Say what you like about the game itself, there’s no denying that the launch of Cyberpunk 2077 has been anything but dull and is probably the most controversial launch in recent memory. Three delays in 2020 suggested that CD Projekt RED were planning on sticking to their mantra that it would only be launched when it was ready, and given the company’s stellar reputation pre-orders were through the roof with over 8-million copies being sold before it was even playable. And then everything fell apart faster my mental wellbeing after trying to speak to an actual living, breathing, human female. Only PC review code was handed, performance on base consoles is unacceptably bad, Sony removed the game from sale on the Playstation store and CD Projekt RED have managed to dig themselves into a hole so large that future archaeologists are going to assume there was a massive asteroid impact. Either they knew about the game’s horrendous amount of bugs and poor performance and chose to very deliberately keep that information quiet, or they honestly didn’t know how bad things were, in which case they are wholly incompetent. Either way, it doesn’t paint CD Projekt RED in a good light. So, now that we’re a little removed from the initial chaos, let’s review Cyberpunk 2077 on the Playstation 5 and try to figure out whether the game under the mess is any good.
Let’s assume for a moment that you’ve been living in some sort of perpetual darkness your entire life with no access to the Internet, game consoles or even a toilet. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is a skateboarding game that’s all about arcadey thrills and spills as you link together tricks into increasingly absurd combos. For millions of people, myself firmly included, the Tony Hawk series was a childhood staple that helped drive interest in skateboarding and introduced kids to some of the greatest music to ever grace a video game. To this day Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is one of the highest rated games ever, a classic among classics. Sadly the Tony Hawk game empire crumbled eventually, with Robomodo taking over from Neversoft and doing a bloody awful job it, culminating in the crappy Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 and a naff attempt to remaster the first game. But now Vicarious Visions are taking a stab at bringing both of the first two Hawk games back to life in this remake, and I’m happy to report Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is both a nostalgia filled trip down memory lane and a bloody awesome game for anybody looking to jump into Pro Skater for the first time.
Immortals: Fenyx Rising shares a lot of DNA with Ubisoft’s own Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, like its use of Greek mythology and its open-world packed with distractions. But it’s more like a streamlined Odyssey – a smaller, tighter world that tempts you with wonderful views and things to explore. It’s a tale of Gods and Monsters, of action and comedy. And it’s the best thing Ubisoft have put out in a while, possibly even enticing folk who have gotten soured by the repeated Ubisoft template. There’s a little dash of Zelda, too, which is great if you don’t own a Nintendo platform but want to feel what Breath of the Wild is all about, and if you squint there’s even a little bit of Darksiders. This might just be one of the year’s sleeper hits.
Bugsnax is the kind of game that could only have been summoned forth by someone suffering from an intense fever who then decided to get stark-raving drunk and topped off the entire day with a mushroom trip gone horrifyingly wrong. I can imagine them now, huddled in a corner, ranting and raving. The next day they stagger out of their room and try to explain their hallucinations. “Okay, so, like, there’s these Grumpuses, right, who are like Muppets, all made of felt and fuzz. And they’ve gone to an island called Snaktooth, yeah, and on that island there’s hotdogs with legs and flying pizzas and angry jacket potatoes that ram people, right. They’re called Bugsnax, ‘cos they’re part bug, part snack. But the Grumpus’ eat ’em, and then, like, their body parts change into the food that the Bugsnax was, you know?” Sit down, Jamie. Just sit down, bud, and I’ll get you some water, It’ll be okay. I hope. Maybe I’ll ring an ambulance, just in case, dude.
Before getting into the review proper, it’s probably worth establishing exactly what Spider-Man: Miles Morales is, aside from obviously being a video game about a Spider-Man. Even Sony and Insomniac didn’t seem to know exactly what this was when they revealed it, leaving loads of people trying to determine if it was going to be a sequel, a spin-off or an expansion pack. Officially they’ve called it a standalone game, I’d say it’s a standalone-expansion. It acts as a sequel in that it does follow on from the events of 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man, but it’s a much smaller experience that focuses on Miles Morales’ journey as he figures out not just how to be Spider-Man, but also how to be his own Spider-Man and not a copy of the original. Arguably, it could have been launched as a chunky add-on for 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man. But in the end, I’m glad Miles Morales got his own game, and I’m glad we got a hell of a PS5 launch title out of it.
With Codemasters being bought by Take-Two for a substantial £750-million ( a deal due to the be finalised in Q1 of 2021) it looks like we can expect more annual DiRT, GRID and F1 games since that’s a major part of Take-Two’s business plan. It should provide Codemaster’s with more financial security, but will it possibly lock them into doing nothing more than annualised franchises? Which is what they do now, really, so I guess nothing will change. The point is, DIRT 5 will likely be the last game to come from Codemaster’s without also being under the considerable shadow of Take-Two, so is DIRT 5 a suitable goodbye to Codies in their current form?
Watch Dogs: Legion takes place in a future London where drones cruise through the sky, cars drive themselves and everybody dress like they’ve just walked off the set of a punk rock video. However, a private security company by the name of Albion essentially rules London following a series of devastating bombings that are blamed on DedSec, the same group we’ve been following for the prior two games. As a member of DedSec you know that your hacktivist group has been framed, but by who and why is the mystery that needs solving. Luckily for you, the people of London are ready to rise up, and you can literally play as any single one of them. Previous Watch Dogs have presented the idea of anyone being able to rise up and make a difference, but Legion makes it a reality by making every NPC you meet a potential DedSec operative. So, is Watch Dogs: Legion another by-the-numbers Ubisoft game, or something special?
Back during the days of the Playstation 2, the cheerful, charming mascot platformer was all the rage, from Spyro the Dragon to Crash Bandicoot, both of which have gotten remastered or remade. These days the cutesy platformer isn’t as popular as it once was, but every now and then a new one turns up and tickles the ol’ nostalgia balls. This time it’s Pumpkin Jack, a game that feels so much like a classic PS2 platformer that you could tell me it was actually just a remaster and I’d believe you. In fact, it’s so enamoured with evoking the spirit of those old platformers that it even has iffy combat and a naff story, just like them. So, let’s review Pumpkin Jack, the bastard offspring of MediEvil and A Nightmare Before Christmas.
With Cyberpunk 2077 having been delayed for the *checks the calendar* 124th time, there’s a bit of a gap in the market for some grungy sci-fi. Enter Ghostrunner, a first-person game that describes itself as a “hardcore FPP slasher.” I’d describe it as the bastard baby of Mirror’s Edge and Dishonored. It’s fast, frenetic, and frequently exhilarating. It’s the kind of game that can make you clutch your mouse like it owes you money.
Hades spent two years in Early Access before it finally launched proper around a month back. Those two years stand as an example of how Early Access should be done. Developer Supergiant used that time to to create a culmination of all their previous work on Bastion, Pyre and Transistor. They took their excellent combat design, unique visual style and their storytelling chops and decided to try a rogue-like, and the results are spectacular. During those two years, Supergiant constantly updated the game and talked to their players. As a result, Hades is absolutely outstanding. It’s one of the best games of the year. So grab a beer, maybe a snack and park your butt on the chair, because I’m going to tell you why Hades is awesome.