Dark Souls III is another triumph of the imagination for From Software, a studio which surely now must rank as one of Japan's leading talents. The company's Souls series has a near-flawless track record and after the cult nature of Demon's Souls has thankfully found a large and receptive mainstream audience – not bad for a franchise which delights in being obtuse and hair-pulling tricky in equal measure. Dark Souls III is arguably the most accomplished entry yet, refining the core mechanics and cunningly utilizing next-generation hardware to excellent effect.
M2 are the undisputed masters of updating past classics, but the studio has perhaps outdone itself with this amazing package. Not only does Battle Garegga Rev.2016 present every previously available version of one of the 2D shooting genre's best efforts – as well as an all-new edition to mark the 20th anniversary – it throws in so many options and additional features that it's genuinely hard to think of what else a fan of the game could possibly demand. It may be an acquired taste these days – to be fair, the same could be said of the original back in 1996 – but Battle Garegga remains a defining release in the shmup canon, and this is without a shadow of a doubt the best way to experience it. You don't have to feel bad about cashing in your valuable SEGA Saturn version anymore.Thanks to Play-Asia for providing the copy of Battle Garegga Rev.2016 used in this review.
One of modern gaming's true multiplayer success stories, Rocket League is an essential addition to the Switch's striking year-one library. Analyse every screenshot and video and yes, you'll spot visual downgrades when compared to the other console editions, but what's key here is that the spirit of the game has been transferred perfectly, with the added benefit of portable play which opens up the chance to host local matches with your Switch owning mates wherever and whenever you fancy. Developer Panic Button has done an utterly fantastic job with this port, but technical wizardry aside, what really matters is that the core game is so addictive, so compelling, so enjoyable and – perhaps above all else – so deep. Don't let anyone tell you that Rocket League is simplistic or lacks longevity; the vibrant community that has grown up around Psyonix's masterpiece renders that viewpoint wholly incorrect. This is a game that rewards skilful play and perseverance, and new tactics and strategies seem to flow from each and every match you partake in. Only the occasional network niggle throws shade on this otherwise sublime release; the Switch has yet another must-have release to add to its awe-inspiring 2017 pile.
While Street Fighter and King of Fighters continue to dominate the one-on-one combat genre, Garou: Mark of the Wolves will be remembered as an undisputed high-point for this style of game. This is the work of a company at the height of its powers, with an intimate understanding of hardware which was - by 1999 - almost a decade old. The controls are tight, the cast is varied and appealing (if a little small) and the visuals rank as some of the best examples of hand-drawn artwork ever seen in a video game. It therefore goes without saying that Garou is an essential purchase for each and every Switch owner, even if you don't consider yourself to be a fan of the genre.
King of Fighters '98 is without a shadow of a doubt one of the finest one-on-one fighting games ever produced; it came at a time when SNK was truly firing on all cylinders. The large number of characters combined with the deep and rewarding play mechanics make for an engaging experience in single player, but add a second challenger and you've got a title which can last a lifetime - as is evidenced by the fact that fans of the franchise continue to shout from the rooftops about how amazing this game is.