Crackdown 3 isn't an instant hit, but after a slow start it rapidly builds into an action-packed shooter with brilliant character control and movement. While orb collecting is the key for prolonged play, the campaign in Crackdown 3 is always entertaining and visually there's a lot to appreciate if you look at the bigger picture. Crackdown is back. Shame about the multiplayer Wrecking Zone, though.
Far Cry: New Dawn cuts away some of the bloat of its predecessor Far Cry 5, to deliver a cleaner, more focused experience. The visual style breathes a good degree of life into a setting we've seen before, and Expeditions add more variety on top of that. The systems push you towards repeating content, but the boring rewards don't back that up. And hunting, once one of the core parts of Far Cry, is mostly an afterthought here. Despite those problems, New Dawn's short running time is a boon and the story provides closure to those who played the previous game. If you played and loved Far Cry 5, pick up New Dawn. If you didn't, know that it's still fun, but you'll lose some of the context.
Metro Exodus is a solid conclusion for a cult series that made its name in rough charm. The open world and stealth systems of the conclusion to the trilogy are largely missteps, but it's when Metro Exodus returns to its horrific roots, with a bunch of caring comrades, that the game fires on all cylinders.
Astroneer is definitely on the soft side of the survival spectrum. It looks inviting and fun, whether your lone explorer is bounding across the colorful landscape or mining deep within underground caves. Collecting resources and crafting them into new tools is the main focus, and Astroneer falters in not having more interesting things to find within each planet. In the end though, it's a lovely little game if you want to survive without all the pesky hunger and thirst you find in other games.
Wargroove takes a classic formula and repurposes it for a more traditional swords-and-sorcery fantasy setting (with battlepups). With its large number of modes and impressive suite of creation tools, it's almost enough to fill the Advance Wars-sized hole in our heart.
For all the new in Kingdom Hearts 3, there is plenty of the old too. The action combat is more satisfying than it's ever been, even if it's a tad easy to skate through the main storyline. For longtime fans of the series, all those emotional payoffs that have been building for 17 years await. For newcomers, buckle up: because you're in for a wild ride of bonkers Disney interactions and some exciting boss battles.
The sense of fear and terror when playing Resident Evil 2 never leaves you. It's unlike anything else I've encountered in a Resident Evil game previously. I'm just going to go ahead and call it: Resident Evil 2 is the best Resident Evil game in the franchise and represents a series and developer at its peak. Don't be distracted by the pretty graphics and gore, Resident Evil 2 is straight-up dangerous.
I missed Travis Touchdown. I missed Suda51's punk verve. Travis Strikes Again is stylish in all the right ways. It looks cool, the music sounds great, and the game consistently zigs when I fully expected it to zag. At the same time there's not a lot here for players who aren't already devoted to the world of No More Heroes or even the larger Grasshopper Manufacture universe. But if you're tired of hacky attempts at too cool for school meta commentary, Travis Touchdown is here to take gaming post-post-modern.
A week or so removed from playing Gris, I don't know what I'll remember it for, if at all. Gris feels like it almost belongs in a museum, with crowds marvelling at its art and sound for a few minutes, before moving on to something else. There's moments of beautiful brilliance in Gris, all of which is dragged down by a decidedly average platforming game.
There are times when Just Cause 4 is amazing, but the final result is a game that loses parts of what made Just Cause great in the first place. The new mission structure repetitive and causes the series' staple destruction to take a backseat. The tether customization is top notch and the new weapons are a winner, but things like throwable C4 are gone. And the extreme weather, which is exciting when it appears, doesn't make its presence felt during most of the game. I had fun with Just Cause 4, but it's a game I want to love more than I actually do. Temper your expectations.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate feels like a mic drop for the series. It packs in almost every conceivable character and stage, plus a sizable single-player mode. Spirits don't quite land, but the battles feel better than ever. It feels like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be a Switch party staple for a long time to come.
If you miss your S.E.E.S. pals or Phantom Thieves buddies, then look no further than the boogie bliss of Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight. While it's a rhythm game still best suited for portable, if you're a fan of the Persona soundtracks, it's a sweet way to enjoy its excellent music all over again. Though without a story mode unlike its predecessor and a so-so rhythm game still at its core, both games end up feeling a little lesser, reserving these entries for only the most dedicated and eager of fans.
Battlefield's traditional strengths remain firmly in place amid DICE's return to World War II: great graphics, audio, and a scope that few other games can equal. But it's a thinner package than usual, and the decision to hold important modes like Firestorm until 2019 feels like a crucial misstep. Battlefield 5 is a good shooter as it is, but we wouldn't blame you if you decided to wait until it's had some time to mature.
Pokemon Let's Go is engineered to let youngsters play along with their parents, but there's a lot here for veterans to enjoy, too. It's relentlessly cute and colorful, and while the challenge level won't blister your skin, the new Coach Trainers will keep you hopping. We're still not sure about the Go-style method of catching wild Pokemon, but Pokemon Let's Go's ability to link-up to Niantic's app offers a quick and easy way to fill out your PokeDex. Game Freak is clearly getting the hang of the Switch, so bring on Gen VIII!
Sometimes Tetris Effect dances into the profound: wherein the music, the visuals, and the act of playing Tetris can make you—dare I say it—emotional. Then there's the other side of Tetris Effect, the tedium with instant-fast speeds and hard-to-discern tetrominos in more than just a few levels. Tetris Effect is at its best when it's just normal Tetris, with no strange shapes for blocks; with just the music and visuals to help you drift away as you fall into a flow. In PlayStation VR, that effect is only leveraged, making it a must-own game for the virtual reality platform.
Eight years after the masterpiece that was Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar Games is taking a second shot. New protagonist Arthur Morgan gets a better supporting cast, an absolutely beautiful open world with more visual variety, and a ton of things to kill or collect. There's some occasional tedium in travel, and a few bugs and annoyances, but nothing that prevents Red Dead Redemption 2 from being an excellent game.