Press Start's Reviews
When it comes to pure fan service, there won't be many better this year than Return to Monkey Island. It feels like the true sequel to LeChuck's Revenge and it feels as though its clever, self-referential wit is a product of Gilbert's return. As sad and nostalgic as parts of Guybrush's newest tale can be, I had a wonderful time revisiting familiar people and places in yet another golden-age adventure.
Refinements to core aspects of NBA 2K23's gameplay make for some of the most fluid and enjoyable action seen in some years, and it's all capped off with the excellent Jordan Challenge. It's not perfect by any means, but this year's NBA 2K is certainly a big step up from previous entries.
Wayward Strand offers up a uniquely Australian take on the narrative adventure game with a gorgeous art direction and moving portrayal of hard-working people in a harsh system. Despite a couple of pacing issues and an unforgiven save system, Wayward Strand is an approachable and hugely enjoyable little world to explore and find some catharsis in.
Though the alternate history setting allows Steelrising to immediately separate itself from the bloated Souls-like genre in an aesthetic sense, its shortcomings prevent it from standing out in a way that truly matters. Some elements work well, and the accessibility options are very welcome; just don't go in expecting Spiders to have reinvented the automaton.
While more iterative than it is innovative, Splatoon 3 is without a doubt the best entry in the series yet. Despite lacking new multiplayer modes at launch, there's a clear commitment to content and quality, with each aspect of the package being pushed to its logical extreme through smart and meaningful additions. This is the most feature-complete and tightly designed Splatoon to date, and you'd be missing out if you choose to pass it up.
I suspect that people with fondness for the original Pac-Man World, or even just this specific era of platforming games will be the ones who get the most from RePac. It's a style of game that has been out of fashion for a while, but it's simplicity could still hold some appeal. When you can get lovingly re-created versions of the standard-setting Crash Bandicoot series for the price of this though, the value proposition for a remaster of one fairly short and unremarkable game is hard to swallow. One for the fans.
The Last of Us Part I is, for all intents and purposes, the same The Last of Us that you know. It doesn't take liberties to completely reshape the experience and nor should it. It does, however, smartly enhance the original's combat through A.I. advancements, and drags the original's production values over the line to create a product that can stand unified with its more polished sequel. The Last Of Us: Part I is without doubt the most definitive version of The Last of Us on the market.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection really nails what a library of retro titles should look like. Hitting that sweet spot between nostalgia and playability, it is clear that Konami and Digital Eclipse have gone to great lengths not only to preserve some of the best beat-'em-up titles from the late 80s and early 90s, but to make them accessible to younger Turtles fans as well. With stacks of bonus content to explore as well as online and offline multiplayer modes, grab yourself a pizza and kick some shell.
Immortality ambitiously succeeds at evolving the formats introduced in Her Story and Telling Lies to offer some of Sam Barlow's best work yet and one of gaming's most well-justified open-world experiences. Bolstered by some fantastic performances and a compelling mystery to uncover, it's engrossing and engaging from beginning to end. While it might assume some prior knowledge in telling it's underlying story, Immortality is an experience that's not to be missed and one that I'll never stop thinking about. It is truly fantastic and well worth your time.
When looking at the original release, Destroy All Humans 2! improved on its predecessor in almost every way. For the most part, this rings true with Reprobed, with the visual and mechanical overhaul bringing it into the modern scene. Still, the rough technical issues and poorly aged missions may have newcomers shying away.
While its unclear whether Soul Hackers 2 was an attempt to make a more inviting Shin Megami Tensei game for newcomers, the end result is a disappointingly streamlined RPG that both newcomers and long-time fans will inevitably bounce off of. It's a perfectly fine RPG, but so much of what makes SMT special is sorely lacking here in a palpable way.
We Are OFK doesn't quite hit the mark as an interactive experience, but it excels with a compelling narrative hook built on fantastic character and dialogue writing. It also doubles as a genuinely great EP by a virtual band that benefits immensely from the context its five episodes provide. This is a stark example of a game that is truly special, even if it's not perfect.
In what is effectively Tony Hawk's Pro Skater meets The Running Man in a war of attrition, full of guns and vibrant colour, Rollerdrome is a well-crafted arena combat-survival game set atop jam skates. Though as solid as the core loop is, the game is let down by a narrative that fails to measure up to the game's pulsating setting as well as a disappointingly sparse range of arenas that you'll see far too often.
Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered on PC is still the fantastic experience that it was on PS4, but now with a little bit of extra polish and shine from a graphical standpoint. If you haven't played this game, jump in, and if you played it on the PS4/PS5 it might just be time to get swinging once more.
Cult of the Lamb is sure to be a homegrown success on the back of its tremendous presentation, which is helped along by captivating notions of cultism and devotion. I just wish there was more of an accord between the game's working parts, which ultimately feels like a game of two individually brilliant halves.
Two Point Campus is another excellent entry from Two Point Studios that showcases not only more of the team's penchant for humorous and accessible management sim gameplay but genuine love for the genre. With a new spin that makes for a distinctly new-feeling gameplay loop and moment-to-moment decision making there's something here for both hardcore sim fans and casual onlookers. Some missed opportunities and controller-specific issues aside, there's never been a better time to create a ton of student debt.