Ultimately, we think our impressions of Firewall Ultra boil down to just one question: will we be back for more? At this point in time, it seems unlikely. There are certainly the bones of a good game in here, but with the streamlined gameplay experience and limited content roster, frankly we just kept thinking about the better VR games we could be playing. We'll certainly be keen to dip in once new content arrives, but it's especially disheartening when we've been waiting for a big VR shooter like this on the PSVR2 for quite some time. Firewall Ultra then is an infrequently fun yet persistently disappointing first-party title that really forgets what makes VR so special in the first place.
Fort Solis starts out promising, with an eerie and mysterious narrative that just seems to get everything right. From environmental details to pacing, this opening act genuinely had us thinking we had a Firewatch or Everybody's Gone To Rapture on our hands. However, as the game begins to expand, the pacing tanks, the story fumbles its way across the finish line, and the gameplay experience makes us want to throw our DualSense off the wall. There are a number of ways in which we should be impressed by the game - it's made by a 10 person team after all - but in the end Fort Solis is an experience as dusty as the red planet itself.
C-Smash VRS is a brilliantly restorative VR experience. With finely tuned motion controls, sparklingly simple visuals, and a chilled-out electronic score, it's yet another fine addition to Sony's roster of VR titles. We can even see it becoming a go-to with friends who just want to game and have a catch up. Yet while the core experience is fun enough, its lack of content and currently empty matchmaking experience leaves it feeling like an unfulfilled promise - especially if you're playing solo. We'd love to see an improvement to matchmaking and servers, but until then, C-Smash VRS will leave more of an impact on our battered walls than it will our memories.
F1 23 is a solidly packed racing experience that improves upon its predecessor in almost every way. With a little something for everyone, on top of an immersive and impressive experience on PS5, it's a worthwhile addition to the libraries of enthusiasts and casuals alike. We loved how tailormade the game could become, whether that was a heavily assisted racing experience, or a brutally immersive one. The campaign doesn't always hit the mark, and F1 World while expansive isn't exactly revolutionary, but at the very least, it's nice to see Formula 1 get the same care and attention that many other popular sports games have been receiving for years.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is a broken mess of a game. There are barely any redeeming qualities to be found amidst what can only be described as a massive missed opportunity. There is some serious potential in a single-player linear Lord of the Rings experience like this, but with outrageously dated level design, clunky controls, a severe lack of polish, muddy and unimpressive graphics, and a dull story, Gollum completely misses the mark. As massive fans of the books, films, and games, it's sad to see that there is nothing precious about this experience.
In the end, though, Dead Island 2 is a refreshing surprise amid the 2023 release roster. It's a fun and simple zombie-slasher experience that may be let down by its uninspiring RPG elements and boring loot-cycle, but more than makes up for it with its killer setting, brutal melee combat, and stunning graphics. While we suspect some will be disappointed by the game's size after all these years, we found it utterly revitalising to find a AAA experience that respects your time, and more importantly doesn't overstay its welcome. In the day and age of 300-hour RPGs, it's nice to know that some games are here for a fun time, not a long time.
There is so much we could still cover with this latest expansion, like Buildcrafting 2.0 and the new Guardian Ranks system, both of which aim to streamline the Destiny experience. However, at its core Lightfall is all about its story, setting, and gameplay changes. The campaign and setting largely let us down, with the whole thing feeling like the middle child of the Witch Queen, Ligthtfall, and Final Shape trilogy. However, the vigorous excitement that Destiny 2's brilliant gameplay elicits greatly elevates the overall Lightfall experience, with some stellar enhancements thanks to Strand subclasses and grapples. It's irritating to be left in narrative limbo for yet another year, but you'll still struggle to find a space shooter that is this much fun.
In the end, we were pleasantly surprised with Zombieland, even if it doesn't really lean on any form of movie-based nostalgia. Its simple yet effective structure meant that we were happy to sink yet another half hour into it, which was only aided by the enjoyable gun controls. It’s certainly not out to win any awards, and it doesn’t push the medium any further, but if you’re looking for a straight-to-the-point zombie shooter, you can’t really go wrong.
Pavlov VR is a must-have among Sony's current roster of PSVR2 launch titles. With a variety of modes to try, and impressive gun mechanics to mess around with, it proves what's possible when you get VR controls right. And with a killer mode in TTT, the Pavlov experience is elevated to hysterical levels as you lie and manipulate your way to victory. This is the gun-toting VR Among Us experience we've been waiting for.
The absurdity of World War Z's Horde Mode XL is certainly worth checking out, and for newcomers it has a fun campaign to shoot your way through, too. As a PS5 upgrade, it's supremely disappointing to experience worse performance than what came before, but it isn't quite enough to spoil the fun we had spraying bullets into piles of zombies.
Ultimately, the worth of Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection on PC will depend on your situation. If you've experienced the boosted performance and fidelity of the existing PS5 remaster, you'll struggle to justify another purchase - but for those who have yet to experience these classic PS4 titles, this is a fantastic port, complete with all of the graphical prowess that you'd expect.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok surely is an ambitious expansion, and for those that are looking for it, it provides an often engaging collective of content to sift your way through, buffing out your character with imaginative gear and mythically enhanced weapons. Put together with its new power sets and enemy types, fun boss fights, and a relatively engaging story, Dawn Of Ragnarok is worth checking out. However, beyond its layers of content and amicable entertainment levels, this is a mythical romp that sadly stays in its lane, and shirks its evolutionary responsibilities that previous entries have carried on so well.
Whether you are here for the narrative, gameplay enhancements, or new suite of content, The Witch Queen is unlikely to disappoint. If this ambitious trilogy starter is any indication of what's to come, then we are on the verge of a golden age of Destiny content that realises the vision of an evolving and lived-in world that players can be a part of. It's not just the best expansion since The Taken King, it may be the best the series has ever been.
It's as much a combat puzzler as it is a button-mashing beat-em-up, and has proven itself to be one of the best brawlers in recent memory. However, Sifu goes one step beyond that, offering an addictive, highly replayable, and all-consuming game that will undoubtedly stand among the best of 2022. Even after you've beaten this game, you'll feel the urge to go back, knowing you can do better.
Dying Light 2 does little to shake up the open-world formula, because it could be so much more, especially after the initial reveals promised so much. With that said, if zombie decapitations, sick parkour moves, and true next-gen graphics are what you're looking for then Dying Light 2 certainly fits the bill.
Nonetheless, if you are tired of mindless co-op shooters and are on the hunt for something more engaging, there is nothing currently better than Rainbow Six Extraction. It loses some of its appeal when played solo or with a random voiceless squad, but with a full squad of friends, Extraction will have you screaming and commanding your way into a functioning unit. It is hardcore, deliberate, tactile, and tense, and if that isn't Rainbow Six, I don't know what is.
Forza Horizon 5 checks all of the boxes that it should, but it is let down by a lack of innovation. You are racing the same types of races, with the same types of cars, across a map that looks different but doesn’t feel different. Developer Playground Games has leaned on what it does best, and that makes for a fast and fun experience, however, wherever the series takes car-lovers off to next, it will have to look much further into the horizon for inspiration.
Riders Republic counters many of the issues live service games of the past have faced. It doesn’t feel like an unfinished game, nor does it feel like one simply padded out with mundane content. The base structure remains but without that dullness it becomes an easy experience to get on board with. You may have to endure some awful narrative flare, but there is a lot of game here for those looking for it. What’s better is that there isn’t just plenty to be excited about now, but so much more to get excited about in the future, giving Riders Republic some serious potential to remain as a solid continuing sports franchise. Undoubtedly, it’ll have some growing pains to face, as all live service games do, because there is a particular need to make some of its modes more accessible to casual players. However, it doesn’t demand too much of those that are playing more vigorously, making it one of the most casual experiences Ubisoft has developed to date. Whether you are in it for the races, tricks or the odd bit of co-op fun, Riders Republic is a live service game that feels less like a chore, and more like a fun-filled take on the Ubisoft formula.