It Takes Two wears a lot of hats, and each of them well. It’s a romantic comedy, a challenging shooter, a head-scratching puzzler and more. While it has a somewhat predictable narrative (less so than A Way Out, for the most part), it’s still charming and full of Pixar-like whimsy. Find a loved one and get into this one; you’ll certainly be glad you did.
If the clunkiness of Monster Hunter has held you back in the past, Rise could be a good jumping-on point to give the franchise another try. I’m not saying you’re going to be seeing pro strategy videos on YouTube from yours truly any time soon, but I might stick around to solve the mystery of the Rampage after all.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is a delightful double act. Super Mario 3D World holds up well, and offers a unique multiplayer experience that works particularly well on Switch. Its opening worlds are designed to cater for that varied audience, while the second half injects some much needed difficulty and is best played solo. Bowser’s Fury is experimental in nature, and offers something completely different with a fully open world housing plenty of Shines to collect at a rapid pace. While neither quite reaches the dizzying heights of Super Mario Galaxy or Odyssey, it is a double dose of Mario doing things differently, and a fitting finale to Super Mario’s 35th anniversary.
Little Nightmares 2 is certainly polished and beautifully stylised, but it didn’t offer me a new experience. While many on-screen antagonists snared me in their traps, it itself didn’t grab me. I far prefer the titles I mentioned before — Limbo, Inside and Unravel — over this, but fans of this genre will certainly feel differently.
All in all, I was surprised at just how well the Persona/Musou combo works. In the Persona series, combat always felt slow, tactical and specific – a game all about discovering and targeting enemies’ weaknesses to take them out before they can hurt you. These two studios have worked out how to make that same methodology work in a fast-paced action combat environment, while still feeling that same sense of mastery. The storyline feels like a true continuation of the 2016 title with characters represented accurately, unlike some past tie-in titles where the characterisation can become one-note. For fans of Persona 5 this is a great way to dive back in and get another helping of this excellent cast, and spend another few dozen hours looking at some of the most stylish UI in gaming.
Despite an improved narrative when compared to Layers of Fear, The Medium does drag on a bit — especially near its climax — and resorts to a couple lazier puzzles at around that same point. On the whole though, The Medium is a rather enjoyable experience, especially for those who are fans of any of the myriad survival horror franchises I’ve already mentioned.
Hitman 3 is a fun game — and I enjoyed plotting my way through it — but my hopes of refinement and iteration weren’t met. At its core, the gameplay is still the same as it’s always been. The series hasn’t managed to keep up with the times with the only attempt to shift the gameplay formula up somewhat, Hitman: Absolution, being very poorly received.
If I’m being honest, Twin Mirror is DONTNOD‘s most experimental work in a long time, though it also pales in comparison to previous outings. That’s not to say it isn’t good, it’s not just great. With such a high bar to hit, coming off truly impactful games, Twin Mirror just doesn’t quite manage to hit the same calibre (The Adventures of Captain Spirit FTW). I’m also disappointed that — based on previews and promos — I believed it had a Twin Peaks vibe didn’t follow through to the full release, but I’ll largely take responsibility for that one. Those who enjoy DONTNOD‘s work will certainly enjoy this, but those getting into the genre for the first time should consider this game’s predecessors before it.
Though it liberally borrows from Breath of the Wild, Immortals Fenyx Rising is fresh and fun, offering up an exciting new IP I hope to see more of. That said, its endgame pacing issues certainly don’t do it any favours, nor does the timing of its release.