Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem is more of the chaos, mayhem and classic one-liners, but some recurring issues from Serious Sam 4 reared their heads marring the experience. Whilst the environments looked incredible in parts and it still impresses me how they can support the sheer volume of baddies on screen at once, there were constant reminders of issues. Chapters 4 and 5 were standouts though with good levels of humour and bloody gory action, leaving me wanting more once the credits rolled.
Blackwind is a decent hack-and-slash action game with fast agile gameplay and a good mix of puzzles and platform sections. The story and cartoon-stylised cutscenes were enough to keep me invested in wanting to find out what happens next, and the voice acting was great. I often fought against the camera angle, particularly when trying to be precise with platform jumping sections, but the combat and execution takedown animations was great fun.
Pagan: Control is a fantastic look into the mind and history of Far Cry 4’s villain, Pagan Min. You certainly see how events from his past has shaped him into who he was.
Riders Republic is a big step up from Steep in many ways and is a whole lot of fun with multiple disciplines and biomes to keep your interest at an all time high. With banging music tracks and plenty of sights to explore, the game has a long life ahead, particularly with seasonal content and just the sheer variety on offer.
The events of Halo Infinite certainly round out the key story elements of Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians for me. I loved the emotional hits that Master Chief takes, which has been a mainstay from across the series. I felt the game dragged out in certain points and ammo was a pain like previous Halo games, but the open world exploration was a great addition to the series.
I spent over 5 hours in Firewatch and loved every minute as I got more intrigued by the story as events unfolded. The ultimate outcome of the story is quite grim, so fair warning to anyone playing with kids watching towards the end. It’s a great game for those times where you want to play something but don’t want to worry too much about multiplayer or difficult gameplay mechanics. The story left me thinking long after playing and I highly recommend checking the game out on Xbox Game Pass.
Chorus’ fluid, fast and action packed combat is so satisfying and the visuals are stunning. As much as I enjoyed the main story, the side quests and random encounters helped me explore more of each of the amazingly detailed systems and find more component upgrades for my ship. I highly recommend this game for space combat shooter fans and PC players can play a demo on Steam or Epic to try it out.
How great is it that we have games like My Friend Peppa Pig where kids can be watching the TV show, then jump straight into a game where they can have fun in this non-violent interactive sandbox within Peppa’s world. This is certainly aimed at those kids who are fans of the TV show with easy navigation and fun puzzles.
While aimed at younger gamers, Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers is great racing fun for the whole family. In single player or split-screen co-op, the familiar voices and vehicles from the TV show can be played in short and simple races to keep the kids’ attention.
PJ Masks: Heroes of the Night is a great video game adaptation of the TV show allowing you play out some new adventures as these characters. The levels are short but are appropriate for children aged 3-7 who have an interest in the show.
Battlefield 2042 has moments of brilliance in the base game and Battlefield Portal certainly hits all my nostalgia strings, but I can’t help but feel this needed another six months of refinement, especially with cross-play.
Tails of Iron is a fantastic action RPG with great hand-drawn art and challenging souls-like combat.
Faraday Protocol is definitely in a league of its own.
Forza Horizon 5 doesn’t veer too far from the tried and tested open-world racing formula of the series, only now we get to explore the biggest land expanse in the franchise utilising the power of Xbox Series X/S.
Escape Simulator is a fantastic and challenging puzzle game that really makes you think. It’s one of the more challenging puzzle games and some of the puzzles are so bloody clever once you figure them out.
Hot Wheels Unleashed is the definitive arcade racing experience that shows off just how cool these Hot Wheels car collections and whacky tracks can be realised for both young gamers and old nostalgic legends alike.
Astria Ascending is a beautifully hand-drawn JRPG with tactical and strategic combat, rewarding dungeon exploration and the ascension tree gives you much versatility in how you specialise party members.
Sheltered 2 is a fantastic survival management game with good crafting and resource expeditions. Combat was of lesser quality but still interesting enough, though it wasn’t my focus if I could avoid it.
Dice Legacy is a fun take on the city-builder genre with dice as your workers, though it did take me several hours to get my head around all the main mechanics and research better build/research orders.
Golf Club: Wasteland is a fantastic golf game with an amazing sound track, but geez did it tilt me at times. It’s easy to chill out and play with a good level of challenging pars for the 35 holes across the game. However the controls are frustratingly inconsistent, especially on console.