Back 4 Blood certainly improves upon the gameplay formula of Turtle Rock's earlier Left 4 Dead, with a deeper feature set that allows for greater strategy and customization while fending off Hordes of the undead. But the world of the game and its characters lack the charm of its spiritual forebear, and a few curious design choices keep it just shy of greatness.
Far Cry 6's barely hangs together on the strength of the gameplay loop it inherits from its predecessors. Beyond the addition of some fun new toys, like the "resolver" weapons and Supremo backpacks, nearly every design change is mystifyingly for the worse, and the mismatch between the gameplay and storytelling ambitions is more conspicuous than ever.
Hell Let Loose is one of the most unique and fulfilling first-person shooter experiences that a console player can have. Its deep strategy metagame and intricate mechanics can be intimidating to new players, but if you stick with it and give it the time it needs, Hell Let Loose will reward you with emergent and unforgettable moments.
Alan Wake Remastered does what a good remaster should. It honors the original game's artistic direction while enhancing it with modern technology, specifically in the form of volumetric lighting. Its lack of American Nightmare as part of the package is disappointing to say the least, but fans of Remedy's current work would do well to take a trip to Bright Falls, whether they're returning or visiting for the first time.
Bandai Namco promised that "now is the time for change," and Tales of Arise legitimately feels like a game that's trying to bring change to Japanese RPGs. It's strong characters, epic story, engrossing battle system, and lush visuals are only marred by a disappointing final act, and those areas of the game where the team refused to let go of outdated ideas and conventions. If the Tales team can find it in themselves to push things just a little further, then this might truly be the spark that sets off a revolution in a genre that's needed a regime change for so long now.
Deathloop layers a refined take on Arkane's signature mix of ability-driven action and stealth onto a time-looping premise, and the result is one of most memorable games of recent years. While many of the pieces may be familiar, the combination is fresh and full of surprises.
Life is Strange: True Colors has a lot of the ingredients that make the series so beloved, most notably in its compelling protagonist. Technical advancements for the series bring its story to life with fantastic performances and a keen eye for detail. Unfortunately, the story it brings to life is full of stutters and stops, and takes far too long to develop. Where Life is Strange games are full of movement, True Colors feels painfully stagnant for too long.
Space Invaders Invincible Collection certainly isn't the collection it could have been, and definitely isn't a collection for everyone, but it is still a great look back at the Space Invaders franchise for those interested in such a thing.
No More Heroes III brings back gaming's favorite passing assassin in a bombastic way, with the kind of inventive, fourth wall-breaking presentation one might expect. It's flashier, bolder, and even funnier than its predecessors, and the gameplay feels just slightly modernized without sacrificing any of the series' charm. The pacing might seem a bit halted in some places, and it could have worked best as a capstone to the series, but it's clear that creator Suda51 and the rest of the designers are just as passionate about the Garden of Madness as ever.
Psychonauts 2 recaptures the humor, heart, and much of the creative magic of the original game, with modern refinements that make it more pleasant to play. While the combat still feels a bit clunky and outdated compared to the rest of the game, fans of the original will no doubt delight in revisiting old friends and making new ones in this charming adventure.