Welcome to the Video Game of the Month feature! Every month, we'll be introducing you to a brand new video game that we think you'll love. Our team of experts carefully selects a game to feature based on its quality, content, and overall value. We'll provide you with an in-depth look at the game, from its graphics and sound design to its storyline and gameplay. We'll tell you why we think this game is worth playing, and where you can get it. So if you're looking for a great new game to try out, look no further than our Video Game of the Month!
That was the intro that an AI came up with for this feature. Rubbish isn’t it? So impersonal, so bland, so formal, so tonally upsetting. So full of grammatical errors (if my editor can overcome the urge to fix the mistakes that is). You can just feel it under your skin that the words were churned together as opposed to being fluidly penned by one of us self-appointed writing masters. It may or may not be just me who imposes such titles upon themselves.
Anyway, I know why you are here. You know why you are here. So, let’s leave this hodgepodge intro in the past and check out what games the bloggers here think are worth your time. Ha, hodgepodge. I would like to see an AI use that word well.
Inscryption – Dan Hilton
I am not going to lie. I completely passed this game up when it first came out. And I was a fool of a took! If you don’t get that reference then shame on you. Inscryption is that delicious little gem that just keeps on giving. I was initially disappointed when I managed to take down the creepy old man that seems to have locked you in his cabin and forced you to play a card game with talking cards. Yeah, you read that sentence correctly. But I was so happy when I learned that that entire game, was only the first part of what was a much bigger game.
Inscryption is at its core, a deck-building game. One that is wrapped in an enigmatic story that teeters the fence between escape room, mystery, and meta-gaming. And it is truly fantastic. I don’t want to say too much in the vein of saving you from any potential spoilers. But if you are a fan of quirky indie games, and you have any inclination towards card games, then I implore you to give this game a bash. You will have no regrets I assure you!
Pikmin is great. It’s that simple. All three entries in the series have been absolute gems and the announcement of PIkmin 4 coming this year on Nintendo Switch was a great excuse to crack out all three once more. Pikmin 3 on the WiiU took everything that was great about the previous two titles and improved them immeasurably (except for the excellent caves from Pikmin 2, which are nowhere in sight here). Pikmin 3 Deluxe on the Switch builds on this even more and adds full couch co-op to the story mode.
Although the visuals are bright and cartoonish, with zany-looking enemies there is a surprising amount of depth to Pikmin 3. You’ll need to make sure you have a healthy reserve of Pikmin to do your bidding, as well as the right amount of each colour in your 100-strong team. Red Pikmin are fireproof and strong, blue go breathe underwater, yellow can be thrown higher and can also conduct electricity, rock can smash down special doors and rocks, white can carry things faster and, if eaten by an enemy, can poison them, purple can stun enemies they’re thrown at and can also lift the weight of 10 Pikmin (handy for carrying heavier items back to your ship) and pink Pikmin can fly over obstacles even when carrying things. Good management and learn the strengths of each Pikmin type are key to victory. Even though you can always make more Pikmin it’s always devastating losing them in battle.
I know I haven’t done a good job at describing the game, but it’d sound even stranger if I did. Pikmin is definitely a game that needs to be played and, once you do, you’ll be hooked.
I remember playing the first Dead Space, I was 17 and scared to death! I played most of it with a trusty cushion to hide behind! This game was full of terror, atmosphere and nasty space monsters called Necromorphs. It was the space horror I had always wanted. Not only that it told a good story and included some great action sequences and kick ass guns.
When news of the remake came out, I was excited to see what they could do with this already amazing game. This wasn’t just going to be a touch up job but instead a rehaul of the mechanics and some sequences. I was curious if they would be able to capture the atmosphere which made the original so iconic. So far, the remake hasn’t disappointed. The Ishimura is just as frightening, and the lighting updates are outstanding. The story has been revamped with a voice acted Isaac and certain sequences have been brought to life through animations and side quests. The game seems better than the original. Usually, remakes are OK and recapture feelings of nostalgia, but this game goes beyond that. I have fallen in love with Dead Space all over again.
Not only are the aesthetics and story elements improved but the mechanics are as well. Guns have been updated and ones which felt redundant are now super fun to play, meaning I use everything in the arsenal. The newly added ‘peeling system’ lets players see the damage they inflict. The gore is next level as your plasma cutter can be seen cutting through flesh, sinew, and then bone. It’s gross but also really cool. Finally, this remake includes dynamic events or what the software is aptly named ‘the intensity director’. This keeps track of the player’s movements and randomly generates Necromorphs and jump scares. This addition to the gameplay means you never feel comfortable as anything could be waiting around the corner.
In a market of rushed games and botched remakes, it can be tough to find the good ones. If you loved the original Dead Space or never played it, then you need to pick this up. A truly gripping, gory, scare-fest set in space! And I still have a few hours left of stomping to undertake!
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is a massive expansion to Capcom’s ever-popular monster hunter simulator. It is basically a whole new game with so much content to cut through and monsters to fell. Only playable after you have finished the story from Rise, Sunbreak has you tackling beasties in a new area, Elgado. There has been another outbreak, some weird happenings and there's only one hunter who can help, yep, you guessed it, it's you!
Sunbreak has three new maps, one of which is a re-imagined map from the good old days, the Jungle. It has been tweaked to consider Monster Hunter Rises increased verticality and wire-bug movement scheme. Also, we have what could be my favourite Monster Hunter map of all time, the Citadel. It’s covered with broken ramparts and bits of castle and contains so many quirky features, it's beautiful to explore and fight monsters in.
Along with a few new maps we have new monsters, some returning beasties from old games and some new variants to take on. New monsters are the important thing with expansions like this as, let’s be honest, that is what we are here for. New fights, new gear and new weapons is what we want and Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is no slouch in this department. I would have perhaps liked a few more brand-new monsters to fight but what we have is easily enough and will keep you playing for hours on end.
Sunbreak also introduces a follower system which works great if you like to play alone, allowing you to take NPC’s on quests with you and aiding in battle. They work really well too, mounting monsters and really feeling like they can hold their own against all these new creatures you will encounter. The switch skill system has also had an update allowing two sets of skills to be interchanged mid-quest on the fly. This allows much more variety in builds and gives you much more freedom when selecting your skills for each quest. There are a lot more than this too with tweaks to your Felynes and Palamutes, the end-game loop and much much more. Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is a worthy expansion to a great game and it has yet again, consumed hours of my time. Right, I am off to cut up a dragon to make some new shorts, laters Hunters!
Well, someone had to mention it, didn’t they?
Final Fantasy XVI is one of the biggest releases of the year. And in a year that has already seen some juggernauts enter the field such as Street Fighter VI and Diablo IV, and behemoths like Starfield on the horizon – that is saying something. RPG lovers have been eagerly awaiting this game for an entire gaming generation. And it is great.
Whilst I find there are systems and mechanics missing from FFXVI that I feel are integral to creating a true RPG experience, I cannot deny that I still love the game for what it is. For every crafting mechanic that is missing, there is an expertly crafted story to get lost in. For every useless 1000 sharp fangs I have in my inventory, there is a battle system that just sings beautifully to me. For the lack of literally anything to spend gil on, there is a world steeped in lore to discover.
The game is littered with characters to meet, monsters to slay, wrongs to right, and (of course) a world-ending entity that needs to see the backhand of Clive’s fist. The game is truly massive and should be heralded as one of this gaming generation’s biggest achievements. Don’t pass by on this one.
And there you are fellow game addicts, another five games that we think are worth your attention. I think this month turned out to be one of my favourites to compile as we have covered such a wide range of genres and game scopes this month. There is definitely something here you will enjoy. And if not, rest assured, we will be back next month with more recommendations. Happy gaming!