Need for Speed Heat is a conglomeration Need for Speeds past. A little Payback, a little Rivals, a little Hot Pursuit, a little Underground. The result is a good foundation to build upon, but weird AI issues, a lack of variety in events, and some poor tuning in cop chases mean it's not great. Maybe next gen will see Ghost Games bringing a little more real heat.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 offers a glimpse of what the series could be if it fully committed to a story mode or really invested in becoming a sportier companion to Mario Party. Most of the minigames are fairly strong and the whole package is dripping with polish. As far as minigame collections go, this one can carry the torch just fine—but maybe it's not the one you pick to light the fire at game night.
Death Stranding might be Kojima's boldest game to date. It may also be his most tedious. Either way, its originality outweighs its sometimes exhausting structure and poor pacing... but only just. Maybe not a game I would recommend to everyone, but certainly one of the most interesting games of 2019.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare steps it up in the pure game-feel department; its guns, its movement, its action: it all feels the best it's ever been. Even with thrilling new modes like Gunfight and the Counter-Strike-like Cyber Attack, the maps and Spec Ops end up disappointing. The campaign itself remains a return to form for the staple Call of Duty campaign, for better or worse. Modern Warfare as a whole ends up feeling like it has the foundation for something better than it is right now, and in the months to come, it very well might be. But for now, it's just merely almost there.
Luigi's Mansion 3 occasionally suffers because of its fixed camera and a ghastly boss fight here and there, but the "goo" overwhelms the bad in this haunting adventure. Sucking up stuff with your Poltergust is still satisfying, and slamming ghosts into each other feels so right. Add buckets of charm, and you have a game that proves—yet again—that Luigi is the superior Mario Brother.
Night School Studios have made hell intriguing and complex, with punchy dialog and relatable characters, be it human or demonic. The humor and writing is where Afterparty shines the most, breathing life into every character it touches—be it short and sarcastic, or emotional and reverent. Like the Beastie Boys' "Fight for Your Right (To Party)," what seems like dumb entertainment can evolve into something a lot more meaningful if you're willing to look beneath the surface.
With the remake of 1998's MediEvil, Other Ocean has done great work bringing the PlayStation title in 2019. Visually, this game is a winner. The problem is the decision to keep the gameplay largely the same. MediEvil's combat is muddy and its level design lacks any sense of exploration. This needed to be a more extensive remake. As it stands, it's only for those with heavy nostalgia for the property.
In an alternate reality where modern Fallout retained the the focus on choice and role-playing, The Outer Worlds would be the result. Obsidian Entertainment delivers this small window into that alternate reality, a game that prizes picking the right skills to tackle weird and wild situations. The Outer Worlds shines in the writing, but the combat doesn't equally rise to the occasion. Likewise, the planets you visit could use a few more quests or interesting spots to explore. The Outer Worlds is still a fun romp though, something that will hopefully build to something bigger in the future.
Aside from its cute art direction, there's not much joy to be found in Game Freak's Little Town Hero. Its battle system has a glimmer of potential, but finds itself muddled in system after system, making what should be its standout boss battles a tedious affair. Even for a budget price, this is a town you probably won't want to visit for more than a day.
Disco Elysium wants to get you in touch with the voices in your head. This detective RPG calls back to the old Infinity Engine games like Planescape: Torment and Baldur's Gate, but it put a unique spin on everything. With a beautiful oil painting aesthetic, it also features a system that treats your skill like additional party members, each with their own opinions on your actions. Ultimately, every lengthy run-though of Disco Elysium is about the consequences of your choices and actions, adding up to some fantastic stories. A great, surprising entry into RPG canon.