MLB The Show 21 is still loads of fun to play. Franchise is slightly improved, Diamond Dynasty continues to be strong, and Stadium Creator is even better than expected. However, there are areas of the game that don’t feel like an actual next-gen experience, and we’re still missing features that other sports games have had for years.
Outriders has surpassed my expectations in almost every way. Months ago, I figured this would be another looter flop, but now, it’s one of the best current entries in the genre, and even with no “live service roadmap” at hand, it’s clear you could potentially extract hundreds of hours from it regardless. I plan to do just that.
Overall, Demon’s Souls is still the most interesting and varied game in the Souls series. This remake not only looks lovely on the PlayStation 5 but is also a joy to play with all the tweaks and improvements that have been introduced. Now if only people would look past its supposed difficulty and see its carefully crafted intricacy instead.
Overall, this is a fantastic collection of Super Mario games. From the focused and demanding Super Mario 3D World to the more experimental, though still very well executed, open world take for Bowser’s Fury. Both games have a lot to offer and will keep you very busy unlocking their innermost secrets.
So it’s 5 levels really, but they are excellent levels, masterful executions of a brilliant concept by a team at the top of their game. And, on top of that, we’ve already got the other two games—which are available for dirt cheap, now—to make a single, expansive, globetrotting experience that sees our familiar, baldheaded puppetmaster accessing the world’s ultra-wealthy just when they thought they were invincible, dancing through the class divides like the nameless angel of death that he is, and then blowing someone up with an exploding golf ball or something.
I cannot recommend this game at full price. Again, as part of a free subscription it might be worth checking out and getting a few hours of slashy combat in. But I wouldn’t touch it unless the $70 asking price comes down by at least half, and even then, there are a half dozen other better games out this fall alone. I wanted to like Godfall. I never want to see games in this genre fail. But fail it does, and in a worse way than anything I have seen in a long while.
NBA 2K21 on next-gen delivers a fun and deep hoops package unlike anything else we’ve ever seen. It’s not just about enhanced visuals. There is more under the hood in almost every area. This isn’t a perfect game. There is room for improvement in multiple areas, but what it does excellently far outshines the smaller, and much-easier to absorb shortcomings. 2K has again set the standard on a new console, and everyone else is playing catch-up. The fact that this game was developed during a pandemic is inspiring.
Even for all its charm, it’s easy to see an older version of Nintendo at work in Pikmin 3 Deluxe. It is defined by a competence and execution of interlocking systems rather than the expansive wonder that came to define the developer’s biggest hits of the Switch era. For all the ways that the game does manage to convey a certain sense of scale at times, it’s a far cry from the open horizons of Breath of the Wild or the maddeningly deep puzzle boxes of Super Mario Odyssey. It’s a game from the Wii U era, before Nintendo had quite figured out how to expand its sense of whimsy to a much wider audience.
NHL 21 is another strong entry into the series’ history. It delivers a new strand of flavor with Be a Pro, maintains quality on the ice, and makes franchise mode more enjoyable. However, the limitations in customization and the subtractions to HUT keep NHL 21 from being the series’ ultimate edition.
FIFA 21 delivers most of what I’m looking for in a world football title, which tends to be the story every year. It features solid-to-strong gameplay, attractive visuals, and a good variety of options. However, flawed execution in VOLTA, a lack of customization and no traditional franchise mode for EPL or La Liga keeps it from being a classic.