There are some issues within WRC 8, and they're not small, but the game is otherwise so good that it's easy to overlook them. For all the times your engine switches to stealth mode or a fence post sends you into low Earth orbit, there are hundreds of times when you are blissfully guiding your car into a drift around a dusty apex in Argentina, or masterfully twisting through a series of highly technical corners during heavy rain. The vehicle handling is so good — and that is so important for a rally game — that even with its flaws, WRC 8 is likely the high bar that other rally games should aspire to.
Greedfall is a tough game to judge. It's neither bad nor great. It comes staggeringly close to greatness in a number of areas, but it just lacks the polish or ambition to go further. If you're looking for a nostalgic trip back to the mid-2000s style of WRPGs, then you'll find a lot to like in Greedfall. It's worth a shot if you're a fan of that style of games. In a year that gave us titles like Disco Elysium, it's difficult to be particularly impressed by something that is merely standard.
Death Stranding is not for everyone. This isn't the first game that asks players to push through and grind. Ask anyone who's played Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. But that game asks you to fight through chaos and fury. Death Stranding asks you to embrace the process of work and the journey, trusting that you'll feel rewarded at the end. For my part, I did. If you think of a Kojima game as an event, then you should know what you're signing up for. That's the best way to enjoy it. If not, you'll be in the middle of a beautiful landscape, wondering what the hell you're doing out there, maybe even a little stranded.
While the art, gameplay and music are fine, it feels like EA made a game so exclusively for children that their parents won't want to play it with them, leaving them to be influenced alone. Even if you can tolerate the tone and have the wherewithal to not spend too much money on DLC, Neighborville is fine. It just won't be your best purchase EVAR.
All in all, The Surge 2 is a great game to pick up if you're looking for a more arcade-like take on the Dark Souls formula. It's a fun and engaging game with a solid combat system and enjoyable mechanics, and it's only dragged down by a mediocre story and lackluster environments. With the excellent improvements from The Surge to The Surge 2, the franchise is well on its way to standing tall in the Soulsborne genre. It's well worth playing if you're an aficionado of this genre and don't mind dying a few times.
It isn't extraordinary, but Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts is a solid game. The majority of the gunplay is basic, but it pales in comparison to the attention paid to the sniping and the variety of gun mechanics. The enemy AI works fine even if they sometimes act dumb, and the environments make the missions more interesting. The lack of polish in a few parts of the presentation and some interesting quirks bring down the game, but overall, Contracts is worth checking out if you can temper your expectations.
Valfaris is solid. The pacing is great, and with the exception of the back half, the difficulty curve isn't too bad. The juggling of weapons in relation to their balance is well done, and the constant boss fights are a fulfilling challenge once you overcome each foe. Provided you enjoy the Nintendo-hard games of the past, Valfaris is well worth checking out.
Ion Fury is an old-school shooting fan's dream. All of the mechanics are intact, from non-regenerative health to the ability to carry a full arsenal of weapons, and the level design feels intuitive and encourages exploration without needing waypoints. Some of the new mechanics fit in well, but a few, like the need to reload, only increase the difficulty on a tough game. Seeing all of this done on a decades-old engine is enough to convince you of the versatility of those old FPS engines. Unless you hate the old FPS style, Ion Fury is a must-have for your gaming library.