The enormity of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' success will have surprised even its developers. This is a shooter that didn't invent the Battle Royale genre in gaming, but which certainly perfected it to the point that it found a massive, massive audience. With more than 30 million copies sold, PUBG is a bona fide phenomenon with an influence that will be felt in the industry for years to come.
Bluepoint Games has masterfully given new life to a masterpiece of the genre, making their Shadow of the Colossus feel in many ways like the definitive version. Porting and remaking the games of others isn't as trying as making something new, but doing so does come with significant pressure that Bluepoint have made their name dealing with. However, the studio's work wouldn't have been possible without the initial, groundbreaking efforts of Team Ico.Shadow of the Colossus is an adventure that's still every bit as breathtaking and astounding as it was over a decade ago.
Call of Duty: WW2 is for the most part exactly what you expect it to be. Sledgehammer Games has made a solid entry in an annualised series that rarely disappoints, which treats its subject matter surprisingly well. Its few surprises are to be found mostly in the campaign between the moments of cheap spectacle, when it successfully recaptures exactly why World War 2 shooters were so popular and prevalent over a decade ago. The multiplayer is the simplest definition of an online shooter, with few thrills, but it's essentially exactly what fans have been asking for.
With Battlefront 2, DICE has done everything to please Star Wars fans short of bending space and time so they can experience the original film's 1977 release as excitable ten-year-olds. There are problems, but the biggest are the fault of EA; a publisher publicly, frantically figuring out how to run a game as a live service, and which crossed a line now well-defined by its mistakes.
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus's story is a rich tapestry of violence, wild ideas and memorable characters, but when its excellent cutscenes end, its play struggles to reach the same heights. Mowing down Nazis is always a blast, but often those moments are undercut by the encumbrance of a counter-intuitive health system. New Colossus hosts some exceptional storytelling and unforgettable moments, but underneath all that is a shooter that never really excels.
Nintendo proves once again why it is the very best at what it does, with the Super Mario game players have waited 15 years for. Rooted in an wonderfully absurd design idea, Odyssey is a glorious and jubilant adventure for all that, like its plump hero, revels in the freedom to explore, experiment and play.
MercurySteam takes no time at all proving it is the perfect fit for a series overdue a resurgence. Another studio may have recreated Metroid as it was, but the Castlevania veterans modernise the Nintendo franchise with new abilities, freer movement, quality animations and lush alien design brimming with mystery and the unknown.If this remake was a test to see if there's life yet in the franchise, it passes with flying colours, only let down by a lack of the memorable boss encounters the series is known for. Maybe in a sequel the MercurySteam team could address this. They've certainly earned the right to try.
Nothing about Mario Rabbids should work. It's enough of a shock that Ubisoft Milan managed to bring together these two worlds so well, then it successfully makes its cast the stars of a genre none of them has ever been near. Robust in how it plays and confident in its presentation, Kingdom Battle is exactly the kind of bold and fun exclusive Switch needed in its first year.