It was a risky gamble to tackle such an incendiary era of US history, but Mafia III handles it much better than an open world crime game has any right to. It masterfully hits the target in terms of its characters, story, and setting, lulling you into a misplaced belief you're playing something really special. Unfortunately, once the grind of taking over territory kicks in, and the lack of originality in much of its mission design is laid bare, it almost completely ruins the experience.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds manages to differentiate itself from its battle royale progeny with its more tactical spin on the formula, even with its obvious lack of presentational prowess. While its grounded approach can be brutal at first, if you take the time to immerse yourself in its stress inducing battles, you'll find yourself involved in epic engagements that will have you sharing your successes – and failures – with anyone willing to listen. It may not be the king anymore, but PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds still more than deserves a place at the top table.
Call of Cthulhu's successfully evokes Lovecraft's Mythos by delivering an eerie story that ultimately doesn't stray too far from some well-trodden ground. While anyone expecting a terrifying horror title or an RPG packed will player choice and decisions will need to check those expectations at the door, there's at least a half-decent adventure game lurking under the surface.
While far from revolutionary, Strange Brigade makes it hard to dismiss it as “just another horde shooter”. The pulpy adventure aesthetic and the focus on the use of traps are a definite draw, and while a more interesting, self-aware story would have been nice to see, it's the satisfying shooting, well implemented online co-op, and interesting game mode variants that help stave off the tedious repetition that quickly end up haunting many horde shooters.
State of Mind offers an intriguing near-future tale that doesn't quite deliver on its initial mystery. While it's cast of flawed – and in some cases unlikeable characters – are interesting to get to know, the plotting ultimately lets things down by failing to get you invested in the story, and asking you to suspend your disbelief a few too many times. While the unique presentation proves to be an excellent fit for the setting, and helps distinguish it from the crowd, the price of entry will scare off anyone who isn't actively seeking out this type of experience.
While it's disappointing to see The Crew 2 fall into some of the same pitfalls as its predecessor, its open world remains one of the most impressive playgrounds, in terms of scale, out there. Sure, there's very little reason to explore its vast road networks outside of its visual appeal, but the sheer variety of different events, from nerve racking aerial races to coast-to-coast endurance runs, will still get your heart racing.
With the ups and downs of the many licensed LEGO titles having been well documented by now, you'll know exactly what you're getting with LEGO The Incredibles. Even knowing full well you'll be contending with dodgy controls, and occasionally repetitive gameplay, you'll somehow find yourself propelled through the story by an overwhelming compulsion to pick up literally millions of studs along the way. Even stretching The Incredibles source material close to breaking point doesn't put too much of a dampener on your time with the Parr family, and while it doesn't come close the best the LEGO games have offered over the years, there's just enough here to make you reach for your super suit.