truly incredible gameplay, with visuals and audio to match; but disappoints in terms of providing an engrossing narrative. The puzzle like structure of the overarching story can be confusing and often lacks any real draw for gamers to continue pushing through the game's 20 hour campaign. At best, the draw to find out what is actually going on and to help Jesse's brother will keep players moving forward; at worst, there are a multitude of side quests and mini-bosses to invest in as players push toward the conclusion. Narrative aside, Control features superb level design that encourages exploration. The exploration coupled with the superb gameplay help mask the repetitive nature of the title, thus making the game genuinely fun to play. Jesse being a likeable protagonist, with her fourth-wall breaking moments of introspection, not to mention the often crazy and psychedelic level design, should keep players interested for some time to come.
Gamers who are happy to experience a truly sublime blast from the past, will be enthralled with the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. The title does a fantastic job of rekindling the fires of nostalgia. Allowing older gamers to re-live the 90s in the best way possible; through smooth and familiar gameplay and becoming familiar, once more, with the same magic that made Spyro's world so unforgettable all those years ago. Newer gamers, on the other hand, will be able to enjoy a classic experience made infinitely more accessible with a wondrous Pixar-like aesthetic. The title is a delightfully magnificent ode to a classic character, warts and all.