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Far Cry 5 takes the longstanding first-person shooter franchise in a brave and inventive new direction. Gone are the endless waves of cookie cutter, cannon fodder enemies. Gone are the annoyingly larger than life supporting characters; cartoon imbeciles, peddling questionable objectives whilst showing little to no concern for the deathly chaos encircling them. And gone is the irreverent sense of humour that has underpinned recent entries to the series; making way for a more somber tone that appropriately underlines the dark imagery and themes found throughout the subtle and nuanced narrative.
So is Sonic Mania good? Yeah, it’s awesome. Is it the best Sonic game ever? No, Sonic 3 & Knuckles is. Is the Sonic Cycle broken? Probably not, Sonic Forces is due out later this year and looks like more of the third-person rubbish that we’re now so sadly used to.
When it comes to the crunch, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe delivers with aplomb. Its already stunning visuals from the Wii U version are given a jaw-dropping upgrade and the revamped battle mode alongside the ingeniously crafted race tracks and the ability to play Mario Kart in 720p on the go or 1080p docked makes it an even more compelling reason for all Switch owners to buy a copy. The karts run as smooth as ever and with hundreds of thousands of people to play against online, you’ll never be short of a real challenge.
It took me no time at all to realise that Little Nightmares was no ordinary platform-puzzle-horror game. The dank, shadowy world you awaken in, armed with nothing more than a lighter and a strong grip adds a level of tension very few platformers create.
What Remains Of Edith Finch tells a series of beautifully interwoven tales cemented into your character’s history. While this future beacon of its genre manages to evoke many distinctive and contrasting emotions, the underlying current of darkness and the hypnotically immersive interactions throughout each epistle will leave a long-lasting impression that very few games manage to achieve.
All in all, despite a slew of visual glitches and indefensible movement problems caused by Telltale refusing to seriously upgrade their engine, the excellent writing and abundance of humour stops Guardians Of The Galaxy from sinking into the pit of ‘bad video games based on commercially-successful movies’. The fascinating character interactions and engaging storyline that never ceases in springing up surprises around every corner makes this a must-play for fans of the series and those who want a bit more after coming home from watching the feature film.
With expectations as high as they were pre-release, Mass Effect Andromeda was always going to be set a very high bar, which in many areas it meets. The relationships you develop with your crew, the stunning and uniquely varied planets and the robustness of combat are standout features which keep drawing me back in. Unfortunately, its clichéd and agonisingly short plot has let it down far more than dodgy facial animations and occasional glitches, which for a series that prides itself on epic and engrossing storylines, ultimately results in a mediocre entry to the franchise.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild will find itself amongst the crème de la crème of a market saturated with open world games. Nintendo has taken a risk in redefining exploration and storyline linearity, yet still manages to produce an experience that feels as epic a story as you’ll ever find. No two people will ever take the same path through the game and even upon completion, the human desire for discovery and intrigue will lead many to venture back to Hyrule in search of many more shrines, korok seeds and random encounters.
Putting a few very minor (and no doubt subjective) niggles aside – I’d argue that Horizon is an unreserved triumph, and a watershed moment for this generation of consoles in terms of maturing the medium. As Nathan Drake settles into a potentially permanent retirement, Sony has done well to pass on the baton. Whether or not we see Aloy again (and I have a strong suspicion that we will…) – Horizon is, thankfully, here to stay.
Had this game been bundled in with the console, it would have been lauded as a successful way to get friends and family members into playing the Switch, as Wii Sports did for the Wii. Unfortunately, for a $50 game the scrutiny bar is set a lot higher and after a couple of hours the game rapidly turns stale. If you’ve got a house party coming up and you’re able to borrow a copy or pick one up for less than $20, you won’t regret it, but there are only so many times you can strut down a catwalk, rock your Switch to sleep and beat your chest like a gorilla before the alcohol wears off and you realise how much of an idiot you look.
IO Interactive took a very brave step when releasing Hitman episodically, something which has absolutely paid off. Their constant support through updates, free bonus missions and elusive targets makes it a game worth coming back to on a regular basis and has strengthened their loyal fanbase, already resulting in the announcement of a second season. Hitman’s history of weak plots is certainly not going to end with this release but despite the long load times on consoles, the incredible amount of choice presented to you with every stunningly-crafted and unique level this game is a must-buy for anyone who enjoys plotting, planning and dropping a giant stuffed moose onto a corrupt CEO.