It’s easy to forgive Turok‘s shortcomings though because it’s still a pretty fun shooter, and its low-fi graphics are much more palatable in portable form. It’s not exactly an essential purchase for all, but as a playable piece of nostalgia, it’s been dragged into the modern era fairly successfully for fans to enjoy without many of its original frustrations and limitations.
Remarkably then, even through disappointing attempts at horror and puzzling, Conarium is just about compelling enough to warrant seeing through to the end. It’s not particularly mind-blowing from a narrative perspective, but it is engrossing and satisfying. If only it pushed harder for a sense of dread and terror, or even simply provided more of a challenge, then we’d be talking about something that truly stands out as a thoughtful, engaging horror game.
With Devil May Cry 5, Capcom tweaks the winning formula here and there to not only freshen up the most famous action hack n’ slash series around, but actually push it back to the top of the pile once again. Yes, it stumbles occasionally, and perhaps replay value isn’t quite as high as it could have been, but Devil May Cry 5 once again embraces the kinetic madness that made so many fall in love with Dante and his blood-spattered adventures in demon-slaying in the first place, and that’s truly what makes this a great game.
Devotion is a revelatory horror game, one that manages to remain unsettling and horrific through the mood and tone that’s imparted from the game’s design and storytelling. This is refreshing since rather than relying on unearned jump scares and unending chase-sequences, the thematic elements of the game bring the experience to life. Making this arguably the first great new horror title of 2019, and a must-play for any enthusiast of the genre.
My hope is that BioWare, too, will be able to overcome the ways that their game is broken. Since that demo, Anthem has steadily grown more stable. Some issues, though—like the repetitive mission structure—run deeper than glitchiness. But, Anthem’s core mechanics are satisfying, its world is enticing and its characters, by and large, are charming. With this review done, I will continue to play it. I want Anthem to get better, and I only hope that EA will give BioWare the time and resources to make this game as good as it can be. As it stands, it’s still worth a shot.
If you loved both 2033 and Last Light then you’ve likely boarded the hype train already and won’t be disappointed. Many will appreciate the continuation of Artyom’s story and 4A’s shift towards a freer, more immersive experience though Metro is still a couple of pegs below that top tier of first-person shooters. It feels rough around the edges and is let down by occasional bugs, sloppy AI, and a flimsy stealth system. That said, innovations elsewhere make some of these shortfalls easier to overlook.
Coming back to how Oniken plays, it is clearly trying to be a loving homage to 80’s side-scrollers, but it misses the point in how it uses its challenge. Rather than have proper structure and reliance on muscle memory as the games of that era did, Oniken often relies on cheap and nasty death traps that are very much designed to be ‘tough’ instead of challenging. Yes, you can ‘beat’ it and muddle through, but there’s little warmth or enjoyment to it. On the upside, playing it on the Switch’s handheld mode in bursts does alleviate some of the frustration. The only problem there being the Switch already has plenty of 8-bit games of higher quality both old and new to play. So, pretty or not, it’s hard to recommend Oniken to all but the most ardent retro gaming fan.
Observer puts another horror string in the Switch’s bow. It remains an effective and compelling sci-fi horror trip that isn’t afraid to take things at its own pace whilst sticking firmly to its own rules. That does mean that it’s not going to be to every horror fan’s tastes, but it’s admirable that it stands by its convictions to deliver an unsettling and evocative experience.
Besides some boring fetch quests, Rules continues to head in a good direction. Thanks to a strong cast of characters, and the bond between Sean and Daniel, players can rest assured that Rules will take care of their Life Is Strange needs. There are those memorable moments that will linger in the mind of fans upon the credits rolling, keeping them anticipating what’s to come next.
Resident Evil 2 – while not a perfect game – is the perfect remake. Capcom has lovingly rebirthed a horror icon here, preserving that core DNA without infecting it through needless add-ons or alterations. There are certain aspects that will definitely grate and feel weirdly archaic though these are clearly an intentional part of Capcom's grand design. Whether you've been waiting all these years to revisit Raccoon City or happen to be a curious first-timer, Resident Evil 2 is an essential must-have slice of video game horror, kicking off 2019 in style.
I fully recommend The Shrouded Isle for anyone wanting an unconventional, horror-led take on the sim management genre. It really does go to some messed up places if your imagination is willing to back up the writing. The caveat here is that it's hard to recommend this Switch version if you're planning on playing it on the go. It's just about worth persevering with if that is your choice, but it's an unfortunate oversight nonetheless.
While it would have been nice to see Capcom tart up those three original games and present them in one package, simply wanting more of what this remaster has to offer is a good sign. Beneath a new lick of paint and some clever adjustments, Onimusha: Warlords doesn’t make for an essential action game in 2019 but it’s a great modernization all the same and hopefully we’ll see more Capcom classics undergo a similar makeover.
If grindy loot-fests aren’t your idea of a good time then the Vermintide series really isn’t for you, even if you find its melee-focused combat more appealing than the run n’ gunning of co-op shooters. That said, Vermintide 2 is a great sequel, and although there are still some niggling issues Fatshark has yet to stamp out, it’s a gloriously over-the-top, sword-swinging, spell-slinging romp packed with content and a perfect representation of this much-loved setting.
It’s definitely more of a management sim than a true survival horror game and, in truth, that makes for an interesting premise. However, the inherent unpredictability, lack of direct combat, and some gameplay mechanics that don’t gel ultimately hold Distrust back from being more than an experimental blending of genres.
Elastic has really thrown down the gauntlet here and although fans have had to wait, Last Year: The Nightmare is easily one of the best, most inventive horror games of the past several years and one that will hopefully ply us with new skin-crawling content in the weeks and months to come.
For those who simply must know what happens in the lead up to that first game, Hello Neighbor: Hide & Seek is essential for filling in those blanks. However, those who are simply looking for a fun game to play are likely to be left deeply unsatisfied. Unpolished and often times confusing, it’s a weird mishmash of genres that, despite its issues, is at least helping to popularise an incredibly niche genre of children’s horror in video games.
Book of Demons does interesting things with a genre dominated by stat-heavy grind titles with furious clicking/button mashing. The majority of the busywork is abolished in favor of ease of use and it’s honestly quite refreshing. As mentioned before, the setup of Book of Demons really could make it an accessible way into the genre for those not familiar with it/enthused by it, and for seasoned dungeon crawler fans it offers up something of a respite from the usual formula.
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is a positive step in the right direction for the future of turn-based strategy on a mechanical level, but it finds itself lacking in the storytelling department. Hopefully, we get more from this world. A bigger, deeper sequel is a must at this point because there’s huge potential for Mutant Year Zero to be a frontrunner in the strategy arena.
Omen of Sorrow is a budget fighting game with AAA ambitions. AOne’s attempts to stretch it into something bigger don’t pay off and while there’s some enjoyment to be had, there are so many better, more polished alternatives that offer way more value for your money.