Perhaps it comes from being tainted by the RPG-style Assassin's Creed games, but even when tallying Mirage's successes, the thought creeps in that the game doesn't always have quite enough to keep players engaged in a fulfilling way. Because of that, Mirage may not be the course correction that many were hoping for – it certainly doesn't feel like the solution to Assassin's Creed's identity crisis, but it could be a start or at least an indication that both styles of the series can coexist with one another instead of only getting one or the other.
My opinion of Starfield is overall high despite what my many criticisms might suggest. It's a Bethesda RPG, and even Bethesda's middling options blow competitors out of the water when it comes to choice and freedom, so Starfield was always going to be a success. Whether it's enough of a success to uplift Xbox and make someone buy a new console is another discussion, but Starfield itself is perfectly competent and – dare I say it – fun, and even the most frustrating moments were unable to deter me from wanting more
For likely many others and I, the only hopes for this Dead Space remake were to be able to play through the game once more (hopefully with a jump scare or two) in a way that didn't feel ancient and clunky. The Dead Space remake far outstrips those minimal expectations, and though it may be premature a cliché to say it's raised the bar for remakes, it's certainly established a dominant foothold in 2023 and in the upcoming string of horror remakes fans have to look forward to. It's again not perfect, but it strives to be better than the original, and that's something other remakes should look to copy.
All of this makes Winters' Expansion a decidedly mixed bag of tricks, though the same could be said about Village, too. It's a bit frustrating to see just how little it moves the story forward once all is done, but one wouldn't expect Capcom to give up too much in a DLC anyway. While it's true it'll offer you a different in-game perspective, it's more effective overall at shaping perspectives of this saga's characters and the future of their storyline.
One playthrough of Scorn took between seven and eight hours to complete, and that seems like plenty of time to be immersed in the game's world. I for sure have theories about the game's story and its implications, but none that come close to allowing for any confident explanation of what transpired. I applaud Scorn for its ability to skirt around labels and explanations, but it's as exhausting as it is memorable, so for the time being, one playthrough seems to suffice.
Some scattered FPS drops and behind-the-veil repetitiveness may hamper Metal: Hellsinger at times, but those infrequent hang-ups do little to detract from the overall experience The Outsiders have created. It's easy to say this game should inspire others to pursue this genre mashup, too, to create similar experiences, but The Outsiders got it so very right with Metal: Hellsinger that perhaps it's better to let this one marinate for a while before a truly creative iteration of this comes along.
If you are totally new to this PC release and were simply waiting for PlayStation to bring it over to PC, you'll have a blast experiencing Spider-Man's story that rivals his big-picture adaptations and shouldn't have many issues at all, hardware permitting.
Diablo Immortal, a game I spent hours playing and want to see more of both in terms of its events, story, and roles beyond my Monk, has broken that trend. It does not at all play like a game to be booed on stage, and the planned PC version should make it even more accommodating for those who prefer that platform. Whether you're playing it to stay occupied until Diablo IV comes out or playing it out of excitement, Diablo Immortal is simply worth playing.
Despite its jagged, toothy edges, Evil Dead: The Game remains one of the more pleasant surprises of this year so far. Gripes are pushed to the background when you possess a survivor and use them against their team or rend a Deadite to bits with a chainsaw and even with some movement hang-ups on both teams, every match plays out relatively smoothly. If Saber Interactive keeps up with community feedback and delivers more DLC down the line, Evil Dead: The Game could solidify itself as one of the truly great asymmetrical horror experiences.
Once you tally up the new and the old, there's really not that much "new" about Tiny Tina's Wonderlands, or at least not new in terms of innovation. Cascading loot and relentless humor check the Borderlands boxes, but instead of coming up with totally revolutionary elements, all it had to do was shift things around and finally let us create a character. Future Borderlands experiences may not be set in fantasy settings of this kind, but they should at least look to adopt in some ways the fanciful and varied nature of Tiny Tina's Wonderlands.
Similarities to past games and references to Dark Souls 4 aside, it's difficult to directly compare Elden Ring to other FromSoftware games in the way that it's difficult to compare Demon's Souls to Bloodborne or Dark Souls to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. It certainly feels like FromSoftware's most ambitious and thoughtful game to date, however, and with all the considerations to different audiences, it stands to be a familiar return and a welcome jumping-on point for any Tarnished who hope to become the Elden Lord.
But the "6" in "Far Cry 6" means you know what you're getting at this point, so none of this should be exceptionally surprising. Longtime fans were worried about things like reduced customizations for Dani and the first-person cutscenes, but the real issue here is that the formula feels less sustainable now more than ever. The big, beautiful country of Yara was squandered by Far Cry staples, and it'd be a shame to see that happen to whatever world comes next.
Kena might not be perfect, but it's far from what one might expect from a studio's first game. It's a spectacle to look at without being too long or too short, and it's one of the rare examples of a game that deserves a movie adaptation, not the other way around. Perhaps more than anything else, it's a game that sets the bar high for whatever Ember Lab wants to do next.
Aside from being a faithful take on the Aliens experience, Aliens: Fireteam Elite is simply a good game. Is it a shot-for-shot adaptation of its source material? Certainly not, but I definitely felt like I was in at least some version of an Aliens world through and through. Its loot and combat only improve with time without asking players to mindlessly grind just to keep progressing. The obvious push towards co-op, as opposed to single-player, may be a bummer to some, but even those who venture into Xenomorph swarms on their own will have plenty to look forward to in Aliens: Fireteam Elite.
Those moments are memorable and are unfortunately far less common than The Ascent's pitfalls. I'm right near the end of the game's main story after crossing off plenty of side missions, but with the charm of The Ascent's firefights and scenery long since expired, there's nothing much left to inspire confidence in what remains.
While decisions may not have always been as weighty as I would've liked and the marionette movements were often distracting, Last Stop, for the most part, succeeded where it needed to. It provided three distinct stories that were surprisingly deep considering it only took about six hours to tell them all and allowed players to feel like they were in control even if that might not have always been the case. I never felt like my time was wasted in Last Stop, but if the game ever gets a follow-up, it'll have to be more polished with some meaningful changes to warrant a return to its stories.
With as far as Village reaches and as much as it tries to incorporate into one short experience – one playthrough lasted just under 11 hours – it has more successes than shortcomings to show for its efforts. It's not perfect, though it shows how Resident Evil can grow outside of its comfort zones while still managing to pay respects to history and satisfy all types of players.
Returnal may not beat out other more anticipated titles for Game of the Year honors at the end of the year, but it won't by any means be forgotten as the potential of next-gen hardware is explored. It's a shame the game isn't available on the PlayStation 4 or even other platforms so that more players could experience it, but if that compromise means we get more games like Returnal, that's a convincing argument. Other games may employ similar mechanics in the future, but Returnal should always be remembered as one of the ones that did it first, and, as of now, did it best.
And then there's the twisty narrative of the Little Nightmares universe, a subject the first game's players were already deeply engrossed in. I'd hopped into forums about fan theories, explanations, and implications of different messages from the first game before the sequel's credits had even finished rolling, and I suspect many others will do the same. Though my time playing Little Nightmares II may have come to an end, consider me hooked and eager to see what Tarsier Studios and the Little Nightmares detectives have to say about the franchise in the future.