And here I rank the games I played in the first quarter of 2021

20. inFamous First Light (PS4, via PS Plus)

This game has its ups and downs

A standalone expansion to inFamous, First Light puts you in control of Faith before the events of Second Son, complete with her neon powers (the best set of powers from Second Son). It’s the same map, but has some different challenges and some fun missions. It’s short, but you also get a challenge mode alongside it where you can use Deslin from Second Son as well.

19. Dark Void (PS4, via PS Now)

Rocket man, burning out his fuse up here alone

This is a bit of a personal soft spot. Dark Void is a jetpack shooter which definitely has its share of problems. The main character is Nathan Drake mixed with Malcolm Reynolds bit without the wit (he’s even voiced by Nolan North, so we know the actor can do the witty remarks) and some of the protection missions are tedious. 

Still, there’s a lot of great ideas. You have a jetpack which can hover or go into flight mode. The jetpack is fast but has powerful guns. The game doesn’t stop you from using the flight mode jetpack indoors, but you’re likely to kill yourself on a wall unless you’re extremely careful. The levels have a lot of verticality to them, as you can take cover under balconies and shoot enemies above you.

I would love to see a new attempt at this game, as I think with a better budget, it could be wonderful.

18. Saints Row Gat out of Hell (PS4, via PS Now)

 I’ll be gone when the morning comes

A sort of “standalone expansion” for Saints Row 4, the boss (your custom character) gets sent to Hell and Gat and Kinsie have to save her/him. Like Saints Row 4, there’s less focus on driving and more superpowers, provided this time by Lucifer’s wings. At the start, flying seems difficult but with a few upgrades it starts to feel amazing and fluid.

The main weakness of Gat out of Hell is the small amount of tailored missions, most of the game is completing challenges (flying races, combat, causing destruction) in the open game world, which is still a lot of fun.

17. GoldenEye (360, via Xenia Emulator)

Cradle is no longer a void.

An unfinished remake of the N64 classic, featuring modern controls and enhanced graphics, before being cancelled near the end of development due to licensing issues.

The work done on it was great, it’s incredibly faithful and the new controls feel fantastic. Graphics for the most part are great, there are just a few niggles here and there (the Frigate level is missing water, for example). GoldenEye still feels great, and modders will make it even better.

16. Saints Row IV (PS4, via PS Now)

The laser sword is just different enough from a lightsaber.

Moving away from the GTA clone with comedic elements, Saints Row IV wonderfully jumps the shark as it introduces aliens and superpowers. After a training mission, you get elected president of America. During a press conference, aliens invade and abduct a load of people and are placed in a digital hell. 

As you get yourself free (with help from Keith David and a spaceship), you then infiltrate the alien ship’s systems by taking over their simulated world – the city of Steelport. Here, you get given superpowers such as blast attacks, massive jumps and superspeed, which makes moving around a joy. The missions are great too, such as the Metal Gear Solid themed one.

15. Bioshock Remastered (PS4, via PS Now)

Would you kindly enjoy this article.

The remaster looks a bit nicer, but is more of a slightly improved port. That said, BioShock is still a great game. I will say that the story is not as impactful on repeat plays (and some parts of it seem a bit off), and the choice of the Little Sisters is nullified once you know about the rewards of both, but the gameplay still holds up and it’s great finding all the details about Rapture that you can find, listening to all the audio diaries and exploring the world for all its hidden secrets.

14. Transistor (PS4, via PS Now)

Please don’t ask me to explain the story.

I’m not a fan of tactical RPGs, or “real time with pause” type systems, but Transistor’s feels extremely smooth and is lovely to use. While paused, you can plan out your moves then execute them when you think you have the optimum moves. You still move in a similar way to real time, which is the main difference to other methods (where your character also pauses and you plan out actions from a menu). 

The system you get for your abilities (Functions) is also wonderful. Each one is multi use and can be used as a main attack, to modify another attack or as a passive ability, it makes for a lot of customisation and everything is useful in some way. However, you can’t focus too much one one attack as losing out won’t kill you, but will lock you out of functions, starting with your most powerful one.

The music in Transistor is also wonderful, Darren Korb has done another great job.

13. Star Wars Squadrons (PS4, Physical Copy)

I sure hope this is a trap.

While Squadrons is a multiplayer focused title (with zero microtransactions), I mainly played the singleplayer portion of it. You play through missions taking control of two characters, one with the empire and one with the new Republic. It’s a first person starfighter game and feels somewhere between X-Wing and Rogue Squadron.

The main missions all feel quite varied, and have main objectives as well as optional objectives to go for if you want a better score. You’ll get to know a colourful group of characters and talk to them throughout the different missions.

12. Monkey Island 2 (PS4, via PS Now)

99 bottles of beer on the wall…

The controls on this are really well done, I actually ended up preferring this over a mouse and keyboard, and it’s great playing the game on a big screen. 

Monkey Island 2 is a fine sequel to Monkey Island, even if some puzzles are a bit out there (including one with no logic outside of a pun). The voice acting and art in the special edition is wonderful.

11. Bulletstorm (PS4, via PS Plus)

Grr! I’m a monster!!!

I was pleasantly surprised by this game. It seems like a first person Gears of War to begin with but if full of funny moments and great gameplay. Each level feels unique, which keeps things interesting throughout the story, and the arcade feeling gameplay is absolutely chaotic in all the right ways. 

There are lots of ways to kill enemies, figuring them all out gets you points (which can be spent on upgrades), you are equipped with a grapple to pull enemies towards you and a kick to send them flying, using them is incredibly good fun. Weapons are varied, with different modes of fire, all of them a joy to bring pain with.

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