Like many, the Star Wars franchise is dear to me, so I'm disappointed EA let their plans for monetisation and a rush to meet deadlines get the better of them with Battlefront II. While there's some fun to be had in Battlefront II's multiplayer and arcade modes, there's no denying its story and mission design is lazy and uninventive. The game is full of Star Wars charm, expressed by its well-designed maps and excellent production values, but it's ultimately let down by a lack of incentive to keep playing and the very system that's supposed to let us live out our far-fetched Star Wars fantasies. The life of this game now depends on where EA goes from here – and yes, there have been steps taken to rebalance the economy, and free DLC is a good start – but inherent mediocrity limits them when it comes to players who want something that's more than a one and done Star Wars adventure.
Ōkami HD serves as proof that even among today's trends, progression in an open-world game such as this one can be meaningful. The newly improved 4K resolution is just an added bonus that further demonstrates the game's visual style will never get old, regardless of its obviously dated textures. In my opinion, it's a near-perfect game, and one you should definitely experience if you haven't already. It's also one well worth revisiting, even if it'll be your fifth time. The latest release of Ōkami HD might not provide much more for people who've played the remaster already, but when it's priced so cheaply, it's not much of an asking price.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm is undoubtedly a risk that Square Enix didn’t need to take. The original Life is Strange ended in a way that left fans expecting nothing more, so the prequel’s announcement came as quite a surprise. Thankfully, newcomers Deck Nine have created a mini-series that is not only respectful of the original but stands on its own as an essential prequel. The visuals may suffer from slight blemishes, and the uneven voice acting can be off-putting at times, but the game quickly makes up for this through its engaging characters, excellent pacing and great plot twists. It’s a no-brainer for fans of Life is Strange and an equally perfect starting point for newcomers.
As a long-time fan of Monster Hunter, words can't express just how pleased I am with Monster Hunter: World. The move to current generation consoles does nothing but wonders for all the areas and monsters you'll encounter during your playthrough, and it's amazing just how well it's been positioned in terms of accessibility. It's an immense game filled with quality content, and one that's driven by an addictive and satisfying gameplay loop that never lets up. The narrative may not be anything to gawk at, but it's by no means terrible and is undoubtedly the best in the franchise. If you've ever wanted to give Monster Hunter a try, there's no better time to than now. Capcom has hit this one out of the park, and Monster Hunter: World deserves the monstrous amount of success it's been garnering.
Attack on Titan 2's concepts are sound, much like they were in the original, but it's difficult to recommend the sequel to anyone who already played the first or who isn't a fan of the anime. While the combat is undeniably enjoyable for the first few hours, it inevitably devolves into mindless repetition – and even if you can get past that, it's a slog to play through what feels like a copy and paste of the first game in order to get to anything new. Further disappointment comes from the addition of an original character who doesn't do anything to shake things up in these earlier sections of the game or add anything of significance to the overarching plot. If nothing else, A.O.T 2's a good way to experience the story of Attack on Titan, albeit with the absence of smaller details. If you haven't played the first game and are curious about how a video game adaptation of A.O.T could turn out, maybe try this to see if it's for you.
If you’ve played the original Dark Souls before, or the Prepare to Die Edition on PC, there really isn’t much here for you in the way of new content. So unless you’re dying to see Blighttown and Lost Izalith run at a steady frame-rate, I’d only recommend it if you’re looking for an excuse to replay the game. However, if you haven’t played this game before, you’d be doing yourself a disservice not to pick it up. A lot of things that kept it from ageing well have been ironed out and make Dark Souls Remastered the definitive way to play this game. If you’ve ever been remotely interested or have played and enjoyed other Souls games, now is the best time to try it.
Yakuza seems to be picking up more and more traction without showing signs of stopping, and Yakuza Kiwami 2 is a shining example of why that is. Despite some shallow combat, it encapsulates everything that makes a Yakuza game special. The break-neck pacing of the main story ensures its hooks get right into you, and even if you do get side-tracked by the plethora of activities available in these dense open worlds, you’ll have just as much fun. It’s a title that aims to please both fans and newcomers alike, which it pulls off with flying colors, proving once again that Yakuza is a series worthy of the attention it receives and more.
I applaud Bungie for taking risks with Forsaken, because most of them work well. Destiny 2 was in desperate need of new content, engaging content, content that would provide incentive to keep coming back. An expansion that would please hardcore players while still alluring new players into the ever satisfying trap of grinding for loot, and Forsaken is exactly that. It builds on everything that made the complete form of Destiny so great, and implements it into the sequel with new meaningful additions that feel innovative, entertaining, and rewarding. I’m extremely eager to see how they build on the Dreaming City and future content drops. If you’re a newcomer or a returning player who was turned off by the prominent casualisation in the first year of Destiny 2’s launch, there’s never been a better time to jump in.
Forza Horizon 4 has impressed me in a lot of ways and disappointed me in some others. I can certainly see why previous entries are held so high in praise, but as an outsider to the genre, I don’t feel engaged enough to constantly come back to it as one of my go-to games. What I can see myself doing, however, is jumping on, driving around, completing a few races, and enjoying what the open world has to offer. It’s a beautifully realised racing experience that lacks in some areas but excels in most. It’s an entry into the genre that any fan can and should enjoy, while still being beginner friendly enough to open its doors to those who aren’t intimately familiar with its appeals. The fact it’s also included with Game Pass makes it a no-brainer to those subscribed and only further adds to the value of that service.
The World Ends With You is a brilliant action RPG that is worth your time if you own a Switch. Despite the inherant flaws that come with its control scheme, it tells a compelling story with complex and well-developed characters that keep you engaged for hours on end. It’s a unique experience that deserves the praise it receives from so many, and it’s made even better through the capabilities of the Switch. If you’re a fan of the genre and can look past its minor shortcomings, I can’t recommend this title enough.