Dolmen is a serviceable, sci-fi ARPG that sets players up against a gauntlet of strong enemies and varied bosses. Utilising the Metroidvania style approach to progression, the game aims to keep players on their toes with it’s striking visual design and level layout. It’s just a shame the story isn’t up to scratch and a few certain gameplay features are left wanting.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War is the game-iest video game I’ve reviewed in quite some time, but it actually ended up being more entertaining than I thought. While the flow of gameplay is as one-note as it gets and the story is a complete waste of time, Zombie Army 4 still features an amusing 10-12 hour campaign and horde mode that’s best experienced in short bursts.
While there aren’t too many memorable moments like the games Tormented Souls is based on, the general horror elements work incredibly well in heightening the tension and keeping you on the edge of your seat. The puzzle segments aren’t mere throwaway either and do serve as a great change of pace from the adrenaline-pumping fear. The story is quite intriguing too, although the voice-acting does leave a lot to be desired.
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is another spectacular tactical RPG that combines turn-based and real-time strategy to great effect. The battles are definitely on the easier side of things and it can be a bit tricky to read the visual prompts, although 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim makes up for this with a riveting story and addictive gameplay that’ll hold your attention for the game’s 30-40 hour runtime.
Ghostwire: Tokyo features a tried and tested triple-A design approach, but the gameplay and story just won’t hold your interest for long. Battles turn into mindless spam fests, the open-world design elements become tiresome and the narrative loses it steam shortly after the first few hours. I ain’t afraid of no ghosts, but the thought of playing this game again gives me pause.
Relayer sprinkles in some small, yet surprisingly impactful changes to the tactical RPG formula. Being able to check threat squares and an aggro list, alongside an awesome limit break feature really help this title soar. The gameplay itself is so compelling, and the emotionally resonant space opera pays off in spades. Don’t miss Relayer.
The Cruel King and The Great Hero is as classic as JRPGs get, but its little touches of modernisation truly shine through. As the gorgeous art style and chirpy soundtrack complement the thought-provoking battle system with grace. Some story and character moments are left wanting, and there are a few missteps with the general gameplay. But overall, The Cruel King and The Great Hero is a timeless 15-hour adventure that demands at least one playthrough.
Babylon’s Fall bears the shell of a Platinum Games release, however, it doesn’t go anywhere beyond that. The combat is dull and colourless, the story and graphical presentation are weak, and the micro-transactions it tries to shove down your throat feel like blatant predatory practices. There are some enjoyable moments of co-op gameplay, although they are few and far between.
If you're searching for a balance of arcade and sim-style racing full of varied events, sublime controls and great sound design, then you're already in the right place. GRID Legends has such quality content that'll keep you coming back long after the credits roll.
If you’re looking for an entertaining turn-based strategy game and a linear, school-based story similar to the first two Persona titles, then go forth. For everyone else, it’s going to depend on whether you can stomach a bunch of frustrating puzzles, terrible graphics, annoying exploration mechanics and a story that takes its sweet sweet time to get going.
Monster Hunter Rise is an awesome new entry for both die-hard fans and beginners. The newly-released PC version packs in all the extra content from the Nintendo Switch release whilst adding in uncapped framerates, 4K resolution, HDR and more, making it the ideal way to play. No matter which platform you choose though, Monster Hunter Rise will devour your social calendar.
You may be a little sceptical at first, but don’t hesitate. 2021’s Vertigo has such excellent story and character moments which are bound to leave a strong, lasting impact long after the credits roll. The acting/cutscene presentation is a bit wonky at times, and the gameplay is relatively simplistic. However, Vertigo’s Hitchcockian influences ultimately shine through and help to create an experience that’s more than worth the price of admission.
Halo Infinite features the same great gameplay and control from past campaigns, merged together with some awesome new additions like the Grappleshot, slide mechanic and AI field scan ability to bring the series up to modern FPS standards. The story and open-world design ultimately feel a bit lacking, but it’s still tonnes of fun regardless. Let’s finish the fight!
Pokémon Shining Pearl effortlessly captures the essence of the classic handheld titles. And while there is plenty of new content and Pokémon to discover, it can’t help but seem stuck in the past somewhat. Frequent random encounters, a bland story structure and a low level of difficulty can quickly drag down the experience.
Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One successfully puts you into the shoes of London’s greatest detective, albeit with crippling, pace-killer conveyance issues. However, the precision-based combat, fun crime scene investigations and decent story help to mitigate the general lack of direction. Holmes is also as sassy as ever.
Forza Horizon 5 easily cements itself as one of the premier racing titles of 2021. Playground Games have implemented a multitude of fantastic features and quality of life improvements that make this game so hard to put down. The story and characters are largely forgettable, but practically everything else about this open-world racer is top class.
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Blackwater is a disappointing horror venture. It gets the creepy, Silent Hill-type atmosphere just right but drops the ball in so many other key areas. The story and characters are vapid, the movement controls are as stiff as Harry Potter’s broomstick and the general gameplay loses its lustre well before the credits roll.
House of Ashes belts out some decent cinematic horror, but at the same time, the whole adventure is rather forgettable. The characters are quite fun to watch and the variety of death animations are certainly amusing. Although since the story itself isn’t very memorable, it’s hard to stay invested.