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.
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.
Metro Exodus shows some heart, and it's clear the developers have poured a lot into this third chapter of Artyom's story. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that keep the game from hitting the standard set by its predecessors. Pacing is hamstrung by the ambitious misfire of an 'open-world', while performance issues and glitches mar much of Exodus.
God Eater 3 doesn't particularly do anything new and amazing for the hack-and-slash RPG genre – but what it does, it does really well. Despite the drags of the narrative, and extreme gripes with button bindings (and sometimes forgetting which buttons to press), God Eater 3 manages to keep you wanting more through combat, weapon upgrades and different battle tactics.
Kingdom Hearts III takes the series to astonishing new heights. With exhilarating combat, fantastic Disney worlds and a smart approach to an unavoidably convoluted story, it does everything it needs to not only please hardcore fans but anyone up for a solid action JRPG. Against all odds, this might be the perfect Kingdom Hearts game.
YIIK is an ambitious little RPG with an intriguing premise and engaging battle mechanics that is ultimately let down by some poor pacing and a very unruly inventory management system. In a game where stats matter so much, this is a pretty big issue to have. Regardless, if you can see past its flaws, there's a kooky game here with a weird but wonderful plot and a lovable cast to enjoy.
What would otherwise be a mess is beautifully brought together in Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes. While much more simplistic when compared to its predecessors, Travis Strikes Again is a fun and fast paced action game that commands your attention from beginning to end. It has a few pacing issues, especially towards the end and the co-op implementation might not be perfect, but Travis Strikes Again is yet another momentous trip through the wicked and warped mind of Suda51.
While the second and third games are arguably better, Onimusha: Warlords serves as a perfect introduction to one of Capcom's most underrated franchises. So many minor improvements have been made here to make the game very playable by modern standards, though the fixed camera angles will remain polarising with modern audiences. Regardless, Onimusha: Warlords is a brief yet rewarding experience that combines simple yet satisfying combat and ghoulish enemy designs to create something that's still unique.