For any Mario fans worried their favorite paesano plumber wasn't about innovation anymore, Super Mario 3D World shows the franchise that created the platforming standard continues to set the bar. The new Super Bell and Double Cherry power-ups augment the Mario experience in a brilliant, meaningful way, and the Wii U's HD capabilities deliver the prettiest-looking game in series history.
Forza Motorsport 5's Career mode is a shell of its former self, giving little reason for players to keep coming back. Couple this with a dismal launch lineup of cars and tracks, and this is a surprising step backward for the Forza franchise as it helps kick off Microsoft's next-gen console.
For those who enjoy a simple hack-n-slash game, Ryse: Son of Rome fits the bill. This is no deep adventure, but rather a chance to burn your aggression by chopping your way through hundreds of barbarians, slowing only to enjoy the carnage during the brutal executions. Still, the stunning visuals and compelling setting will keep some gamers engaged throughout, making Ryse a flawed-but-interesting addition to the Xbox One launch lineup.
LocoCycle is a next-gen debut that's uncomfortable to watch and boring to play from a developer I honestly expect better of. That it isn't outright broken or unplayable from a technical perspective is just about the only accolade I can muster for what has otherwise been a miserable first experience on the Xbox One.
Fighter Within was buried under the rest of the Xbox One launch lineup for a reason. This one-on-one fighter is a throwback to the problems of the first Kinect—and does nothing but sow seeds of doubt that the next-gen Kinect sensor is any different from its predecessor.