This simple change to the formula equates to a tremendous evolution, one that weaves a storyline in with its teachings rather than simply having you plod along from point to point hitting the A button. Danny Wallace returns as the Assassin Shaun Hastings, and while he doesn’t provide voice-over for every single point on the map, his occasional inclusion is always most welcome. Ubisoft includes imagery from museums as well as its own concept art and research together with images straight out of Shutterstock to create what’s undeniably a unique experience. It’s not perfect by any stretch — accessing the map caused my PC to chug and there’s a bunch of pop-in and flickering when it comes to NPCs. That said, the issues were fairly minor and didn’t detract from the overall experience too much.
In the grand scheme of things, I’d say that NHL 22 is a skip overall, though long-time hockey fans will certainly find enjoyment. And hey — just like NHL 15 before it, this is one of those years that means double Achievements/Trophies because of its cross-generation release. Quite honestly, though, I’d prefer cross-gen play and one Achievement set instead, and that’s a lot coming from Mr 600,000 Gamescore over here. It’s very likely that the matchmaking problems I’ve encountered have been exacerbated by the lack of current-gen console availability; while the Xbox One version is near identical to Xbox Series X in terms of gameplay, I’ll stick to playing the prettier-looking one.
Back 4 Blood doesn’t just imitate the Left 4 Dead formula like these titles, it elevates it past its predecessor. Perhaps it’s the nostalgia for the 12 year old title, or maybe just poor memory, that fuels our rose-tinted retrospection and distaste for something new. Regardless, Back 4 Blood takes the concept to the next level and builds in layers of cool ideas and just plain fun gameplay.
I did not enjoy my time with Far Cry 6, and I couldn’t believe how quickly I lost interest with it. Not only is it disappointing because of the calibre of games that have preceded it — which I’ve had immense amount of fun with — but what it could mean for the franchise going forward if this is the direction Ubisoft continues it in. Too many of its mechanics have been streamlined to the point where they are oversimplified, and there’s a lack of innovation when it comes to ways in which to engage the player in interesting ways. I found all of the repetitive tasks you’re asked to check off a list extremely dull, and even its story couldn’t hold my attention.
Alan Wake Remastered is a remasterpiece. I caught myself audiably saying, “man, I love this game” over and over while playing. I’ve dipped back in to Alan Wake’s American Nightmare to continue on, and I have a feeling I’ll be scheduling another replay of Control when this silly season quiets down. Remedy’s universe has captured my heart; Remastered certainly holds its own in 2021, but also serves as an impressive reminder of how far the studio has grown since 2010.
This is the kind of game a cheap uncle buys a kid for Christmas out of the bargain bin giving little thought beyond, “little Timmy likes cars so I’ll buy him this thing.” Sadly, it will only keep kids entertained for as long as it takes them to realise the odds are stacked against them. While some real passion has gone into the transition of some much-loved toys into digital form, the challenge of Hot Wheels Unleashed is just too great for its target audience. Without significant fixes, it will do little more than frustrate all who pick it up.
Unveiling the game’s central mystery step by step is always exciting, and there’s enough levity throughout the rest of the game to offset the darker tone that this central story revels in. There’s plenty to see and do throughout this game, and I’m excited for the added content coming over the next year, expanding the school setting and the story of Yagami’s best bud, Kaito.