The top-down racer rarely appears, but is alive and well. After its stint on Steam Early Access, Circuit Superstars from Original Fire Games and the Square Enix Collective has now taken to the grid with a full release. It’s an eclectic mix of racing styles across different eras and terrain. It’s a challenging game for those who want it, yet it is still approachable for those need it. Circuit Superstars has unique handling for every car type which has a wonderful feel, and looks great while doing it.
Turtle Rock Studios not only revitalized the coop shooter, but also zombie games back in 2008. Just when things were getting stagnant, they made a game and it’s sequel that are still played to this day in large numbers. Back 4 Blood is a spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead, and the key word is successor. Taking the core formula and expanding on that, it surpasses them in every way. It’s a deeper and more rewarding experience. Back 4 Blood lets a new generation experience their gory genius.
The sixth mainline Far Cry game isn’t full of too many surprises, but it’s got the series’ greatest hits in its playlist. Tonally, Far Cry 6 is all-over-the-place: funny when it wants to be, and serious when it needs to be. They can be hard shifts, but there’s a compelling narrative in here. You’ll be rallying those around you to fight an actual army by partaking in guerrilla warfare to unseat politician hungry with power. Activities have you hunt animals, win races, and even find hidden treasures. If this all sounds familiar, I’m willing to bet you’ve never taken over a military base with a blood-crazed rooster by your side. Far Cry 6 is a joy ride without wearing a seat belt.
After receiving my monthly PC Gamer magazine with the included demo disc in the mail, I excitingly ripped it from its plastic and installed the Diablo II Demo. It was my first introduction to the isometric action RPG genre, and I was immediately enthralled. It wasn’t long until I bought the full game, and has been one of my favorite kinds of games to play. With the release of Diablo II: Resurrected, I’m able to relive those moments from 21 years ago, as it’s a complete remastering of Diablo II and its only expansion, Lord of Destruction. This remaster is everything you’d want it to be, and more; offering an uncompromising experience for veterans, and a stiff, but great introduction for newcomers.
As a kid, I spent countless hours playing on the floor and my bed playing with Hot Wheels. I constructed tracks from official pieces with whatever I had lying around. HOT WHEELS UNLEASHED captures what our imaginations were as kids, and presents them in exaggerated and expansive ways. Milestone, a developer who’s mostly known for their work on motorcycle and simulation games have made one of the most enjoyable arcade car racers in recent memory. HOT WHEELS UNLEASHED is a game for racers, designers, dreamers, and kids from one to ninety-two.
Arkane Studios has an innate ability to make believable worlds with an engrossing story, backed by excellent gameplay. That trend continues in DEATHLOOP, where the goal is simple: break the cycle. What’s not simple is actually breaking the loop, as you’ll have to become powerful and ready to reach its conclusion. The environmental richness of Dishonored meets the combat versatility of Prey, for an exceptional immersive sim. Throughout your fifteen hours or so, is a journey of memorization, growth, and controlled repetition. DEATHLOOP is a shining example of the time loop perfected.
There’s a lot to love about Dice Legacy. From the dice-based residents to vastness of space that looms in the background on this strange ringworld you just discovered. And now you’re trying to survive the harsh winter that’s coming. Developer DESTINYbit have a delightful game with grave consequences. With every loss or defeat, I was just as excited to jump into a new run over than the last. Dice Legacy is one of the more unique, and inventive city builders out there.
Maneater: Truth Quest explores conspiracy theories, hoaxes, and the unexplained. This is the first DLC to expand on the core game, and it’s a weird one. Maneater wasn’t exactly grounded, but it had a sense of reality about it. With Truth Quest, things go off the rails early and often. Like the docuseries it emulates, there’s not much in the way of explanation here. The things you’ll be tasked with doing are too familiar with what you’ve done before. Truth Quest has entertainment value and gives you more of Maneater, but the invariability leaves you wanting better.
Comanche started off as a multiplayer-only game, and then expanded to include single-player modes during its time in Early Access. Now released in full, the fifth entry in the venerable series is finally here. Almost immediately, it leaves a bad impression. While there’s some glimmers of hope and promise, it is never fulfilled. Comanche, like Aquanox Deep Descent didn’t need to return — at least not like this. There’s very little reason to play Comanche, and is simply not memorable for anything.
ROCCAT has been releasing impressive hardware throughout the year, and their latest is a studio-grade USB microphone, set to light a fire in the space. Aimed at mostly content creators and gamers, it’s an exciting package that’ll appeal to a larger audience. But in the age of working from home either by choice or demand, microphones have become a near-essential component of the home office, so there’s something for all here. The ROCCAT Torch is as affordable and stylish as it is a great microphone too.
Golf games have been everything from simulation to arcade, and sometimes anywhere in-between. But I’m hard-pressed to think of a golf game that has a heavy, emotional story to tell while you’re distracted playing it. That’s what Golf Club Wasteland does, and does so well. Developer Demagog Studio offers a deep dive into the ecological and economy-driven decisions that will have profound impacts on the human race, and especially key individuals. All of that, in a golf game wrapper is nothing short of amazing to deliver that message. If this isn’t on your radar, it should be. Golf Club Wasteland is an absolute gem.
Everything about the tease and build-up for Twelve Minutes since its reveal in 2019 has been shrouded in mystery, and the gameplay maintains this until its final moments. It’s a game with stellar casting and cinematic panache to elevate the circumstances of being caught in a time loop. Time loops are entertaining to watch, but actually more frustrating to play. Similar to “Happy Death Day”, Twelve Minutes is an exasperating affair in trying to break the cycle you find yourself in. There are moments of greatness here, especially when you get into a rhythm, but that happens too infrequently to enjoy fully. Twelve minutes can go by quickly, or feel like an eternity. And unfortunately for Twelve Minutes it’s the latter.
In a year of challenges, WRC 10 is here to celebrate all things FIA World Rally Championship, starting with the 50th anniversary of the championship itself. KT Racing created a solid foundation in WRC 9 to build on, and has mostly succeeded with more modes and things to do. Some of the same issues from years past return to hamper things, that have yet to be fixed. WRC 10 offers so much content over prior years, making it a great entry point and reason to sign-on for another year, like Sébastien Ogier did with Toyota for the 2021 season.
There’s been a few remasters and remakes of Myst over the years, and for good reason. It was once the best-selling PC game for years, and even today, considered one of the best games of all-time. With this, Myst has been re-imagined by the original creators at Cyan, giving renewed life for a series that made PC gaming relevant. Everything about what made the original become a classic is preserved: the music, the atmosphere, and in some respects, the visuals. What Rand and Robyn Miller created back in 1993 is timeless, and is ever-present with this release, which sets out to do it all again. This is the most accessible release yet, making it the definitive experience. Myst is a brilliant puzzle-adventure that continues to captivate and impress, whether you’re returning to the island, or visiting for the first time.
Taking place decades after “Aliens 3”, Aliens: Fireteam Elite is a new entry within the timeline of the film franchise. Comparisons will be made between this and Left 4 Dead, though there’s few to actually make. Sure, they’re both coop, action horror games – but that’s where the similarities end, and the differences begin. While Aliens: Fireteam Elite has depth with concerns for team composition and tactics, it’s still a little more straightforward than what you’d expect. That said, this is a coop game that you don’t have to take too seriously, and can just blast aliens with friends.