System Shock is a great example of a remake done right. This betters the original release with improved combat, visuals, handling and writing, while maintaining the key source material, making sure SHODAN is as sinister as ever, that you never know what to find around every corner, and every inch of the environment is used to the full. Some performance problems and configurations restrict this a bit, and the difficulty will definitely be off-putting for others, even on the lowest settings, but this is every bit the game we hoped it would be, and a reminder of just how good and ahead of its time the original really was.
Blasphemous 2 is a bold, bloody, brilliant sequel that betters everything that came before it. The Game Kitchen have polished, refined, and re-energised this franchise, crafting a fantastically unique and compelling souls-like, metroidvania that may just be one of the best things Team 17 have ever published.
Forza Motorsport is a brilliant reinvention for the franchise that will appeal to core drivers and Horizon fans in equal measure. With a more approachable barrier for entry, but plenty of substance with endless customisation possibilities, tweaks and fine-tuning, there’s something for everyone. Minor technical issues and environmental repetition aside, you can add in a visual style that will set the benchmark for the generation, and a long tail that will ensure the game stays healthy for months, even years to come. Forza Motorsport is a must play, no matter what skill level you’re at.
Miasma Chronicles offers a smart twist on real-time strategy and storytelling with a mixture of stealth and turn-based battles. The story is intriguing and the characters gel well and bounce off each other well. Some minor technical hiccups, combined with a limited weapon variety, frustrating difficulty and RNG do bring this down a bit but the content here is rich, enjoyable and plentiful.
NBA 2K24 is the GOAT of Basketball Games. Time and again, 2K have proven that they are fantastic custodians of this license and have paid fantastic respect to legends of the sport, the presentation of the league, and have crafted a real feel of being right on top of the action between the roaring of the crowd and the halftime entertainment. It is easier than ever for new players to onboard, the ProPlay means NBA has never looked or felt better, and outside of a few minor technical hiccups, I have personally never enjoyed an NBA 2K more than 24. However, the microtransaction situation has arguably worsened, and it is harder than ever for those new players to break through or maximise their potential unless they’re willing to pay the price. With an additional two premium tiers on top of Seasons and the fact you can buy cards outright on MyTeam, you can easily spend more in game than on the game itself within a weekend. While this isn’t the only sports game out there that does it, at times NBA 2K24 feels among the worst.
The Crew Motorfest offers fun, fast-paced variety, all with a stunning aesthetic and excellent presentation. The always on component is disappointing, environment repetition becomes noticeable, and playlists disappearing is a shame, but this is such a brilliant game with so much content you can lose hours without even realising.
We Love Katamari REROLL + Royal Reverie takes the best bits of the series and bundles it all together in a wonderful little package. The creativity in environments is delightful, the updated visuals look stunning and the trademark humor and style is clear for all to see. While I definitely struggled with the controls and feel movement is really dated and clunky, this is just such a wonderful little gem that everyone should try at least once.
AEW Fight Forever is a solid starting point for a franchise with really exciting potential. Yukes have absolutely nailed the in-ring action, paying a ton of respect to No Mercy while successfully modernising it for today’s audience. Rosters and content are a bit on the slim side, while other areas like Road to Elite and Online need more developing and fine-tuning in future installments, but what we have is a successful, enjoyable alternative to other games on the market that’s easy to get into and difficult to put down.
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is outrageously entertaining and still holds up masterfully over a decade later. Between its beautifully rebuilt HD visuals, a timeless sense of humor, suitably ludicrous storytelling with smart, logical puzzle solving, it’s the perfect game to chill, unwind and relax with, while being taken on an unforgettable ride. A true delight and worth remaster that is another huge win for game preservation.
WrestleQuest might just be this years’ best wrestling game, certainly it’s most unexpected. With a cast of who’s-who legends, some interesting twists and turns and a sense of humour fans will love, Mega Cat have built something quite brilliant. The mechanics are smart, the environments are full of easter eggs, and the game holds itself up surprisingly well despite a slow start.
F1 Manager 2023 can be tough to love and it’s definitely one you’ll need more than a passing interest in the sport to play. However, once you get into its layers, build out your tactics, understand the optics, and familiarise yourself with a broad range of strategies, the experience truly opens up to you and can be incredibly fulfilling. Race Replay also adds a fun side detour that helps break up the intensity of the campaign and remind yourself why you love this sport.
Ghostrunner 2 follows on very closely from the first, adding in some enemies, abilities and mechanics, but very much maintaining the essence that made it a cult hit in the first place. Its brutal and often unfair difficulty mean its really not going to be for everyone and the performance and bugs could present a real tipping point for those who are just about managing to keep pace. But for fans of the first, those who love dynamic action sequences and are ok with a little bit of tough love, you’re going to fall head over heels for this one.