Which all adds some persistent reward to what would otherwise be a ten-minute experience, repeated ad nauseam. You feel like you're moving forward tangibly instead of just merely growing your knowledge of the game, and with each boss only needing to be bested once, there's a strong sense of progressing through the game world past each playthrough, too. There's a slight monotony to the enemy design after some time, but each complaint we try to construct feels all but meaningless in the face of how pure and satisfying an experience Rogue Legacy manages to be.
If the series insists on keeping this modern day hook, this is the way to do – unobtrusive, quick and painless but with the capacity for exploration. Assassin's Creed III was sadly something of a disappointment, but Ubisoft Montreal must be commended for learning from its mistakes. The endless problems of easy combat and sticky, simple running may return but the rest is entertaining enough to make up for it. An energetic new protagonist, a focus on piracy and pillaging, excellent naval combat and a huge, beautiful open world make Black Flag an easy game to recommend, and a decent way to kick off the next generation.
The first narrative addition to the BioShock Infinite delivers everything it promised – it's an affectionately crafted homage to the first game, retroactively building on the grim story and Ayn Rand-ian themes, galvanising them with a fresh perspective whilst simultaneously tying Rapture more wholly into the Columbian narrative. It's intelligent, indulgent and nostalgic in equal measure, left dangling on a transfixing narrative hook. It's everything we love about BioShock, condensed.
To be honest, we spent the majority of our time just cruising around the county, drooling over the views and picking off random racers that happened across our patrols. Need For Speed: Rivals had Marcus Nilsson as an executive producer – who's previously worked with EA and Dice on the Battlefield franchise. It's clear his philosophy for online gaming has carried over to Need For Speed – though there is an option for solo play, this game is a far better entity when you've got friends on the server. That's what it was made for, and that's where it excels.
Capcom Vancouver has therefore given the Xbox One something that PS4 does not have right now: a strong triple-A exclusive. Dead Rising 3 dares you to dream about high the bar can be set for the open world game during this generation on a technical and creative level, even with its obvious flaws in mission design. Not bad for a launch title.
If there's anyone out there who's getting into Mario for the first time with the Wii U, this is a great example of an alternative kind of game to New Super Mario Bros. U. For the rest of us, Super Mario 3D World might not be a "game changer" like Super Mario 64, but it'll always be remembered as the one that let the cats out.
A Link Between Worlds is a remake and a sequel, then – both a tribute to a classic and a worthy successor in its own right. For all the changes, it’s still recognisably Zelda, and a legend this powerful can comfortably bear another retelling.
It's easy to see a new franchise in Ryse; one that could potentially rival God Of War if it maintains the momentum of the latter half of the campaign. However, the gameplay is so rote and uninspired that it merely hints at a more robust and rewarding experience that it fails to deliver. Ultimately, it makes for a few hours of passing entertainment, but it's certainly not one for the history books.
There's plenty of depth to the mechanics here for those that want to sink their teeth into a new fighting system, and there are some informed nods back to the franchise's roots, but if you were intending to buy an Xbox One on the promise of playing this until you could afford another launch game, chances are you'll get bored of it by the end of launch week.
It all comes back to that poster hanging on the bedroom wall. Killzone: Shadow Fall is so full of influences, struggling to balance so many different ideas across the eight or so hours of single-player that it fails to settle cohesively. Even worse, nothing here feels particularly new. Killzone: Shadow Fall is an immensely enjoyable shooter but one busy distracting itself from being anything more.
And talking of superior versions, once again the PC reins supreme. The stuttering and freezing issues that have always plagued the console versions are entirely absent from the Steam game, and the game looks gorgeous at a crisp 1080p – its expressive faces and soft colours doing wonders to mask a presumably modest budget. What more can be said? The benchmark narrative game of the last generation has come back just as strong and just as skilfully as before. You should already be playing it.
So if you're feeling particularly flush and have some yearning to play another block puzzler, Dr. Luigi does a fine job of sitting somewhere in the middle of this well-worn genre. Hardly a glowing endorsement, and a pretty sad way to end Luigi's very own year. Let's hope 2014 is the year of Link, or Samus, or even someone new. Otherwise 2015 might be the year of no more Wii U.
This is only Act 1, of course, as an agonising cliffhanger reminds us, and as such this can only be regarded as a very promising start. Whether or not the concluding part offers the increased breadth and complexity many will be clamouring for as the credits roll is unclear. But it's hard to see anyone reaching the middle point of Vella and Shay's story and not wanting to stay tuned to see where they end up.
In many respects, Jazzpunk's systems are unremarkable. Its puzzles are rudimentary, its interactions mostly basic and its tasks are often wilfully mundane. At times, it attempts jokes that miss their target, sometimes by a distance. And yet such is its fearless, relentless commitment to amusing you and surprising you that you'll know something better – or perhaps just something weirder – is just around the corner. Anarchic, baffling, sometimes downright silly, and often inspired, Jazzpunk works tirelessly to make you laugh and gasp. The frequency with which you'll do both is a testament to a bold new talent, and Necrophone Games deserves all the plaudits that will be thrown its way in the coming weeks.