With its free-to-play status, Ubisoft has everything they need to make Roller Champions a resounding success, from beautiful design, an exhilarating concept, and the unique ability to have this stored on your hard drive for months and not fear of it becoming outdated. If it can capture enough of an audience from kick-off, there's no reason that Roller Champions can't become a sporting title that has you and your friends rolling in laughter for years to come.
There are so few positive things to say about Dolmen. It combines Dark Souls and Dead Space together into something not nearly as good as either. It is such a generic game, that it looks like someone bought a bunch of sci-fi assets from the Unity store and hastily slapped them together. Even still, it is so unoptimized, it could be running totally smoothly one second and then start chugging the next. It is riddled with bugs, one day there was absolutely no sound and the next day the game tried to launch SteamVR every time I started it. The framerate is so inconsistent, especially during cutscenes, most flipbooks are smoother viewing experiences. Dolmen is a dull, incompetent clone of a FromSoftware game whose reach far exceeds its grasp.
Vampire: The Masquerade: Swansong makes choices and concessions that are necessary to deal with the expectations. It does a great job bringing the atmosphere and the aesthetic that one would expect from a World of Darkness title, based on previous games or sessions of the TTRPG. On the other hand, it works as an investigative game for players who are new to the series. Even so, it falls short in some areas, like some obtuse puzzles and bland characters incapable of expressing themselves. At the same time, these aspects only make the existence of a sequel or even a series of mystery games in the Vampire: The Masquerade world more exciting.
Eternal Threads is a solid attempt from first-time developer Cosmonaut Games, presenting a sci-fi, time travelling mystery where you'll need to monitor how cause and effect influences the events around you. Its clear and engaging time manipulation mechanics make the meat of the game satisfying to engage with, and focusing it on the personal issues of everyday people grounds the experience. Despite the uneven presentation and lack of a major challenge, it makes for a worthwhile light puzzling experience.
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodhunt has a unique selling point in its presentation and universe that can, and should, carry it forward. The game is more than good enough to stand shoulder to shoulder with the titans of the genre, which is fortunate because that puts them right in line with all their necks.
Trek to Yomi presents its world through the lens of classic Japanese cinema, reinforcing its thematic exploration of self-reflection and overcoming failure with masterful presentation and design to form a captivating experience. Combat presents a satisfying learning curve that rewards carefully studying your opponents and mastering the moves in your arsenal, and while overall it can falter at times due to uneven pacing, it's well worth undertaking the trek yourself.
Instead, the folks at Cellar Door Games focused on making the best sequel they could for the game that Rogue Legacy is. They have absolutely catered to fans of the original, without leaving new players behind. They have not been intimidated by advancements in the genre of roguelites into making a totally different game, which is especially admirable. The only thing Rogue Legacy 2 wants to be is the most fun version of Rogue Legacy it can be, and it absolutely succeeds in that endeavour.
With a post-game this rich and a roster of characters this bizarre, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is the galactic sandbox we've been waiting for. Quirks aside, this game is the one that TT Games were always destined to make, and the benchmark for each of their titles going forward. And if the rumoured LEGO Doctor Who game is actually in the works, and will be following suit, we need not worry, because it'll be in safe hands.
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim tells an ambitious and compelling story that takes an anaconda's worth of twists and turns, but it's careful to never overwhelm you to the point of exhaustion, while remaining grounded enough in its characters and concept to deliver everything with a bang. While the other half of the experience is pretty unremarkable in comparison, it doesn't prevent 13 Sentinels from standing high as an example of video game and science fiction storytelling.
Weird West really is a wonderfully wild experience. Its mysterious and fantastical take on the American West is a unique change-up for a typically overdone setting, and the elements of black humour help to bear its bleakness. Many of the immersive sim elements gel well with the CRPG design to produce a living and reactive world, shaped by your gameplay and narrative choices. Some of its systems don't quite feel worked out yet, and it doesn't always stay consistent across its five episodes, but Weird West is a grand debut from WolfEye that understands the core of what it is to be an immersive sim.
The console version is geared toward a new audience for the franchise and for them, there will be few games that offer just as much replayability as Crusader Kings 3, which is as true now as it will likely be when this console generation is long over.
There is a lot to do in Rune Factory 5, and players have the freedom to live out their ideal fantasy life at their own pace. Although there are a hefty amount of performance issues, Rune Factory 5 is still a charming experience that can be taken with you on the go, and is worth the wait for fans of the series. If you’re looking for a game to settle down with in the evenings, then Rune Factory 5 might be worth the investment.
Ghostwire Tokyo is a bit of a surprising game. The freaky enemies and cool magical powers were expected, but I did not expect to be so engaged by the story and the characters, nor did I expect to be running and jumping across the rooftops of Tokyo in a beautiful rendering of the city. I certainly didn’t expect to smile and laugh as much as I did. Don’t get me wrong, this game is tense and the stress often had me on the edge of my seat, but it struck such a beautiful balance that I loved every twist and turn.
TUNIC is a type of game that feels increasingly less common in this industry, and its dedication to upholding a mystery that it lets the player figure out themselves is commendable. It has an enchanting world that's well worth exploring for yourself, and the way it asks you to use the instruction manual is a breath of fresh air for engaging with a game. While it doesn't fully stick the landing thanks to some later combat sections that sour the experience, it's an undeniable gem of wondrous action-adventure.
Monster Energy Supercross 5 - The Official Videogame does a great job when it comes to teaching newbies all about the sport itself. I had no idea what a whoop or a holeshot was until playing, and now I could likely recite the dictionary definition. Races themselves are a lot of fun - although a single mistake without any rewinds left can be immensely punishing - but there's little to keep the player engaged beyond racing for the sake of it. Once you've finished the Pro series, that's it. You've beaten all the single-player content available, and all that's left is online multiplayer or finding the 20 collectibles in free roam which will take no longer than 30 minutes. My interest in Supercross itself is piqued, and I went into the experience expecting worse, but my time with Monster Energy Supercross 5 was short-lived.
Iron Lung is a masterclass of how to effectively build tension and dread. It runs at just the right length to explore its minimal gameplay ideas, while remaining mysterious and opaque enough to feel larger than the immediate experience. It's well worth the time for those who enjoy experimental game concepts or suffocating atmospheres, and what lurks in the blood ocean may stick with you well past your playtime.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok surely is an ambitious expansion, and for those that are looking for it, it provides an often engaging collective of content to sift your way through, buffing out your character with imaginative gear and mythically enhanced weapons. Put together with its new power sets and enemy types, fun boss fights, and a relatively engaging story, Dawn Of Ragnarok is worth checking out. However, beyond its layers of content and amicable entertainment levels, this is a mythical romp that sadly stays in its lane, and shirks its evolutionary responsibilities that previous entries have carried on so well.
Plenty of other racing games are the equivalent of a big, greasy cheeseburger that tastes wonderful, but Gran Turismo 7 is like visiting a Michelin star restaurant, and they've deconstructed the same burger to become a beautifully presented, fancier meal. It's like the JRPG of racing games, wearing its Japanese development on its sleeve, which is something not often seen in the racing genre. In 2022, Gran Turismo 7 is one of the best racing games available, and undoubtedly the best for pure racing on consoles.
Shadow Warrior 3 is a great return to form for Flying Wild Hog, and a much-needed comeback for the series after the middling reception of the second game. While the gameplay can falter early on due to the lack of challenge and intensity, it soon ramps up to create a bombastic experience that beautifully borrows from retro and modern shooter design. While your mileage may vary on the game's sense of humour, and the full package feels a little underdeveloped due to a lack of replayability - it's undeniably a whole heap of fun.
Whether you are here for the narrative, gameplay enhancements, or new suite of content, The Witch Queen is unlikely to disappoint. If this ambitious trilogy starter is any indication of what's to come, then we are on the verge of a golden age of Destiny content that realises the vision of an evolving and lived-in world that players can be a part of. It's not just the best expansion since The Taken King, it may be the best the series has ever been.