Ultimately, Mario & Sonic's latest outing is a largely forgettable game with some impressive polish, a few enjoyable minigames, and a wide array of popular characters from multiple franchises. It's best played with friends, if at all, and is perfectly serviceable if not notable.
Need for Speed: Heat may not be as jam-packed with options or refined as the Forza Horizon series, but Ghost Games still provides an enjoyable experience for fans of street racing. The world is beautiful, the soundtrack fits the South Florida theme, and there are endless customization options. More importantly, the game is smooth and only featured one technical error. Need for Speed: Heat may not be changing the racing genre, but early experiences make it appear to be a solid return for the series, although finding other racers in the online mode may be fairly difficult.
R.B.I. Baseball 20's exhibition mode and the Home Run Derby provide brief stints of entertainment while the new presentation style and improved controls add even more depth and style. However, the lack of commentary, frequent and infuriating glitches, and shoddy AI cause an insurmountable amount of frustration.
F1 2020's career mode provides an impressive level of depth while the new driver assists make the game more accessible for new or inexperienced players. The simulation-style may be overwhelming at first, but extended playtime leads to an enjoyable experience. However, the AI and inconsistent penalties cause frustration, as do the occasional crashes. Ultimately, Codemasters created a platform for F1 fans to revisit history or create a legendary career.
PGA Tour 2K21's career mode provides the opportunity to go head-to-head against some of the best golfers on the PGA Tour while making enthusiasts feel like legends. The swing mechanics can be frustrating at first if enough practice time is not invested, but extended playtime provides a true sense of progression and leads to an entertaining experience. The backgrounds and fans aren't particularly enjoyable to look at, but they no longer distract after a few holes. Ultimately, 2K and HB Studios created a platform for golf fans to create a memorable career while visiting some iconic courses, and they largely succeeded with a solidly-built game.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning's story is fascinating and still holds up eight years later. The combat is basic yet enjoyable, providing several opportunities to be a deadly assassin, unstoppable warrior, or powerful mage. However, the near-constant technical issues derail this game almost entirely. Kaiko has since provided a significant quality-of-life patch after the game's release, so fans may not run into the same issues. The early impressions show improved performance and fewer framerate issues.
Dirt 5's story has a solid foundation and stellar voice acting, but it ultimately fails to capitalize on its potential. The driving, on the other hand, completely makes up for the lack of cutscenes or expanded story beats. Drifting around corners is endlessly enjoyable, as is overtaking another car while jumping a massive gap. Having the ability to complete the entire campaign with three other friends only adds to the experience, as does creating Gymkhana playgrounds in the playground creator.
Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered is a true blast from the past, for better or worse. The driving feels sublime, and the updated visuals look fantastic at 30 fps. The added crossplay provides even more opportunities to partner with online racers for high-speed hijinks regardless of platform. However, the lack of any difficulty settings and the rubber banding serve as a stark reminder of how far the racing genre has come in 10 years.
Sniper Elite 4 performs well overall on the Nintendo Switch and provides an opportunity to play the game on the go. There are no noticeable technical issues, and shooting enemy soldiers with perfectly-placed lung shots is still enjoyable. The Joy-Cons are not ideal for lining up each shot due to the twitchy nature, but they don't hold back an overly enjoyable experience.
Worms Rumble is fairly limited out of the gate given the small number of maps that tend to repeat with irritating frequency. However, the gameplay itself is an entertaining twist on a classic formula and still features the signature Worms touches. It remains to be seen whether the promise of new maps, seasonal modes, and outfits is enough to keep players engaged for long stretches of time.
Monster Energy Supercross 4 is a game seemingly made for die-hard fans of the sport and the simulation series. The sheer depth of customization options, a massive roster, the new skill-point system, and a robust track editor provide several reasons for them to keep coming back for more sessions. Newcomers, however, will first have to spend several hours learning the systems and grinding to earn enough money and points to improve their rider and bike before finding much enjoyment.
“NASCAR 21: Ignition” is still a work in progress. The patch notes released by Motorsport Games listing myriad fixes prove this to be true. There are some technical problems that create frustration while the lack of private lobbies opens up opportunities for trolls to disrupt online matches. “NASCAR 21: Ignition” has some promise, but it requires more work before it’s the next big thing in racing video games.
“NASCAR Heat Ultimate Edition+” is not the best-looking racing game available, and the Joy-Cons make it harder to smoothly steer around certain ovals. However, the game performs well and provides an impressive amount of content for racing fans. Having the ability to run races with stages, caution flags, and full damage only makes the experience more enjoyable.