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WellPlayed’s 2020 OpenCritic Challenge

Mirror mirror on the internet, who is the most knowing of all?

[UPDATE 15/12/2020]

That’s a wrap. The OpenCritic Challenge for 2020 has concluded. Please raise a glass to your inaugural champion – Paul James from Player 2, who finished with a total 127 points. Second place went to Josh ‘Lil Rizky’ Rizk from WellPlayed on 136 points, and coming in at third was WellPlayed’s Dylan Blereau on 138 points. Huge shoutouts to everyone who participated. Looking forward to next year’s challenge. Details to come early 2021. Full leaderboard in the below tweet courtesy of official scorekeeper Jamie Penningh.

 

[UPDATE 01/10/2020]

The first of October marks the beginning of the last quarter of 2020, the home stretch if you will. With that, we have thrown our contestants a bunch of new games – everything from AAA blockbusters to…G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout. The next three months will really separate the pros from the amateurs.

Before we proceed, we must give a huge shoutout to WellPlayed’s official scorekeeper Jamie Penningh. If you want the most to up to date scores for the OpenCritic Challenge then make sure to follow Jamie on Twitter. On that note, we have to give a shoutout to Press Start’s Shannon Grixti and WellPlayed’s Adam Ryan who are currently tied for first place on 39 points. WellPlayed’s Kieran Stockton (46 points), Lil’ Rizky (49 points) and Jordan Garcia (49 points) round out the top five. You can find the full current scores here

[UPDATE 02/03/2020]

After announcing our OpenCritic challenge late last week we had a handful of people reach out to us and request that next year we open up the challenge to everyone and anyone. The challenge’s original plan was to do such a thing and to raise funds for a specific charity or cause, however it was decided that for the first year we’d keep it in-house just to see how it went. But after reading how keen people were to get involved we decided to expand it and open it up this year. Furthermore, all entry fee proceeds will be donated to Checkpoint – an organisation that helps gamers deal with mental health issues. Given the increased numbers in participants we felt it was only right to increase the number of games involved, therefore we have increased the list from 15 game to 25 games.

Below is a list of all entrants. We wish everyone good luck.

From WellPlayed: Kieron Verbrugge, Aza Hudson, Zach Jackson, Lil’ Rizky, Dylan Blereau, Kieran Stockton, Adam Ryan, Eleanore Blereau, Jordan Garcia.

Other entrants: Shannon Grixti (Press Start), Dylan Blight (Explosion Network), Matthew Hewson (Player 2), Jamie Penningh, Lachlan Robertson (Lachstar Games), Buddy Watson (Radio Watson), Ashley Hobley (Explosion Network), Ryan Betson (The PopCulturists), Cat Benstead (TGIF), Paul James (Player 2/Dev Diary), Mikeey The XboXCowboy, Glenn Duncan and Simon Lai.

[ORIGINAL STORY BELOW]

As game journalists, more importantly, game reviewers, we all think our shit doesn’t stink and that our opinion is king. Sometimes our opinion falls in line with the aggregate thinking, while other times it sits outside the norm – after all, reviews are simply the experience of one person. But we all like to like to think that our finger is on the pulse and that we are a good judge of character. I mean, how many times have we thought, ‘I knew it was going to be good/bad’ after a game releases? Well now it’s time for us to put our money where our mouth is and prove that we could easily have had a career as a fortune teller if game journalism didn’t work out.

In a WellPlayed first, we’ll be choosing a bunch of games releasing this year (likely to be increased later in the year) and a number of WellPlayed writers will guess each game’s OpenCritic score one week after the embargo ends. The difference between a writer’s score guess and a game’s final score will go to that writer’s tally. For example, if Zach guesses that X will score 74 but the final OpenCritic score is 94 then 20 points go to Zach’s tally. The writer with the lowest tally will claim victory, bragging rights and whatever prize we settle on.

Good luck to all contestants.

Release: 11/03/2020 | Developer: Moon Studios | Publisher: Microsoft | Platforms: Xbox One/PC

Kieron Verbrugge: 90
Aza Hudson: 81
Zach Jackson: 87
Lil’ Rizky: 91
Dylan Blereau: 88

Kieran Stockton: 85
Adam Ryan: 92
Eleanore Blereau: 93
Jordan Garcia: 88
Shannon Grixti: 89

Dylan Blight: 84
Matthew Hewson: 91
Jamie Penningh: 81
Lachlan Robertson: 80
Buddy Watson: 91
Ashley Hobley: 84

Ryan Betson: 88
Cat Benstead: 90
Paul James: 89
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 95
Glenn Duncan: 94
Simon Lai: 90

Please Explain: Trust me to predict a big score for a whimsical platformer. Ori and the Will of the Wisps looks to simply be more of Ori and the Blind Forest, a certified gem of a game that holds a special place in my heart. While I’m sure there are numerous new gameplay additions as well as more fantastic art and music, my methodology behind this score was that I am almost certain that Moon Studios’ second Ori game will be as highly regarded the first. It may review a tad higher or a tad lower in comparison to Ori and the Blind Forest, however I feel pretty much sure that a score ranging from mid-eighties to low-nineties beckons. Moon Studios has already proven that they can make a quality metroidvania platformer, and with Ori and the Will of Wisps not being a dramatic departure from the established Ori formula, I can’t see much going wrong. 

Verdict: An excellent sequel that scores comparably to the original.
Score: 88

Dylan Blereau

Release: 20/03/2020 | Developer: Nintendo | Publisher: Nintendo | Platforms: Switch

Kieron Verbrugge: 91
Aza Hudson: 68
Zach Jackson: 82
Lil’ Rizky: 92
Dylan Blereau: 86

Kieran Stockton: 90
Adam Ryan: 89
Eleanore Blereau: 97
Jordan Garcia: 83
Shannon Grixti: 91

Dylan Blight: 84
Matthew Hewson: 85
Jamie Penningh: 86
Lachlan Robertson: 85
Buddy Watson: 86
Ashley Hobley: 76

Ryan Betson: 81
Cat Benstead: 99
Paul James: 87
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 91
Glenn Duncan: 87
Simon Lai: 85

Please Explain: Today’s society is plagued by stress and we all tend to suffer from working too hard and not having enough time for ourselves. Nintendo is known for having a wide breadth of franchises that cater to all kinds of gameplay. The Animal Crossing franchise (while debt inducing) is known for its tranquility and escapism, but it has been potentially absent to many for up to seven years depending on if you played New Leaf. This gap between titles means that there are high expectations for this title and a huge need for it to be a hit in order to continue the success of this franchise. It will probably surprise many but Animal Crossing is one of Nintendo’s top three selling franchises. However, based on the recent Nintendo Direct I don’t think I or anyone else should have any worries about the success of upcoming title New Horizons. The level of detail and care, quality of life upgrades, amount of features and the absolutely beautiful graphics shown off in this game leaves little doubt in my mind that this game will score off the charts. The only thing that may hamper this title is performance, but from what we’ve seen thus far and the history of the franchise, I don’t think we have much to worry about. It is obvious to myself as a long time fan how much effort has been put into this game, for one they have made new renders of every single piece of furniture! Nintendo hit the last direct out of the park with the announcement that you can completely customise your island among so many other amazing things that I will be bowled over if this game does poorly.

Verdict: Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the ultimate chill life-sim, collectathon package that will bring complete unadulterated joy to new and returning fans for sure.
Score: 97

Eleanore Blereau

Release: 20/03/2020 | Developer: id Software | Publisher: Bethesda | Platforms: PS4/Xbox One/PC

Kieron Verbrugge: 74
Aza Hudson: 79
Zach Jackson: 79
Lil’ Rizky: 89
Dylan Blereau: 84

Kieran Stockton: 90
Adam Ryan: 90
Eleanore Blereau: 85
Jordan Garcia: 87
Shannon Grixti: 92

Dylan Blight: 91
Matthew Hewson: 87
Jamie Penningh: 88
Lachlan Robertson: 85
Buddy Watson: 85
Ashley Hobley: 86

Ryan Betson: 87
Cat Benstead: 75
Paul James: 88
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 85
Glenn Duncan: 86
Simon Lai: 75

Please Explain: Doom as a franchise is close to many gamers’ hearts. Though the series has seen a substantial amount of ups – Doom and Doom II to name a few – it isn’t immune to the odd slip up here and there (that catastrophe of a feature length film comes to mind). Doom 3 wasn’t a slouch in terms of critical reception, but it didn’t do a whole lot to innovate and evolve the series as it focused more on horror and had a very linear approach to mission structure. Then id Software decided to throw out previous conventions and ramp everything up to 1000 for the release of their reboot, Doom 2016. Brutal, challenging and focused on building momentum, Doom 2016 was a breath of fresh, hellish air for the series and the FPS genre as a whole. So with Doom Eternal, id has incredible foundations to build upon, and from what we have seen of the game they have done that and much more. Incorporating a broader set of movement abilities, a deeper range of tactical combat options and a more well-rounded multiplayer offering, Doom Eternal seems to improve on every aspect seen in Doom 2016 while adding new features that will further improve the overall package. I have no doubt that Doom Eternal will surpass its predecessor in almost every way, including in review score. Also it has a grapple-hook shotgun, if that isn’t going to merit a higher score then nothing will.

Verdict: The improvements and additions over Doom 2016 will garner it a higher overall score, guaranteed.
Score: 90

Adam Ryan

Release: 03/04/2020 | Developer: Capcom | Publisher: Capcom | Platforms: PS4/Xbox One/PC

Kieron Verbrugge: 87
Aza Hudson: 70
Zach Jackson: 86
Lil’ Rizky: 87
Dylan Blereau: 87

Kieran Stockton: 82
Adam Ryan: 90
Eleanore Blereau: 85
Jordan Garcia: 85
Shannon Grixti: 85

Dylan Blight: 87
Matthew Hewson: 87
Jamie Penningh: 88
Lachlan Robertson: 70
Buddy Watson: 90
Ashley Hobley: 87

Ryan Betson: 92
Cat Benstead: 85
Paul James: 90
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 93
Glenn Duncan: 90
Simon Lai: 93

Please Explain: Capcom hit it big last year with the Resident Evil 2 Remake. Critics and players loved it – it scored 10s across the board (including one from yours truly) and it won a number of Game of the Year nominations and awards, including our very own GOTY award. Capcom will be hoping for a similar reception for its Resident Evil 3 Remake, however there a couple reasons as to why it may not hit the same heights. Firstly, that initial wow factor at just how slick a remade RE game can be has already been admirably demonstrated by RE2, and players may not be as blown away the second time around, even if the superb quality is matched. Secondly, RE2 was universally praised when it first launched in 1998 and fans had been begging for a remake for many years, whereas RE3 had a little more of a mixed reception and its street credit isn’t as big. Lastly, the RE3 remake is apparently shorter than the RE2 remake, and we know how much weight people put on time value.

Verdict: It’ll still score big, but it won’t topple RE2’s success.
Score: 86

Zach Jackson

Release: 08/04/2020 | Developer: Wicked Witch | Publisher: Tru Blu Entertainment | Platforms: PS4/Xbox One/PC

Kieron Verbrugge: 59
Aza Hudson: 92
Zach Jackson: 68
Lil’ Rizky: 60
Dylan Blereau: 57

Kieran Stockton: 69
Adam Ryan: 62
Eleanore Blereau: 80
Jordan Garcia: 65
Shannon Grixti: 62

Dylan Blight: 61
Matthew Hewson: 33
Jamie Penningh: 72
Lachlan Robertson: 50
Buddy Watson: 58
Ashley Hobley: 62

Ryan Betson: 61
Cat Benstead: 68
Paul James: 64
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 66
Glenn Duncan: 75
Simon Lai: 75

Please Explain: It’s hard to know exactly how an AFL-based title is going to perform in this modern climate. Sure, history doesn’t look too kindly upon adaptations of the greatest game in the world (AFL 99 aside – god tier everyone!), but you can’t help but look to what BigAnt have achieved with AO Tennis, and the Cricket adaptations in recent years and be hopeful that Wicked Witch are able to achieve a similar thing with AFL Evolution 2. That said, I’m hedging my bets with this selection and using history as my guide. Prove me wrong Wicked Witch, I’d love to have an AFL game worthy of the AFL name.

Verdict: Hopes are high like Jeremy Howe, but it’ll likely hit the ground with a thud – like Port Adelaide.
Score: 64

Paul James – Player 2/Dev Diary

Release: 10/04/2020 | Developer: Square Enix | Publisher: Square Enix | Platforms: PS4/Xbox One

Kieron Verbrugge: 87
Aza Hudson: 82
Zach Jackson: 81
Lil’ Rizky: 84
Dylan Blereau: 86

Kieran Stockton: 88
Adam Ryan: 86
Eleanore Blereau: 90
Jordan Garcia: 84
Shannon Grixti: 87

Dylan Blight: 90
Matthew Hewson: 82
Jamie Penningh: 90
Lachlan Robertson: 90
Buddy Watson: 87
Ashley Hobley: 91

Ryan Betson: 94
Cat Benstead: 90
Paul James: 88
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 86
Glenn Duncan: 90
Simon Lai: 90

Please Explain: This one is interesting because I’ve actually had some time with Final Fantasy VII Remake since initially trying to guess the OpenCritic average, but luckily after having done so I think I’m gonna be fairly close. The game is big, beautiful and very respectful of the source material, so I can definitely see most critic reviews being on the very positive side of the fence. The only reason I can’t predict it breaking through into the 90s is that so far it comes off as (from what I’ve seen and played) a fairly linear experience, which is sure to be a sore point for some. I’d happily be proven wrong on that though, so I’m eager to see how it all plays out come release. 

Verdict: Looking good but it still has something to prove.
Score: 87

Kieron Verbrugge

Release: 28/04/2020 | Developer: SMG Studio/DevM | Publisher: Team17 | Platforms: PS4/Xbox One/PC/Switch

Kieron Verbrugge: 74
Aza Hudson: 69
Zach Jackson: 70
Lil’ Rizky: 85
Dylan Blereau: 73

Kieran Stockton: 80
Adam Ryan: 83
Eleanore Blereau: 90
Jordan Garcia: 74
Shannon Grixti: 89

Dylan Blight: 79
Matthew Hewson: 80
Jamie Penningh: 73
Lachlan Robertson: 75
Buddy Watson: 75
Ashley Hobley: 79

Ryan Betson: 86
Cat Benstead: 80
Paul James: 81
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 72
Glenn Duncan: 77
Simon Lai: 82

Please Explain: As an Aussie I’m always happy to find out that a game I love is developed by a local team. Australian game studio SMG Studios have already produced some very successful titles including Death Squared and Super One More Jump. Death Squared has given them a pedigree for co-op gameplay, with their upcoming title Moving Out traveling in a different yet similar vein. Crazy, fun and stressful multiplayer games have been very successful in the past (just look at the Overcooked franchise) and Moving Out presents a completely new theme that is sure to put smiles on people’s faces from just the quirky art style alone. Most people dread moving house, but this game makes it seem so much fun and at the same time a crazy manic nightmare. No I won’t use a door I will throw the sofa through the window, that’s perfectly fine. As long as the controls are clear and not frustrating I think this game will become an awesome option to play with your friends and potentially blow off some steam, or at least yell at each other which always makes everything better, right?

Verdict: Moving Out’s unique idea will carry this title far, moving it into many peoples’ gaming library and providing awesome multiplayer mayhem.

Score: 90

Eleanore Blereau

Release: 30/04/2020 | Developer: Lizardcube/Guard Crush Games | Publisher: DotEmu | Platforms: Xbox One/Switch/PC

Kieron Verbrugge: 75
Aza Hudson: 44
Zach Jackson: 86
Lil’ Rizky: 70
Dylan Blereau: 70

Kieran Stockton: 72
Adam Ryan: 76
Eleanore Blereau: 72
Jordan Garcia: 78
Shannon Grixti: 85

Dylan Blight: 50
Matthew Hewson: 64
Jamie Penningh: 74
Lachlan Robertson: 67
Buddy Watson: 75
Ashley Hobley: 70

Ryan Betson: 65
Cat Benstead: 60
Paul James: 70
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 74
Glenn Duncan: 75
Simon Lai: 70

Please Explain: The sounds of my youth are that of fists cracking skulls, of 44-gallon drums rolling across a screen and of heroes chowing down on bin chicken (not the modern-day Ibis ‘bin chicken’, actual chicken that was in the bin) to sustain their health. That’s right folks, the side-scrolling beat-em-up was king of the arcades (if you are young, look them up. It is where old folks used to get their game on) Final Fight, TMNT, Double Dragon and, of course, Streets of Rage (which never actually appeared in the arcades, but whatever, I am painting a picture). Now Streets is coming back to consoles to bring some of those classic memories back, but sadly I think that while providing old codgers like me with some fun times, the classic gameplay may not hit big with today’s whippersnappers and therefore it will languish around the mid-high 60s in score range.

Verdict: Tasty nostalgia and not a modern-reinvention means something of a middling score…you kids just don’t know how good you’ve got it.
Score: 64

Matthew Hewson – Player 2

Release: 19/06/2020 | Developer: Naughty Dog | Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment | Platforms: PS4

Kieron Verbrugge: 94
Aza Hudson: 94
Zach Jackson: 94
Lil’ Rizky: 94
Dylan Blereau: 91

Kieran Stockton: 98
Adam Ryan: 94
Eleanore Blereau: 92
Jordan Garcia: 91
Shannon Grixti: 93

Dylan Blight: 94
Matthew Hewson: 92
Jamie Penningh: 91
Lachlan Robertson: 100
Buddy Watson: 96
Ashley Hobley: 91

Ryan Betson: 94
Cat Benstead: 93
Paul James: 93
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 98
Glenn Duncan: 93
Simon Lai: 93

Please Explain: In the twilight of the last console generation, The Last of Us represented a crowning achievement in countless ways.  Featuring a powerful, well-crafted narrative that exuded a palpable sense of humanity, and a meticulous attention to technical detail bringing it all to life, TLOU’s universal acclaim was well deserved. Can The Last of Us 2 do the same thing at the end of this generation? You bet your random giraffe it can. From what we’ve seen and heard of TLOU2, we’re going to see an Ellie-centric tale that explores themes of love, violence, sexuality and desperation, and the talented folks at Naughty Dog have proved themselves a deft hand at exploring themes both lofty and dark with genuine care. The only thing TLOU2 really needs to do is step up the gameplay elements a bit compared to its predecessor, as this was the only real criticism levelled at the original.

Verdict: TLOU 2 will punch you directly in the emotional guts with a mature and dark narrative, while featuring a more focused approach in moment-to-moment gameplay.

Score: 98

Kieran Stockton

Release: 17/07/2020 | Developer: Sucker Punch | Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment | Platforms: PS4

Kieron Verbrugge: 90
Aza Hudson: 75
Zach Jackson: 87
Lil’ Rizky: 84
Dylan Blereau: 81

Kieran Stockton: 88
Adam Ryan: 88
Eleanore Blereau: 91
Jordan Garcia: 78
Shannon Grixti: 87

Dylan Blight: 87
Matthew Hewson: 81
Jamie Penningh: 88
Lachlan Robertson: 90
Buddy Watson: 88
Ashley Hobley: 89

Ryan Betson: 86
Cat Benstead: 97
Paul James: 86
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 80
Glenn Duncan: 82
Simon Lai: 90

Please Explain: Sony has been knocking it out of the park with their platform exclusives and they’d undoubtedly want to send off the eighth [8th] generation of gaming with a bang without solely riding on The Last of Us Part II. Sucker Punch Productions has been fairly quiet this generation and Ghost of Tsushima looks to be a project that is of a completely different pace and tone to their previous works in the Infamous series, and they are pulling out all the stops by the looks of it. While it is hard to completely judge how Ghost of Tsushima will turn out given how little there is to go off based on the game’s promotional material, but going off of Sucker Punch’s history as well as the vertical slices shown, it would be fairly safe to assume that fairly well but perhaps not exceptionally well. There are also a number of samurai games in the market now and it’ll no doubt have to face stiff competition from those, especially with the likes of Nioh 2 being released this year as well.

Verdict: A score not to be scoffed at but nothing truly groundbreaking.
Score: 78

Jordan Garcia

Release: 04/09/2020 | Developer: Crystal Dynamics | Publisher: Square Enix | Platforms: PS4/Xbox One/PC/Stadia

Kieron Verbrugge: 75
Aza Hudson: 69
Zach Jackson: 74
Lil’ Rizky: 75
Dylan Blereau: 77

Kieran Stockton: 74
Adam Ryan: 71
Eleanore Blereau: 74
Jordan Garcia: 74
Shannon Grixti: 81

Dylan Blight: 75
Matthew Hewson: 75
Jamie Penningh: 68
Lachlan Robertson: 70
Buddy Watson: 80
Ashley Hobley: 69

Ryan Betson: 67
Cat Benstead: 78
Paul James: 80
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 82
Glenn Duncan: 65
Simon Lai: 80

Please Explain: Most people don’t understand what Square Enix is trying to do with Marvel’s Avengers – hell, I’m not sure if they’re fully aware of what they’re trying to do. It’s aiming for more Destiny than Arkham City, but chasing gear scores in a Marvel game may be a tough sell to the people who played and loved Spider-Man in 2018 and don’t play many video games. The demo I played at PAX 2019 was very rough and not one of the five Avengers I got hands-on with was mechanically interesting or doing anything unique enough personality-wise to stand out from the many, many versions of these characters we already have circulating in pop-culture. Your Marvel super-fan may end loving this and spending their weekends replaying a fight against an army of Super-Skrulls to get their raid gear ready, but your casual gamer will be left disappointed with a mediocre story and I’d be surprised to see this land anywhere above the lower 70s.

Verdict: A mediocre Marvel adventure with a gameplay loop that’ll only keep the hardcore fan entertained.
Score: 75

Dylan Blight – Explosion Network

Release: 02/10/2020 | Developer: Toys for Bob | Publisher: Activision | Platforms: PS4/Xbox One

Kieron Verbrugge: 86
Aza Hudson: N/A
Zach Jackson: 84
Lil’ Rizky: 85
Dylan Blereau: 80

Kieran Stockton: 90
Adam Ryan: 81
Eleanore Blereau: 85
Jordan Garcia: 89
Shannon Grixti: 88

Dylan Blight: 82
Matthew Hewson: 86
Jamie Penningh: 80
Lachlan Robertson: 90
Buddy Watson: 85
Ashley Hobley: 83

Ryan Betson: 88
Cat Benstead: 85
Paul James: 84
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 90
Glenn Duncan: 80
Simon Lai: N/A

Please Explain: For years, fans of the spinning Aussie mammal were incredibly vocal about him making a return and in 2017 their prayers were answered with the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. A collection of the first three games brought into the current generation, the N. Sane Trilogy managed to scratch that nostalgic itch, while spawning a new itch for a brand new game in the series. Toys For Bob, the developer behind the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, are giving fans exactly that with Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, offering up plenty of old-school platforming while adding in a host of new playable characters and features. With a new art style and four playable characters in total, I wonder whether fans of the original games will feel at odds with the new direction. Ultimately I think these changes will be for the better, but there might be a few too many ingredients in this marsupial soup.

Verdict: The new features will be a mixed bag, but the overall gameplay will be enough to score it a favourable reception.
Score:81

Adam Ryan

Release: 13/10/2020 | Developer: IguanaBee & Fair Play Labs | Publisher: GameMill Entertainment | Platforms: PS4/Xbox One/Switch/PC

Kieron Verbrugge: 0
Aza Hudson: N/A
Zach Jackson: 63
Lil’ Rizky: 40
Dylan Blereau: 40

Kieran Stockton: 60
Adam Ryan: 60
Eleanore Blereau: 87
Jordan Garcia: 34
Shannon Grixti: 62

Dylan Blight: 53
Matthew Hewson: 40
Jamie Penningh: 77
Lachlan Robertson: 60
Buddy Watson: 63
Ashley Hobley: 52

Ryan Betson: 81
Cat Benstead: 60
Paul James: 65
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 45
Glenn Duncan: 60
Simon Lai: N/A

Please Explain: There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the franchise that I think my dad was into when he was a toddler, with a massive advertising campaign that’s made sure that its existence is known in every corner of the gaming globe. Wait, just checked my notes, no one knows about this game. The G.I Joe franchise peaked when the hilarious dub-overs of the woeful PSAs emerged, but if there were ever a time when we need a thinly veiled excuse to advertise merchandise to children with All-American Oorah-ism, it’s not now. G.I. Joe may as well stand for Gastrointestinal Joe, because all indications are that this game will be shit.

Verdict: There’s a good chance you haven’t heard of this game until now, and now that you have, you somehow care less. Expectations are so low they’re hanging with It in the sewers.
Score: 60

Kieran Stockton

Release: 20/10/2020 | Developer: Frictional Games | Publisher: Frictional Games | Platforms: PS4/Xbox One/PC

Kieron Verbrugge: 82
Aza Hudson: N/A
Zach Jackson: 86
Lil’ Rizky: 75
Dylan Blereau: 75

Kieran Stockton: 80
Adam Ryan: 77
Eleanore Blereau: 79
Jordan Garcia: 85
Shannon Grixti: 67

Dylan Blight: 79
Matthew Hewson: 85
Jamie Penningh: 71
Lachlan Robertson: 70
Buddy Watson: 75
Ashley Hobley: 75

Ryan Betson: 82
Cat Benstead: 76
Paul James: 78
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 73
Glenn Duncan: 76
Simon Lai: N/A

Please Explain: While I have never played an Amnesia game before, as a lover of horror and Frictional Games’ previous game SOMA I am very keen to see what all the Amnesia fuss is about. From the titbits we’ve seen and what Frictional has shared, Rebirth looks like it’ll be an amalgamation of Amnesia and SOMA, and we all know how good SOMA was.

Verdict: A game horror fans won’t be forgetting any time soon.
Score: 86

Zach Jackson

Release: 27/10/2020 | Developer: One More Level, 3D Realms, Slipgate Ironworks | Publisher: 505 Games, All In Games | Platforms: PS4/Xbox One/Switch/PC

Kieron Verbrugge: 78
Aza Hudson: N/A
Zach Jackson: 72
Lil’ Rizky: 80
Dylan Blereau: 70

Kieran Stockton: 75
Adam Ryan: 70
Eleanore Blereau: 72
Jordan Garcia: 82
Shannon Grixti: 64

Dylan Blight: 81
Matthew Hewson: 82
Jamie Penningh: 79
Lachlan Robertson: 70
Buddy Watson: 86
Ashley Hobley: 72

Ryan Betson: 87
Cat Benstead: 70
Paul James: 79
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 65
Glenn Duncan: 80
Simon Lai: N/A

Please Explain: After having played the Ghostrunner demo earlier this year I’ve been patiently awaiting the full release. Although it may look similar to Cyberpunk 2077, this game features ultra-fast gameplay with a punishing difficulty that’s more-akin to Hotline Miami or Ape Out. It may not be as appealing to general audiences like the massive RPG from CD Projekt Red but this wall-running katana slicer is sure to please those seeking a challenge.

Verdict: It’s got the wall-running that Cyberpunk 2077 removed, but not the overall polish.
Score: 81

Dylan Blight – Explosion Network

Release: 30/10/2020 | Developer: Nintendo | Publisher: Nintendo | Platforms: Switch

Kieron Verbrugge: 90
Aza Hudson: N/A
Zach Jackson: 87
Lil’ Rizky: 84
Dylan Blereau: 85

Kieran Stockton: 89
Adam Ryan: 85
Eleanore Blereau: 89
Jordan Garcia: 90
Shannon Grixti: 88

Dylan Blight: 85
Matthew Hewson: 90
Jamie Penningh: 81
Lachlan Robertson: 80
Buddy Watson: 86
Ashley Hobley: 82

Ryan Betson: 88
Cat Benstead: 75
Paul James: 85
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 84
Glenn Duncan: 90
Simon Lai: N/A

Please Explain: Pikmin 3 is yet another fantastic Nintendo title that didn’t get the love it deserved on the woeful underperforming Wii U console. Like many before it, a new lease on life on the Nintendo Switch is just what the doctor (Mario) ordered, and I’ve no doubt an audience both new and old will gravitate toward it. As long as the transition goes well and there aren’t any major issues, this is a 9/10 game already, now coming to a console that people actually own.

Verdict: Portable Pikmin is a dream come true.
Score: 90

Kieron Verbrugge

Release: 29/10/2020 | Developer: Ubisoft | Publisher: Ubisoft | Platforms: Xbox One/PC

Kieron Verbrugge: 72
Aza Hudson: 54
Zach Jackson: 84
Lil’ Rizky: 85
Dylan Blereau: 76

Kieran Stockton: 69
Adam Ryan: 79
Eleanore Blereau: 77
Jordan Garcia: 80
Shannon Grixti: 86

Dylan Blight: 81
Matthew Hewson: 80
Jamie Penningh: 76
Lachlan Robertson: 68
Buddy Watson: 82
Ashley Hobley: 82

Ryan Betson: 75
Cat Benstead: 78
Paul James: 82
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 79
Glenn Duncan: 80
Simon Lai: 85

Please Explain: The first Watch Dogs wasn’t a very good game. The second one was apparently great. The third one, by the laws of nature, must be mediocre. If it is not, Ubisoft will always be out of balance and Beyond Good and Evil 2 must be mediocre. I can’t live through a Duke Nukem Forever situation again. I just can’t. As a great man once said about the ideal state; perfectly balanced, as all things should be.

Verdict: What goes up must come down. Watch Dogs Legion will bring the series tumbling down from its Watch Dogs 2 high.
Score: 54

Aza Hudson

Release: 06/11/2020 | Developer: Codemasters | Publisher: Codemasters | Platforms: PS4/Xbox One/PC/Next-Gen

Kieron Verbrugge: 92
Aza Hudson: N/A
Zach Jackson: 83
Lil’ Rizky: 85
Dylan Blereau: 78

Kieran Stockton: 90
Adam Ryan: 86
Eleanore Blereau: 85
Jordan Garcia: 87
Shannon Grixti: 78

Dylan Blight: 84
Matthew Hewson: 88
Jamie Penningh: 84
Lachlan Robertson: 70
Buddy Watson: 89
Ashley Hobley: 86

Ryan Betson: 86
Cat Benstead: 85
Paul James: 85
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 76
Glenn Duncan: 75
Simon Lai: N/A

Please Explain: The racing genre is dominated by the likes of ForzaNeed for Speed, and Gran Turismo. However, for years the Dirt series has been chipping away constantly releasing solid titles, and while it’s known for having more of an arcade feel, it has always dipped its toes into the simulation waters, something which has always appealed to players. But how do you make a good game great? You add a narrative-focused Career Mode featuring Troy Baker and Noland North.

Verdict: Good arcade fun with a touch of simulation, but not even Troy Baker and Nolan North can elevate Dirt to the racing game podium.
Score: 83

Zach Jackson

Release: 10/11/2020 | Developer: Bungie | Publisher: Bungie | Platforms: PS4/Xbox One/PC

Kieron Verbrugge: 75
Aza Hudson: N/A
Zach Jackson: 81
Lil’ Rizky: 75
Dylan Blereau: 72

Kieran Stockton: 80
Adam Ryan: 84
Eleanore Blereau: 83
Jordan Garcia: 91
Shannon Grixti: 74

Dylan Blight: 82
Matthew Hewson: 79
Jamie Penningh: 82
Lachlan Robertson: 70
Buddy Watson: 85
Ashley Hobley: 86

Ryan Betson: 91
Cat Benstead: 80
Paul James: 79
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 78
Glenn Duncan: 85
Simon Lai: N/A

Please Explain: Destiny 2 expansions pretty much always get rated well and they generally deserve it. As we move towards Beyond Light it seems as if Bungie actually has a proper direction for the game which will hopefully translate well into design and content.

Verdict: Bungie are pretty consistent with their major expansions and Beyond Light looks to be no exception.
Score: 91

Jordan Garcia

Release: 10/11/2020 | Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio | Publisher: Sega | Platforms: PS4/Xbox One/PC

Kieron Verbrugge: 90
Aza Hudson: N/A
Zach Jackson: 87
Lil’ Rizky: 85
Dylan Blereau: 84

Kieran Stockton: 90
Adam Ryan: 79
Eleanore Blereau: 70
Jordan Garcia: 94
Shannon Grixti: 86

Dylan Blight: 83
Matthew Hewson: 91
Jamie Penningh: 88
Lachlan Robertson: 80
Buddy Watson: 90
Ashley Hobley: 92

Ryan Betson: 94
Cat Benstead: 87
Paul James: 82
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 68
Glenn Duncan: 90
Simon Lai: N/A

Please Explain: Other than the fact that the Yakuza games always review fairly well, I think this one in particular will do well with critics who are maybe fatigued on the familiar setting and gameplay of the prior games. Like A Dragon is a huge shake-up for the series that also still plays to its strengths and doubles down on its inherent ridiculousness. Plus, it’s got a new defacto home on Xbox which means everyone out there with their shiny review Series X consoles are more than likely going to opt to play the only next-gen version coming out this year and will be seeing the game at its best.

Verdict: More Yakuza, but different and better. That’s a recipe for success right there.
Score: 90

Kieron Verbrugge

Release: 10/11/2020 | Developer: Ubisoft | Publisher: Ubisoft | Platforms: PS4/Xbox One/PC/Next-Gen

Kieron Verbrugge: 85
Aza Hudson: N/A
Zach Jackson: 82
Lil’ Rizky: 83
Dylan Blereau: 80

Kieran Stockton: 75
Adam Ryan: 83
Eleanore Blereau: 68
Jordan Garcia: 84
Shannon Grixti: 86

Dylan Blight: 77
Matthew Hewson: 88
Jamie Penningh: 83
Lachlan Robertson: 80
Buddy Watson: 88
Ashley Hobley: 86

Ryan Betson: 91
Cat Benstead: 92
Paul James: 87
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 95
Glenn Duncan: 90
Simon Lai: N/A

Please Explain: The Assassin’s Creed series has done well to reinvent itself in the past couple of years, however we’re starting to see repetition creep back in and with Valhalla’s world likely to be jam-packed with things to do, I am expecting more of the same but less of an impact.

Verdict: A good game, but I don’t think Vikings can stop open-world fatigue from creeping back in.
Score: 82

Zach Jackson

Release: 12/11/2020 | Developer: Bluepoint Games | Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment | Platforms: PS5

Kieron Verbrugge: 89
Aza Hudson: N/A
Zach Jackson: 91
Lil’ Rizky: 90
Dylan Blereau: 88

Kieran Stockton: 80
Adam Ryan: 84
Eleanore Blereau: 85
Jordan Garcia: 94
Shannon Grixti: 90

Dylan Blight: 96
Matthew Hewson: 90
Jamie Penningh: 88
Lachlan Robertson: 80
Buddy Watson: 94
Ashley Hobley: 93

Ryan Betson: 83
Cat Benstead: 85
Paul James: 87
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 89
Glenn Duncan: 92
Simon Lai: N/A

Please Explain: FromSoftware’s action RPGs have been pretty stellar and seen a lot of success, both in the critical and commercial sense. Bluepoint has also shown great promise with their remakes, especially with Shadow of the Colossus. I can quite easily see the Demon’s Souls remake being positively received.

Verdict: Demon’s Souls will undoubtedly be well-received. The base game is already pretty solid and the remake will address a lot of the technical issues that plagued FromSoftware’s 2009 action RPG.
Score: 94

Jordan Garcia

Release: 12/11/2020 | Developer: Insomniac Games | Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment | Platforms: PS5/PS4

Kieron Verbrugge: 88
Aza Hudson: N/A
Zach Jackson: 86
Lil’ Rizky: 84
Dylan Blereau: 82

Kieran Stockton: 85
Adam Ryan: 88
Eleanore Blereau: 84
Jordan Garcia: 92
Shannon Grixti: 91

Dylan Blight: 86
Matthew Hewson: 81
Jamie Penningh: 85
Lachlan Robertson: 80
Buddy Watson: 85
Ashley Hobley: 91

Ryan Betson: 89
Cat Benstead: 89
Paul James: 84
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 82
Glenn Duncan: 85
Simon Lai: N/A

Please Explain: Everyone loved Insomniac’s Spider-Man game and this looks like more of a good thing. Insomniac looks to have spent more time playing around with ray tracing tech than brand new gameplay elements based on what we’ve seen so far, but I’m ready to be surprised. PSA: if you haven’t played Marvel’s Spider-Man’s expansion, ‘The City That Never Sleeps,’ I’d suggest getting on that before this game releases.

Verdict: More web-slinging fun but a lacklustre story that leaves open many threads for the true Spider-Man sequel we’re all waiting on.
Score: 86

Dylan Blight – Explosion Network

Release: 12/11/2020 | Developer: Counterplay Games | Publisher: Gearbox | Platforms: PS5/PC

Kieron Verbrugge: 77
Aza Hudson: N/A
Zach Jackson: 73
Lil’ Rizky: 75
Dylan Blereau: 63

Kieran Stockton: 78
Adam Ryan: 78
Eleanore Blereau: 67
Jordan Garcia: 74
Shannon Grixti: 72

Dylan Blight: 69
Matthew Hewson: 67
Jamie Penningh: 77
Lachlan Robertson: 70
Buddy Watson: 86
Ashley Hobley: 61

Ryan Betson: 78
Cat Benstead: 90
Paul James: 78
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 72
Glenn Duncan: 70
Simon Lai: N/A

Please Explain: I hope I like Godfall. I really do. The setting looks neat, and it definitely has a very ‘next-gen’ quality to it. Still, I’m not convinced that it’s going to do much we haven’t seen before while it borrows from so many other games, so reviews are probably going to sit on a bit of a spectrum depending on people’s tastes. Despite initially being quite excited about it I’ve lost interest somewhat over time and I feel like when it comes time to actually sit down and play the thing that’s exactly how everyone will feel. It just screams “next-gen launch title” to me, which is neither a good nor bad thing – simply average.

Verdict: Probably a fun, good-looking launch title that people will quickly forget.
Score: 77

Kieron Verbrugge

Release: 13/11/2020 | Developer: Treyarch | Publisher: Activision | Platforms: PS4/Xbox One/PC/Next-Gen

Kieron Verbrugge: 88
Aza Hudson: N/A
Zach Jackson: 85
Lil’ Rizky: 82
Dylan Blereau: 82

Kieran Stockton: 80
Adam Ryan: 82
Eleanore Blereau: 77
Jordan Garcia: 85
Shannon Grixti: 87

Dylan Blight: 80
Matthew Hewson: 82
Jamie Penningh: 79
Lachlan Robertson: 70
Buddy Watson: 85
Ashley Hobley: 90

Ryan Betson: 82
Cat Benstead: 80
Paul James: 80
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 87
Glenn Duncan: 90
Simon Lai: N/A

Please Explain: Call of Duty is embodied by the misused and oft-quoted simile in Forrest Gump – it’s like a box of chocolates, where you know exactly what you’re going to get because as a savvy consumer you read what was on the outside of the box. It also helps that it’s similar to the box of chocolate released last year. After last year’s Modern Warfare, I’m ready for a pared-back three-lane palette cleanser, and having recently played the multiplayer alpha, Black Ops Cold War will tickle that fancy guaranteed. As an iterative annualised series, Call of Duty will probably never again reach the lofty critical heights above 90 (that would be like giving an Academy Award to a Marvel Avengers film), but it will feature a rock-solid campaign and multiplayer designed to be hooked directly to your veins for months at a time – and that’s all it needs to do.

Verdict: A blockbuster campaign and addictive multiplayer whose formula hasn’t changed in centuries. It’d be folly to expect any more and/or less.
Score: 80

Kieran Stockton

Release: 13/11/2020 | Developer: Square Enix | Publisher: Square Enix | Platforms: PS4/Xbox One/Switch

Kieron Verbrugge: 85
Aza Hudson: N/A
Zach Jackson: 78
Lil’ Rizky: 70
Dylan Blereau: 67

Kieran Stockton: 78
Adam Ryan: 82
Eleanore Blereau: 72
Jordan Garcia: 83
Shannon Grixti: 81

Dylan Blight: 84
Matthew Hewson: 60
Jamie Penningh: 74
Lachlan Robertson: 90
Buddy Watson: 82
Ashley Hobley: 80

Ryan Betson: 88
Cat Benstead: 90
Paul James: 78
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 71
Glenn Duncan: 80
Simon Lai: N/A

Please Explain: Alright so I feel like I’m maybe making a big call with this score, because although I know fans are going to eat this one up I’m not sure whether the critical reception to a Kingdom Hearts rhythm game that continues the ridiculously-confusing series’ narrative will be add favourable. I’ve no doubt it’ll review well enough, but I’m maybe pushing it with a guess 85. If I was only guessing my own potential score, maybe, but I guess we’ll see. Perhaps being reminded that Simple and Clean and Sanctuary exist will sway some critics.

Verdict: Will probably be fantastic fan service, reviews will vary but err on the positive side.
Score: 85

Kieron Verbrugge

Release: 19/11/2020 | Developer: CD Projekt Red | Publisher: CD Projekt Red | Platforms: PS4/Xbox One/PC/Next-Gen

Kieron Verbrugge: 92
Aza Hudson: 92
Zach Jackson: 89
Lil’ Rizky: 94
Dylan Blereau: 84

Kieran Stockton: 95
Adam Ryan: 94
Eleanore Blereau: 94
Jordan Garcia: 82
Shannon Grixti: 94

Dylan Blight: 89
Matthew Hewson: 91
Jamie Penningh: 86
Lachlan Robertson: 95
Buddy Watson: 94
Ashley Hobley: 94

Ryan Betson: 96
Cat Benstead: 89
Paul James: 91
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 99
Glenn Duncan: 94
Simon Lai: 91

Please Explain: Do I even need to explain why I’m pegging this game to score in the 90s on OpenCritic? Between the massive marketing machine and an entire global fanbase believing the sun shines from CD Projekt Red’s proverbials, it’ll take something pretty spectacular for people to dislike this game. Of course, we’re talking about critical reviews from actual (mostly honest) game critics, so I’m sticking to the low 90s with my guess, but I’ll honestly be very surprised if I’m wrong. As much as I want to hang crap on the whole thing for CDPR’s shoddy practices, I had to admit the game does look pretty fucking good.

Verdict: If this flops I’ll shit myself
Score: 92

Kieron Verbrugge

Release: 20/11/2020 | Developer: KOEI TECMO GAMES | Publisher: Nintendo | Platforms: Switch

Kieron Verbrugge: 87
Aza Hudson: N/A
Zach Jackson: 86
Lil’ Rizky: 82
Dylan Blereau: 79

Kieran Stockton: 76
Adam Ryan: 78
Eleanore Blereau: 92
Jordan Garcia: 93
Shannon Grixti: 85

Dylan Blight: 82
Matthew Hewson: 75
Jamie Penningh: 85
Lachlan Robertson: 90
Buddy Watson: 85
Ashley Hobley: 84

Ryan Betson: 90
Cat Benstead: 95
Paul James: 81
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 87
Glenn Duncan: 80
Simon Lai: N/A

Please Explain: The original Hyrule Warriors was littered with fan service, resulting in a game that quickly caught the eye of Zelda enthusiasts. As a Dynasty Warriors crossover, the gameplay quickly eroded from an enjoyable affair to a repetitive and mindless hack and slash. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity gameplay looks to be similar to that of its predecessor, with the additional perk being that it serves as a prequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This alone almost assures the game will received well, but I still fear that the repetition of a Warriors-style game will hold it back somewhat.       
Verdict:
More Breath of Wild narrative filler, more mindless slashing.
Score: 79

Dylan Blereau

Release: 03/12/2020 | Developer: Ubisoft | Publisher: Ubisoft | Platforms: PS4/Xbox One/Switch/PC/Next-Gen

Kieron Verbrugge: 79
Aza Hudson: N/A
Zach Jackson: 74
Lil’ Rizky: 75
Dylan Blereau: 81

Kieran Stockton: 88
Adam Ryan: 81
Eleanore Blereau: 79
Jordan Garcia: 87
Shannon Grixti: 85

Dylan Blight: 74
Matthew Hewson: 80
Jamie Penningh: 86
Lachlan Robertson: 80
Buddy Watson: 86
Ashley Hobley: 79

Ryan Betson: 81
Cat Benstead: 89
Paul James: 82
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 81
Glenn Duncan: 87
Simon Lai: N/A

Please Explain: Gods and Monsters Immortals: Fenyx Rising looks very much like something I will enjoy. An Ubisoft-style open world game that’s a bit brighter and livelier and friendlier is exactly what the doctor ordered after playing their last hundred epic adventures. Still, there’s a degree of fatigue that will no doubt affect this game in the same way as Watch Dogs Legion and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. People are burnt out on these big Ubi titles, and no amount of Breath of the Wild inspo is likely to solve that. I definitely believe others will see the same qualities in Immortals that I do and it will go well with the right people but there are absolutely going to be detractors.

Verdict: Probably a solid, Ubisoft-style take on Breath of the Wild that’ll light some punters fires and not others.
Score: 79

Kieron Verbrugge

Release: 2021 | Developer: CI Games | Publisher: CI Games | Platforms: PS4/Xbox One/PC

Kieron Verbrugge: 64
Aza Hudson: N/A
Zach Jackson: 74
Lil’ Rizky: 66
Dylan Blereau: 62

Kieran Stockton: 70
Adam Ryan: 69
Eleanore Blereau: 69
Jordan Garcia: 85
Shannon Grixti: 68

Dylan Blight: 66
Matthew Hewson: 76
Jamie Penningh: 73
Lachlan Robertson: 70
Buddy Watson: 82
Ashley Hobley: 73

Ryan Betson: 78
Cat Benstead: 68
Paul James: 66
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 76
Glenn Duncan: 80
Simon Lai: N/A

Please Explain: WellPlayed’s own Zach Jackson is an ardent fan of the Sniper Ghost Warrior series, but what does he know, he notoriously loves shit games. In his defence and as much as it will kill me to admit it, I did enjoy what I played of Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts. The mechanics that come with the new mask are interesting and manage to spice things up a little bit which is exactly that the B-tier sniper series needed. It’s far from the best sniping game (Sniper Elite holds that title) but it’s definitely an improvement on previous entries. The sequel has promised more extreme long-distance sniping which I’m sure will have some people hot under the collar, but I’m not sure it will be enough to boost its critical reception. I have no doubt that it’ll match the quality of the first game, but I don’t think it’ll do enough to completely eclipse the original. I’ve decided that it’ll receive a sneak extra point over the first game’s score, but no more than that.

Verdict: Contracts 2 will offer up a few new tricks, but it will only manage to crawl past the score of the original game.
Score: 69 

Adam Ryan

Release: TBA | Developer: Experiment 101| Publisher: THQ Nordic | Platforms: PS4/Xbox One/PC

Kieron Verbrugge: 68
Aza Hudson: 60
Zach Jackson: 71
Lil’ Rizky: 75
Dylan Blereau: 66

Kieran Stockton: 71
Adam Ryan: 73
Eleanore Blereau: 78
Jordan garcia: 67
Shannon Grixti: 81

Dylan Blight: 78
Matthew Hewson: 75
Jamie Penningh: 70
Lachlan Robertson: 60
Buddy Watson: 68
Ashley Hobley: 71

Ryan Betson: 81
Cat Benstead: 80
Paul James: 78
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 65
Glenn Duncan: 75
Simon Lai: 82

Please Explain: This one is hard to place, in fact I found nearly the hardest one on this list to score because I’ve played it…and it was rough. That could simply be because it was an older build, but it still looked and played like it needed a fair bit of work, plus at the end of the day it’s only a AA-sized budget game. It’s also been in development for a long time, much longer than what the devs originally anticipated, which could mean that they’re having issues getting it right. Or maybe they’re simply making it the best possible experience (as they say) and when it does finally launch it’ll be slicker than Guy Pearce’s hair in Lawless.

Verdict: I’ve lived this AA tale numerous times. Rarely does it exceed expectations. My furry fingers are crossed though.
Score: 71

Zach Jackson

Release: TBA | Developer: Techland | Publisher: Techland | Platforms: PS4/Xbox One/PC/Next-Gen

Kieron Verbrugge: 73
Aza Hudson: 76
Zach Jackson: 81
Lil’ Rizky: 84
Dylan Blereau: 70

Kieran Stockton: 79
Adam Ryan: 86
Eleanore Blereau: 83
Jordan Garcia: 69
Shannon Grixti: 89

Dylan Blight: 82
Matthew Hewson: 79
Jamie Penningh: 72
Lachlan Robertson: 79
Buddy Watson: 76
Ashley Hobley: 81

Ryan Betson: 78
Cat Benstead: 76
Paul James: 83
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 82
Glenn Duncan: 75
Simon Lai: 85

Please Explain: When it comes to metascores, the first Dying Light just might be the most underrated game of the generation. At a launch score of 74 (indicating mixed reviews), the first game in the series is only a few scores above the likes of Assassin’s Creed Unity, a few scores below the first Watch Dogs and on par with scores for Evolve. While those titles earned their scores in their own right, I felt Dying Light was ultimately snubbed. It combined exhilarating parkour mechanics to provide an open world traversal system unlike anything else on the market with a refreshingly terrifying day and night system and some QOL improvements to the first-person RPG formula that made Bethesda’s offerings feel like a couple generations backwards mechanically. It also offered one of the most seamless and accessible drop-in/drop-out cooperative systems around with years upon years of post-launch content, expansion, modes and improvements. It’s no wonder why Techland’s follow-up Dying Light 2 remains one of my most anticipated games. The game appears to be taking the series to a whole new level with its new focus on player’s actions affecting the world around them. It looks incredibly impressive and if they execute the feature correctly, it could be an innovative step for immersive open world games. Just like the Polish developer’s neighbours at CD Projekt RED, the studio continuously pushes the boundaries of their previous titles in almost every way. In all honesty, I hope the game does score above 84 (because it looks better than that) but given the developer’s history with ‘yellow’ metascores, I’m remaining conservative on this guesstimate.  

Verdict: It’s going to be better than its predecessor and STILL be underrated.
Score: 84

Lil’ Rizky

Release: TBA | Developer: 343i | Publisher: Microsoft Studios | Platforms: Xbox One/PC/Next-Gen

Kieron Verbrugge: 88
Aza Hudson: 80
Zach Jackson: 88
Lil’ Rizky: 87
Dylan Blereau: 86

Kieran Stockton: 82
Adam Ryan: 80
Eleanore Blereau: 78
Jordan Garcia: 84
Shannon Grixti: 86

Dylan Blight: 84
Matthew Hewson: 84
Jamie Penningh: 89
Lachlan Robertson: 75
Buddy Watson: 86
Ashley Hobley: 80

Ryan Betson: 87
Cat Benstead: 92
Paul James: 87
Mikeey TheXboXCowboy: 85
Glenn Duncan: 80
Simon Lai: 86

Please Explain: 343i’s Halo games have been polarising, but on the balance of things I think they’ve done a fantastic job of filling those novelty-sized clown shoes of its predecessor. I particularly love how the multiplayer has evolved to cater to modern tastes (although the pay-to-win aspects of Warzone can go die in a fire). As a non-numbered entry, Halo: Infinite will likely feel like it can try some new and interesting things, and there’s no doubt its production values will be through the roof, but it will struggle to shake that sense of franchise fatigue that’s plaguing Microsoft’s old warhorse exclusives.

Verdict: Halo: Infinite will be a slickly produced and incredibly competent FPS that tries ardently to bring something new to the Halo-shaped table in order to distinguish itself.
Score: 82

Kieran Stockton

If you want an in-depth listen at our reasons, you can check out the WellPlayed DLC Podcast below:

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