While I have issues with a few parts of the game, mainly the lower-quality skill tree stuff and gripes related to rogue-lites and old shooters in general, the total package on offer is really strong. At the time of release, the game is only available for PC, which I think could be the biggest negative here. It’s clearly capable of running on less-capable hardware, but I worry that it may go unnoticed unless the team at Blazing Bit Games can find a way to make console ports work financially. If you are already smitten with boomer shooters or rogue-lites, this one is an easy recommendation.
WWE 2K22 is the definition of a mixed bag. There are clearly areas where the team at Visual Concepts made positive progress with the franchise, particularly in wrestler AI and animations. Many of the marquee talents look fantastic and there is a lot to do within the game. Sadly, most of the modes are half-baked and the series is still suffering from bugs or problems it has carried for far too long.
The presentation is a bit odd in 2022 and I would have liked to get ray-traced visuals in gameplay, but it doesn’t detract from the high you can get when shaving a few tenths on a flying lap at the Nordschleife. Sure, modern gamers may tell you that Nathan Drake or Aloy are the true mascots of the PlayStation brand, but Sony already had its Mario back in 1997 in the form of the Nissan R32 Skyline GT-R.
The minute-to-minute action is downright delightful, even if the boss encounters maintain the series’ streak of being underwhelming. The shooting, movement, and killing are every bit as good as recent Doom games, even if the whole thing feels derivative.
Total War: Warhammer 3 is a big game by nearly every measure. It hosts big battles across enormous campaign maps, contains multiple armies with unique units, and effortlessly shifts between the Old World and Chaos Realms. It will get even bigger post-launch. It features absolutely gorgeous art in its many cutscenes that marry lush animation with the classic fantasy oil painting style and often hilarious voiceovers. It represents a giant bow on a gift Creative Assembly has been working on for years and is sure to be a can’t miss for Total War and Warhammer buffs alike. Will it change minds for those who bounced off the series in the past? Not really, but this one is for the fans, and I’d wager most folks would be delighted to receive this kind of attention for their favorite IP.
How much fun you’ll have in the bleak, frozen landscape depends on how much you are still smitten with mid-90s first-person shooter mechanics. Serious Sam would rather die than apologize for being what he is. Those looking for an evolution or some sort of next step in gameplay design may as well look elsewhere. All encounters in the game play out exactly the same way they have for the last thirty years. You can mix things up with weapon choices, co-op, and difficulty settings, but that’s about it. 2016’s Doom received loads of (justified) praise for finding a way to push this genre forward. Siberian Mayhem is clearly content to keep touring with the hits. While I won’t drag it for being true to itself, only devout followers of the church of Sam need apply.
The Gunk never really falters at any point during its decidedly short runtime, but also fails to do anything to push itself above a crowded group of peers in the action-platformer genre. The pro-environmental themes are laid on real thick here, but it all works reasonably well within the confines of the story and action. As with many new games released recently, The Gunk is eligible for Xbox Game Pass on Day 1. While it may not offer a memorable experience, it is difficult to argue against giving it a try for the price, especially if you are smitten with most action platformers.
We loved Battlefield because it wasn’t Call of Duty or Counter-Strike or Fortnite or Apex or any other popular shooter. This mismanaged project clearly needed more time in the oven and a cohesive design that works to Battlefield’s strengths rather than a game attempting to be multiple things to multiple audiences. In a year where so many releases have been marred by a lack of polish and bugs, Battlefield 2042 may be the biggest offender.
Forza Horizon 5 is big, loud, and bold. If you found little value in the series before now, this new version will do nothing to change your mind. For the rest of us, the best Xbox game of 2021 is here (at least for another month - there’s still an elephant wearing Spartan armor in the room). The concept of the pack-in game is pretty much dead in 2021, but if it weren’t, Microsoft should be tripping over itself to make the Series X Forza Bundle a reality. We live in the era of Game Pass now, so plenty of folks have the ability to visit Mexico at discount rates. I desperately implore you to take the trip.
Some movies work better in theaters. Some games work better on bleeding-edge hardware. The stars have aligned and a premium Crysis experience is available for the masses. There's never been a better time to put on the NanoSuit than right now. 8/10 8K roach shaders
Was everything perfect? Not at all. The biggest frustration came from the gamepad controls. I started playing with my preferred d-pad input but found that aiming the water hose was nearly impossible until I swapped to the control stick. The adventure also ends just as things were really getting heated up. Nuclear Blaze understands the value of not wearing out a welcome. Just when I had decided that I was smitten with the game, I reached its narrative conclusion. If the idea was to leave me wanting more, then the mission was successful. Because this is still a small indie project based on a game jam submission, potential buyers should understand that Nuclear Blaze does not burn for long, but it does, in fact, burn twice as bright.
Likewise, if you are burning to play a Left 4 Dead-style game but you only have a newer console, Back 4 Blood should fit the bill, though there are several more interesting options out there if you look. At the end of the day, this is an inferior version of Left 4 Dead 2 that lacks the style, charm, gore, and engaging characters it tries to reproduce. That said, there is a decent foundation here and there are worse ways you could spend a weekend with some buddies.
Resurrected could end up becoming a much better value down the road as the development team begins introducing updates and upgrades, but as of right now, you should avoid this package unless you are happy with straight-up Diablo 2. That being said, there are many reasons to be thrilled to revisit the game, particularly for the timeless soundtrack and to get a glance at the spiffy new paint job. Just make sure to set your expectations accordingly.
When I take a step back from Lost Judgment and look at all the individual parts, it feels more like a self-serve buffet rather than a specific meal that a chef made for me. There is a time and place for tossing everything you have at the wall and seeing what sticks, and there are also times when using restraint would be a better option. I am sure that my lack of experience in Japanese culture works against how I perceive many of the sequences in Lost Judgment and I’m sure series fanatics will eat it up. Sega is clearly capable of making a compelling mystery game that could stand in league with the work we see out of studios like Naughty Dog, but that will require a more focused, better-paced approach that Lost Judgement seems eager to avoid.
I have mixed feelings from my time with Aliens: Fireteam Elite. I love the movies (well, the first two) and cooperative shooting is usually in my wheelhouse, but I could never connect with what is on offer here. The feel of the gunplay, mission design, and pacing have been a big turn-off for me, so I don’t personally see much value in endlessly repeating these missions for better attachments or cosmetics. It feels worse at conveying the spirit of the movies than the best of the preceding games adapted from the films and generic even as a modern online co-op shooter.
The future of the F1 series is cloudy right now. EA is the new boss, but its influence probably won’t be seen until next year’s game. F1 2021 adds a few new fixins to the strong foundation of last year’s game, along with the misfire that is Braking Point. Having the option to add dynamic dramatic events to the existing Career mode would be preferable to bland pre-rendered cutscenes that come with Braking Point. There's a lot of fun to be had with F1 2021, even if a true next-gen leap may not come along until next year.
I am disappointed by the mixed feelings I get from Backbone. It is absolutely worth a look solely on the merits of its audiovisual presentation, but its attempt to offer commentary or insight into the topics its narrative broaches repeatedly fall flat, particularly in the latter half. EggNut clearly has the goods in the art and music departments, so I would love to see what they can do with a stronger narrative in the future. If you do choose to give Backbone a shot, make sure to get the Artifact Edition, as it includes the wonderful soundtrack.