On top of that, the island is so cluttered with trees, rocks, and other objects that it can be difficult to see things on the ground. The game employs a clever visual technique where objects become transparent, allowing for a better view, but this only happens when you get close to said objects. As such, you'll find yourself stop-starting around the entire island when you're looking for specific bits and pieces. It's not a huge issue, but it does make the game feel finicky to play.
DOOM 3 VR is also able to breathe new life into one of the game’s more divisive facets: the horror. While jump scares are constant, and as annoying as ever, the VR succeeds in placing you on Mars in a way DOOM 3 has never previously been able to accomplish. This means all of the ambient audio, the lighting, the abrupt discomfiting silence – everything contributes to the creepiness of the experience to an unprecedented level. It provides an opportunity to appreciate all of the things that DOOM 3 did well all those years ago, without having to carry the baggage of defining the series moving forward. And it’s better for it. Just don’t expect much of a visual upgrade, as thanks to the headset’s limitations, things more or less look the same as when the game first launched.
Oddworld: Soulstorm presents itself well and shows a grand vision for the series, but as a modern game in 2021, it's just not where it needs to be. It can be extremely awkward to pull off even basic manoeuvres, some new features miss the mark, and certain levels made us want to quit altogether. Bugs exacerbate some of the gameplay frustrations with wonky AI, and ultimately the play experience can be frustratingly rigid. Fans will love this reimagining of a classic, and the franchise's unique charm shines through, but it's a tough sell for anyone coming to the series fresh.
Outriders absolutely excels when it lets combat, solid gunplay, and supremely satisfying abilities do the talking. Its unique blend of aggression really is something to behold in action. Rubbish characters, the requirement to maintain an online connection and couple with servers, and various technical hitches hold it back from greatness, but they don't muddy the picture so much to dissuade a recommendation. Outriders is pretty class in motion.
Each of the game’s three “campaigns” distinguishes itself from each other as well. From the sandy canyons of Geonosis, the eerie halls of the Prosecutor, or the densely forested Kashyyyk, they all feel distinct. While it may not be a visual feast anymore, the takeaway with Republic is less look how far we've come but rather look how far ahead it really was.
Balan Wonderworld stands out as easily one of the worst 3D platformers in the past decade. There was no good reason for Square Enix and Yuji Naka to salvage this train wreck and it's an embarrassment that this game was allowed to be released at all in its current state. When the game's only redeeming qualities are some good music and neat DualSense features, something clearly went wrong here. There is no doubt that Balan Wonderworld should've remained locked up in the game design vault it was conceived in twenty years ago.
However, the writing is a bit of a letdown. The character interactions are solid, and seeing their interplay is a delight. There’s also an impressive level of detail paid to the minutiae of film-making that we rarely see. Unfortunately, this level of care doesn’t touch all corners of the experience. The character's connection to the primary narrative is tenuous. Outside of the very first mystery, the protagonist's motivations for remaining involved in these murders don’t feel warranted. This is especially problematic when it comes to Rintaro’s chapters, which comprise the brunt of the game’s 15 or so hours. The writing is able to somewhat successfully sidestep this problem, through sheer force of intrigue, but it’s not wholly successful.
Ultimately, how much you enjoy I Saw Black Clouds is going to hinge on your appreciation level for schlocky horror and low-budget psychological thrillers. It's an amusing enough diversion, but the story may leave you unsatisfied depending on your route through the game, and there's nothing here that you haven't already seen in a dozen straight to DVD clangers starring Stephen Baldwin or Tara Reid.
Overall, we'd say this is a decent upgrade that makes effective use of PS5's capabilities. However, if you're yet to grab Sony's new machine, the PS4 version will serve you just fine until you do. For a more in-depth look at the game itself, read our more comprehensive Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 PS4 review.
It isn't perfect; using the floaty jump as a dodge can sometimes land you in even more trouble, aiming your throwable pickaxe is imprecise, and some rooms just feel unfair. We also noticed some odd visual hitches, although these can be smoothed out by enabling vsync in the settings. All that said, if you enjoy a rogue-lite, particularly those with meaningful upgrades, UnderMine is well worth delving into.