Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 has a lot to live up to, not least because it includes people and places from the previous – and much beloved – game. It’s a strange beast, this one: enormous, glorious-looking, and boasting some of the best voice acting ever committed to the medium.
Perhaps there should be poetry to describe its beauty. A world devoid of the constant buzzing of electronics you can’t live without in the present day, where nature is the only sound aside from the echo of shotgun fire and the random shouting of strangers stood in dankly lit shacks. Offering your sanctuary, and often met with mistrust and suspicion.
God of War
Kratos is back with a boy, a beard, and his best game ever.
Smash Bros. Ultimate
When Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was first revealed back in March of this year, a tidal wave of excitement spread across the globe amongst Nintendo fans.
You only have to watch the countless reaction videos of the first reveal trailer to truly understand just how hyped everyone was to see Smash return.
And return it did.
From its beginnings on the N64 with Super Smash Bros., right up to Super Smash Bros on the Wii U, and every game in between, Smash has become one of Nintendo’s hallmark series.
But, more than that, it’s also one giant love letter to all franchises Nintendo has put out over the years as well as many other beloved series. And this feeling comes across tenfold in Ultimate.
Forza Horizon 4
Crossing the finish line in a racing game has never felt as inconsequential as it does in Forza Horizon 4.
That’s by no means a knock against the latest entry in Playground Games’ rubber-burning series, but rather the highest compliment you can give a racing game. The simple act of driving, while soaking in some of the most gorgeous sights to ever grace any game, is so satisfying in Forza Horizon 4, the fact you’re actually competing falls to the wayside.
That’s not to say winning isn’t rewarding in Forza Horizon 4. On the contrary, leaving the competition in the dust carries its own thrills and rewards. But the blissful act of tearing up the blacktop from behind the wheel of a dream ride was enough to stretch a permanent smile across our face, even when we were dead last.
Monster Hunter World
Japan has made some rather outrageous video games in the past, from pigeon dating simulators to a mosquito-centred man hunt. It’s no surprise that these games didn’t translate very well in the UK or America…
The Monster Hunter series’ failure to win Western gamers, on the other hand, is a more curious case. Sure, it features a few trademark Japanese quirks, such as talking cats and 10ft swords – but at its core it’s about something that gamers all over the globe share a love for: slaying monsters.
Capcom’s not giving up hope though. Its latest installment, Monster Hunter: World, has been specifically made to cater for a Western audience. It’s smoothed out the difficulty curve, added a blockbuster story and decided on a global release – just to show it’s not picking favourites.
Resident Evil 2
Calling Resident Evil 2 a remake does it little justice.
The term, much like reboot and re-imagining, has a muddied meaning. It can suggest you’re playing a newer – hopefully better – version of a game you’ve already played, or a completely overhauled take that’s nearly unrecognizable from its source material.
Resident Evil 2 is all these things and so much more.
Built from the ground up, it’s every bit a brand new game as Resident Evil 7 was when it was released two years ago. In fact, it’s been crafted with the same engine that’s ensured the Baker family still makes regular appearances in our nightmares.
Dragon Ball FighterZ
Defending the Earth from intergalactic space fighters, hunting down wish-granting dragons, and more spiky hair than a 90s boy band.
It could only be Dragon Ball.
The absurdly popular anime seems like the perfect choice for a frantic, button-bashing fighting game – after all, the cast spend half their time chucking planet-destroying energy beams at each other.
With Guilty Gear developers Arc System Works at the helm and a 3v3 team mechanic that borrows heavily from Capcom’s Marvel Vs Capcom series, FighterZ could easily have been an obtuse, rock-hard brawler only fighting game die-hards would enjoy.
Somehow, the end result couldn’t be further from that if it tried. This is one of the most accessible, enjoyable takes on the genre that puts fun first – whether you’re an expert or not.
The first thing you see in Marvel’s Spider-Man is an actual spider.
Dangling outside Peter Parker’s New York City apartment, the arachnid looks menacing enough to be the radioactive bug that bites him, spawning his path to superhero stardom. The game immediately kicks this notion in the face, however, forgoing the origin story slog in favour of allowing players to feel like Spider-Man from the get-go.
Within seconds, they’re flying past the creepy-crawly and swinging among the skyscrapers of Manhattan with the ease of a seasoned Spider-Man. Moments after treating the world-famous city like their own personal playground, players find themselves effortlessly thwarting thugs in Times Square, before engaging in a boss battle that could serve as a story-capping set-piece in any other superhero game.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
You don’t play an assassin in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
Instead, you assume the role of Kassandra or her sibling Alexios, both mercenaries born long before the Brotherhood sharpened its first wrist-blade. Not too worry though, as you’ll still spend most of your time slitting throats and spilling innards with cinematic style to spare. Some things never change.
In fact, Odyssey offers more options than ever to open baddies from cranium to crotch from behind a varied arsenal of sharp blades and pointy projectiles. While your chosen merc is mostly in it for the money, they easily shed more blood than any previous entry’s creed-following cloaked killers.
Not all winning teams are truly great.
Zidane’s Real Madrid might have won three Champions League titles in a row, but did they change the way people think about how football should be played? No.
FIFA 19 finds itself in a similar position. EA Sports has assembled another game full of winning features, but is it anything greater than the sum of its parts?
Note: At the time of writing FIFA 19’s online modes weren’t fully populated, so until they are we’re calling this a review-in-progress rather than the final word. Once we’ve spent enough time with it in more real-world circumstances, we’ll update it with a full star rating.