Paradise Killer drips with endearing style and charm, but can't quite make its finale match up to its opening hours. Discovering intrigue and mystery is compelling at the start, but the good gets lost in its collectible busywork. Paradise Killer is a good option for virtual detective fanatics in need of new mysteries, but it lacks the staying power of other modern mystery giants.
After a solid debut chapter, Tell Me Why: Chapter 2 doesn't keep the momentum going. There are pleasant individual character moments between twins Tyler and Alyson Ronan, who remain the undisputed highpoints of the game, but the rest of the cast suffers as a result. Tell Me Why wants to paint an emotional tale of struggle and growth, but Chapter 2's experience is stunted by overuse of the Bond mechanic and the decision-based icon sapping any tension.
Madden 21's gameplay takes some appreciable steps forward as the generation comes to a close, with The Yard providing some casual fun. The experience is marred by an abnormal number of bugs though, and the single-player modes remain a major sore point. Ultimately, it's able to pick up a few yards on the way to the next generation of consoles, but just a few.
Tell Me Why: Chapter One is certainly a promising start for Dontnod's new tale, as the developer looks for a slightly stunted but more mature take on difficult subject matters. Tyler Ronan is a surprisingly positive depiction of a transgender character, even if the bar is set incredibly low, and it's a relief that for once a Dontnod protagonist isn't put through drawn out, traumatic events as a rite of passage. I'm cautiously optimistic to see if Tell Me Why can build on this solid start.
Spiritfarer is a cozy game about helping spirits move on. Its wide scope of systems and resources can sometimes get in its own way, but when working in harmony it unveils a touching narrative, all the while adorned by gorgeous art. Best enjoyed in small pieces, Spiritfarer is a warm and inviting world to get lost in, with the occasional emotional gut punch for good measure.
Prolific server issues and slim bonus settings are holding Fall Guys back for now, but for the time being, the wobbly obstacle course battle royale forges its own path. It's easy to envision the game only getting bigger from here on out—especially considering this launch era has been declared as Season 1, battle pass and all. As a foundation, Fall Guys is an endlessly engaging one. I'll be chuckling as I fumble to finish lines for quite some time.
Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxi Boost On brings the venerable arcade series to PlayStation 4 with a huge roster mobile suits, an expanded single-player component, and plenty of cosmetic unlockables. It feels like an odd anachronism in this day and age, but its strengths as a multiplayer game are real, even if it suffers a bit from its poor camera. If you like Gundam even a little bit, you owe it to yourself to at least give this game a shot.
After five seasons of updates and changes, Apex Legends is still very much the top-notch battle royale experience it was shortly after it launched.
Othercide mixes a mid-2000s Hot Topic aesthetic with tightly-designed tactics that work very well, even if it largely runs out of new ideas after the first few hours. It's more a proof-of-concept than anything, but it's smart and entertaining while it lasts.
Carrion is an energetic and taut game that flips the tables on The Thing, putting you in command of the alien creature and tasking you with simply going to town on the hapless humans surrounding you. The loose physics-based gameplay is satisfying to play, and the enigmatic creature's bloodlust is crucially never too powerful to render the armed humans that challenge you entirely helpless. Although Carrion's story falls largely flat, it's a very satisfying slaughterhouse of gnashing teeth and tentacles.
A distinct, cel-shaded and anime-inspired style isn't the only thing remarkable about Necrobarista. From its main story to the entertaining text adventures that paint between the lines of its more stylishly presented narrative, Necrobarista is an engaging visual novel from start to finish. Some minor complaints in how it executes unlocking additional text adventures does little to hold back the death-concerned coffee shop adventure.
Panzer Paladin adopts a bit of every NES platformer you played as a kid, and the result is a little chaotic, but a lot of fun.
Rocket Arena is an enjoyable up-tempo experience with genuinely fun traversal abilities to keep you on your toes and moving to the high and lows of the arena. It's largely undefined characters and lack of meaningful customization options, however, hold it back from being truly memorable. It's a fun arena shooter in the moment, but it'll fade quickly from memory after you've walked away.
If you're OK with Paper Mario's turn to action, you'll find an enjoyable game packed with humor, secrets, and unique boss battles.
Sucker Punch's first stab at a stealth action adventure hits the mark. The island of Tsushima is a beautiful backdrop for this tale of revenge and honor and the environmental art is a visual treat. Combat and stealth are largely solid, though there are issues with the camera and hitting the right targets. The biggest stumble comes with the Japanese vocal track, which isn't synced correctly with the character's lips, a shame for a game like this. Ghost of Tsushima isn't the most innovative way to end a generation, but it is a fun one.
Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing In Disguise is hard to love, even by the standards set by its predecessor. In leaving Greenvale behind for a style of prequel and sequel storytelling split across Louisiana and Boston, Deadly Premonition 2 jettisons the much of what made the original charming (along with some interesting mechanics and variety) in favor of an empty town and a story that serves up tropes and bits of lore that do little to enhance or build upon what made the original fascinating. All the while, terrible performance makes it more of a slog than its uninspired ideas and pacing do on their own.
A great PvP game that offers some of the most intriguing and nuanced team combat around. As with all multiplayer games, sometimes the enjoyment can be marred by less considerate players, but when everyone is giving it their all, DOTA 2 is intense, challenging, and hugely enjoyable.
Ninjala at launch is thin on content, but still enjoyable. Despite a frankly skippable paid Story Package, it's the sheer variety in its weapon lineup that makes its colorful free-to-play melee action stand out. Whether you're a Splatoon fan hungry for any new content, or just curious about a game where you can swing a giant ear of corn as a bat and enwrap your foes in bubblegum, Ninjala is worth checking out.
Valorant leans heavily on its predecessors, but makes use of established schools of thought and the unique novelties of its Agents to create a fresh take on tactical shooters, even if its launch is a little slim. For years, there hasn't been a fight for Counter-Strike's throne; but in Valorant, Riot Games has found a valiant contender.
Mimimi Games returns to the real-time stealth tactical genre with Desperados 3. Across massive levels, players will guide their magnificent five characters toward their objectives. Each hero has their own strength they bring to the team, and they're all essential to survive. Desperados is a game of trial-and-error, expecting quicksaves and quickloads to "solve" each level. There's some small muddiness in the controls and enemy perception, and occasionally the punishment for slight mistakes in character or item placement feels punitive. That said, Desperados 3 nonetheless remains a fantastic follow-up to the first game and another win for the developer.