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.
Faraday Protocol is definitely in a league of its own.
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.
Tails of Iron is a fantastic action RPG with great hand-drawn art and challenging souls-like combat.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hell Let Loose is an outstanding WWII first person shooter with the most authentic experience I’ve had in a game. The sounds and visuals are incredibly detailed and immersive, and the battlefields have been faithfully designed to reflect key battle locations.
Omno is a beautiful puzzle game I enjoyed playing with my daughter that’s fun to explore and not too challenging. There are some mind bending challenges towards the end, but often looking at them from different views will help reveal the solution. It’s really impressive that this game was made by just one person and I look forward to his future projects.
The Ascent is one of the best games I’ve played this year with amazing visuals, story and gameplay that sucks you right in from the opening scenes. Playing co-op is a heck of a lot of fun and single player is just as good with challenging gun fights and so much of the world of Veles to explore. I hope Neon Giant have plans for either DLC or a sequel because I will buy the heck out of it to keep supporting them making such great games.
The Forgotten City is a fantastic emulation of Roman times and I really enjoyed manipulating the time loop mechanic. The casual pace of unraveling the mystery through conversations and testing the golden rule was intriguing and kept me wanting to find out what happens next. This was all backed up by outstanding voice acting and visuals that really invested me in each character.
Microsoft Flight Simulator runs amazingly well on the Xbox Series X and has been a surreal experience that will stay with me for some time. The revised tutorials and new discovery tours are superbly designed to explore wonderful locations in beautiful detail, as well as optimisations for the PC version available at the launch on consoles. It’s an experience that every type of gamer should witness for themselves.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood has much to offer new and veteran players alike, with customisable companions being the highlight, giving players more goals to achieve and good reasons to revisit old zone content.
Chivalry 2 is an outstanding medieval multiplayer combat game that sways more towards the Monty Python lighter comedic side than true historical accuracy, and if you’re one to look on the bright side of life, Chivalry 2 has plenty on offer. The combat is by far the best feature, having me shifting in my chair to swing my weapon true at my enemy’s head.
Biomutant is a beauty to behold with environments begging to be explored, and the combat is fluid, agile and a heck of a lot of fun. The mini boss creatures are challenging enough, but the worldeaters are something else entirely. The wilderness does feel a little too empty at times, even with mounts and vehicles, and fast travel doesn’t help in this regard. However, when you do get in and explore that cave, abandoned ruin or underground bunker, you’re rewarded with copious amounts of loot and components.
Gears 5: Hivebusters is a short an enjoyable change of pace, playing as Scorpio Squad through their origin story. It runs and looks incredible on the Xbox Series X and it’s the type of expansion I love because it adds more story to an already awesome base game.
Despite being an Early Access title, Everspace 2 is amazing to play and there’s a whopping 25 hours of gameplay available to play now. There’s twelve hours of fully voice acted story which drives you forward, but it’s the free exploration of open space that is the most exciting aspect. The puzzles are cleverly designed into asteroids or derelict ships, and exploring planetary atmosphere was thrilling.