The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes is far and away the best Dark Pictures game so far. It blends intriguing characters, compelling drama, and a killer twist to offer up what can only be described as the most honed experience Supermassive has put out in this series so far. It's got a few minor issues here and there – namely relating to the diversity of its cast and how much each of them plays into the overall story – but it's a horror experience that no fan should miss even if they weren't fans of Man of Medan or Little Hope.
Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles is a loving recreation of the first leg of Tanjiro and Nezuko's journey. It might not push the envelope in any meaningful way, but I can guarantee that this will satiate Demon Slayer fans and maybe even provide some entertainment for newcomers. It delivers on exactly what's promised, and I think that is what most people will want out of The Hinokami Chronicles.
It's hard to fault the moment-to-moment gameplay of Back 4 Blood when all of its pistons are working in tandem and you're running with a good crew. Though the effort to contemporise and grow beyond its roots is commendable, just about every other aspect of the game feels like a misfire. The campaign isn't fun and, more offensively, it pays no regard to solo players.
Make no mistakes; Far Cry 6 is, without a doubt, the best Far Cry game in a long time. The game brings back the exotic locations we've been missing since Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4 and adds yet another charismatic antagonist to its storied pantheon of villains. But more importantly, it's a joy to play, with a unique arsenal full of character and breadth of content that is not only comprehensive but engaging.
Metroid Dread feels like a celebration of 2D Metroid. It manages to stay true to the original games, whilst also introducing some new elements that keeps things feeling fresh. The game is held back by some questionable level design, the E.M.M.I feeling repetitive and a definite knowledge barrier for series newcomers.
Alan Wake Remastered is a prime example of if it isn't broken, don't fix it. The story, and the way it's told is truly timeless, and it's a game that everyone should experience. Some of its design might be stuck in the past, but none of it ever feels detrimental to the overall experience, and the visual facelift just makes the experience that much better. Whether you're a new fan of Remedy's work, or a long-time player, there's never been a better excuse to visit or return to Bright Falls.
JETT: The Far Shore is at its best when you're zipping across landscapes at breakneck speeds, with the music swelling and countless elements of the landscape begging you to explore them. Unfortunately, JETT struggles the most when it slows down, and its faults begin to show. It's a worthwhile experience if the traversal and exploration sound like your kind of thing, but if you're here for a strong narrative experience and tight mission design, JETT: The Far Shore might not deliver.
Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania is a confident and addictive reminder of why Monkey Ball was so popular back in the day. It truly feels like a celebration of the franchise that's jam-packed with content, bonuses, and unlocks. Monkey Ball still holds up with addictive challenge, fantastic music and a goofy, yet endearing premise, and all of it is accentuated by small yet meaningful additions that makes it more accessible than ever before.
It's no surprise given Milestone's pedigree that Hot Wheels Unleashed is a mechanically sound and confident racing title as it boils down the true essence of Hot Wheels and puts on a showcase exactly why they're a beloved pastime. The bloated story mode does little to obfuscate the game's skeleton crew of modes, though I think the game will find resilience through a community of online racers and their wonderful, imaginative creations.