Diablo 4 has taken everything that fans love about the ARPG format and elevated it to new heights. With a fascinating world to explore, a strong cast of characters, and purposeful combat, it sets a new standard for the genre. The wheel hasn’t been reinvented, and is remains to be seen how the series will adapt to a live service model. Nevertheless, anyone picking up Diablo 4 at launch will find themselves playing a very strong package with plenty of promise.
Despite a few fumbles, Burning Shores is an essential pickup for anyone who’s invested in the Horizon storyline. The gameplay doesn’t do too much to differentiate itself from Forbidden West, but that’s hardly to its detriment. With plenty of side content, pristine locations to explore and intriguing characters to meet, Burning Shores is everything you could want from a Horizon expansion. Now all that’s left to do is wait for Geurilla to close out the trilogy it’s spent the last six years setting up - and we can't wait to see the results.
F1 Manager 2022 perfectly captures what F1 is all about. Fighting for points across a full season is a series of highs and lows, with each win spawning from the most bizarre series of events.
Though short, Stray is a delight of a game to experience. Forcing players to make organic progress feels like a genuine achievement, and viewing this world through the unique perspective of a cat gives the story considerable more weight. Stray is a game that you will think about even when you’re not playing it. Like a good book, its world pulls you in and you never want to put it down. It’s nice to see at least one cyberpunk game live up to the hype, eh?
If the core F1 racing experience is what you care about most, then you likely won’t be disappointed by this year’s latest instalment.
I said at the top of this review that Gran Turismo 7 does its best to straddle the gap between casual and hardcore racers. While it certainly does a great job of onboarding newcomers warmly, it does so at the risk of boring its more eager fanbase. That makes Gran Turismo 7 a difficult game to recommend unless you love cars and their culture with your whole heart.
Horizon Forbidden West is a triumph for Guerrilla Games. It takes the shining promise of Zero Dawn and elevates it in almost every way possible. This truly feels like the RPG the studio has always wanted to make, and I’m so glad that it finally gets to breathe without being overshadowed.
Even if you’ve played through Uncharted 4 and Lost Legacy before, I’d recommend returning to them for this collection. Playing at a higher frame rate won’t completely transform these games, but it certainly makes them more enjoyable. After five years with nothing new in the world of Uncharted, now is a better time than ever to jump back in.
Overall, the 16 hours I spent with the Halo Infinite campaign certainly had dull points. However, sheer thrill shines through at several points, proving that there’s still life in this 20-year-old franchise. It’s now up to 343 Industries to keep it that way.
Battlefield 2042 has disappointed me. I think it builds upon the older games but in a much more boring way. The maps are relentlessly mundane. They’re all flat ground with high concrete structures. You don’t get those claustrophobic choke points that Battlefield 1 had, or the creative problem solving that came from clever map design in Battlefield 4. The maps in 2042 just all feel the same, and I’m not keen on them at all.
Overall, Call of Duty: Vanguard is another solid entry to the CoD series. Sledgehammer has worked almost entirely by the rulebook, but has made enough improvements to deliver a template that can carry the series forward for another year. There’s a promising lineup of post launch content on the way too, leaving the future looking relatively bright for the future of Call of Duty.
And yet, Riders Republic has completely dug its hooks into me. It imitates the unbridled feeling of freedom from the Forza Horizon games and perfects it in its own subgenre. If you’re looking for an octane-fuelled romp of a game with guaranteed fun, look no further than Riders Republic. Just be sure to bring your own jukebox.
Aside from some minor technical hitches, though, Escape Simulator is absolutely worth your time. If you and your mates have been craving some escape room action throughout the pandemic, then Escape Simulator is a sure-fire alternative that won’t leave you disappointed.
If you’ve played a recent Far Cry game, you know exactly what you’re in for with 6. It’s a well-trodden formula of epic scale that has just enough life in it to keep it from being tired.
Playing Psychonauts 2 is like taking a step back in time in the best way possible. The fact that the game’s core concept still holds up 16 years later is a testament to how far ahead of its time the first game was. Psychonauts 2 feels like it’s the game Double Fine always wanted to make. It incites a childlike, playful nature that I’ve not experienced in games for ages. At the same time, it deals with some heavy subject topics in ways that feel nuanced. Even if you haven’t touched the original, Psychonauts 2 is absolutely worth playing through.
F1 2021 does nothing egregious to the tried and tested formula of an F1 game. There’s enough here to keep the die-hard fans happy and more than enough to enable newcomers to further explore their love for the sport. Simply lovely.