While questionable decisions have been made, fans of the franchise will either have to adjust and get used to the brand-new direction or simply stave off purchasing Project Cars 3 altogether. While it does some things right, there are many things it does badly. The biggest issue lies in how Project Cars 3 wants to deviate into a wholly new direction. It wants to take the hardcore simulation with its niche audience into a new arcade racer direction where many more players will jump onto the bandwagon. This is a commendable change. However, Slightly Mad Studios should have taken its fans into account with this decision. If Project Cars 3 had any other name — perhaps denoted with a subtitle — it would have been a much easier transition. Alas, it is not, and this is the card supporters have been dealt. Thankfully, the game does come onto its own in higher tier races. It also features a massive selection of vehicles and races feel good, as long as simulation-levels of play are not expected. While AI needs a lot of work, it does fare better when higher speed divisions come into play. Project Cars 3 is the first step in reimagining the franchise as an arcade racer, however, fans of simulation titles are better off with Project Cars 2.
While it is still unknown whether Breakpoint: Red Patriot features as the final DLC content in the Year One pass; it is without a doubt a great addition to the game. With ten brand-new story missions, Red Patriot follows directly on from Deep State while also acting as a standalone narrative – pushing Nomad’s story further into one of greatness. Much like how Scott Mitchel is the legendary Ghost Recon operative from past and present titles, Anthony “Nomad” Perryman is being set up to be the next generation legendary Ghost Recon operative. The missions are exciting and hearken back to Wildlands while also teasing how Breakpoint is linked to other Ghost Recon titles, whereas the cosmetic and gameplay additions serve as the extra cherries on the top of a good piece of DLC. Red Patriot is only the next step in what will undoubtedly be a massive multi-year journey for Nomad, whose journey began with Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands. Whether you decide to get Ghost Recon Breakpoint: Red Patriot as a standalone addition, or as part of the Year One Pass, there is no denying it will be well worth the cost. It may not be exceptionally robust, but it offers enough content to tide over the wait for other post-game additions.
While Vampire: The Masquerade – Shadows of New York has a few negative points, it ultimately works well as a standalone title. Admittedly, it is a bit of a hard sell when compare it to the main titles in the series and even the proviso expansion, but it mostly gets it right in the end. Although the loss of player initiative and a noticeable lack of player choice do mar the overall experience, the tight narrative is ultimately enhanced by an extremely relatable protagonist – who helps to keep things interesting from start to finish. Vampire: The Masquerade – Shadows of New York is a Visual Novel that takes a step back from the flashiness of its predecessor, but still manages to stand on its own as a decent companion. It is perfect for anyone who wants more World of Darkness, but may come off as a bit of a surprise to fans of gameplay-rich Visual Novels.
From beautifully remodelled pro skaters, aged to look like they do in 2020, to maps rebuilt from scratch, it is evident Vicarious Visions thought of it all. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is a masterful remake. Every pixel, menu option, and in-game object has been meticulously crafted to exude streams of nostalgia while keeping things fresh and new. It is a beautifully balanced experience where new players will never even know of the massive legacy the game hides below its surface. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is an excellent return to form for the franchise, and a must have title for fans of the originals.
Frostpunk: On the Edge is a simple (yet nerve-wracking) end-game scenario that offers a tiny glimpse into the future of New London, and the regime they impose on all of their offshoot settlements. Whatever 11Bit decides to do now that Frostpunk is done with, I am certain it will play into the ending On the Edge sets up. This War of Mine set in the Frostpunk universe, perhaps? Whatever the case may be, it is genuinely a sad day, knowing this is the end for one of the best city builders this side of the video game generation.
Beyond a weird bug or two, Parkasaurus is a genuine treat to play. From a genuinely surprising number of management systems through to one of the silliest cartoon aesthetics ever seen in a park simulator, the game holds a wonderful amount of unexpected surprises belying its cutesy storefront presentation. In more ways than one, the game hearkens back to 90s classic cartoons like Dink, The Little Dinosaur. Overall, it is an amazing title with a lot of promise, and has the ability to eventually become one of the best park simulators available.
Mortal Shell is to Dark Souls what Gears Tactics is to XCOM. It takes the tried and tested formula, wipes away all the years of hubris the original developers have grown accustomed to, and brings back the initial excitement of the first title. It works on those original premises and ideas and instead of replacing Dark Souls, it stands next to it as the new benchmark of the genre. In many ways Mortal Shell is as unpolished and raw as Demon Souls, but ultimately captures the heart and soul of what Dark Souls was, Dark Souls II wanted to be, and Dark Souls III only somewhat achieved. It is a beautiful homage to the original Soulslike titles and comes in strong as a competitor that will stand the test of time as the quintessential Soulslike game.
The Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition is a brilliant port, which has been updated with even more pizazz and unfaltering graphical fidelity than previously possible. Sure, there is only so much you can do with a game originally restrained by seven-year-old hardware, but what Guerrilla Games have managed with this PC port is next to incredible. Apart from the occasional bug that will be ironed out at launch, the only issues possibly marring the experience are the long load times and one or two weird controller mappings. Overall, the game looks phenomenal with some truly substantial PC-only upgrades. The Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition is a port worthy of the price of entry, and is perfect for anyone who has never played the game before or for big fans who wish to play the visually definitive edition of the game.
F1 2020 most definitely cements the fact that Codemasters have an unfaltering love for the sport and will go through many lengths to make sure the qualms of their F1 fanbase are heard loud and clear. The game builds on everything F1 2019 brought to the franchise, and then some. It looks phenomenal and proves its worth as the best franchise to invest in for F1 fans. Although F1 2020 comes in at the tail end of the console generation, it most definitely wins pole position thanks to exceptional gameplay and a whole lot of love and dedication from the developers.
Overall, Deadly Premonition 2 is a wondrous game. It successfully follows on from a masterpiece of a game with a wonderful new cast of characters, improved graphical fidelity, and mature narrative that does not take away from the wacky charm fans of the first game have come to expect. It is a wonderful sequel with an equally as wonderful narrative hearkening back to the best of what the first game offered, and then some. Alas, it is let down by some truly atrocious optimisation. While it does not live up to the standards of the first, this sequel will undoubtedly go down as the perfect companion piece to the immortalised classic. In a way, it is very much stuck in time - almost like it released in the same year as the previous game, and never really managed to dig itself out of the decade old pit of classic action-adventure titles. It is a game frozen in time, meant to be consumed in no other way, and offers one of the most memorable and enjoyable detective experiences this side of York.