Metro Exodus shows some heart, and it's clear the developers have poured a lot into this third chapter of Artyom's story. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that keep the game from hitting the standard set by its predecessors. Pacing is hamstrung by the ambitious misfire of an 'open-world', while performance issues and glitches mar much of Exodus.
Just Cause is undoubtedly a fun series with a devoted following. When you embrace the chaos there can be a lot of fun to be had, but it's when you look deeper at the nuts and bolts it isn't a bustling sandbox you find. It's more of a litter tray, full of waste. If you expect the finest the genre has to offer you're bound for disappointment, though if you're after more of bedlam Just Cause is famous for then this fourth iteration is what the doctor ordered.
Tetris is like an old shoe, it's comfortable and familiar. It's hard to believe that three decades on, Tetris is still making the splash it is. It's an evergreen sensation that constantly renews itself and its latest iteration, Tetris Effect might be its euphoric best. Were this rock and roll, Tetris would be held in as high esteem as The Beatles and this particular game would be its 'Revolver'.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a triumph in world-building, character craft and downright skulduggery. Being bad has never felt so good as Rockstar toe the realism line while still keeping their sharp, trademark tongue in cheek. It's the keen attention to detail where Rockstar succeeds and this outlaw prequel comfortably outperforms their best works and in time, I believe, will be regarded as a once in a generation game.
Were it not for a lack of polish, Shadow of the Tomb Raider would stand right alongside the other action-adventure giants in truly defining the genre. It has a lot of heart, all of the pulsating set pieces that series has become known for and a primal Lara Croft at the height of her powers. As it stands, Shadow is still one of the best conclusions to a trilogy I've come across as it respects what it has always done best rather than muddy the waters with needless gimmicks.
It's hard to fault Marvel's Spider-Man as Insomniac has taken their game to the next level. As a developer, they have gone from strength to strength and Spider-Man is a culmination of their past hits. There's a stunning verticality that compliments the game's watertight mechanics and, despite the literal boundaries, still makes the city seem boundless. If you're a Marvel die-hard, there's enough fanfare here to sink a ship as Spider-Man emerges as the new gold standard. Spider-Man is, without question, the best superhero game ever.
After being revealed to a reasonable amount of fanfare, it's fair to say that We Happy Few is one of the year's biggest disappointments. Though there's a lot of the BioShock fingerprint evident here, this lineage isn't ever lived up to. The story, characters and the character of the world itself are positively to die for and exist as the game's few triumphs. It's a beautiful disaster of a game and was perhaps too ambitious for a developer so green as bugs, frustrating A.I. and a slipshod procedural generation robs We Happy Few of any chance it had to be great.
Octopath Traveler is truly a charming and wonderful J-RPG that has reminded me that there's still a place for old classics. Some might call it dated, I'd call it ageless and even peerless when held up against a recent generation of watered down, Westernised role-playing games. Square Enix delivers a nuanced, tactical game and an endearing cast to boot.
Despite its satisfying core loops and drip-feeding of loot slathered in mechanical jargon, it's hard to recommend The Crew 2 based on what many would consider to be its selling points. The world is barren despite being billed as a greatest hits of American landmarks and 'car feel' itself is frustratingly basic and holds your hand far too much. The interconnectivity did its best to compel me to stick with it but The Crew 2 is a sad case of wasted potential.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit sees Dontnod return to what they do best with a charming, quirky and, at times, hard on the soul adventure. I wouldn't exactly go so far as to call it 'awesome', it's more of an okay adventure set within an engrossing world that continues to go from strength to strength. As someone who values a game's plot, I was able to forgive some of Captain Spirit's inadequacies while I expect others might not be as magnanimous. I can say that the episode itself and its uplifting cliffhanger have left me wanting more of the indomitable Chris and his Captain Spirit.