I can’t say for sure whether Immortals Fenyx Rising is for you. The systems in this game are absolutely not super in-depth; they are streamlined, easy to understand versions of systems you see in other games, and this is true of character progression, combat, and practically everything else. They are designed to get to the point and let you get on with your game. It’s not overly involved because it doesn’t need to be, and there are plenty of games out there that do get incredibly deep if you want those kinds of experiences. Immortals Fenyx Rising isn’t the perfect antidote to open world fatigue, but it is a damn good first volley at trimming off the extra checklists for the sake of checklists, and giving players a more focused experience that they can dial up or down to suit their tastes. As a bonus, it’s wrapped in a gorgeous looking package with some clever writing and a story that may not be ultra compelling but is fun to enjoy nonetheless. It’s the perfect open world game for somebody who loves Greek mythology, for somebody who wants to have more control over their experience, who wants to be able to kick back and explore without pressure, or who wants to dig into a big game they can actually finish. For me, it’s a fantastic way to revisit a style of game I’d given up on and focus on just having fun with it, which is worth the price of admission for me alone, and I can confidently say that between the three big Ubisoft releases this season, Immortals Fenyx Rising is the game I’ll be choosing to spend my time with.
While Empire of Sin is not the first to tackle the era or the setting, but it is the best realized version out of any of them. There’s a few bugs to be rid out by Romero Games, but what exists is not detrimental to its enjoyment. Becoming something from nothing is no easy task on the streets of Chicago, and there’s plenty of views and systems to understand where money and resources are going, and how to improve your rackets if they’re not performing well. There’s exciting possibilities for DLC and expansions, but the existing roster will keep you busy well into next year. Empire of Sin blends several genres together for a mafia game that’s infinitely replayable.
Project Wingman features the best Ace Combat has to offer, and more. Sector D2 has crafted a game that’s both original and an homage in one, and I’m here for it. The singleplayer is incredibly well thought out, and provides longevity in its conquest mode where most players would stop when the campaign ends. Project Wingman knows what it is, does what it sets out to do, and exceeds that of its contemporaries.
Paradise Killer checks a lot of my favorite boxes. There’s an exciting and strange world to explore, there’s a strong cast of characters to get to know, a solid mystery to solve, and enough throwback references to 90s-era technology and eclectic iconography thrown in to create something that feels nostalgic and completely alien all at once. I’ve honestly never experienced a game quite like this one, and it’s one of the easiest recommendations I’ve been able to make in some time, especially if you relish in the weird. It’s a delight to get lost in Paradise, which leaves a lasting impression in almost every way imaginable.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War isn’t the evolution I thought it would be, but it is an excellent entry and return to form for a series that’s lost its way, but now has been found. There’s a familiar sense of movement and way the game plays that reminds you this is a Treyarch game, in all the best ways. The game feels less of a complete package due to how few multiplayer maps there are, and how Warzone feels like a less natural transition as it was in Modern Warfare. The campaign is short and sweet, but does some things to create a shared universe for future games to build off of. Black Ops Cold War is a really exciting 80s shooter that has yet to reach its full potential, but the state that it’s in currently is really fulfilling.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is another incredible and densely packed experience crafted by the fantastic teams within Ubisoft. There’s so much to do and see in Valhalla, and yet, you’ll never feel overwhelmed. You could sit down with this game, pour over a hundred hours into it, and still crave more. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the best Assassin’s Creed title to date. Now, let’s sound the horn and go raiding.
The Falconeer is a stellar experience. While its problems are few, they are drowned out by its strengths in exploration, combat, and being an audio and visual splendor. With well over a dozen hours of content, there’s a world begging to be discovered, and The Great Ursee. The next-generation of gaming is here, and with The Falconeer, there’s nothing else like it.
Without having played the original RUNE II at launch last year, I lack the understanding of the state that game was in. RUNE II: Decapitation Edition appears to be an improvement in just about every aspect. This game suffers from standard open-world problems like repetitive quest design, uneven visuals, and stiff dialogue; some of these things I suspect can’t be helped or fixed. For what issues remain, they don’t detract from the fact that I’m constantly booting up RUNE II: Decapitation Edition to begin the next quest. It can be a bit mindless, but it’s not aimless. I think it’s safe to say that RUNE II: Decapitation Edition has been saved from its own destruction by some passionate developers, and it delivers an enjoyable open-world RPG that has some rough edges, and should be given another chance at life.
Colorado is a tourist attraction for a reason, there’s so much to do here. And SCS Software has made Colorado, the DLC the same. If you rarely spend your time in free mode, this is the DLC that’ll change that. There’s lots of places that American Truck Simulator – Colorado doesn’t go, but what’s here is important for the trucking industry. This DLC captures the essence of Colorado beautifully, and is not disappointing. American Truck Simulator‘s Colorado is an essential purchase.
Bugsnax may not be the next big thing in creature collection, but it does a great job of bringing something new to the genre and demonstrates a lot of untapped potential therein. More importantly, it instills you with a sense of adventure in a strange new place to explore where any and all of your expectations are subject to defiance at a moment’s notice. The bugsnax themselves are consistently cute punctuation throughout your journey, but the journey of uncovering the mysteries of Snaktooth Island is far and away the real purpose of this game. Bugsnax will surprise you, it will delight you, and it will absolutely, positively burrow its way into your subconscious once you’ve dug in.