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It’s a complete game straight out of the box; Outriders doesn’t feel like another one of those live service games - you know the type - where you’re encouraged to go online and do dailies, weeklies, and pretty much not miss out on limited-time rewards. It’s very refreshing, as I didn’t feel the need to question what’s next for Outriders; while I can walk away from the experience happy I’ve accomplished all I set out to do, I can easily see myself revisiting this game again in the future with another character to repeat the process all over again.
While the feeling of scale in Monster Hunter Rise isn't as large as World, it wasn't something I immediately noticed until I took a look back. Rise isn’t as visually stunning and is currently a smaller overall package. But the core gameplay is so similar that I'm just happy to be playing a new entry in the series. It's an incredible game that I can easily recommend to hunters both new and old.
Persona 5 Strikers is easier to swallow compared to the long-winded original. The hack and slash, Dynasty Warriors-like combat felt more fitting for Persona 5 as a whole, and the Phantom Thieves are a cool bunch that it wouldn’t be so bad if Atlus stretches out more adventures in the future. They’ve clearly shown that they are capable of delivering a new and entertaining experience without ruining what made Persona 5 beloved by many since it launched back in 2016.
In time, it will likely get better, which makes it hard to recommend, as patience shouldn’t be a requirement to enjoy a video game, especially from a studio highly praised in providing great games. If you do take the plunge, there’s greatness found deep inside, you just need to dig with your hands longer than usual to get to it.
We know how crazy 2020 has been, but out of all the games I've played this year, Sackboy: A Big Adventure was the one I didn’t know I needed. It’s a fantastic platformer that appeals to players of all ages. You may feel uplifted, or encouraged, even. The game doesn’t reinvent the wheel for its genre, but the impressive execution, clever ideas, and extra effort behind this platformer proves that the world of Sackboy is a fun place to visit, and that the polish done to every aspect of the game makes it a must-buy for any enthusiast that owns a PS4 and PS5.
While it’s not without its faults, I enjoyed nearly every moment of my 50+ hours spent on the frantic battlefields of Hyrule playing Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. With a strong story, copious amounts of fan-service, and a wealth of unique and balanced musou gameplay, it succeeds wildly both as a worthy sequel to Hyrule Warriors, and a semi-prequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. While your mileage will vary depending on how much you enjoy musou games and how willing you are to tolerate performance issues (and, to a certain extent, repetition), I give this one a very strong recommendation.
I had fun with Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War, especially with the campaign. Zombies remain great and is now easier to swallow, but multiplayer - being the main selling point for a Call of Duty game - is the weakest link in the package. With a strong entry last year, and numerous online games now available that are viable alternatives, Treyarch’s approach in multiplayer this year didn’t sell a good enough case to invest more time on it in the coming months. Time will tell how the first season will go, but the initial burst of content out the gate could fall flat, making some look elsewhere to satisfy that FPS multiplayer itch.
All of these elements make Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, whether you love it or hate it, make a complete open-world RPG package. Like any large vessel with multiple shipwrights, some decisions and elements weigh the game down, but I would go as far as considering this one of the best Assassin’s Creed titles to come around in a long time.
As I did with the first two entries, I came into Watch Dogs: Legion with pretty mellow expectations, and like them, Legion impressed me just enough. The gimmick works as advertised, and seeing all the extra effort they put into it warrants at least some praise. Given the setting and tragic setup, it’s easier this time around to justify why characters would be cool with gunning down waves of soldiers and gang members. And while the story doesn't know what it wants to be half the time, the cast of villains is mercifully more interesting.
Short AAA games aren't a rare sight nowadays, and there is always an argument to be had when comparing their value versus meatier AAA titles. Given the rise in development costs and the industry’s tendencies towards focusing on presentation and storytelling, I wouldn’t be surprised if studios would begin a similar trend of developing more short-but-sweet open-world games like Spider-Man: Miles Morales.