The threadbare narrative is punctuated by a disconnected mission structure that stalls for time. Full-frontal combat is realistically clunky to inspire sneaky tactics, though it might not impress fans of the RPG-style, combat driven AC titles. This back-to-basics approach truly captures the soul of an Assassin's Creed game and I really hope Ubisoft doesn't give up on this route. Despite its flaws, running around the rooftops in Mirage with my hidden blade out for blood remains just as fun as it was before, proving that the original AC formula works. Ubisoft need only breathe new life into it.
Ushering a new era in the bone-krunching franchise, Mortal Kombat 1 is a worthy competitor in the teeming fighting game space and serves as a gleefully violent entry point for newcomers to the genre. The reboot doesn't reinvent its blood-lusting roots in any form but drastically evolves over its predecessors from a visual perspective, delivering excellent particle effects and more gore via shocking Fatalities that look hyper-realistic. There are some noticeable attempts at shaking things up, with the new Kameo system opening room for diverse team-up combos. And while the Invasions mode goes beyond the campaign to offer something new, it soon devolves into a boring grind fest. For a while, it seemed like NetherRealm had once again nailed its story mode, but it drops in quality in the second half when dealing with multiversal mumbo jumbo on a grand scale. Overall, though, it's a fun entry that's here to dominate the FGC scene for a good while.
Starfield is an imperfect but grandly immersive voyage into the vastness of the galaxy, rife with immaculate world-building that absorbs you in time. It's a Bethesda game through and through, featuring an immense array of side quests and a quality role-playing system that favours player agency above all else. In the few moments that it tries breaking the mould, it under-delivers through its disjointed space exploration, poor navigation, and the banality of its main campaign. By dialling up the scale, I can't help but feel like Bethesda Game Studios perhaps bit off more than it could chew here, resulting in an experience that at times gets swallowed in the cold, blackness of space. It's an enjoyable ride nonetheless and a seismic achievement that Todd Howard and team can be proud of.
Baldur's Gate 3 is a masterclass in table-top-inspired CRPGs, rewarding imagination above all in a gorgeous presentation that brings the Forgotten Realms to life. Larian Studios' ambitious scope has birthed one of the most reactive worlds in all of gaming, where player choices govern both landmark events and smaller romantic flings with its delectable cast of companions. Through a nicely woven story that best represents its characters' misery and a combat style benefitted by unorthodox tactics, it has rightfully alarmed the larger AAA games industry to do better. Sure, there are some technical shortcomings in the final act, but that doesn't diminish its status as my Game of the Year so far. Baldur's Gate 3 is a certified must-play title and I can't wait to start my second playthrough — preferably as a monk Dark Urge, given how untimely and goofy his quotes are.
In a faithful leap forward that's meant to kickstart a fresh wrestling game franchise, AEW: Fight Forever stumbles quite a bit. This is true for its real-life counterpart as well - a relative newcomer to the scene which will take a while before standing toe-to-toe with WWE's decades-long legacy. Much of the gameplay feels like a good start though, thanks to a fast-paced experience that isn't harsh on novices, mixed with an absurd amount of brutality and gore. Unfortunately, the game is tarnished by clunky mechanics, dimwit AI, lack of commentary, shortened entrances, and a poorly-written story mode that does not justify its high price tag. I'll admit there's a foundation for a better sequel, but for now, I find it hard to recommend this to wrestling fans.
If you're in the mood to slay blood-lusting demons with an unhealthy dose of loot-clicking, Diablo IV is perfect for you. The sequel doesn't reinvent the dungeon-crawling space in any way, but borrows ideas to offer intensely frenetic combat, robust progression, and totally knocks it out of the park with its dark, sacrilegious themes that turn its sprawling open world into literal hell. The tight enemy scaling is certainly a downside, but Blizzard evens it out with diverse classes that synergise uniquely with abilities, making encounters increasingly thrilling. The presence of microtransactions — albeit cosmetic-only — is a sour sight and the narrative would've surely improved with better pacing. Overall though, it's devilishly addictive!
Through intricate world-building and a layered combat system, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor proves to be a worthy successor to Respawn's growing tale from the galaxy far, far away. While the core narrative is fairly decent, the sequel really shines when forming memorable moments with its characters and its locales that can be used as a creative playing field. The expanded world is certainly fun to explore, albeit collectible hunters might eventually face burnout with how cluttered the items are. Unfortunately, its positives are hampered by terrible performance — even with post-launch patches — making it hard for me to recommend until a few more patches roll through. Get it on sale if you're very keen, but otherwise you might want to wait a bit.
It's downright baffling how Naughty Dog went with the 'release first, fix later' mentality for its most important PC release. Even with the 14GB patch, The Last of Us Part I suffers from poor memory management, leading to a highly compromised experience fueled by stutters, sound issues, unusually long loading times, and more. Sure, underneath those problems, you've got one of the greatest post-apocalyptic survival stories ever told in gaming history, but the hurdles to get there aren't worth it. At Rs. 3,999/ $59.99, you're getting what is arguably PlayStation's first early-access PC port — a tight slap to those who avoided spoilers for nearly a decade. Unless you've got a bleeding-edge PC, don't buy this game in its current state, and pray for the issues to get resolved in time. I mean, if games like Batman: Arkham Knight and Cyberpunk: 2077 run fine and dandy now, I've got faith that The Last of Us Part I will get there eventually.
While the visual upgrade alone is a good enough draw to relive one of Capcom's all-time elites, Resident Evil 4 remake brings a wealth of new tweaks that contribute to a perfect reimagination. Even with deeper character development and extended gameplay, it still retains the original's charm through intense scares and goofy B-movie-like scenarios that never feel too old. The new knife mechanics tighten the core gameplay by adding an element of resourceful survival horror to an otherwise frenzied action-heavy affair. With the free, wave-style Mercenaries mode dropping next week, there's no better time for long-time fans or newcomers to jump in and experience the horrors awaiting in the iconic claustrophobic European village setting of Resident Evil 4.
Returnal is a test of the human capacity to adapt and persevere, fuelled by a relentless stream of Lovecraftian horror. Mixing roguelike mechanics with the wonders of exploration, every biome on planet Atropos offers fresh challenges through randomised gameplay design, plus satisfying gunplay. The cryptic storytelling might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it never failed to keep my attention, making Selene an intriguing protagonist. There were a few performance dips here and there, but that's to be expected with the particle effects that flood the screen. Returnal is (and was) truly an underrated gem, and I hope this PC release gets more eyes on it.
With Dead Space, EA Motive has succeeded in mimicking the horrors of the original from 14 years ago, spicing things up with stellar detailing, satisfying gunplay, and tension-building that never strays from the original. Fresh narrative choices give Isaac Clarke some needed character depth, whilst creating opportunities for rewarding exploration through new side quests. This is a remake done right, playing to modern tropes without shying away from depicting gore and using crude language — something that will appeal to both veterans and newcomers to the franchise.
WB Games Montréal clearly bit off more than it could chew here, resulting in a bloated mess that fails on a technical level. Running on Unreal Engine 4, Gotham Knights on PC can look visually appealing at times, but constant frame drops and high-end PC requirements essentially doom it. At the end of the day, the game itself is tedious to play, and because of that, it's hard to see players waiting around for months for the performance issues to be resolved.
Its shortcomings are exposed in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, which lacks a bit of polish. And while support for ultra-wide displays and native 4K 60fps appear mouthwatering, I'm not sure that will be enough to draw in those who have already experienced these games on PS4 or PS5 for a second helping.
Spider-Man Remastered on PC warrants a second playthrough, especially for PS4 owners who still haven't been able to get hold of a PS5. New players on PC are in for a treat, as they can expect a compelling narrative, bound by smooth, free-flowing gameplay that rivals the Batman: Arkham games. (I'm counting out Batman: Arkham Knight here, which had a terrible launch on PC.)