Ars Technica's Reviews
In all of the best possible ways, Bayonetta 3 is leaning into the parts of itself that are more earnest than ever—all while going harder than ever on doing whatever it takes to simply be cool as hell. If you're looking for a strong, coherent storyline, this was never the series for you. But if you are a fan of flashy spectacles, a varied and creative arsenal, and larger-than-life characters, Bayonetta 3 more than delivers.
Similarly, boss battles feel woefully undertested and suffer from agonizing spikes of challenge and confusion. There's also an overworld aspect of spending in-game money to unlock new paths, though many of the unlocks don't actually lead to new levels; instead, they only dole out cosmetics used to decorate a "locker" interface that is tucked into the very back corner of a single multiplayer lobby. (Decorating your tiny Splatoon 3 locker is perhaps the utter opposite of trimming a bonsai tree; the act of putting objects into your virtual locker is a nightmare of physics collisions and red Xs indicating that, no, you can't decorate your locker the way you want.)
Graphical upgrades and smarter enemies make this version of TLOU the best one yet, but those updates fail to address an issue at this game's core: TLOU was originally designed for the PlayStation 3, and at its worst, TLOU Pt 1 still feels like a PlayStation 3 game.
If Digital Eclipse addresses even half of my nitpicks in a future patch, that would take this collection past its current state of "good enough" to "easily recommended" territory. In the meantime, weigh your own particular nostalgic appetite before reaching in for a slice of the Cowabunga Collection-or order a tastier pie from the competition with Shredder's Revenge.
When I got the wingsuit working, I could fly decent distances while diving to maintain speed, then pull up on my joystick to catch more air and keep going. But the wingsuit is just a wingsuit, and in a series like Saints Row, that feels like a missed opportunity. Why not let wingsuit flyers shoot a gun, fly higher with a jetpack, or grab onto power lines and fling themselves around? After I experimented with flight a few times, I found the system too unwieldy for consistently convenient travel and leaned on fast travel or cars.
There is a story, told mostly through notes left strewn around the environments, but I’d be lying if I said I paid any attention to it. The draw here is the gameplay loop, and if what I’ve described above sounds tedious to you, the game is absolutely not for you. Rogue Legacy 2 is a game about repeated failure, and only slow, incremental progress will lead to your success.
NSS bowling doesn't yet include its "challenge" lanes in online matchmaking, but I hope these come in a patch because they're the exact twist that the Wii Sports formula needs. As played in either local multiplayer or online friends-only matches, these include static and moving obstacles in lanes, and they randomly rotate in each frame. I like how they force players to shift their throwing position and wrist rotation to get different kinds of strikes, instead of doing the same wrist-waggle "cheese" moves repeatedly. The default bowling mode is fine, but the challenge mode is where it's at for consistently refreshing virtual bowling.
GT7 will try to tempt you to open your real wallet to buy in-game credits a little more frequently than you might like. Each time you buy a car or a tuning part in the game, the dialogue includes an option to top up your credits via the PlayStation Store.
I can appreciate that Elden Ring doesn't want to hold a player's hand and gently guide them to the next point of interest, as so many other games do. But that lack of guidance often seems to slip into a willingness to let a player wander aimlessly if they're not careful. Players who use guides or rely on the in-game hints from other players may not feel this issue so acutely, but aimlessness has been a major feature of my time with the game so far.
Basically, 343 charts a few dozen encounters and terrain paths that would have been found in prior games' linear campaign levels, then spreads them over a series of floating, connected islands to make its open world. Additionally, 343 has a nifty tool in its toolbox: Halo's 20-year-long gimmick of warping enemies from outer space whenever needed. Infinite kicks serious butt in these moments. Follow your map to an icon or simply walk up to a weird-looking point of interest and the game will start inserting foes, all hunkered behind carefully crafted terrain that separates you from them. Surprise: it's a miniature level!
Though that's an exaggeration (if a slight one), allowing you to kit out any character you want with whatever equipment naturally tilts combat from decisive to unwieldy. Players can access whatever tools necessary for self-sufficiency or going off solo, guns blazing. Don't expect to get many revives from your teammates even when medics are around. Meanwhile, this half-exploit system exposes several character gimmicks as same-y, underwhelming, or borderline useless-this is absolutely a game that plays favorites. Combined with the level design, it becomes painfully clear how disorganized and thoughtless the bulk of 2042's systems really are.
FH5 is an easy recommendation as part of a paid Xbox Game Pass subscription, and it's a great excuse to flex your newest gaming hardware purchase. But if you're already happy with Forza Horizon 4 or were bored by that one, take your sweet time sitting behind this game's wheel.
Likewise for outfitting your guns with separate types of bullets that target weaknesses on opponents. Since this requires a clumsy change via the menu-and more to the point, because you're invariably getting swarmed by a mess of soldiers of different classes-thinking this system was anything other than worthless was shortsighted on the developers' part. (And if this entire section sounds like a mess of menus, it is, so your mileage may vary there.)