If there is any criticism to be made of Jusant, it's that developer Don't Nod – no stranger to over-egging the narrative pudding at times – couldn't hold its tongue, filling the beautifully spartan climb with diaries, logs, and otherwise unnecessary lore. But the game's focus on its core climbing mechanics, and some of the finest art direction we've yet seen, still make this an essential journey.
If you're already invested in the Remedy Connected Universe – that's Alan Wake, this sequel, and 2019's Control, thus far; officially, everything else is just an Easter Egg – then you will devour and adore Alan Wake 2. For everyone else it might feel like a slog, at times, through Alan's hackneyed writings and Remedy's penchant for mixed-media presentation, but this is still an excellent survival horror with many bright spots reflected in that signature flashlight.
We were all a bit surprised that Nintendo elected to do a straight-up sequel to 2017's seemingly unsurpassable Breath of the Wild, and we were shocked to see it would reuse the same open world. But any concerns we might have had about revisiting the same version of Hyrule were quickly shattered upon release, and now, six months on, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom continues to dazzle and amaze. In this case, lightning really did strike twice.
In the absence of meaningful stakes, Frog Detective's trading sequence mechanics might seem shallow and its detective work may feel basic, but perhaps that's deliberate? In focusing on whimsy and charm above all else, Frog Detective is allowed to just be funny and daft on its own merits, and that's where it shines.
Nintendo rather threw the kitchen sink (full of thousands of Post-it notes) at Super Mario Bros. Wonder, so it's unsurprising that not every element is as successful as the game's – and the genre's – best. But when you think about it, it's remarkable that, after nearly four decades, there are still new ideas left to try. The real wonder is how good Mario's latest 2-D romp turned out.
While the spectacle of a gruff, coffee-pounding Pikachu in a deerstalker hat will never not be charming, Detective Pikachu Returns is less enjoyable than both its breakthrough predecessor and, somehow, the surprisingly decent Hollywood movie spin-off. The odd world-building is still on point, though, and younger players will doubtless find some fun in the not-so-murky corners of Ryme City, even if the intrigue is light and the detecting itself is a little rote.
Like Final Fantasy VIII's gunblade or Gears or War's active reload, Dust & Neon knows that a solid, satisfying mechanical input can make or break otherwise rote gunplay. It's a small distinction, sure, but it lifts David Marquardt's twin-stick, sci-fi Western out of the metaphorical dust.
Neither a reinvention of the series nor a return to its roots, Fire Emblem Engage finds a comfortable middle ground. It's another polished skirmish (with Suikoden-like town planning on the side) that will keep Fire Emblem fans happy, but its lacklustre plot and lack of branching choice (like Three Houses) ultimately hold it back.
With its close-hugging third-person camera and its mood of air-locked foreboding, it's hard not to judge The Callisto Protocol through a lens tinted by Glen Schofield's earlier creation, Dead Space. And while its more violent tendencies diminish the tension somewhat, there's still plenty to recommend here.
If Ragnarök spells the end of God of War, as both its themes and talk from Santa Monica Studio suggest, then it will serve as a fitting end for Kratos. Not just because it would make an impressive swansong for the God of War, but because that level of weariness and relief that Kratos feels from completing his lengthy endeavours is, by its end, projected onto the player, completing theirs.
With its striking production values and next-gen rat rendering, it's hard escaping the notion that A Plague Tale: Requiem is, like Microsoft Flight Simulator before it, more of a tech demo or portfolio piece for Asobo Studio. But for fans of the original, the prospect of more of the same – only bigger and flashier, and without the 'Allo 'Allo! accents – is certainly enticing.
Most video games that model themselves on H.R. Giger's biomechanical monstrosities are purely aesthetic. Scorn wears its influences not on its sleeves, but inside them; a mass of ooze and darkness and gnarly, desiccated things; a grimly singular puzzle, but perhaps one that didn't need the combat to deliver its horrors home.
There's very little that's new in Easy Come, Easy Golf that wasn't in Everybody's Golf before it – save for its team mechanic and those frightening golf-baby clones – but that doesn't matter. None of that matters. The fact we've got a Clap Hanz golf game on a Nintendo console, at long last? That's a hole in one, for sure.
In a world where 2014's Mario Kart 8 is still going strong, on the face of it, it seems hard to justify a third full fat Splatoon game in the same time frame. While it might not be groundbreaking, Splatoon 3 is nonetheless a high watermark for the series, and is a welcome premium product in the era of battle passes and microtransactions.