It may have taken the better part of a decade to make, but the arrival of Dreams feels significant. It represents a whole new way for people to make things and share them with the world. Media Molecule has made a suite of tools that feels intuitive to use, but more than that, it's built a social platform where players can collaborate and explore the imaginations of others. It's a technical marvel, a creative miracle, and one of the most innovative games in years.
The culmination of a decade's worth of iteration, Metanet's latest is a success in every sense. It's super stylish, feels excellent to play, and has that tough-but-fair balance just right. There may only be a few modes, but within them lie a vast number of levels, and when you're done, you can browse for even more created by players. This certainly won't be a game for everyone, as some people may find it too difficult and possibly a little obtuse. However, for those who like a hard-as-nails platformer and want a fresh compelling experience, you can't do much better than N++.
A splendid RPG that tests your skills and your brain, Divinity: Original Sin - Enhanced Edition is a challenging, sprawling, and enchanting title from the very start. Our only quibble is a complex UI that can sometimes get a little too busy, but it doesn't take away from the game's many strengths. Not only does it have an impressive combat system and interesting quests, it features a reactive world that you can truly leave your mark on. Add in a winning sense of humour, well thought-out gameplay systems, and a charming aesthetic, and you're left with an RPG that would be a sin to miss.
The Witness is an intelligent, expertly crafted puzzle game with ceaselessly satisfying gameplay. It becomes bafflingly complex, yet the free-roaming nature of the island means that you'll never be stuck for long. In addition, the way in which it communicates new elements is nothing short of masterful. All in all, Jonathan Blow's latest is an enormous triumph.
All told, Owlboy is a delightful game full to bursting with character. Otus' bittersweet tale is engrossing, the supporting cast is consistently charming, and there's an admirable level of polish across the board. From its stunning visuals and soundtrack to its fun, responsive gameplay, Owlboy is rock solid from top to bottom. It took them 10 years, but D-Pad Studio has created one of the best 2D adventure titles in recent memory.
Following on from its predecessor, DiRT Rally 2.0 is the pinnacle of rally on PlayStation 4. The simulation handling is brutal, but a lot of fun to learn and brilliantly satisfying to conquer. The raw driving experience is highly intense as you travel at insane speeds, always verging on disaster. While it's missing some of the more casual-friendly features of DiRT 4, the suite of modes and options will keep any rally fan going for a long time. Even if the sim label puts you off, we'd encourage you to take this for a test drive; it's easily one of the most thrilling racing games in recent years.
Do not underestimate Salt and Sanctuary: it'll chew you up and spit you back out, drawing from From Software's modern action RPG blueprints and translating the hard-as-nails gameplay to two dimensions. It demands your attention, never holds your hand, and rewards your patience and skill. Some players will find the lack of information too obtuse and difficulty too harsh, and a few cheap enemies and well-hidden traps will certainly frustrate. For those willing to go the distance, however, this is an intricate and fulfilling game just waiting to be conquered. As far as Souls wannabes go, this is one that's certainly worth its salt.
If you've already played Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, it's still very worthy of your time, but there's not much new to see beyond some concept art and commentary. If you're yet to play it, though, you now have no excuse. A well-told and engaging story awaits for those of you willing to forgive the slightly awkward controls.
To describe Alienation as a spiritual successor to Dead Nation is a misnomer – this is a far bigger, deeper game, pulling in elements from RPGs and dungeon crawlers to great effect. The gorgeous visuals and addictive, tactile combat make this a feast for the eyes, with intense action never more than a few seconds away. Grabbing loot and fighting off aliens in co-op is stupendous fun, and the game opens up in meaningful ways the more that you play. If you're looking for some high-octane, arcadey action with a fiendishly gripping gameplay loop, then this comes highly recommended.