I’d gone in hoping for a groundbreaking style of narrative-driven experience, one that operated on a sprawling web of branching paths over the course of 30 years of events, and was left underwhelmed by a fairly by-the-numbers entry in the genre that only dips its toe into its three decades-of family history and character entanglement. If you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll probably have some fun with this, but it’s hardly the revelation that the decision-based, narrative-driven genre feels like it so desperately needs.
F1 22 is another solid instalment in Codemasters’ Formula 1 simulation series, even if the tweaks to the on-track gameplay aren’t all that noticeable. It feels very much an annual EA sports title. Updated ‘rosters’ in the form of its tracks and driver ratings, a few very minor adjustments to the core gameplay, and one or two new additions that do (or don’t) enhance the experience… I’m looking at you, supercars. Its character models can look a little lacking off-track, but as long as you’re happy to overlook this, the racing action is just as supremely satisfying as it ever has, and is sure to keep F1 fans content for the following 12 months.
Trek to Yomi feels like a victim of its own cinematic inspirations and artistic ambitions. While satisfying at times, the combat is ultimately pretty one-note and begins to outstay its welcome by the time you’ve reached the end of Hiroki’s journey. I’m a sucker for artistically driven indie experiences, but there’s got to be some strong gameplay forming a foundation for it, and I can’t say I overly enjoyed my time accompanying Hiroki on his quest for vengeance.
Hardware limitations and frustrations aside, Moss: Book II is another resounding success for Polyarc, despite a few strange missteps in finnicky weapon switching and minor quality of life tweaks that could come as part of a future update. The collectibles provide ample reason to keep playing after you’ve finished the story, and the puzzle-based environments are just as beautiful to look at as they are a satisfying enigma to crack.
The development team has to be applauded for pushing the boundary of the horror industry with its ideas. It’s just a shame that it stumbles so heavily when it comes to the execution and dilutes its strongest element with generic, repetitive gameplay.
How much do you want to replay Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy? That’s the question you’ve got to ask yourself right now. If your gaming docket is looking pretty rammed, then this is one you can probably pass on for the time being. However, if you just can’t get enough of Nate, Sam, Chloe, Nadine and Sully, then this one just about warrants a purchase. It’s the definitive way to experience these PS4 masterpieces, and has me dreaming about the possibilities of a true PS5 Uncharted title.
Rainbow Six Extraction is good fun when playing in co-op with friends. The tactical shooter gameplay just feels right for this PvE experience and Rainbow Six’s long list of Operators feel right at home with varied, useful abilities that each come into their own for different playstyles.
For now, the classic Halo multiplayer offering will be more than enough to keep them playing for months on end, even if the game modes and maps offering needs some refinement, ideally sooner rather than later. This is the evolution the series needed and provides a promising foundation for the future of the series.
For those looking for more of the same, Call of Duty: Vanguard does exactly that. It’s the same, great-feeling FPS with a fresh lick of WWII paint complete with all of the weapons, locales and caveats that come with it. It’s not a revolutionary entry for the series, but it’s not a particularly poor one, either.
Forza Horizon 5 is a superb racing game. Despite these slight niggles it still manages to put a beaming smile on my face every time I go hurtling off a danger sign, masterfully overtake the leader of a race to snatch the victory, or perfect a drift. It’s easily one of the best-looking games on the Xbox Series X, and its extensive roster of cars and events will ensure it’s engine keeps quietly ticking over for months on end. With an abundance of multiplayer options and seasonal content frequently released to offer more rewards for your podium finishes, it’s the biggest and best Forza Horizon game you can play right now. Racing and Forza fans alike start your engines. It’s time for a whole new Horizon festival that you simply can’t miss out on.
Its voxel art visuals are beautiful and the soundtrack is suitably chill. Moonglow Bay has been developed by a truly passionate team, one with so many great ideas that, in trying to implement them all, perhaps haven’t had the time or experience to flesh them out with the depth they truly deserve. Still, if the idea of saving a town through fishing sounds like your cup of tea, Moonglow Bay is worth checking out. Just be prepared for a rather simplistic ride.
Despite the bugs, the déjà vu I get from sneaking around an FND Base, and the filler, I still found myself having a blast in Far Cry 6, both literally and metaphorically (I’m sorry). After 40 hours in, I’m still eager to hop back in, venturing further off the beaten path, clearing out any lingering FND Bases and checking out the Insurgency post-game content to grind out additional weapons and rewards. With a solid story, an engaging cast of characters, and a plethora of enthralling side content, Far Cry 6 is an easy recommendation for FPS fans. Now, if you don’t mind, I need to head back out on the road with ma boy Chicharron.
Sable will find an audience that truly adores its free-form exploration, stylistic visuals, engaging writing and chill soundtrack, but for me, these redeeming qualities were lost in a sandy sea of emptiness and repetition in its core mechanics. Its messages certainly resonated with me but its gameplay lacked the variety to truly keep me hooked for lengthier sessions. If you’re looking for a chill experience and can overlook any performance issues that aren’t quite resolved by the time you pick it up, then Sable will deliver. I just can’t help shake the feeling of missed potential here.
Life Is Strange: True Colors is right up there as one of the best games in the series, if not the outright best. Its characters are interestingly complex and believable, the writing is strong — albeit a bit clichéd in true Life Is Strange fashion — and its more sinister narrative has plenty of twists and turns that’ll keep you hooked. It’s all punctuated by heartwarming, lighthearted sections reminiscent of Before the Storm’s beloved ‘play’ scene, and its decisions will have you second-guessing yourself for hours. The whole experience is wrapped up in the strongest presentation values and a soundtrack that never skips a beat. This is a must-play for fans of the series, and a serious contender for my Game of the Year.
The Ascent is a tough game to recommend for solo players in its current state. Its buggy, tedious at its best and utterly frustrating at its worst. While I’m sure playing with friends will resolve some of my chief complaints, more fundamental issues like a rather boring overworld can’t be fixed with a few laughs with friends.
Where the Heart Leads is a fascinating and heartwarming narrative-driven story. That cannot be disputed, but what can is its pacing and rather lengthy run-time for a game that’s designed to be replayed and experienced multiple times. What you’re left with is a game hindered by its own lofty CYOA ambitions and desire to provide as much context — both necessary and not — to you about Whit’s world. I’m glad I got to experience it for its intriguing portrayal of life, but it may not be a journey worth taking again.