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.
Guardians of the Galaxy’s power really came to fruition as the credits rolled. This is a linear and completable experience that takes you on a memorable, fun, and often hilarious ride through the stars. It doesn’t do anything for the third-person action adventure genre, that you won’t find in an Uncharted or Tomb Raider, nor does it have much reason to revisit beyond collectibles and slight variations in its choice system. What it does do though is avoid the typical pitfalls of padding out content and begging its players to keep playing. Instead, you are treated to an emotional, exciting and riveting form of escapism. This is a game that not only respects your time, but respects the material. Simply put, Guardians of the Galaxy is a flarking good time.
Back 4 Blood features the hectic first-person combat and brilliant co-op camaraderie that made Left 4 Dead so popular. It’s no wonder that Turtle Rock wanted to emulate that success, and while there are a few compromises – the terrible bots if you can’t round up some mates, and the extreme jump in difficulty if you want to eke out some more playtime – this spiritual successor falls into the “worthy” category.
Life is Strange: True Colours features what really matters in a Life is Strange game: a likeable protagonist and a brilliant setting. It’s also received a massive visual upgrade this time around, which really makes the town of Haven Springs feel cosy, somewhere you want to spend your time.
Doom 3 VR Edition is a solid idea—a somewhat slower, more atmosphere affair that seems perfect for VR. Instead, we are left with nothing more than a quick cash grab. With its dated graphics, flat-screen cutscenes, and a lack of VR interactivity, Doom 3 VR Edition does so little to validate its porting into virtual reality that a few hours in I had a yearning to simply experience the game on a television. For any fans of this FPS then, sure, this is probably worth checking out, and with its relatively low £20 price tag coming with around 15-hours of content (including its DLC), it can’t be disputed that there is bang for a fan’s buck—especially as a VR experience. Yet Doom 3 VR Edition proves that the mere premise of VR isn’t enough to guarantee a fun experience. This is a game that deserved a more thoughtful repurposing to allow its players to feel a part of its world. Instead, I was left with an experience that made me wholly aware that I was wearing a bit of plastic over my face.
Destruction AllStars is like a well-oiled machine—it looks the part and does the job. However, once the thrills of landing the perfect slam or launching yourself from an imminent K.O. fade away, what is left is a relatively shallow experience that will struggle to keep you playing longer than a dozen hours. That may be fine for those swiping this up during its stint on PS Plus, but for anyone paying their hard-earned cash for this lacklustre experience, well… you’re in for an expensive ride.
Hitman III is a personal game of the year contender, and not because it is asking nicely with lavish graphics and large-scale levels. Instead, it has an ICA Silverballer pressed hard against my skull demanding to stand atop that list, with some of the best level design I’ve ever seen and a density that elicits a real challenge—and I don’t feel like arguing against it. Hitman III is a fun, addictive, and exceptionally satisfying gaming experience that highlights how we don’t need expansive open worlds—just a building full of bad guys, a slick-looking suit, and a tightly strung garotte wire. I would go on, but I’ve got some Emetic rat poison to serve and a trilogy to catch up on.
Swords of Gargantua is a short thrill ride of an experience that tries to stretch it out to a length it simply doesn’t have the legs for. Between momentary bouts of motion sickness, dull and uninspiring enemy variety, and a flawed form of gameplay that strays far from the supposed “hyper-realistic swordsmanship” that was slapped on its trailer, I became entirely deflated from my time with the game and simultaneously disappointed that I kept playing at all. Those early hours reminded me of why I love VR so much, and just how well those short burst experiences work for the format. Alas, Swords of Gargantua is like a once-great TV show that simply will not end.