- Shenmue II
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Super Mario 64
Pocky & Rocky Reshrined's ability to seamlessly segue from what seems like a simple remaster into a full-blown remake is brave – and it does it beautifully, too. This looks and sounds like you remember the Super Nintendo release, but is bursting with vibrant flourishes that elevate it beyond mere nostalgia. For purists, it'll no doubt be perfect – but newcomers may scoff at the archaic control scheme, which purposefully limits your capabilities and leads to significant pain.
Atari, in its current incarnation, seems setup solely to profit from its past classics. Gravitar: Recharged, though, actually does justice to the original – and even if you weren’t around in the 80s, there’s fun to be found in this sprightly shmup at the right price.
Sniper Elite 5 knows exactly who it's aimed at, and Rebellion is on target as always. The developer's dense French sandboxes are hugely replayable, and look fantastic to boot. There are some sloppy gameplay mechanics, like the climbing and twitchy camera, but these are easy to forgive. A wide array of difficulty options mean both super-agents and rookies can eke something out of this title, and with the release accommodating so many different play styles, it represents a real bullet to our heart – or should that be balls?
It'd probably be reductive to describe many of MLB The Show 22's improvements as the kind of thing you'd expect to find in patch notes, but it's still somewhat true. The gameplay feels great as always, and we really like the additions to March to October as well as the Mini Seasons mode in Diamond Dynasty. But while this is undoubtedly a streamlined, enhanced version of the already excellent MLB The Show 21, casual players will struggle to spot the difference – and, frankly, some aspects of the series are really beginning to tire.
The gameplay feels great, with those aforementioned 90-degree drifts requiring you to dance on the analogue sticks delicately, and there’s a lightning fast pace to the action which is trance-inducing. The core course design isn’t particularly inspired – you’re either sliding or going straight, with little variation in between – but the tracks here aren’t supposed to rival the Nurburgring: this is pure nostalgia, with scorching synthesisers and optional scanlines. It’s a tantalising ode to a timeless era of arcade racers, and one we reckon even Yu Suzuki himself would be proud to put his name on.
GTA 5 is beginning to show its age, but it's a testament to Rockstar's original vision that Los Santos still stacks up. The improvements to image quality and framerate give this sunny sandbox a new lease of life, and while some of the single player gags may not hit as hard as they did in 2013, there are still plenty of memorable missions across the release's 30 or so hour running-time. Meanwhile, GTA Online's freeroaming multiplayer lobbies remain unmatched, and while newcomers may find the learning curve borderline impenetrable, if you can overcome its idiosyncrasies there's nothing quite like the crime caper on offer here.
Windjammers 2 is an almost perfect revival of a classic 90s franchise. The sequel strikes an immaculate balance between new and old ideas, and presents the classic sports gameplay so vibrantly that it's hard not to be captivated by it all. There could, admittedly, be more meat on its bones – but it's online, with the gameplay's high skill ceiling, where the longevity will be found. We still want to spend a little more time testing this component, but our early impressions of the rollback netcode are positive to say the least.
If you yearn for the days of, say, Camelot’s Mario Golf on the Game Boy Color, then the fusion of sports and statistics may hold your attention here. But it’s best enjoyed in short bursts, as the tedium sets in quick, and will take a slice at your interest.
Not all of the gameplay translates perfectly to the DualSense, as it’s clearly been designed around either touchscreens or mouse-and-keyboards. It’s not a big deal, though, and once you find a good lobby with a friendly group this is one of the better party games you’ll find on the PS5. It’s just finding said people can be a bit of an exercise in trial-and-error, so be aware that you will be at the mercy of the release’s unchecked community unless you have a guaranteed group of pals to play with.
The biggest downside, then, is just the underlying lack of budget: cricket is popular enough, but it’s not baseball, and it’s clear that Big Ant Studios just didn’t have the resources to nail key gameplay mechanics, like fielding, which feels flat and unrealistic due to the limited selection of animation cycles in its library.
Still, there’s no question this is one of the better strategy games you’ll find on console. The controls mostly map well and the systems pair well with a stellar concept. With melodramatic, James Bond-esque music and some entertaining voiceover work, this is a tycoon-turned-strategy title that tests your grey matter and allows you to be the villain for once. Being bad never felt so good.
Farming Simulator 22 massively expands upon the management aspect of past games, giving greater importance to your crops once you've harvested them. Building supply chains is immensely rewarding, even if it can take what feels like an eternity to get your business up and running the way you want to. Interesting new crops, like grapes and olives, add gameplay variety to the tried and tested loop, while an abundance of licensed machinery gives you a wealth of vehicles and tools to work with. It's the best entry in Giants Software's series yet, but like a popular British yeast extract, you'll either love it or hate it.
All three mainline GTA games from the PS2 era are seminal pieces, and they still hold up to modern scrutiny – the outstanding GTA San Andreas especially. But as remasters these are weak: they chug on modern hardware and are undone by questionable artistic decisions. Rockstar built its reputation on attention to detail, and while all three of these games still come highly recommended, this disappointing compilation will go down as a stain on the label's record.
Riders Republic tries so hard to be cool that it deserves a roundhouse kick to the mouth, but Ubisoft's technical chops come out to play here, with an enormous online sandbox stacked to the metaphorical ceiling with high-octane events to complete. This is a game that the French publisher has clearly designed to be built upon, but even day one, with its mix of disciplines and multifaceted Mass Races, it's an entertaining ride. There are minor niggles for the French publisher to iron out, and we'd recommend muting the dialogue, but don't bail on this if you have even a passing interest in extreme sports.
There is a lot to see and do here, and the fact that you can now play as a variety YouTuber – as opposed to be restricted to a single career – adds diversity to your day-to-day activities. But once you wrap your head around the flow and formula of the foray, it all becomes a bit of a grind. Perhaps there’s some meta-commentary from the developer here: that chasing trends for fame is less glamorous than it looks.
Without any official licenses, the DLC captures the “feel” of F1, with recognisable sponsorship hoardings cleverly eschewing copyright headaches by not namedropping any brands specifically. All in all, it’s a nicely assembled add-on that both freshens up a very likeable game, but also pays homage to a sporting icon. At just £4.99/$5.99, you’d be mad not to make a pit stop on this.
FIFA 22 feels like real football, and it's all the better for it. Impressive improvements to player positioning, ball physics, and animations make for a supremely satisfying simulation that underpins each of the franchise's flagship modes. Career Mode doesn't reinvent the wheel, but the ability to create a club is entertaining, and the changes to Player Careers are overdue. Microtransactions still rule supreme in Ultimate Team, and you'll already have your own personal opinions on that, but there's so much to do in this year's release that you could easily invest hundreds of hours into it without seeing a single loot box.