Rather than taking place as naturalistic beats along a linear narrative, Cold War’s missions feel more modular, represented as stacks of photos, scribbled code sheets and newspaper clippings pasted up on a wall in your safe house. The members of your clandestine team will pace around the safe house on pre-programmed routes, sometimes going up to each other and engaging in hushed conversations, like actors on an immersive set.
Within missions, they’ll belt out sardonic quips and jingoistic inculcation, all with the same emotionless reserve–‘We don’t sit back and hope for the best, we make the best happen’ or ‘Some of us have crossed the line, to make sure the line’s still there in the morning’–each entreatment meant to draw the player into the game’s ideology and which belie the truth that the game doesn’t seem to believe in its own ideology. The wave-based survival mode is equal parts silly, challenging, and endlessly repeatable... in Black Ops Cold War, Trey arch has brought the focus all the way back to zombies and how you kill them.
It keeps most of the basic ideas that Trey arch has added to the mode over the last 12 years, but simplifies them down to their most fun elements. Beyond Light avoids the pitfall of a fully rebooted sequel by making strategic, targeted improvements rather than sweeping ones.
Some of the most memorable set piece battles look better than before, and having a higher frame rate makes the constant action much easier to follow. Cap com stuffed the game with characters on the first go-round, switching the campaign between three heroes with their own distinct, over-the-top fighting styles.
This was an excellent game when it came out in 2019, but hopefully its special edition treatment means more people will appreciate its happiness and stellar action. The series and Code masters are both known for a demanding brand of simulation racing, but Dirt 5 moves strongly for mass audience appeal and accessibility, staying true to visual fidelity and physics.
Dirt 5 is a racer more in the Motorsport mold, which fits considering how many Evolution Studios alumni now work for Code masters. Experienced drivers will probably need the very hard difficulty setting to get much of a challenge, particularly in the early goings of the Career mode.
But there’s no denying that this series offers the most complete immersion of the NBA, as a game, a business, and a lifestyle, in ways rival FIFA doesn’t. In NBA 2K21 on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, Career’s hub world of pickup basketball, socializing, and even shoe shopping gets a robust expansion into ‘The City.’ Players are now transported to a larger environment where their co-operative competitive play supports one of the four factions they join, somewhat like an MMO.
You might be left with that feeling if you play without the game’s permanent option, which has to be activated at the start of a campaign (it can be later turned off, but not reactivated). I’m glad I restarted Watch Dogs: Legion’s campaign very early in my play through, after finding the guards’ and thugs’ oblivious AI trifling easy to exploit at standard difficulty.
I didn’t find any nasty difficulty spikes waiting for me as the story advanced through the Ubisoft formula of taking down a series of bad actors and discovering how they’re linked, before the big reveal and concluding showdown. Watch Dogs: Legion’s story may be emphasized, but it benefits considerably from a richly illustrated, believably near-future London, and plot lines that are unafraid to tackle troubling subjects or put a subtle opinion on them.
BYU GA Gook Studio has hung up the more action-oriented combat of previous titles to usher in a real-time turn-based system. The writing for Michigan is superb, especially where he has moments of deep self-reflection where you can see his character grow into something that fills the shoes Karma Kirk left behind.
I cannot wait to see what BYU GA Gook Studio will have in store if it chooses to move forward with Michigan as the main protagonist from this point onward. What BYU GA Gook Studio has created is an ambitious new entry in a franchise that has managed to endure for over 15 years.
And by the end, Michigan Cayuga and Yakuza: Like a Dragon both prove to be a worthy successor to the franchise. The developers also did another pass on the game’s sound design, including more dynamic range and reverb in certain parts.
ORI and the Will of the Wisps was already worth playing in its original form, with its lush environments and poignant soundtrack allowing it to stand out from the crowded 2D platformer genre. The Coalition’s entry in the long-running Gears of War franchise looked good when it first came out in 2019, but now it has new and improved 4K visuals on the Xbox Series X, and can run in 120 frames per second in Versus multiplayer.
In a post on Xbox Wire, The Coalition’s director of communications Dana Sis sons ran down the stats: “In campaign, input latency is reduced by 40% and in Versus MP, this latency is reduced up to 60% over Xbox One X, meaning that player inputs translate to movement on screen much faster, allowing for an incredibly immersive and competitive experience.” The upgraded version of the game also includes the option to replace Marcus Felix with Dave Bautista (formerly of the WWE), but it’s worth playing the campaign the ordinary way first if you never have.
In his review for Polygon, Dave Each put it this way: Gears 5 has, shockingly enough, competent open-world elements and a much more affecting story than the games that came before. I find, to my everlasting surprise, that I enjoy the quieter moments more than the big action spectacles.
These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. To help you sort through all that's available, IGN's staff and contributors have curated a list of the ten best games you can play right now on Microsoft's latest platform. Whether you're diving into an all-new adventure, getting the most out of your gaming TV with 4K 120Hz gameplay, or revisiting an old favorite through backwards compatibility on Xbox, these are our initial picks for the ten best Xbox Series X |S games.
Fora Horizon 4 may be a couple of years old, but it's never too late to get on board; new, free cars are still being injected into the game every month. Black Ops Cold War is a solid trip down 1980s memory lane, and it looks quite good to boot on the Xbox Series X.
| IGN's Black Ops Cold War Wiki | Buy It Here : Amazon Yes, it’s often silly, ridiculous, and features a side mission in which you have to deliver formula to a gangster who dresses up and acts like a baby, but when you get back on the main story path, Yakuza: Like a Dragon is one of the best video game stories of 2020. Michigan Cayuga and his loyal party of down on their luck misfits are all lovable in their own quirky ways, and absolutely live up to the high standard set by Kirk, Maxima, and the rest of the Yakuza series mainstays.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is funny, emotional, expertly acted both in English and Japanese, and is just an all-around wonderful RPG that pays homage to the genres roots. | IGN's Yakuza: Like a Dragon Wiki | Buy It Here: Amazon Watch Dogs: Legion isn't just a great technical showcase for the Series |S's ray-tracing effects, it's a huge step in a bold new direction for Ubisoft's near-future action series.
The 'Play As Anyone' system of dynamically-generated NPCs-turned-player-characters may not always fall perfectly into place, but the variety they offer in terms of your approach to tacking objectives allow for plenty of experimentation. Couple that with some solid Black Mirror rescue story arcs and one of the coolest new social simulations since Middle Earth: Shadow of War's Nemesis system and this techno-dystopian take on London a blast to explore.
| IGN's Watch Dogs: Legion Wiki | Buy It Here: Amazon While it's a bit of a backhanded compliment to say that 2019's Gears 5 is arguably the most visually impressive game on the Series at launch, the fact remains that the already-gorgeous Gears of War sequel has been dialed up to take advantage of Microsoft's new console. Better lighting, ray tracing, 120fps support in Versus multiplayer -- the bottom line is that if you skipped Gears 5 last year, the Series is a great place to play it for the first time.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla wasn’t built exclusively for next-gen, but it’s impossible not to look at it running on the Xbox Series X and marvel at the sheer beauty and impressive detail of its open-world. It’s hard not to get stuck focusing on the stunning lighting and thick atmosphere of each environment and as you pillage, plunder, and build a kingdom in 4K resolution at 60 frames per second.
Valhalla’s scope, scale, and lightning-fast load times prove the series is poised to expand its tried-and-true formula on the power of new hardware. And you won't have to wait long for the next big release; console launch exclusive The Medium is coming on January 28.
(Image credit: Ubisoft) Assassin's Creed Valhalla launched alongside the Xbox Series X on November 10, and it's a clear day one purchase for any of you that are after a sprawling open-world adventure to show off the capability of the new generation of consoles. Not only does it look stunning and feel incredibly smooth, but it also boasts wickedly quick load times that help to ensure that your journey across England's Dark Ages in the 9th Century is frictionless.
Fora Horizon 4 was already the best racing game of the Xbox One era and now, with its faster performance, higher fidelity graphics, and increased shadow, reflection, and particle effects quality, it has been transformed for Xbox Series X. Gears Tactics is available through an Xbox Game Pass subscription and as a standalone purchase, optimized to run on Xbox Series X at 4K resolution and 60 frames per second.
(Image credit: Enhance Games)Wondering where the XboxSeriesX's equivalent of Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved is? It's a hyper chill rendition of the core play, drawing you into an all-encompassing, psychedelic realm of falling Terminus, pulsing colors, and slick beats.
Tetris Effect: Connected also supports competitive and cooperative play, which will let you and some friends take in the experience together. The faster load times are certainly appreciated, letting you explore this rendition of London under siege from an authoritarian regime with as little friction as Ubisoft could manage, but it's that ray-tracing support that makes the new adventures of Dense really sing.
It's a ridiculous game with a specific sense of humor which helps to transform what could have been a dour story of crime and corruption throughout a fictional recreation of Kabuki, called Aurochs here, into something truly standalone. While the game comes equipped with a bevvy of performance modes to let you dial the experience in against your priorities, it's truly wonderful to see it run at a smooth 60 frames per second with hyper quick load times.