The sheer visual variety on display here is staggering, from snow-capped peaks and frozen lakes to icy caverns covered in stalactites with fish perma-frosted into the ground. Hoarfrost Reach is a visual feast in a game that’s chock-full of them and provides a unique aesthetic not found in the vanilla game.
There's something really special about MediEvil getting a well-deserved remake beyond the visual and audio glow-up. It provides the title with a chance to break out of the confines of relative obscurity to reach a wider audience. MediEvil deserves all of this and more with its fantastic tone, entertaining characters and story, excellent level design, and stellar pacing, even if a few issues hold it back. If you haven't played it before you'd be doing yourself a disservice by not giving it a go, and if you have played it before, rejoice in Fortesque's skeletal embrace.
It's clear that Untitled Goose Game is a labour of love from House House. It's an entertaining honk-filled romp that's guaranteed to satisfy anyone's wanting to become a goose. Your first playthrough will no doubt be your best due to the restrictive design, but the hidden objectives and unique environments offer plenty of reason to explore and experiment with its charming world and characters. There's never been a better way to simulate being a goose.
The Souls games are some of my fondest gaming experiences ever, and while I never expected Code Vein to surpass them, it's hard not to be disappointed by its middling results. It's far from a bad game, it has systems and ideas that push the genre forward in exciting and innovative ways, but fumbles on the execution on some of the others that are core to the experience. If you have an interest in Code Vein's world or characters, or can't get enough Souls, you might find that the positives outweigh the negatives, but I can't recommend it to someone looking for the next transformative Souls-like experience.
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.
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.
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.
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.