Building upon the foundation established in Assassin's Creed Origins, Odyssey brings together that title's RPG adventure with the ship-bound exploration of Black Flag. Choice and consequence feature heavily in Odyssey, with the player guiding Alexios or Kassandra through a massive journey to reunite their family and kill a lot of people. Not every feature is perfect, with things like recruitment and Conquest Battles needing a bit of work, but overall Odyssey is a grand next step for the journey Origins started.
Refreshingly, Bloodborne knows what it is, and doesn't stray too far from the Souls formula—but its few alterations make for a fresh experience that will challenge even the most hardened Souls veterans. If you're looking to justify the purchase of a PS4, I can't think of a better reason.
Platformers, especially those with a retro flair, come along often. But so rarely do they work as well as Celeste does. Celeste is an exercise of excellence in the well-trodden platforming genre. Whether it's the score that kicks up just as busily just as heroine Madeleine does, the mechanics that build and build with each new room you uncover, or its lushly pixelated landscapes: there's a lot to love in Celeste. It's the sort of game that makes you feel strong while playing it; if you can dash-jump through impossible holes between narrow icy spikes to climb that goddamn mountain, you can probably do anything.
The field of indie roguelike Metroidvanias is littered with competition, but Dead Cells stands out by focusing on movement and combat. None of its peers feel as good in their moment-to-moment play. The controls are tight, the movement is fluid, and the combat has a real weight to it. Once you get into it, Dead Cells is about this unique state of combat flow, where you're moving, dodging, and killing your way to the end at high-speed. The progression system causes the game to stumble a little, since it's less than satisfying to upgrade a chance at better items dropping. But Dead Cells is a winner overall, especially if you're a player who's all about technique and execution.
If you're a fan of Dragon Quest VIII, you'll find a lot to love about Dragon Quest XI. Its character-driven plot and skill system recall the series' breakout PlayStation 2 installment, though Dragon Quest XI's lively world and expressive monsters lend it a unique feeling and flavor. Some fans might feel let-down about Dragon Quest XI's lack of job system or other options that let you fine-tune every aspect of your party (what I wouldn't give to see Dragon Quest V's monster-friending system make a return), but if you're in the market for a turn-based RPG that feels nostalgic but doesn't force you to deal with old genre mechanics, you won't find a better quest.
Square Enix has pulled off the seemingly impossible: rescuing a disastrous flop of an online game without going free-to-play, and creating an incredibly addictive, satisfying experience for both MMO and Final Fantasy veterans in the process. A Realm Reborn is a triumph for Naoki Yoshida and his team.
Rockstar could do with a stronger focus next time, but there's a ton of content to play around with in Grand Theft Auto V. If you can look past a few problematic things, the core of GTA V is still an amazingly fun game.
Playing The Last Guardian reminds me a lot of playing Half-Life games: The actual moment-to-moment of working my way through the game involves an enormous amount of frustration and annoyance... but when I look back at it, all I see are the happy memories of the experience. That's due in large part to the incredible design of Trico, and also to the spectacular emotive ending. Make no mistake, though, you will want to tear your hair out throughout your journey with Trico... but patient players will find the payoff justifies the suffering.
With the most bewitching tale the series has ever told and an incredibly likable cast that rises above their typical archetypes, Persona 5 sings a song of rebellion. Not just against the norm of JRPGs, but of society's oppressive grasp, inspiring its players to rise up as the Phantom Thieves would. In the end, in spite of its minor missteps, Persona 5 has the power to steal the hearts of longterm fans of the series and newcomers alike.
We don't get games like Nier: Automata too often. And by that I mean games that simultaneously weave a deeply harrowing existentialist narrative, in addition to playing with our expectations on how we play games. There's nothing else around like Nier: Automata (except for maybe its predecessor). And in an industry that sometimes leans too heavily on sameness, it's wholly refreshing.
Eight years after the masterpiece that was Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar Games is taking a second shot. New protagonist Arthur Morgan gets a better supporting cast, an absolutely beautiful open world with more visual variety, and a ton of things to kill or collect. There's some occasional tedium in travel, and a few bugs and annoyances, but nothing that prevents Red Dead Redemption 2 from being an excellent game.
Rocket League is simple in concept - it's basically soccer with cars - yet it works brilliantly as a multiplayer game. It's incredibly easy to pick up as a beginner, but learning the intricacies of its controls takes many, many hours. And doing so is a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Beenox latest Spider-Man game is a swing and a miss. The developer has improved the web-swinging mechanic and getting around Spider-Man's Manhattan has never been better. Unfortunately, the rest of the game drags it down. A schizophrenic story, a lifeless New York, and boring villains are what you can expect for the price of entry. The game's Hero/Menace system even takes all the fun out of just randomly swinging around the city. Beenox can do better, so I'm hoping the developer's next outing results in something truly 'Amazing'.
Although it's a little on the short side, and its production values are a bit oldschool, Titanfall 2's single-player campaign is a really enjoyable experience while it lasts. It's very inventive and fun, and a great warm-up for the game's excellent multiplayer component, whose gunplay and controls are absolutely outstanding. All it needs is a few more maps and modes.
Regardless of its indie status, Undertale is one of the best and most inspired RPGs in years. By playing with traditional, turn-based mechanics, creator Toby Fox has crafted an experience with a legitimate surprise around every corner. If you have a PC and ten bucks, you owe it to yourself to play this amazing game.