With The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom hitting the Switch this week, excitement levels are high(rule) for gamers to rejoin Link on the next chapter of his journey.
While we don't know too much about TotK just yet – expect a review in a little while – but there are so many critically acclaimed Zelda games we are still yet to play, so here are a few.
Have you played them all? Which would you say is the best you haven't got to from what you've heard about it? Share your picks in the Discord.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild | Chris Brand
A little bit of business before I get started, most Zelda titles kind of passed me by (the last Nintendo console I owned was the N64 and I struggled with the weird, three-handed, controller because I was born with only two hands, like a stupid normal person), so I chose Breath of the Wild as the best Zelda game I've never played, despite knowing little about it. After re-reading James' review and watching a couple of speedruns, I can now confidently claim to be an expert.
I'd like to say that the story is absolute perfection, from beginning to end, with a huge twist that no-one could have predicted. However, given the nature of speedruns, I didn't have much of a chance to soak in the narrative. Also, the speedruns I watched were in French, probably due to unskippable dialogue or cutscenes being shorter in that language, which made things even harder to follow. All I can say with any degree of certainty is that Breath of the Wild is devoid of red pencils.
In terms of gameplay, it looks like just the sort of open-world epic I could really get stuck into. The games have evolved over the years but this is a refreshing change which breathes new life into an old franchise, much like Odyssey did for Assassin's Creed. Having played Immortals Fenyx Rising (Ubisoft Does Zelda), I almost feel like I've experienced BotW myself, though the Ubisoft version does seem like a Diet Zelda, which is surprising, given the amount of unnecessary bloat in most of their titles.
I'm often looking for a big single-player adventure to get lost in, so maybe someday I'll pick up a decades-old Switch and finally play what's been heralded as one of the greatest games of all time. Or maybe this will be a Pokémon situation.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask | James Parry
I missed Ocarina of Time when it was first released, but I was drawn into the N64 era in time to get the gold edition cartridge release, so – even though I failed to finish it – I did at least manage to play the game. I think I even got to the adult Link section...so long as there are absolutely no follow-up questions.
Majora’s Mask, which is set two months after OOT, was a different story. At the time I heard the game featured time travel, which involved you travelling through the game in a three-day cycle, about 54 minutes in real time, before using the Ocarina of Time itself to return to the first day. Undoubtedly cool, but it also immediately made it more intimidating and, after failing to get through the previous game, I ran from the terrifying hills of Termina.
On top of that, the game takes a step forward from its famous predecessor in other ways, such as masks, some of which transform Link into different creatures to let you access areas or complete puzzles.
The mechanics of OOT were already solid, and in the years since are still held up as amongst the greatest in not just the series, but open-world games in general, so perhaps Majora’s Mask has got the short end of the Deku stick by being the difficult second child in the 3D Zelda world.
What would your pick be? Shout in the comments or join the conversation on Discord.
We’re all about supporting the little guy around here, as you’ll have spotted from a few of our reviews, so when Nintendo puts together its Indie World Showcase, it’s time to take a look at the best of all the indie games coming to the Switch.
What was your highlight? Let us know in our Discord.
Oxenfree II and Cult of the Lamb | Chris Brand
Despite reading positive reviews and seeing nothing but praise for Oxenfree, it took me some time to get around to playing it, as I don't often have the patience for slower-paced adventure games.
When I finally did dive in, purely to sate my curiosity, I was pleasantly surprised. The puzzling components are engaging without being too challenging, the story is compelling and the choices you make going through will determine how it all plays out.
Though Oxenfree offered multiple endings, it's not the sort of game I could replay. For me, the fun is in uncovering the mystery and enjoying the journey to get there. Once I've experienced it and that crucial element is missing, I can't go back.
A sequel that promises more of the same (with some new features, as is the fashion when it comes to sequels), however, is just the thing to get me excited. Or, at least, it would be, if not for the fact that Oxenfree II will be releasing on every platform but Xbox. It's cool though, I'm writing a TV show about a guy who invents super-bacon and I'm pitching it to everyone, aside from Netflix. Screw you guys.
The trailer for Cult of the Lamb DLC, Relics of the Old Faith, also caught my attention. As an added bonus, I may one day get to play it because Devolver Digital is an inclusive company that cares about people, unlike stupid Netflix which only cares about getting your hard-earned cash so they can buy fancy rugs. The kind of rugs that are too good to walk on, they're just for show and a complete waste of money.
As I've not yet played Cult of the Lamb (but, once again, heard nary a bad thing about it), everything is new to me and the free update not only adds more content but also improves the base game.
Mineko’s Night Market, Rift of the Necrodancer and Quilts and Cats of Calico | James Parry
While the true highlight was seeing two chaps standing by a duck pond (thanks Animal Well), and, like Chris, the Cult of the Lamb trailer definitely stood out, it was Rift of the Necrodancer which hit the sport for me straight away.
Any sort of rhythm game is automatically worth a look for me, and the art style is a bit of fun as well. It’ll be interesting to see if the core gameplay loop can evolve and sustain interest or if it feels a little…one note.
Perhaps it’s nostalgia for Animal Crossing New Horizons, or the fact that I’ve visited Japan recently, but the overall vibe, visual style and the prospect of minigames like cat racing in Mineko’s Night Market seems like a lot of fun. Though whether it’s a game for me remains to be seen.
Finally, there was Quilts and Cats of Calico, featuring a real cat – they know their audience. I’ve never played the original board game, but it certainly seems like there could be a market for this one, particularly those in withdrawal from Stray.
Cosy games are definitely a theme at the moment, both in the showcase and in general, and it will be interesting to see where the subgenre goes next. So far we’ve seen plenty with a great vibe to them but gameplay can feel a bit restrictive or minimal at times.
We've been out of the loop for a few weeks, but in our absence we were handed another nail in the coffin of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, as the show was cancelled once again this year.
The show was an online-only shindig last year and was caught up in the wave of event cancellations due to COVID the year before, but there has been big promises of springing back bigger and better than ever this year as recently as a few months ago.
In case this does end up being the end for E3, we thought it was time to shout out some of our favourite moments from years gone by and celebrate everything the show represented in the gaming landscape.
Xbox always leant into the drama of its announcements with a booming voiceover accompaniment of "World Premiere", and no year was more of a premiere than 2018, where Microsoft rallied after a few years of criticism from the Xbox One's launch, to bring 15 world premieres and 50 games in its showcase overall.
Finally, and many exciting moments through the years, my personal highlight has to be all of you banding together in our online chatroom to talk about the shows as they happened for several years.
The build up would involve awkward time difference calculations and pngs of various stage times, but you would all show up every time to really get into the spirit, like a sort of Eurovision Song Contest experience which saw each publisher trying to out-perform the other.
Truthfully, that is what I will miss the most, and while Gamescom and The Game Awards both offer glimmers of similar moments, the way news is shared by gaming companies now seems like it's changed forever. Pour one out.
Star Wars Battlefront II | Liam Andrews
I never used to pay much attention to E3 when I was younger, as I got all my information from gaming magazines in the early 2000s rather than watching events. I’m sure there was plenty of E3 coverage in them at the time, but I was only interested in the games themselves and wasn’t particularly fussed about where or how they were revealed.
It wasn’t until I joined PTC that I started consistently watching E3 presentations. While my preferred method is still to catch up on all the reveals after an E3 type event so I can focus on the stuff that interests me, I can definitely see the appeal of watching such things live, especially with a few friends.
Probably my most memorable picks from the E3 live events was the Star Wars Battlefront 2 reveal during EA Play (any show that opens with Star Wars’ Imperial March is off to a winner). I loved the 2015 Battlefront reboot, but the expensive season pass and lack of variety brought the experience down somewhat.
The 2017 reveal promised to fix all that, showing off multiple locations, weapons, vehicles, and characters from all Star Wars eras and also introduced the game’s new class system. Although the BF2 would go on to be panned at launch thanks to its loot box heavy progression system (which was thankfully fixed later on) the reveal itself was very impressive.
The Artful Escape | Chris Brand
My favourite E3 memory is from many moons ago. As the showcase takes place (or used to) around my birthday, I've always had cause to celebrate and my preferred method of celebrating back then was to get unbelievably hammered.
It all started off so well; I was watching E3, I was drinking, I was taking notes and I didn't have a care in the world. Until, that is, I awoke the next morning and attempted to make sense of the notes I'd jotted down whilst heavily birthday'd. Though the notes were littered with creative language and very short, I'd been descriptive enough for sober me to understand everything. Everything, apart from "Guitar Bastards." Not wanting to watch the events again in their entirety, I forgot all about Guitar Bastards and moved on with my life.
Years passed, before a little indie game called The Artful Escape hit Gamepass. From the screenshots, I immediately recognised it as Guitar Bastards but with a different, far less appealing, name. I downloaded it, to serve as a digital monument, reminding me that patience is often rewarded. And because it has guitars and I'm a nerd.
The Artful Escape is a colourful and charming adventure (and a fairly easy 100% completion) that I could have easily missed, just a quick trailer, nestled in amongst a handful of other long-forgotten titles, competing with the likes of Extreme Snow Bullshit (A.K.A Steep) and Moose-Pricks (I think that turned out to be The Deer God).
With Starfield suffering its latest, seemingly inevitable delay, and other releases expected this year already on their second or third release date, we thought it was high time we shouted about a few games where the delay was a good thing.
No matter how right Shigeru Miyamoto's famous quote about a broken game being bad forever is, that wait of even a few months can feel excruciating if it's the thing you're most looking forward to that year.
It's not all bad news though, often a game will be delayed and end up meeting or even surpassing expectations, so we've come up with a few examples. Let us know yours in the Discord.
BioShock Infinite | James Parry
While it would have been tempting, and very timely, to pick Resident Evil 4 for this question, since it reportedly was in development hell and had numerous delays before finally making it to the GameCube in 2005, my experience with the title was the Wii release, so it would have felt a little cheeky.
One delay I do recall though was BioShock Infinite, a title I vowed to push through and finish after having such a hard time sticking to it with the original.
While the delay was only a few months, from October 2012 to March 2013, that shift put the game in a less crowded part of the year, and meant my summer that year was dominated by tearing holes in reality.
The world of Columbia was stunning, and showed a mastery of that sense of uncomfortable-ness you find at the beginning when forced to decide whether to join in with the town's cruelty and throw a baseball at someone.
The anticipation of that moment, as it's well telegraphed by a growing sense that something isn't right, is the definition of a moment worth waiting for – and you can bet its impact would be lessened without those few crucial months of polish.
And can we just remember how strong the ending was? If you know, you know.
High on Life | Chris Brand
High on Life's release was postponed, not to give it a little bit of polish (which is usually the case), but to avoid having to share the limelight with other, more established, titles. Even though it's the lesser-preferred reason for a delay, it worked out well for me, as it missed our cut-off point for Game of the Year 2022, so I can comfortably choose it this year, if every other game gets pushed back until 2024.
I wasn't sure exactly what to expect going in, aside from the trademark humour, but I'm happy with what we got. If I had expectations, High on Life would've met them. It's a solid first-person shooter that's long enough to feel complete without ever becoming a slog.
The graphics are a visual treat and space is suitably "alien" looking, in a similar way to The Outer Worlds. Levels are fairly linear, with some kind of out-of-the-way places to find hidden loot, but, as beautiful as this all is, exploration isn't as much of a focus, as the real discoveries are to be found in hub areas when you're surrounded by a cast of weird and... weird folks. Most of the amusing dialogue could have been skipped, if I'd pushed on with whichever mission I was undertaking, but it seemed like everyone had something to say that was worth hearing.
It's well-paced over the course of the story, with a steady stream of new abilities and weapons/friends, though my first playthrough was extended significantly by trying to see and do as much as possible. Unlike a Fallout or Elder Scrolls game, there isn't a lot to soak in when it comes to lore and history, just little jokes, small self-contained stories and the occasional helpful tip on how to defeat high-ranking cartel bosses.
As much as I hate waiting, not picking a fight with a bigger dog was probably the right choice in the long run. I need everyone to play it and demand a sequel, it's the only way I'm getting answers to my questions.
With Tarnished across the world giddy at the prospect of more adventures in Elden Ring’s Lands Between in Shadow of the Erdtree, we’ve been thinking about other games where a story DLC expansion is overdue, or would just be too much fun to pass up.
Perhaps it was a missed opportunity, where the ideas were there but the game didn’t sell well enough, or just something which deserves a new lease of life – let us know what you’d choose in the Discord.
Halo Infinite | Liam Andrews
I thoroughly enjoyed Halo Infinite’s campaign. Zipping around the gorgeous landscape with Chief’s new grapple hook was immensely fun, so much so that I was more than happy to go chasing down optional pickups and side missions scattered across the rocky landscape.
And I’d happily do even more! 343 and Microsoft’s attention might have firmly shifted to Infinite’s free-to-play multiplayer (which is also rather good) but I’d like to see another slice of the campaign bolted on to the shattered remains of Zeta Halo.
As much as I enjoyed fighting the Banished’s army of minions – spoiler alert - I would like to see an old foe return in the form of the Flood. Their addition could have made a very good campaign into a great one. The Flood offer something completely different to the standard ranged gameplay, literally flooding the player with waves of horrifying enemies and forcing them into panicked close quarter action.
I can’t remember whether the Flood are still active in the Halo universe, but it seems a shame to let such an iconic enemy faction lay dormant for so long. Being able to take them on in a modern game with Chief’s new abilities – particularly the grapple – is something I’d love to see happen.
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy | James Parry
The main game of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy was not only a flarking good time, but one of the best examples of linear singleplayer storytelling we’ve seen in ages. Even though it was released back in 2021, with a new film waiting in the wings, admittedly with different interpretations of the characters, it would be great to jump back onto the Milano and reunite the team.
As one of the handful of games I saw through to the bitter end last year, I am already invested in these characters. Even if it was just a bit of messing around on Knowhere, like Mass Effect 3’s Citadel DLC, then that would be enough for me, but I suspect there are more fun stories to explore without leaping into something that would better suit a sequel.
Gamora’s story has always been tragic, and despite being the “Deadliest woman in the galaxy” has a lot of layers to peel back. One element which isn’t touched on in the game is her adopted sister Nebula, and the complexities of their relationship, only being mentioned off-screen.
Perhaps a rescue mission or an assassination-turned-rescue might be a fun little adventure to bring her into the fold – even into the team – and give us another go-round with these characters, endless banter and all.
The possibilities really are endless however, with a whole universe out there to explore, so who wouldn’t welcome another opportunity to try “a fun, exciting space adventure from start to finish.”
It doesn’t feel like the gaming year has really kicked off until we’ve had a Nintendo Direct, so lucky us that Ninty decided to grace us with a slew of updates, including a few surprise reveals which we could dive into right away.
We’ve picked our own personal highlights, this time summarised in the form of the overarching emotion the show evoked for us, but what stood out for you from the update? Let us know in our Discord.
Disappointment | Chris Brand
I'm rather disappointed that there was no mention of Pokémon, as I've had to shoehorn in this link to a wormhole I'm slowly building. I'll get around to playing it man, just give me some time.
Running with the theme of disappointment, there seemed to be very little variety on offer, with many titles blurring into one huge mass of retro-styled RPGs and more than a handful of actual retro games that are finding a second home on the Nintendo Switch. My lack of interest may stem from the fact that I don't own a Switch, though this didn't dampen my enthusiasm for the one game we were all surely waiting to see.
Liam's most anticipated game of 2023, Tears of the Kingdom, single-handedly carried the show. We didn't get a ton of info or an extended look, but after the success of Breath of the Wild we didn't really need to, everyone had already made up their mind.
The idea of playing third-party titles on Nintendo's hardware just doesn't do it for me, but seeing Mario or Link in a new outing often fills me with excitement. A restrained excitement, given that I probably won't ever play these games, but excitement nonetheless.
Ninty do make the occasional blunder (Labo, again) but when it comes to first-party games their creativity and innovation shine through. Not enough to make me fork out for a new system, yet enough that I would consider picking one up if the price was right.
For now, I'll live vicariously through others, waiting patiently for TotK's release and for one of the team to review it. Or for Ubisoft to announce a sequel to Immortals: Fenix Rising, which is about as close as I can get.
Optimism | James Parry
While, like most Nintendo fans, I appreciated a brief respite in the long wait for Tears of the Kingdom in the form of a trailer, though I am still waiting to be wowed quite as much as its predecessor. If it ends up being more of the same though, that will still be a fantastic experience, and one I’m looking forward to.
What I did love was that the opening of the show was given over to a fairly extensive look at Pikmin 4, a series which I feel like I frequently rave about, often by myself. The game is looking as adorable as ever, and I’m excited to jump in in July.
Like Liam, I found the reveal of Metroid Prime Remastered a pleasant and welcome surprise, particularly at a price point that isn’t ridiculous. I expect Splatoon 3 will be keeping me busy for a fair while yet, especially with the new expansion pass looming, so I doubt it will make it onto my Switch, but I’m excited for the series to attract new fans ahead of a brand new instalment.
Seeing Samba de Amigo return raised a smile, though I know it more by reputation than personal experience. In fact it was seeing those GameBoy and GBA games which were the biggest nostalgia hit, and it makes me optimistic for them finally getting around to adding more systems, so Nintendo’s complete back catalogue can finally be available all in one place.
Finally, it was nice to see the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Courses add a brand new track, and a Yoshi-themed one at that. Despite my inconsistent performance in multiplayer, a new course does tend to level the playing field…at least for a while.
As the cold and dark days of winter begin to subside, it’s got us feeling strangely hopeful, wistful even, for the excitement of the year to come, and the prospect of more games.
But we’re an old fashioned bunch around here, so we don’t want to get too carried away with anything too “new”. Fortunate then, that GoldenEye 007 is back on both Switch and Xbox to serve up a re-release fit for the world’s greatest secret agent, and the PC strategy classic Age of Empires II now has a definitive edition on console for the first time.
Since some titles aren’t lucky enough to have a full remake like Dead Space, what’s a game that does deserve to be served up to a new audience as a remaster? If you’ve got a top pick then let us know on Discord.
Red Alert 2 | James Parry
We’ve been spoiled by remasters in recent years, with The Command & Conquer Remastered Collection being a particular highlight, which made picking a fruit ripe for revival challenging, but after hours of head scratching I finally realised it had been staring at me all along – Red Alert 2.
While console releases of strategy games can be hit and miss. The control style adopted by the very experienced team at World’s Edge for the aforementioned Age of Empires II port shows that the control scheme can be adapted sensibly – and if all else fails you can always plug a keyboard and mouse in.
I’ve mentioned before that Red Alert 2 is my favourite strategy game, but to play it in multiplayer on console would be a game-changer. The campaign would hold up to the remaster treatment too, since the bones of the game are in good functional shape, so it’s just a case of widening out its audience.
Tie it up with Game Pass for an exclusive launch window and you’ve got an instant captive audience who are already warmed up on AOE and keen to try out more strategy games. Plus, magically releasing it in a few months time would keep the strategy momentum going for the Xbox release of Age of Empires IV, which left many fans (including me) behind thanks to being PC only.
Diddy Kong Racing | Liam Andrews
The return of GoldenEye 007 is a welcome comeback, but there’s another title from the studio’s back catalogue that I’d like to see made playable on modern hardware: Diddy Kong Racing.
I didn’t know this, but there was a remake of the classic N64 racing game turned up on DS some years ago but it somehow completely passed me by, or I totally forgot about its existence. While I could easily pick up this version and play it on my 2DS XL, I’d still like to be able to play the original version of the game on a TV.
I never owned the original game, but a good friend of mine did and I used to thoroughly enjoy stopping over to play it. I remember being hugely impressed by the addition of planes and boats as drivable vehicles (particularly the latter) as I’d only ever gotten to drive Mario Kart’s more grounded vehicles.
Seeing as Rare is now a Microsoft studio, and how that complicated GoldenEye’s recent release on Xbox consoles and Switch, I’m not too confident we’ll be seeing Diddy Kong Racing any time soon, but I suppose there’s always a chance. In the meantime, I might have to try that DS remake.
With The Last of Us blowing up the internet and bringing grown men to tears before even the end of the first episode, we’ve been thinking about the best examples of video game adaptations.
Of course, it’s a phenomenon that goes both ways, with films based on games, games based on films and even a game inside another shame based on a film that’s based on a theme park ride – that be Pirates of the Caribbean in Sea of Thieves for those of you keeping up with this tortured explanation.
So, what’s the translation, transmutation or transfiguration which hits the spot for you in the video game world? Perhaps Pedro Pascal’s Joel has blocked all other examples from your mind, or you’re dead set on convincing us all that Bob Hoskins’ Mario is, in fact, the ultimate version of the character. Sound off in the Discord with your ideas.
Detective Pikachu | Liam Andrews
I loved the original series of the Pokémon anime. As a huge fan of the original games, it was cool seeing characters I’d battled with turning up as fully formed characters in another medium, and Pokémon had proper personalities instead of merely being members of your squad.
However, I’m going to spurn Ash and co. and instead opt for Detective Pikachu for my pick this week. Game adaptations have conditioned me to have very low expectations when it comes to silver screen productions, but I was pleasantly surprised by Detective Pikachu.
I thought Ryan Reynolds did a good job in his role as what is essentially a giant mouse, and the 3D models themselves were very impressive and easily the best part of the film. I also enjoyed seeing classic Pokémon city locations being referenced on tickets and posters. The plot was a bit bonkers, but you’re not really turning up to these sorts of films for a coherent story.
As far as video game adaptations go, I think this is one of the best, which isn’t saying a lot given what’s come before it. It might not be a classic or even well remembered years from now, but I enjoyed watching it and didn’t leave the theatre feeling disappointed, which counts as a win in my book.
Die Hard Trilogy | Chris Brand
Way back before the likes of Batman and Spider-Man changed the world for the better, licensed game adaptations were often seen as a cheap, easy, cash grab – because they were.
Die Hard Trilogy, was loosely based on the film series which chronicles the early life of Bruce Willis, bucked that trend by offering up three action-packed, and very different, games in one. Though each could have felt a little light in isolation, together they were great value for money and (surprisingly, for the time) rather fun.
Die Hard was a third-person shooter in which the player ascends Nakatomi Plaza, slaying terrorists and rescuing hostages. Die Hard 2: Die Harder changed things up, giving us an on-rails shooter, similar to light gun games that were (are?) a highlight of arcades. Die Hard with a Vengeance swapped guns for vehicles, as we raced around an over-crowded New York City defusing explosives.
Some of my fondest memories of the trilogy come from Die Hard 2, specifically the cheat code which unlocks the map editor. With it, you could modify the path the player takes, the various paths of the enemies and NPCs and the locations of weapon pickups. It was cumbersome and unintuitive but with a little tinkering you could dramatically alter the flow of the game, even reducing or increasing the difficulty as a result.
Die Hard Trilogy really did feel like three separate titles, not just three chapters of the same game. In the modern gaming world of today, it wouldn't have the appeal, as Grand Theft Auto, and many games of that ilk, seamlessly merge third-person shooting with driving, in a much more attractive package. However, it's possibly a forerunner of the open-world crime sim and one of the first decent licensed games.
A new year is upon us, and after a festive break we are back brimming with enthusiasm for the exciting games lineup due this year. Thanks to a slew of COVID-related delays, there are an awful lot of titles coming out in 2023.
From new entries in established titles like Zelda, Like a Dragon: Inshin and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, remakes like Dead Space and Resident Evil 4, and new IPs like Atomic Heart, the definitely controversial Hogwarts Legacy and the potentially exciting Forspoken.
What’s your pick? Let us know in the comments or on our Discord.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor | Chris Brand
After weighing up my top five options (Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, Hogwarts Legacy, The Wolf Among Us 2, a rather ambitious Fable 4, and finally Crisco Simulator: Cake for Breakfast, because there was really only a top three), I had to give Star Wars Jedi the top spot, though it was very close...
I'm not into the Harry Potter franchise, it just isn't for me, so Hogwarts Legacy was already on the back foot and needed to leave a real impression on me to be in with a shout. But it did. Its biggest weakness became a strength. Everything in this universe is new to me and that's a unique kind of excitement. I can discover everything for the first time, maybe even gaining a deeper appreciation for Harry Potter.
Ultimately, my time with the, genuinely excellent, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order tipped the scales. I know that everyone involved in the development of Hog Leg (please, can we call it that?) will be absolutely devastated by my decision and I hope they can recover from this crushing blow.
Many Star Wars titles have the demanding task of making you feel like a powerful Jedi whilst still providing a significant combat challenge, and Fallen Order got closer to that goal than most. I did find there were a couple of difficulty spikes, but nothing that couldn't be overcome with a little bit of patience. Do or do not, there is no try.
The only complaint I could throw at Fallen Order is the length of the story. I wasn't ready for this tale to end, I sensed more worlds to explore and more secrets to uncover. In retrospect, I'm glad it left me wanting more and kept me primed for the sequel.
Marvel's Spider-Man 2 | James Parry
Approaching making my final pick I encountered a problem. A few games I found myself interested in last year have since given us glimpses which were disappointing, particularly Forspoken and Skull and Bones, and so I don’t want to touch any other games with some sort of curse.
However, tradition demands I must name names, so here goes…
At first I thought of going for the Dead Space remake, as I’m excited to finally dive into that series, but I feel like something which pulls us forward to something new is more worthy of excitement and anticipation.
And so I settled on Spider-Man 2. Firstly, I love Spider-Man as a character, always have, and there’s something very relatable about him as a hero – really any iteration, particularly given how many different ones there are, plus you can expect there’ll be at least some Across The SpiderVerse tie-in, as there was between the first game and film.
Secondly, Insomniac Games consistently bring out games I’m excited to play, from the likes of Sunset Overdrive when the Xbox One debuted, even as far back as trying out the very underrated Resistance series back in the mid 2000s. More recently, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, was my game of the year in 2021, so the teams are on a hot streak as far as I’m concerned.
However it turns out, I think we’re in for a really good year in gaming.
Don't forget to join the conversation in our Discord.
And so, the end of the year is almost upon us. With hundreds of games released throughout the year, surely there’s been something for everyone? At least one game to remember 2022 by?
While The Game Awards will bring the “official” winner on 8 December from the shortlist of Elden Ring, A Plague Tale: Requiem, God of War: Ragnarok, Horizon Forbidden West, Stray and Xenoblade Chronicles 3, for our award, any title is allowed.
There are no right or wrong answers of course – whichever game you feel is your Game of the Year holds that title for you, and no one can take it away – but in the interest of fun we thought we’d all make our case for the game which has hit the spot for us in 2022.
We’ll now be taking a bit of a break for the festive season, unless something comes up we decide we’d really like to chat about, so see you in 2023.
In the meantime, give us your suggestions in our Discord.
Metroid Dread | Rob Holt
Yes, yes, yes, keen-ear’d observer, I am bending the laws of the task to my will, as Metroid Dread did indeed release during the back-end of last year. Does the fact that I only recently uncovered a batch of time in which to play it help my cause at all...?
Back when the world was sepia - around 2011, if I recall correctly - I had my first of several attempts at understanding/enjoying the Metroid series, with 2D classic, SUPER. I enjoyed the atmosphere of it, but found the punishing difficulty - yes, I am a noob, and yes, Dark Souls can bugger off, too - a tad too rich for my liver. I tried again with Prime, but the pointer controls solicited such profound rage & frustration within my very noggin that I never made it past the second hour. Why then, Young Idealists, has Dread been the entry to finally take-a-hold?
Let me reel off a ream, chums: I’m older, and although significantly stupider with every passing day, I am wiser to the tricks of these MetroidVanias, and have grown to love them for their multiple paths, abilities and puzzles. The way Dread opens up with each new discovery or scrap is utterly dreamy, giving this creaky-hipped curmudgeon a great sense of satisfaction - especially learning and beating those punishing, bastard bosses. The music and sound effects are delicious, the controls metronomically tight, the graphics luscious, and the story is wonderfully, accidentally hilarious/dross. It all bubbles away to create a heady, highly replayable jous.
Are the E.M.M.I enemies a total pain in the Harris? Yes, almost definitely, but the joy in which I took in destroying them only served to prove how much I had enjoyed and invested in this entry in the series. AND I actually finished it.
“The longer the note, the more dread."
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: Booster Course Pass | James Parry
Like Rob, I’ve also picked a game which didn’t come out this year, but its constant presence on the sales charts since 2017 is a testament to its quality.
After a few years off, I’ve bounced back to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe thanks to a combination of a regular tournament with some very cool people and the Booster Course Pass, bringing 48 new tracks to the game over the next couple of years, bringing the final total to 96.
The approach Nintendo is taking to breathing life into the game is smart. Since it’s been five years, you might expect Mario Kart 9 news by now, but instead the team is doubling down on the strength of what’s already there but adding replayability and variety.
It might not be all-new, with most of the tracks coming from previous games, but plenty are being included from Mario Kart Tour, which far fewer people are familiar with. On top of that there are small updates being made to tracks here and there, showing player feedback is being taken into account.
There’s another eight tracks coming next week with the Rock and Moon Cups, including a special, Christmas-themed new course, Merry Mountain. What more could you want?
Honourable mentions should go to the very fun Cat Café Manager, the charmingly endearing The Last Hero of Nostalgaia and the curiously different Pentiment.
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 | Liam Andrews
Modern Warfare 2 might have only just arrived, but since its release a little over a month ago I’ve pretty much been glued to it.
The campaign is decent (though nothing the series has done has ever topped the original two Modern Warfares (Modern Warfi?) in my opinion) and isn’t afraid to throw a few curveballs at the player by introducing RTS elements and crafting. While these would probably be considered gentle underarms in other games (especially the latter), their presence in a CoD campaign was notable.
The multiplayer is as addictive as ever, and the new unlock system does a good job of encouraging players to try weapon classes they might have otherwise avoided. The game modes have hardly changed since the original MW released, but that’s a testament to their quality, rather than a lack of evolution.
I’m also going to lump Warzone 2 in with Modern Warfare 2. Even though they’re technically two separate products (the former being free-to-play) the two are intrinsically linked, sharing menu screens and weapon/character progression, at least until the next CoD comes along.
The battle royale part of Warzone 2 hasn’t yet grabbed me the way 2020’s Warzone did, but the DMZ offering, which sees players trying to get high-end gear out before the last extraction helicopter leaves, has been hugely enjoyable and is set to be my go-to multiplayer experience for the foreseeable.