Close

Games

Up up down down left right left right B A

God of War Ragnarök

“What I love about combat in God of War Ragnarök is that it’s a lesson in how you can do more with less. There are just two weapons here—the axe and the blades—but still such a variety of play. You can charge your weapons with frost or fire, hold down buttons to trigger special combos, and of course, line up attacks in a coordinated fashion to maximise damage dealt. What I don’t love is how the game limits what you can see.”

Gotham Knights

“Drawing from the refined toolkit that powered Batman: Arkham and Marvel’s Spider-Man, WB Games Montréal has produced a cookie-cutter superhero experience that’s not looking to push any boundaries. It’s got flair in parts, an attempt to do a bit of heartfelt storytelling, and limited ideas for what an open-world Gotham can be. But it’s also lacking charm, the oomph and drive to its narrative, and the desire to be something special. Gotham Knights is a cash grab in the era of superheroes—and nothing more.”

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope

“Do I appreciate the increased ambition? Yes. Am I turned off by the controversial additions … ? A yes to that too. But that is the price we pay for the world we live in. […] Kingdom Battle felt like an innocent little experiment. Now, with success on their backs, there is hunger for more, and both Ubisoft and Nintendo are seeing dollars in their eyes. Mario + Rabbids is akin to a franchise now—and it shows.”

FIFA 23

“Cross-play could have the best thing in ages to happen to the 11v11 Pro Clubs … but sadly, we’re stuck with a game and a developer that refuses to pour resources where they are needed. Instead, everything is funnelled into [FIFA Ultimate Team]. […] But the thing is, EA doesn’t have to care because there’s no competition. […] In a monopoly, you are the default choice. That’s great for FIFA 23, but football fans are paying the price.”

The Last of Us Part I

“[A] night and day difference here, something you can only realise when put the original and the remake side by side. As I did. Loading up The Last of Us Remastered on a PS4 Pro … I discovered that the environments, their lighting, and the shadows seem rudimentary in comparison. And that’s saying something, considering the PS4 Pro Remastered variant claimed to offer ‘high-quality shadows’ at 4K resolution.”

Stray

“[Kudos] to the developers for recreating what it’s like to slinker as a cat. From the gait to the jumps, Stray really nails feline movement. [… It also] replicates beloved cat memes, including their love to stick their heads in a bag … and jumping into cardboard boxes […] Like that spectrum, Stray swings between a variety of genres, from heartfelt anime to atmospheric horror, and from sleepy backwaters to pulse-pounding thriller.”

Gran Turismo 7

“For those looking for a dedicated simulation racer where you can spend hours tuning and practising to get the best out of the car and yourself, Gran Turismo 7 will no doubt appeal. But I don’t think it’s for racing game enthusiasts, it’s for racing enthusiasts. A great racing game is more than the details—it’s the whole package, it’s how it makes you feel. […] Gran Turismo 7 isn’t [that] kind of game […] I’m happy to be called elsewhere.”

Horizon Forbidden West

“[A] lot of the right ingredients but it’s let down by the pitfalls of AAA game design. Too often now, big event games are conflated with how much they offer and how long they last. [… Studios] feel pressured to give players a lot to do if they are forking over so much money. That is an unnecessary and unfortunate correlation, one that is holding back games such as Horizon Forbidden West from being tight experiences that don’t feel the need to pad things out.”

Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection

“Rather than a new Uncharted game then, what’s more likely (unfortunately) is a PS5 version of Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, the PS4 remaster of the first three Uncharted PS3 titles. A studio like Naughty Dog shouldn’t be ground down into churning remasters of its old games—it should be looking ahead to new entries or new IP. But this is just the world we live in.”

Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5‘s Mexico is a joy to drive through, be it when I’m speeding on the super highways at speeds in excess of 350 kmph in the ultra-quiet all-electric Porsche Taycan Turbo S, swinging through the curvy inner streets on the prowl for bonus boards in the hungry and powerful Lamborghini Centenario, or cutting through forests and jumping off rolling hills in the mood for some skill points and collateral damage in a heavy-duty big-tyred pick-up truck.”

Far Cry 6

“[Not] a great game. It often retreads what have become Ubisoft clichés. But at times, it’s a really fun game. Far Cry 6 has moments of genuine inspiration where its combination of tropical paradise, co-op support, and new ideas fuse together to deliver something memorable. But between those admittedly enjoyable adventures, Far Cry 6 will also make you do a series of things that aren’t too different from one another. That sameness is pervasive.”

FIFA 22

“But even if EA does get its head out of the pile of gold, it’s got troubles on the pitch too. FIFA doesn’t feel like football anymore to me. To be fair, it never really was—thanks to pitch size, pace dominance, and all that—but now it just seems to be going away from the sport it claims to represent each year. Maybe a new challenger can shake things up. We badly need it.”

Kena: Bridge of Spirits

“[By-the-numbers] 3D action-adventure game. It might look like a modern Zelda game but doesn’t play like one. It’s largely just a series of arena-based combat routines, stitched together by long stretches of traversal, and cutscenes that are well-designed but feel like a forgotten Hollywood B-movie. Too often, Kena: Bridge of Spirits reminds you of better games you’ve played and that it’s borrowing from—which is not a good sign.”

Psychonauts 2

“As with Psychonauts, the USP for Psychonauts 2 remains its eclectic nature, filled with all sorts of new and returning goofy characters. Add to that its visual aesthetic that mimics hand-drawn comic books, channelling an inner Tim Burton-esque vibe, and as if it’s been launched through a Technicolor post-processing system.”

Outriders

“When it all comes together, Outriders can be good fun. The gunplay felt a little stilted and laboured to me early on, but I’ve found it to be really satisfying at times, especially when you empty a volcanic-charged cartridge into an enemy’s head—and they plop to the ground. And Outriders keeps you on your toes as you’re constantly balancing various elements: where to find cover, dodging grenades, when to jump back out, who to target first, how to maximise your powers, and working with your squad.”

Xbox Series X

“If it’s a next-gen console you’re after, the Xbox Series X is a solid proposition. [Xbox] Game Pass is a great money-saving idea in a world where Rs. 5,000 games are becoming the norm. Microsoft’s new console also lets you play games from every console Microsoft has ever made. New games look and perform better than ever, without breaking the bank. And the Series X belongs to the only console family that supports Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos for gaming.”

PlayStation 5

“[Both] a bold and safe bet from Sony. While Microsoft is out there looking to rewrite the playbook—a more-affordable starting price with the Xbox Series S, an increasing focus on Xbox Game Pass, including game streaming … and the option to buy the console in piecemeal … — Sony seems confident in its approach: sell a swanky console upfront, and then charge individually for games. The approach worked with the PS4, which beat the Xbox One by a margin greater than 2:1, so why meddle with that?”

Cyberpunk 2077

“There’s nothing too special about anything that Cyberpunk 2077 offers; nothing especially that deserves the amount of hype and attention that has been cast in its direction. But what makes it all the more disappointing is the terrible package it’s being offered in. […] It is entirely unacceptable that performance on current-gen consoles is so poor, despite several release date delays. […] Not a single soul should have to pay full price for this debacle. At least not until the developer proves that it’s fixed everything.”

Immortals Fenyx Rising

“Having ideas is one thing, you’ve to execute them too. [The] combat is generally bland, and it’s only when you get involved in boss battles that prove to be more satisfying, as they involve a bit more strategy. But even that turns rote if fights go on for too long, because you settle into a loop. Charge up your special attack, use it, add some light attack stabs, dodge incoming attacks, refresh your special attack. Rinse and repeat. It’s thrilling for a minute but if I have to execute the same strategy for five minutes non-stop, you’ve lost my interest.”

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

“[So] expansive that it feels rather aimless. The story gets lost in the hours you spend wandering around chasing side quests—which offer endless variations on a finite number of templates—all in the hopes of levelling up the infinite global power tree or finding gear that you will then need more resources for to upgrade it. And for all the explanations on the new mechanisms offered in the menus, it lacks in clear instructions at times, be in with resources, exploration, or the importance of side quests.”

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

“[Lacking] in originality but thankfully built on a solid core that needs a few tweaks. It’s a successful expansion of Insomniac’s Spider-Man universe, but it’s a new paragraph, rather than a new chapter. Hopefully it will give us the latter next time around. And though it’s also good for representation, it still has a ways to go. […] For now, Miles [Morales] continues his upward trajectory. He walked in 2018, so he could fly in 2020.”

Watch Dogs: Legion

“[Going] in guns blazing will attract so much enemy firepower that you’re likely to find yourself overpowered. Even if you manage to sneak in quietly, there’s always the rise of being spotted by a human or a drone. […] I found it much better to remain at a distance, hack phones to distract opponents and security cameras to discover a path to the target, use drones to move around facilities and then use the all-new ‘spiderbot’—an eight-legged drone—to get the job done.”

FIFA 21

“[Full] of goals. With FIFA, EA Sports is constantly engaged in a balancing act between attack vs defence. And it’s a process that continues after release, with some FIFA titles transforming into a whole new beast by the time we’re ready for the next annual iteration. At launch, FIFA 21 is a goal fest. I’ve had a lot of high-scoring games on FIFA 21 where the result looks more like cricket scores, and I’ve also broken my personal best scoring record, with a final score of 20-0.”

Mafia: Definitive Edition

“[Half-baked] in every respect. The updated story is handled better but still suffers from some glaring gaps. The improved visuals aren’t up to 2020 standards—and oh, they are just a façade. There are new combat mechanics but they don’t do enough to lift the shooting bits. Mafia: Definitive Edition is crying out for a stronger hand at the wheel and a deeper rethink, for in its current state, it’s oblivious of the fact that it’s been 18 years since the original.”

Tennis World Tour 2

“Ultimately, Tennis World Tour 2, with its steep learning curve and stocky animations, is a game that will largely appeal to the hardcore tennis fan. It’s nowhere at the level it needs to be, but it’s also operating in an environment without any competition.”

Marvel’s Avengers

“[Nowhere] as annoying as the problems with combat though. If you can look past the latter—and it’s not easy—you’ll find a story that’s largely well done, especially when it comes to Kamala [Khan]’s role in it. Its best moments are the narrative interludes, be it the early fun, charming, and giddy moments she shares with the Avengers or the quiet moments, like the time she drinks a giant cola, plays with a Hulk bobble head toy figure, and puts on a pop song on the radio in Bruce [Banner]’s car.”

Raji: An Ancient Epic

“The big charm of Raji is its unique visual, aural, and scripted landscape, owing to its Indian roots and thanks in part to the fact that it’s rarely depicted on screen in the video game arena. We especially loved Raji’s background score and sound design, which incorporates local folk instruments such as the sitar (necked bowl lute), tabla (twin hand drums), bansuri (side-blown flute), ravanahatha (bowed stringed violin)—and ornaments in Raji’s payals (anklets).”

Ghost of Tsushima

“With the use of shakuhachi (bamboo flutes), koto (a long zither), shamisen (three-stringed lute), taiko (Japanese drums), and biwa (short-necked fretted lute), Ghost of Tsushima sets itself apart from the score of most video games—and even most mainstream movies. The calm it instils is disturbed by the fires of combat, where the score serves to augment the violence.”

The Last of Us Part II

“[Builds] off the much-acclaimed story from the original and expands on previously-established themes, most of them stemming from the cycle of violence keeps repeating. That includes familial bonds, religious intolerance and fanaticism, and confusing revenge with justice. Through it, The Last of Us 2 subverts expectations and forces you to reckon with the actions of the characters you’ve come to feel for. In some ways, it’s similar to Black Panther.”

FIFA 20

“With improvements [elsewhere]—slower gameplay, tougher defending, revised free-kicks, and more-equipped AI—11v11 is where it’s at, we think. Volta would have certainly kept the FIFA 20 team busy what with the new assets and all that, but since the game doesn’t need the same thought and strategy like its big brother, it’s in service of a product that’s ultimately less than the sum of its parts.”

eFootball PES 2020

“In PES 2020, defenders still charge like homing missiles, aren’t interested in tracking forward runs, and tend to get caught on the ball themselves. It’s almost as if the developers are content with the current state of affairs. That said, there are attempts elsewhere—though the results are decidedly mixed.”

NBA 2K19: MyCareer

“The game is still excellent on the court—the presentation is superlative and the gameplay benefits from a more noticeable skill gap, improved shot meter and stamina system—but everything around it seems to signal that 2K simply doesn’t care, and maybe we the players should stop as well.”

FIFA 19

“[Welcome] additions … bring it closer to the sport. The virtual football feels more like an actual ball—this might sound odd for a football game that’s in its third decade of existence—as passes seem to be more affected by friction, dragging the series away slightly from its criticism of laser-guided passing. Players have true, realistic momentum and its combination with the tweaked touch system results in more loose balls and potential possession changes.”

Pro Evolution Soccer 2019

“That said, there are aspects of the game that don’t need that kind of money to be made better—be it gameplay that’s stuck in a weird balance of realism and arcade-y fun, the nonsensical transfers or the lacklustre presentation—but it’s starting to feel like PES might have conceded one too many.”

Overcooked 2

“[All] the more enjoyable if you’ve got someone along for the ride, as the sheer pace of the game will have you shouting recipe steps at your fellow chefs or being screamed at for picking up or mixing the wrong thing(s), and trying to avoid bumping into each other and god forbid push anyone off the floor. A showcase of social gaming at its best, you owe it to yourself to put on your (virtual) toque blanche and revel in the delight that is Overcooked 2.”

Gaming Is Too Damn Expensive in India

“There isn’t a lot Sony and Microsoft can do on the hardware front since the government levies duties, but surely it’s worth experimenting with regional pricing like they did in the PS3-Xbox 360 era. And it’s not like it’s impossible.”

Life is Strange: Before the Storm

“[The] real beauty of the prequel story … is in its writing, be it the emotional depth it affords all its characters (even the supporting cast), the rushed yet touching portrayal of queer teenage romance, as two girls open up about their feelings, or the way it talks about grief over losing a loved one, and exploring how it embeds itself in nearly everything you face.”

Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2

“Each level is highly imaginative, and looks different from the previous one, ensuring that your kid—all Lego games are targeted towards co-op, especially for parents and children—will enjoy them as whole-heartedly as you do. Add to that the banter provided by the Marvel characters, featuring original voice-acting unlike the reused lines in Lego Avengers, and you get a sequel that’s showing significant improvement.”

Super Lucky’s Tale

“A game that was either rushed out, or was never given the development time it needed. There’s nothing memorable about Super Lucky’s Tale, be it the fairy-tale story about talking foxes taking on varying cats, or the platforming bits that make up most of its gameplay.”

This Is the Police

“[Still] a lot to admire here, especially the attention to sound design—from the satisfying clink of the cuffs every time you apprehend an offender, the patter of rain on windows and the windows themselves being drawn, and the jazz offering that accompanies and soothes you as you try to put an end to gruesome happenings. Unfortunately, once those turn into background wallpaper, the omissions only hurt more.”

FIFA 18: The Journey

“Even as The Journey has progressed in many ways—the narrative and player choice being the clear winners—it’s obvious that EA still needs to take a critical look at a lot of other aspects. […] But by continuing the [Alex] Hunter story … it’s created its own playable TV show of sorts, one you keep coming back to because you want to know more about the characters.”

Pro Evolution Soccer 2018

“The end-to-end gameplay of Pro Evolution Soccer is a double-edged sword. It’s the reason it’s so exciting to play—goal fests are, by their very nature—but it also contributes into making a game that feels unrealistic at best. And then there’s Konami and its licensing troubles, which seems to further deteriorate each year.”

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

“Don’t let the pretty family-friendly exterior of Mario + Rabbids fool you, this is a game that will have you pondering on how to best execute every turn without putting your characters in harm’s way, or risk having to restart all over again a dozen turns in.”

DiRT 4

“[A] new Dirt chapter that doesn’t share the ethos of its numbered predecessors, and it doesn’t feel right for the game to be called Dirt 4. That’s not to say the game isn’t good; fans of Dirt Rally, Project Cars, and other simulation titles will find enough to enjoy here. But if you’re getting into Dirt 4 to relive the joys of the earlier hits, this is the wrong game.”

Thimbleweed Park

“[An] appealing, and effective love letter to the movement they started back in the day. If you loved growing up with those titles, your decision has most likely already been made. For everyone else, Thimbleweed Park’s darkly humorous and self-referential approach, in combination with its oddball bunch of characters—everyone will have a different favourite—makes it an adventure well-worth pointing your cursor at.”

For Honor

“[A] truly engaging experience when you’re out on the battlefield, and playing mind-games with your opponents. It goes beyond its contemporaries by adding depth to combat in a way that feels true to reality. But all of its niceties threaten to be overshadowed by the poor taste of the non-playable elements, which seem to be becoming a bit of norm with top-tier video games.”

FIFA 17: The Journey

“The trouble is that not only are the cut-scenes terribly scripted and full of clichés, they also do not have any long-lasting impact. […] The bottom line is that most aspects of [Alex] Hunter’s storylines are much easier to digest if you’re playing for one of the big clubs, even if the narrative itself plays out like slapstick.”

Sid Meier's Civilization VI

“Firaxis has done a good job making its long-running franchise leaner than before, while introducing new things (such as Districts, Eureka and Inspiration) that make Civilization VI more straight-forward, in a bid to appeal to a broader audience.”

The Turing Test

“Much of what the game shows or talks about has been discussed elsewhere in the past. That too in a better fashion […] Nevertheless, it’s present here in a well-packaged puzzle entry that is by no means revolutionary, but still manages to do enough to not come across as a poor rehash. Helped by terrific voice acting and accompanied by a tense soundtrack, The Turing Test is an admirable effort.”

Obduction

“Unsolvable moments are far too common with Obduction, and hence it’s best that whenever the game makes you want to bang your head against the wall, put it aside for the day. If there’s one trap the game falls in, it’s the puzzle maker’s most obvious fallacy. The logic, while apparent to the creator, can be quite opaque to the player.”

No Man’s Sky

“The largely solitary experience of No Man’s Sky is monotonous, easily frustrating and loses its charm way too early. For a game with the promise of all the wonders of the universe, it delivers so little.”

Total War: Warhammer

“Where the previous Total War instalments have tried their best to faithfully recreate 15th century Japan or 200 BCE Rome, Warhammer‘s setting is a love letter to the devotees who painstakingly create miniature figures, infused into a game that combines high strategy and micro-management.”

Lego Marvel’s Avengers

“[Likely] to impress no one except diehard Marvel fans, ones that have adorned their walls with posters of Captain America and wear Iron Man costumes for Halloween. And if all you’re looking for is a bit of Lego-infused action, there are unmistakeably half a dozen better entries to choose from; the game’s own predecessor—2013’s Lego Marvel Super Heroes—one of the more entertaining options.”

The Witness

“Its insistence at not providing answers and straying away from the safety of regular rewards can be off-putting. The Witness wants to be more than a game filled with puzzles, but [Jonathan] Blow’s singular vision lets it down.”

I Hate FIFA and I Can’t Stop Playing It

“Both FIFA and PES are annual releases and [… by] now, they only tend to take small, evolutionary steps […] That is a combination of an insufficient development time stretching thinner over a hundred odd features and a focus on the more financially-rewarding online modes, such as Ultimate Team for FIFA and myClub for PES. With a reduced focus on offline play, the sense of progression you can get with the game without going online dwindles too.”