Little Nightmares II is bigger and bolder, which builds upon the foundations from the first game. The game is host to a disgusting, decaying world that opens up as you progress through each chapter. Its inhabitants will haunt your dreams for days and the emotional connection it draws between Mono and Six with absolutely no dialogue is powerful. It is worth noting that certain combat encounters and high stakes moments can become troublesome and do provide occasional road blocks which prevent the game from reaching its full potential. As it stands though, Little Nightmares II is a thrill ride filled with visually striking moments of pure nightmare fuel, which may invite you to leave your lamp on for the foreseeable future.
We're stuck between a rock and a hard place with Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood, because while it definitely has its downsides (some of them potentially deal-breaking, especially if buying it at full price) we also enjoyed our time with it. Everything is built around its destructive combat, which remains engaging to the last, and if you're willing to deal with some average-at-best graphics, a mediocre story and a short running length, we still think you'll have a good time with this one. Give it a try, and it might just surprise you.
Hitman 3 is a superb final entry in what must now be regarded as one of gaming's truly great trilogies. This is a fittingly slick and satisfying send off for Agent 47, a succession of expertly crafted and endlessly replayable missions - omitting that final level dud - that sees our favourite assassin wind up his story in triumphantly fine form. IO Interactive really has brought all of their mission crafting expertise to bear here, resulting in a handful of levels that rank with the very best Hitman has to offer, and all while throwing in a couple of genuine curveballs and surprises as they go. This is essential stuff.
While its early difficulty may deter some people, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game's complexity and how it opens up makes for a highly enjoyable experience. It's felt like an eternity since we've seen this title on our Xbox systems, and having a Complete Edition with touched up visuals and all previously released content is an absolute treat. Whether you're a fan of the series or a newcomer to the genre, there's something here to enjoy, and it's a reminder of why so many fell in love with the original game all those years ago.
At three hours long, it passes by at a breeze, and is packed with some truly spectacular set-pieces. One particularly notable scene takes place halfway through, and fans of the recent Hobbit trilogy will see a striking resemblance between the two. It all feels as though its building to a dramatic, explosive conclusion, but ends with one of the most anticlimactic boss fights in the series' history. It pales in comparison to intense encounters with General Raam and Queen Myrrah, and blends in with the majority of the expansions' combat encounters.
Immortals Fenyx Rising undoubtedly owes a huge debt to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, borrowing wholesale as it does from its core gameplay mechanics and narrative structure. However, what Ubisoft Quebec has come up with here also adds enough of its own spin on proceedings, with a strong personality and sense of humour sat alongside some brilliantly designed puzzles, flashy, satisfying combat and a huge world full of secrets, treasures and Ancient Greek mythology to discover. It may falter slightly in the final stretch by wrestling away player freedom and funnelling you through its overly long endgame, but this is still a hugely entertaining, technically impressive Ancient Greek romp that's well worth experiencing.
Post patching, Halo: The Master Chief Collection's small quirks can easily be overlooked, though we certainly haven't been pleased with matchmaking issues within the first couple of weeks. For those new to the universe of Halo, a vast array of single and multiplayer content awaits, all revolving around one of the greater ongoing stories available in gaming and featuring the franchise's hallmark genre-defining arena combat. For the more initiated, a chance to go back and relive many fond moments from a whole new perspective is also a boon. With Spartan-Ops content on the way, the Halo Championship Series, Nightfall, and The Guardians Beta included in the package, we can safely say that there is some aspect of this collection that should appeal to all, from those veterans of the UNSC who proudly achieved Level 50 on their original Xbox console, to the shiniest new greenhorn Spartan... Hoo-Rah!
It should be no great shock that next-gen NBA 2K21 is the best-looking basketball game ever made. What's perhaps more surprising is that 2K has added two substantial modes (in the new WNBA career mode The W and the massively multiplayer The City) to make it the most feature-packed one ever too. Much of its content still has the weight of microtransactions hanging over it, but as long as you don't mind ignoring that and putting in the grind instead, this is a great purchase for NBA fans: especially if you held fire and haven't played 2K21 on Xbox One yet.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla sees the long-running franchise at an absolute high point. A much tighter, more refined and narrative-focused experience, it learns lessons from other recent open world efforts, removing much of the series' tedious open-world busywork and channelling its players through a genuinely excellent and intriguing adventure. There's still plenty of exploring, looting and collecting to be done here but it's so much more engaging, full of fun puzzles and atmospheric treasure hunts that make the downtime between story arcs all the more rewarding. This is Assassin's Creed looking and feeling better than ever.