As a video game reviewer, it's very rare I've ever awarded a perfect score. The last two games I awarded with that score were The Witcher 3 and God of War. I say this just to emphasize how It Takes Two really is, in my view, the perfect co-op experience. At least, it's the closest to perfection that I've had the joy to experience to date.
Demon's Souls is the must-have PlayStation 5 exclusive as the showstopper of the launch lineup. It's so close to being a perfect 10. But some archaic mechanics left untouched, as well as questionable deluxe edition items giving an unfair head start, just prevent it from reaching that pinnacle. Nevertheless, if you want justification of why the PlayStation 5 is worth upgrading to at launch, look no further than Demon's Souls.
Resident Evil Village earns a spot right up there as one of the very best Resident Evil games in the franchise's 25 year run. Village is an amalgamation of what made Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 7 fan-favourite entries. Though it also delivers on it's own ambition with new breeds of terrifying enemies never seen before in Resident Evil. The Village is a desolate, decrepit, dolorous setting but undeniably beautiful thanks to some of the best art direction ever seen in the series. In an age of day one patches and bugs, Resident Evil looks and runs flawlessly on the PlayStation 5 version used in this review. Resident Evil Village is a Game of the Year contender.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a true showpiece of new-gen technology. Whilst the internet argues over the matter of cross-generation games, Rift Apart avoids any such controversy since what it's doing simply isn't possible on the older hardware. I was tempted to go ahead and award a perfect score, but a familiar formula and some lacklustre puzzling prevented me from doing so. On the whole, though, this is gaming's summer blockbuster in the same vein that Hollywood emphasises this season for its big releases. For those with a PS5, it's an absolute must-play as a showcase of what's possible beyond just prettier graphics and faster framerates.
Deathloop is one of the finest, most unique experiences in the video game space in recent memory. Sure, it's got that familiar Arkane feel, but the amalgamation of all of Deathloop's various influences, genuinely comedic writing, great voice acting, intricate level design, and an engaging, mysterious story that unfolds as you play make Deathloop an absolute joy to play.
Borderlands 3 on next-gen systems, and the PS5 in particular-thanks to the immersive use of DualSense features such as adaptive triggers-is the definitive way to play the third mainline Borderlands game either in a full crisp 4K or in a game-changing 120 frames per second.
Little Nightmares II is a must-play for any fans of indie sensations Limbo and Inside. If you've yet to play the first game, it's not necessary, per se, but is wholly recommended. Having played the first game, one can appreciate how much Little Nightmares II builds upon its predecessor. It's gloomy, gruesome, ghastly, but downright intoxicating.
Outriders is far from perfect. But a game doesn't have to be when it facilitates such a high degree of fun and interesting gameplay mechanics.
In Sound Mind might lack the scare factor but it is an unsettling experience throughout that will undoubtedly appeal to fans of psychological horrors.
Harken back to the late 1990's and early 2000's and the survival horror genre was enjoying a golden age in video games. Song of Horror emulates the greats of that time but, unlike those franchises which have since evolved with modern game development, Song of Horror seems stuck in the past. For nostalgia's sake, it's worth checking out for fans of that era, but otherwise it's a hit-or-miss experience that falls well short of contemporary horror games.