Oddworld: Soulstorm is clearly a labour of love, and I can see that in everything it does. The ambition that bleeds into its story, characters, and gameplay are all evident, but the execution is just sorely lacking everywhere it matters. Perhaps my perspective on past games is warped by nostalgia, but this isn’t the road I imagined Abe and company going down. It’s in the right direction, but they’ve veered off course and landed themselves in a ditch.
Outriders would have been a much better game had the campaign been half as long and the end game had twice as much content. I had fun exploring the dozen or so environments throughout the story mode, but the game doesn’t start firing on all cylinders until the gear you get becomes meaningful. The disposable nature of gear during the campaign/leveling process makes the game feel a lot more shallow than it actually is, and getting players to that end-game grind sooner would likely have exposed a lot more players to the best that Outriders has to offer.
The music is as diverse, and I often found myself just sitting back, taking it all in, because the second I picked up the controller, the magic clashed with how stiff the character was. That toppled with awkward controls that often stutter or outright don't work, and Wonderworld fails in the most important part of any platformer - movement.
Ultimately, the decision as to whether or not you should snag the next-gen version of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 boils down to one thing: do you want to spend the additional $10? If you purchased the Deluxe Edition of the game for PS4, you’ve already paid that $10, so you’re already entitled to the PS5 version. Unfortunately, if you bought the physical disc version of the game, you’ll have to shell out the full price of the game if you decide to upgrade. Is it worth it? Sure. But it’s already a 5-star game. The technical enhancements aren’t going to immensely increase the overall fun factor and experience of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2. And, really, that should be all that matters.
It Takes Two is, without a doubt, the best co-op game you can play right now. It’s much more ambitious and bigger budget than A Way Out, which was still brilliant in its own way. Josef Fares and the team at Hazelight take things to the next level here, and I can only imagine what they’ll do when they’re inevitably given a triple-A budget. Grab a friend by the hand and pull them through an adventure unlike any other as soon as you can - you won’t regret it.
You might actually like Rise better than World, as it brings back some of the strategic variety while building on more recent quality-of-life updates. It's a shame that the Switch holds the game back in small ways, but this is a contender for best in the series. If post-launch support is as good as it was for World, this game could easily rise above the rest.
Ultimately, Super Mario 3D World, in this package, is the best that game has ever been, with the increased speed and ease of multiplayer access making it far more enticing than ever before. Bowser’s Fury, meanwhile, is essentially the Super Mario Odyssey DLC that never was. It feels like Odyssey’s level and game design sensibilities, but placed in the Super Mario 3D World game engine, with all of the power-ups and quirks that game has to make something truly unique. Putting both of these games in one package is the best decision that Nintendo has made in a long while, as Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is one of the best Mario offerings available on Nintendo Switch, which is lofty praise given the existence of Super Mario Maker 2. Now it just needs the option to play again, but as Luigi.
If Persona 5 was about forming bonds with new people and recruiting them for a common cause, Persona 5 Strikers is about taking the Phantom Thieves and proving that the friendship they share is lasting, that it can and will endure any hardship. I think, right now, that message is immeasurably important, and hits harder than a bullet formed from the Seven Deadly Sins.