I wish I could say that Sea of Solitude excels in every way a game can. Though it offers an honest, raw depiction of how unfortunately disparate life can be and the toil that goes with that, it fires few shots as an interactive experience. A rather barren world and repetitive core loops only serve to mar what is an otherwise overwhelming sensory treat.
The Sinking City is easily the best H.P. Lovecraft game yet, throwing players into a well-realised but characteristically melancholy town that's coming to terms with its cosmic fate. It's a classic detective game through and through, which rewards smarts and isn't afraid to let you explore and immerse yourself with no handholding. It's just a bit of a shame that's hindered by some rudimentary combat, shoddy technical issues and an open world that's a little too big for its own good.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night doesn't reinvent the idea of what a Castlevania game should be, but it does a better job than any of its contemporaries at emulating that classic formula that Konami have long abandoned. While it's technically got a few issues they're hurdles that I am sure it will overcome. Still, in a market that's flooded with imitations, Bloodstained is the real deal. A true successor to Castlevania that fans and newcomers will easily sink their teeth into.
This is the definitive Crash Team Racing experience. Nitro-Fueled is everything I hoped it would be, a faithful recreation of the classic game with added flair and personality. A lack of custom race settings and some superficial gripes are not enough to dissuade me that this is among the best kart racers available. Crash is absolutely back, baby!
Back In 1995 does an earnest job at trying to emulate the experience offered by the survival horror canon of the nineties, especially visually. But beyond it’s looks, 1995 fails to recognise why those games were so great, and is unfortunately an inferior experience because of it.
Underneath it all, RAGE 2 is one of the most energetic and frenetic shooters I’ve played since DOOM. But you must, unfortunately, wade through a poorly paced story, a drab open world, and a few locks and progression gates to even experience the best it has to offer. Those who persist will adore RAGE 2, but it’s such a bizarrely inconsistent journey to get there that it’s hard to recommend to everyone.
A Plague Tale, at times, feels like a missing early chapter of the Assassin's Creed catalogue. Its ability to bend a truly fascinating point in documented history into a fantastical, mythical story that keeps you invested from start to finish is remarkable. It's a cinematic journey that is uncomplicated in its delivery, managing to occupy gamers without distracting from the game's narrative and the bond that develops between the de Rune siblings which, in the end, is A Plague Tale's undoubted strength.
Bend has delivered on a largely enjoyable open-world game with Days Gone. It has its fair share of hang-ups and though most are forgivable, some are not. Their depiction of Oregon, while bleak, is truly breathtaking and strikes me as the ideal mould for open-traversal. Its map isn't as big as many in the genre, though it's densely populated by things to do.
Mortal Kombat 11 is both joyful and frustrating. It's far and away a superior game to Mortal Kombat X where it truly matters - the roster is strong and varied, the visuals are phenomenal, and the flow of battle is as sharp as ever. If you play with friends, solid online offerings will deliver in droves. If you're thinking of playing solo, although Story mode is some of Netherrealm's best, the grind to unlock everything beyond that is sobering. It's this grind that means Mortal Kombat 11 stands besides Mortal Kombat X, and not above it.
Ace Attorney Trilogy is a modestly priced collection of thrilling adventures that highlight the best narrative arc in the series thus far. The writing is smart, the narrative is enthralling, and the characters are charming if not kooky. There's a personal concern that the newer and cleaner art direction will put off some series purists and the cases can feel a bit slow in some parts, but otherwise, this is the best the series has ever looked and played and easily worth your attention.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is an intelligent reinvention of the tried and true SoulsBorne formula. It successfully manages to strike a delectable balance between difficult and enjoyable, without the frustrating moments players might’ve experienced in Dark Souls or Bloodborne. Owing to its fast-paced combat that rewards an aggressive approach, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is both fulfilling and satisfying and easily the best of FromSoftware’s games yet.
Devil May Cry 5 rights all the wrongs of its predecessors with style and gusto, whilst being incredibly welcoming to series newcomers. The three playable characters bring great combat variety against the games huge slew of enemies and bosses. There are a few little niggles that stop the game from being the best it could be, but Devil May Cry 5 is undoubtedly one of the best in the series.
Rising is without a doubt the best Trials game yet. The community this series has garnered over the span of two decades finally gets a little of the limelight and, quite frankly, serves as the lynchpin of this game. The gameplay is as tight as ever while the tracks themselves are scintillating, showcasing the developer's creativity which is, even at this late stage of the Trials saga, first-rate.
Crackdown 3 is without a doubt the best Crackdown yet. It successfully builds upon the previous two games to offer an open world experience that, while formulaic, is still incredibly enticing. This is in part due to the very flexible combat system, which offers heaps of different ways to be as destructive as possible. It's structure has been seen before, sure, and as such Crackdown 3 doesn't break ground in many ways, but it's still such an enjoyable experience that I'm not sure it entirely matters.