Oddworld: Soulstorm is a big, beautiful puzzle platformer with the spirit of Abe's adventures intact and some interesting new ideas, but it's all very quickly undone by imprecise controls, tedious level design and a shocking lack of polish. Oddworld fans will definitely want to check it out, but they may be better off waiting for a few more updates before investing their time, and even then might come away just a tad disappointed.
Outriders combines immense variety, aggressively geared combat and fun abilities to offer a third person shooter like no other. It's filled to the brim quality content – bringing a stellar campaign that's constantly throwing new things at the player and a compelling well-designed post-game experience in Expeditions. Teething issues with online aside, Outriders is poised to be one of the biggest surprises of the year, and you should definitely give it a go.
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut is the definitive version of an already brilliant game. It's a melding pot of eccentric characters, thought-provoking social commentary, and a staggering sense of world and place within its setting. Its main narrative might fumble in its conclusion, but everything you'll experience before that is some of the best stuff you can find in this kind of RPG.
Although the story of Cody and May doesn't meet the standards set by the game's varied gameplay, It Takes Two sees the continued form of Josef Fares and his team at Hazelight in crafting wonderfully creative and engaging worlds for players to share and collaborate in. It Takes Two is a co-op experience that's second to none, which offers more ways than you can imagine to experience these larger than life play spaces.
Monster Hunter Rise is nothing short of brilliant. It builds off of the solid foundations of World and Iceborne in ways that feel meaningful and add more depth to an already staggeringly deep gameplay loop and progression system. Despite a few minor shortcomings, Rise is another rip-roaring success for both CAPCOM and Monster Hunter as a franchise, that demands the attention of fans and anyone interested by its ever-lasting appeal.
If there's one things that's certain after playing the PS5 and Nintendo Switch versions of Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, it's that the game is fun no matter where you're playing it. The Switch version is great for portability whilst the PS5 provides crisp 4K visuals and insanely fast load times. It's worth a play for Crash fans and those that haven't had the joy of taking control of everyone's favourite Bandicoot.
Bravely Default II is a fun sequel that does it's best to improve on it's predecessor. While the dungeon designs are simplistic and the side quests lack variety, it's hard to ignore what Bravely Default II does well. A combination of great artistic and audio direction and an engaging battle and progression system make Bravely Default II stand out from the rest. Make no mistakes. It's an earnest throwback to an often forgotten era of RPGs and a stellar modernisation of the classic Final Fantasy formula.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury is a fantastic package that showcases what makes Nintendo games so special. Super Mario 3D World is just as good as when it released, and Bower's Fury is a surprisingly good standalone adventure that paves the way for the future of Mario.
Playing Persona 5 Strikers is like being blessed with a reunion special of a beloved series that ended years ago. It feels different, perhaps through a new lens or just more timely, but the characters you grew to cherish are all back for one last, terrific adventure. Omega Force's influence is clear, but the game walks a confident line between the traditional Persona format and a musou spin-off. If you're a fan, do yourself a favour and don't sleep on this – Strikers is one hell of a road trip that deserves to be considered a proper sequel.
Little Nightmares II isn't content with just iterating on its predecessor, instead improving on it in practically every way. The puzzles are challenging and rewarding, combat surprisingly functional, and the imagery is as striking as ever. While trial-and-error design bogs down Little Nightmares II considerably, it's far and away a better game than the original.