Kingdom Hearts III is a confusing and sometimes tiring fireworks display of ambition and passion. The charm and wholesome nature of the Disney worlds, the flashy and frenetic battles, the gargantuan scope and scale of it all, all of this works in its favor to be something really unique but there's a lot dragging it all down too.
Despite shortcomings like a rather by the numbers level of quality of side missions, poor performance both visually and audibly, Metro Exodus still manages to deliver a compelling experience. Thanks to its meaty crafting and gun customization, a beautiful character-driven story focused more on humans than the fantastical, and a world built around fear, desolation, and tension, Exodus will definitely be one of 2019's most talked about games by the end of the year.
Respawn has successfully entered the battle royale genre with Apex Legends, allowing itself to take notes from its predecessors and come in and build upon the foundation laid before them. By refining the formula rather than making a significant effort to reinvent the battle royale wheel, this studio has proven themselves as unmistakable masters of their craft with both the Titanfall series and now Apex.
Resident Evil 2 is a definite remake in every sense of the word. It feels familiar but it's also dressed up to be 100% new for both veterans and newcomers alike. Fans will appreciate the smooth controls that still maintain the classic Resident Evil feel, the genuine feeling of horror, the great puzzles, and much more. Capcom has managed to redeliver a classic in a way that sparks new life into the series and survival horror genre.
These games are not bad games, that should be made clear, they're just games of their time. Holding them up to the light reveals many flaws, especially when held up next to their current iterations in the series. IO Interactive hasn't done enough to make these games worth revisiting in their current state, had they given Blood Money the full remake treatment, there is extreme potential for this collection... but alas, they have not.
Gear.Club Unlimited 2 isn't a bad game by any means. Like its predecessor, it's a competent racing game on a console that has a racing sim drought, but I was just expecting a bit more. As a big fan of racing games, both sim and arcade, it's hard to recommend at full price. And if the developers intend on making a third entry in the franchise, I hope that they take a long look at how to innovate this series, rather than iterate it.
Outside of some awesome action sequences, Spider-Man’s City That Never Sleeps DLC saga ends on more of a whimper than a bang. Sable’s characterization is jarring and odd, Hammerhead never rises above anything more than a C-tier villain, and it ends up feeling like a string of similar events repeating until you finally get to the end.
Just Cause 4 is fun when you're unloading lead, dancing around lightning, and blowing things up but it lacks significantly elsewhere. Avalanche has released a very unpolished open world experience that feels outdated visually and mechanically. To add insult to injury, the story feels bland and continues to make Rico one of gaming's most uninteresting protagonists despite his wide array of skills and gadgets. Just Cause 4 isn't a really bad game, it just has a lot of shortcomings and issues that hold it back from being something more than average at best and really mediocre at its worst.
Fallout 76 is Fallout on the surface in the sense it has the same art style, the lore, the gross critters lurking all over the place but it severely lacks what everyone loves about the post-apocalyptic RPG series. A world to spend dozens, even hundreds of hours getting lost in, moral dilemmas, interactions with characters, dialogue choices. Fallout 76 feels like buggy, mindless killing and looting none of which is even remotely fun to do, creating a serious identity crisis for one of gaming's most beloved franchises.
The beauty of Hitman 2 is that the first game was already so good that it didn't need some radical shake-up to the formula with a sequel. IO Interactive knew that they essentially struck gold the first time around and instead of overhauling the whole thing, they've taken a closer look at what could be done to improve things rather than take an entire step back and shuffle everything around.
With all of the improvements already added in, seasons which give further incentive for players to start new characters, as well as the addition of the Necromancer class, this is without a doubt the definitive version of Diablo 3.
If you're looking for new Spider-Man content, this will definitely meet your standards despite it being part one of a three-part saga. It leaves you hanging as things get particularly interesting so this may be best experienced when all the DLCs are out by the end of 2018 but if you don't mind waiting a couple weeks, The Heist is a satisfying epilogue to the main story of Marvel's Spider-Man even with one annoying technical flaw.
Red Dead Redemption 2 feels like Rockstar's new GTA 3 as in it takes massive leaps towards a new era of open-world gaming the likes of which have never been seen or at the very least executed to this level of quality courtesy of the borderline photorealistic graphics and remarkable game design.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 fires on all cylinders and hits every target with immense precision. This is the peak of zombies, one of the best battle royale experiences in the genre, and one of the most fluid, engaging, and tactical Call of Duty multiplayer modes to date. Even with the removal of a traditional single-player campaign, Black Ops 4 feels like you're paying $60 for a game that you could value at $100 or more.
Despite the repetitive nature of Starlink, I still mostly enjoyed my time with it, and I think that's partially because it doesn't feel bloated content-wise. In the end, it's a game made for a younger crowd of gamers, and if I put myself in that mindset, Starlink is one hell of a good time.
Life is Strange 2 is easily a worthy successor to the original by both remaining true to the tone of the series and finding refreshing ways to separate itself from it. In the first game, I definitely felt a lot of emotions but in Life is Strange 2, not only do I feel, but I found myself involuntarily emotionally reacting to the events of the game. Dontnod has created something truly special once again and the wait for these remaining episodes will be harder than it has been waiting in the past.