Stefan L's Reviews
Kirby and the Forgotten Land makes Kirby's jump to 3D feel effortless, but it's much more than that, with the vibrantly styled decaying world to explore and the Mouthful Modes that will have you laughing with each new one that's discovered.
Gran Turismo 7 takes everything that was excellent about GT Sport's fantastic multiplayer, high fidelity cars and circuits and innovative Scapes mode, and builds up a more traditional GT experience around it. It's got its own quirky new ideas which will likely be passing diversions to most, but at its core, this is the Gran Turismo you know and love. Broad and accessible, but with depth, nuance and competitive racing for those keen to find it.
Where the original console release of Assetto Corsa Competizione had some huge caveats hanging over it, the game's release on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S brings it up to spec, effectively matching the PC version. It still has some weaknesses in presentation and structure for new players in particular, but once you get into the groove, it's one of the best sim racers you can buy right now.
GRID Legends builds on the foundations of the 2019 reboot, improving the driving experience in certain areas, adding a big new story mode, and throwing more variables and variety into the mix. There's enjoyable, pulpy action racing to be had here, but some of the fundamental weaknesses from the last game remain, and as the racing game community increasingly looks toward sim racing, it feels like this franchise is in need of another reinvention.
If Total War Warhammer 3 is the beginning of the end for Creative Assembly's fantasy series, then it's going out on a high note. The game takes several steps forward in how the campaign works, how it builds toward climactic battles and then how those battles take place, and there's plenty of quality of life improvements for the Total War series as a whole.
Royal Court is a pricey expansion, but it helps Crusader Kings 3 take another step toward representing that Game of Thones-ian medieval ruler fantasy. Alongside that the cultural hybridisation and divergence also mean it’s building out the foundations of the actual grand strategy in intriguing ways for the game’s future.
Looking back on the three parts of the Far Cry 6 season pass, it feels like something of a missed opportunity. While the roguelite genre really suited delving into Vaas’ mind, trotting out the exact same format for both Pagan Min and Joseph Seed feels rote, stretching the idea out as a means to an end. It would have taken much greater effort and time for Ubisoft to do so, but mixing up the genres, the structure and approach that each DLC took would have been much more impactful. Still, fans of Far Cry will likely get a kick out of the expanded exploration of each character’s tale.
Behind the chilled out vibes of OlliOlli World's new art style, happy-go-lucky characters and eccentric customisation, this game takes Roll7's flow-state side-scrolling skating to new heights. It's a tad more welcoming for newcomers, but even OlliOlli 2 veterans will have plenty of new tricks to learn and master through its increasingly wild and challenging levels.
There’s some good ideas at play here, and it’s competently put together, but so far Rainbow Six Extraction feels fairly flat. The Archaeans simply aren’t all that interesting to fight against, their designs rather bland, and their introduction sitting at odds with what the Rainbow Six and Tom Clancy franchises have been about since the late 90s. It’s an inoffensive tactical co-op that’s good for a few short and sharp missions, but is that enough? We’ll report back soon with our full review.
God of War is a great port of one of the PlayStation 4's biggest games. PC gamers have all of the graphics options they could really want, and the game's origins mean that even fairly modest gaming PCs can push for high frame rates and resolutions. If you've not already played the game on PlayStation, this is a great chance to catch up ahead of Ragnarok's highly anticipated release.
Annihilation Line is a good DLC expansion, but will do nothing to change your mind about Terminator: Resistance. If you enjoyed the setting and the gunplay then there is more here to get stuck into, but there is no deviation from the core gameplay to be found. Not quite 'I'll be back', but neither is it 'Hasta la Vista'.
There's a good game to be found within the Battlefield 2042 and fun to be had as the spectacle of Battlefield's signature gameplay is taken to new, more expansive heights, but it's marred by a handful of unsuccessful gameplay design changes, hurriedly implemented features and bugs at launch.
Happy Home Paradise gives you the easiest job in the world. Creating holiday homes for various Animal Crossing characters is about as pressure-free as it gets when you're given a clear direction, a curated set of furniture to choose from, and the knowledge that the customer will love whatever it is that you do. There's no risk of a Changing Rooms disaster here. It's another avenue to express yourself in New Horizons, just don't expect much challenge, critique or need to think too far out of the box.
Bright Memory: Infinite is a matured version of the original Bright Memory, stripping away some of that game's excesses for a more put-together experience. That said, the story is still complete insanity (that's barely acknowledged by the characters), and it's clear that this solo production cannot match its boundless ambition.
After a decade of games that sought to reinvent and renew the series, Mario Party Superstars rewinds time for a reminder of what made Mario Party popular in the first place. Five gorgeously recreated boards, 100 cherry-picked minigames, and countless opportunities to plan and scheme your way to victory... so long as the dice roll in your favour.
Metroid Dread sees the galaxy's best bounty hunter return in fine form. It takes the terror of being hunted from Metroid Fusion, the more modern direction of Samus Returns, and the freedom to add to the series' decades of lore to create something that's nigh on essential for Metroid fans.
Sable is a truly wondrous and serene experience at times, but lift the mask and you find it's also one that has its flaws and inconveniences. If you can see past its weaknesses, this is a journey of pure and innocent discovery that's well worth taking.
Filled with the same style of ridiculous surgical antics as the original, Surgeon Simulator 2 does a remarkably good job of expanding it into an inventive puzzle game. The "simulator" genre's brand of obtuse controls and fussy physics objects starts to feel like a chore as you get a few levels in, but share the experience with some friends and there's a good time to be had.
WarioWare: Get It Together! gets back to basics. It throws out the controller gimmicks of old, but brings in the added layer of quirky character abilities that brilliantly manage to work with every single one of the moreish microgame mayhem that this series is so well known for. Oh, and it makes for a great party game too!
A decade and a half on from the original, Psychonauts 2 is a worthy successor to Double Fine's cult classic. The platforming and combat gameplay is tighter, the world design is as varied and inventive as ever, and while the story is full of twists, turns and comedic moment, there's also a wonderful sense of empathy and tenderness throughout. Simply put, Psychonauts 2 has been worth the wait.