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OpenCritic Challenge

WellPlayed’s 2021 OpenCritic Challenge

Let’s predict!

Last year, WellPlayed ran a friendly competition where entrants would predict overall OpenCritic scores for a bunch of video games (you can find it here), as well as raising money for Checkpoint – a mental health resource for gamers. It was a ton of fun and there were some wild predictions, so we figured we’d do it all again in 2021.

Shoutouts to Paul James from Player 2 for taking out the inaugural OpenCritic Challenge – a huge effort that will go down in the history books. But can he do it again? WellPlayed’s Adam Ryan was hot on Paul James’ heels in second place and looking to atone for last year’s slip-ups that cost him first place. This year the number of contestants has increased, which is radical. But before we get to the predictions, let’s go through some housekeeping and some FAQs.

Firstly, massive shoutout to Jamie Penningh for taking on the role of the competition’s Official Scorekeeper, without him we wouldn’t have had leaderboard updates.

This year’s contestants are as follows: Zach Jackson, Kieron Verbrugge, Kieran Stockton, Adam Ryan, Zac Reardon, Dylan Blereau, Aza Hudson, Lil’ Rizky and Eleanore Blereau from WellPlayed, Dylan Blight and Ashley Hobley (Explosion Network), Ryan Betson and Max Cooper (The PopCulturists), Matt Hewson (Player 2), Paul James (Player 2 and Dev Diary), Brodie Gibbons and Ewan Roxburgh (Press Start), Buddy Watson (Radio Watson), Lachlan Robertson (Lachstar Games), Luke Mitchell (Checkpoint Gaming), Dash (Dash Gamer), Matt Sainsbury (Digitally Downloaded), Brendan White and Jono Pech (ATEBIT), Mikeey  (Gaming Cowboy), Jeremy Bratetich (MiniMap),  Wil James (Wil James Game), Jeremy Stark (No Bull Gaming), Cat Benstead (TGIF Podcast), Paul Milewski (Wiretap Media), Jamie Galea (New Game Plus) Glenn Duncan, Jamie Penningh, Ian Nichols, Harry, Cameron Robertson and Reinald T.

So how does the competition work? In short, participants are given a list of games well before anyone has played them and are asked to predict the end of the year OpenCritic score for those games. Lists will be given out two or three times a year. The difference between your prediction and the official score is the number of points you accumulate. So for example, if someone predicts 85 or 55 for a game that gets an official score of 70, that person will accumulate 15 points. The person with the lowest points tally at the end of the competition shall be crowned champion and will have a parade thrown in their honour.

So why OpenCritic? OpenCritic generates their scores by taking review scores for every platform a game is released on and then averages them out for one overall score. Having one overall score is simply easier to utilise in a competition like this.

What about ethics? While yes, some participants are from outlets whose reviews affect the OpenCritic rating, we believe that everyone participating has sound integrity and are entering the competition for what it is – friendly competition and to raise money for charity. We don’t believe that any of the listed critics would have their reviews influenced by their predictions.

Lastly, if you wish to play along at home, feel free to leave a comment with your own predictions.

With all that out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff.

Release: 26/03 | Developer: Hazelight Studios | Publisher: EA | Platforms: PS5 / PS4 / Xbox Series X&S / Xbox One / PC

Dylan Blight: 84
Max Cooper: 77
Matt Hewson: 80
Lil’ Rizky: 84
Jeremy Bratetich: 75
Mikeey (GamingCowboy): 72
Glenn Duncan: 85
Paul Milewski: 80
Dash: 85

Lachlan Robertson: 60
Kieron Verbrugge: 82
Dylan Blereau: 70
Wil James: 80
Eleanore Blereau: 68
Jamie Penningh: 76
Adam Ryan: 79
Ryan Betson: 87
Brendan White: 70

Jono Pech: 74
Luke Mitchell: 85
Ian Nichols: 78
Buddy Watson: 82
Ashley Hobley: 74
Harry: 64
Zac Reardon: 78
Jeremy Stark: 76
Kieran Stockton: 80

Brodie Gibbons: 79
Aza Hudson: 65
Cameron Robertson: 73
Ewan Roxburgh: 78
Reinald T: 90
Matt Sainsbury: 70
Zach Jackson: 84
Cat Benstead: 75
Paul James: 82

Please explain: I’ve taken an analytical approach to this one and I hate myself for it. I’ve gone ahead and given It Takes Two the same score that A Way Out received, as that was Hazelight’s last game and it featured similar co-op mechanics. This is a cynical view and I hope that I’m wrong, but I can see a few moments of co-op frustration occurring thanks to overambitious mechanics being added to try and differentiate this title from A Way Out. I can almost read the same line from multiple reviews now that relates to ‘that annoying section’ of the game. Obviously I don’t think it’ll be a big enough deal to tank the cute and heart-filled story that Hazelight has woven, but I just don’t see it surpassing that initial surprise success. This is one of those times where I’d be happy to be proven wrong though, as I want this game to be as great as it looks.

Verdict: One or two irritating sections will ensure that A Way Out’s score is met, not surpassed.
Score: 79

Adam Ryan

Release: 26/03 | Developer: Capcom | Publisher: Capcom | Platforms: Switch

Dylan Blight: 90
Max Cooper: 86
Matt Hewson: 88
Lil’ Rizky: 85
Jeremy Bratetich: 85
Mikeey (GamingCowboy): 84
Glenn Duncan: 94
Paul Milewski: 88
Dash: 90

Lachlan Robertson: 80
Kieron Verbrugge: 87
Dylan Blereau: 84
Wil James: 85
Eleanore Blereau: 95
Jamie Penningh: 87
Adam Ryan: 86
Ryan Betson: 85
Brendan White: 88

Jono Pech: 90
Luke Mitchell: 83
Ian Nichols: 88
Buddy Watson: 90
Ashley Hobley: 82
Harry: 79
Zac Reardon: 92
Jeremy Stark: 83
Kieran Stockton: 90

Brodie Gibbons: 71
Aza Hudson: 75
Cameron Robertson: 78
Ewan Roxburgh: 90
Reinald T: 85
Matt Sainsbury: 85
Zach Jackson: 90
Cat Benstead: 85
Paul James: 89

Please explain: Let me kick things off here by stating that I’ve never laid my hands on a Monster Hunter game before. I’ve had no desire to delve into the series, but all I ever hear is how damn brilliant it is. Fellow WellPlayed members Jordan and Eleanore don’t seem to shut up about the upcoming Monster Hunter Rise, especially after playing the demo, and considering Jordan is a series vet and Eleanore’s Monster Hunter career is just beginning, it seems we have another well-received Monster Hunter game on our hands. It will score a high 80s score like it was destined to do, and it may just be the first Monster Hunter game I play. 

Verdict: Monster Hunter rises to the occasion with another critically loved release.
Score: 87

Dylan Blereau

Release: 01/04 | Developer: People Can Fly | Publisher: Square Enix | Platforms: PS5 / PS4 / Xbox Series X&S / Xbox One / PC

Dylan Blight: 77
Max Cooper: 88
Matt Hewson: 80
Lil’ Rizky: 72
Jeremy Bratetich: 65
Mikeey (GamingCowboy): 70
Glenn Duncan: 83
Paul Milewski: 80
Dash: 80

Lachlan Robertson: 89
Kieron Verbrugge: 78
Dylan Blereau: 78
Wil James: 85
Eleanore Blereau: 85
Jamie Penningh: 79
Adam Ryan: 79
Ryan Betson: 76
Brendan White: 74

Jono Pech: 85
Luke Mitchell: 85
Ian Nichols: 70
Buddy Watson: 83
Ashley Hobley: 88
Harry: 84
Zac Reardon: 76
Jeremy Stark: 84
Kieran Stockton: 81

Brodie Gibbons: 65
Aza Hudson: 65
Cameron Robertson: 70
Ewan Roxburgh: 78
Reinald T: 85
Matt Sainsbury: 85
Zach Jackson: 83
Cat Benstead: 75
Paul James: 77

Please explain: Full disclosure here, I made this prediction before I played the demo and witnessed some of its AA-ness (pun intended). The game’s jankiness (particularly in the lip-synching, jarring load screens and wonky animations) needs to be addressed if this one’s going to live up to its potential, but it’s a promising little third-person-shooter-looter with a cool apocalyptic new-world setting brimming with possibility. It’s unlikely to dethrone the likes of Destiny, but the fact it also fully functions as a single-player game might charm those uninterested in shared-world shooters.   

Verdict: If the technical problems abundant in the demo can be ironed out then People Can Fly may just have a great new IP under their belt.
Score: 81

Kieran Stockton

Release: 06/04 | Developer: Oddworld Inhabitants | Publisher: Oddworld Inhabitants | Platforms: PS5 / PS4 / PC

Dylan Blight: 81
Max Cooper: 78
Matt Hewson: 87
Lil’ Rizky: 83
Jeremy Bratetich: 78
Mikeey (GamingCowboy): 86
Glenn Duncan: 80
Paul Milewski: 70
Dash: 85

Lachlan Robertson: 75
Kieron Verbrugge: 91
Dylan Blereau: 83
Wil James: 70
Eleanore Blereau: 88
Jamie Penningh: 78
Adam Ryan: 84
Ryan Betson: 71
Brendan White: 82

Jono Pech: 76
Luke Mitchell: 77
Ian Nichols: 74
Buddy Watson: 80
Ashley Hobley: 79
Harry: 84
Zac Reardon: 72
Jeremy Stark: 90
Kieran Stockton: 89

Brodie Gibbons: 77
Aza Hudson: 90
Cameron Robertson: 80
Ewan Roxburgh: 77
Reinald T: 74
Matt Sainsbury: 85
Zach Jackson: 83
Cat Benstead: 73
Paul James: 82

Please explain: Bloody hell, 91? I said that?? Alright, well now I’m supposed to try and justify my thinking and since I think that past Kieron went a bit ham on the ol’ high scores for this year’s challenge you’ll need to excuse me if this gets a bit hyperbolic: The best fucking franchise you’ve ever played is back to help you pitch a tent in your jorts! For real though, I think Oddworld fans might just be the most patient around, and this one’s been gestating long enough that I sincerely believe it’ll live up to what people want out of a brand-new-ish entry in Abe’s saga. I’m hoping that the fact it’s going for a song for PlayStation Plus subscribers will give it a little bit of a boost in the ol’ aggregate score as well. For my sake, if not for old mate Lorne’s.

Verdict: It’s classic Oddworld but even more New N’ Tasty. Series fans and puzzle platforming masochists are gonna froth it.
Score: 91

Kieron Verbrugge

Release: 30/04 | Developer: Housemarque | Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment | Platforms: PS5

Dylan Blight: 90
Max Cooper: 84
Matt Hewson: 75
Lil’ Rizky: 82
Jeremy Bratetich: 72
Mikeey (GamingCowboy): 81
Glenn Duncan: 75
Paul Milewski: 75
Dash: 87

Lachlan Robertson: 90
Kieron Verbrugge: 79
Dylan Blereau: 81
Wil James: 85
Eleanore Blereau: 86
Jamie Penningh: 80
Adam Ryan: 80
Ryan Betson: 84
Brendan White: 89

Jono Pech: 88
Luke Mitchell: 90
Ian Nichols: 83
Buddy Watson: 83
Ashley Hobley: 94
Harry: 84
Zac Reardon: 82
Jeremy Stark: 89
Kieran Stockton: 86

Brodie Gibbons: 85
Aza Hudson: 85
Cameron Robertson: 82
Ewan Roxburgh: 91
Reinald T: 79
Matt Sainsbury: 75
Zach Jackson: 77
Cat Benstead: 80
Paul James: 85

Please Explain: Housemarque has made some cracking games in its past, but none of them has been as ambitious as their PS5 exclusive Returnal – the studio’s first foray into AAA game development. Those three letters in themselves add extra expectation but given Sony’s first-party success in recent years the bar has been set pretty high. Making sci-fi, horror and roguelike elements all work is a tall order, but Returnal has all the ingredients to be another Housemarque corker. I’ve got no doubt that Returnal will be a good time, but while previous Housemarque games have utilised replayability in their favour, Returnal will need more than that to sit alongside PlayStation’s finest.

Verdict: Returnal will be another winner for Housemarque for sure, but the weight of its AAA ambitions will see it fall short of greatness.
Score: 77

Zach Jackson

Release: 07/05 | Developer: Capcom | Publisher: Capcom | Platforms: PS5 / PS4 / Xbox Series X&S / Xbox One / PC

Dylan Blight: 89
Max Cooper: 92
Matt Hewson: 90
Lil’ Rizky: 87
Jeremy Bratetich: 88
Mikeey (GamingCowboy): 88
Glenn Duncan: 91
Paul Milewski: 85
Dash: 85

Lachlan Robertson: 90
Kieron Verbrugge: 88
Dylan Blereau: 84
Wil James: 85
Eleanore Blereau: 80
Jamie Penningh: 86
Adam Ryan: 88
Ryan Betson: 92
Brendan White: 90

Jono Pech: 85
Luke Mitchell: 92
Ian Nichols: 84
Buddy Watson: 87
Ashley Hobley: 90
Harry: 90
Zac Reardon: 84
Jeremy Stark: 86
Kieran Stockton: 90

Brodie Gibbons: 81
Aza Hudson: 80
Cameron Robertson: 86
Ewan Roxburgh: 88
Reinald T: 90
Matt Sainsbury: 90
Zach Jackson: 89
Cat Benstead: 90
Paul James: 88
Jamie Galea: 87

Please explain: Capcom has been doing an excellent job of steering the Resident Evil franchise away from the ice over the last couple of years. It all comes back to Resident Evil 7, where the developer managed to take some significant risks and rejuvenate old ideas. Remakes aside, Resident Evil Village is the chance for Capcom to prove that the RE series is back and in better shape than ever before. With zombies returning, giant monsters, vampire ladies and even werewolves, Village seems to be hitting equal measures of what fans wanted and what they didn’t know they wanted. And based solely on what we’ve seen, plus the PlayStation demo, it seems we’re soon to be in for a treat.

Verdict: We were disappointed when Lady Damascus turned into the creature from Bong Joon-ho’s The Host right after we asked her on a date. Other than that, this is an excellent horror/dating sim and a return to form for long-time fans.
Score: 89

Dylan Blight – Explosion Network

Release: 07/05 | Developer: Sumo Digital | Publisher: Focus Home Interactive | Platforms: PS5 / PS4 / Xbox Series X&S / Xbox One / PC

Dylan Blight: 70
Max Cooper: 74
Matt Hewson: 65
Lil’ Rizky: 75
Jeremy Bratetich: 70
Mikeey (GamingCowboy): 78
Glenn Duncan: 82
Paul Milewski: 75
Dash: 80

Lachlan Robertson: 40
Kieron Verbrugge: 69
Dylan Blereau: 60
Wil James: 65
Eleanore Blereau: 73
Jamie Penningh: 75
Adam Ryan: 71
Ryan Betson: 78
Brendan White: 67

Jono Pech: 78
Luke Mitchell: 67
Ian Nichols: 70
Buddy Watson: 75
Ashley Hobley: 68
Harry: 76
Zac Reardon: 69
Jeremy Stark: 73
Kieran Stockton: 68

Brodie Gibbons: 75
Aza Hudson: 65
Cameron Robertson: 73
Ewan Roxburgh: 68
Reinald T: 75
Matt Sainsbury: 60
Zach Jackson: 68
Cat Benstead: 67
Paul James: 68
Jamie Galea: 65

Please explain: Obviously this isn’t going to be a huge AAA blockbuster that draws in the eyes of the masses, but I reckon it’ll be a sleeper hit that will crop up on plenty of underrated game lists in the years to come. The dark and dreary medieval setting is a strong foot out of the gate and the PvPvE elements remind me of Hunt: Showdown, a game that I think has been overlooked, just as this one will be. It won’t be perfect and the B-tier trimmings will likely drag down the overall score, but there will be enough there to satisfy those who want to steal from the rich, smash in some skulls and skulk about in the dark. 

Verdict: Undoubtedly a AA title, Hood will have some rough edges, but a quality setting and an interesting gameplay setup will have us looking back on it as a game that deserved more than what it got.
Score: 71

Adam Ryan

Release: 25/05 | Developer: Experiment 101 | Publisher: THQ Nordic | Platforms: PS4 / Xbox One / PC

Dylan Blight: 78
Max Cooper: 83
Matt Hewson: 65
Lil’ Rizky: 72
Jeremy Bratetich: 70
Mikeey (GamingCowboy): 86
Glenn Duncan: 85
Paul Milewski: 78
Dash: 80

Lachlan Robertson: 70
Kieron Verbrugge: 80
Dylan Blereau: 73
Wil James: 80
Eleanore Blereau: 92
Jamie Penningh: 70
Adam Ryan: 79
Ryan Betson: 80
Brendan White: 69

Jono Pech: 77
Luke Mitchell: 79
Ian Nichols: 75
Buddy Watson: 85
Ashley Hobley: 76
Harry: 88
Zac Reardon: 71
Jeremy Stark: 86
Kieran Stockton: 71

Brodie Gibbons: 76
Aza Hudson: 70
Cameron Robertson: 68
Ewan Roxburgh: 81
Reinald T: 70
Matt Sainsbury: 70
Zach Jackson: 82
Cat Benstead: 85
Paul James: 77
Jamie Galea: 78

Please explain: Biomutant is one of those games I feel like I’ve seen at conventions since Jesus was a baby. Despite the game (which features kung fu if you don’t mind) sounding absolutely rad, it’s the long development cycle and delays the game has experienced that led me to think it might be an imperfect specimen at best. I mean the developer’s official website still lists the game as releasing in 2019 for crying out loud. Reading further into it and realising the team is headed up by someone who worked on the sorely underrated Mad Max has me afraid I’ve gone the low ball on Biomutant’s score.

Verdict: Although a lengthier development can lead to a more polished product, I’m concerned Biomutant might crumble beneath its ambition and vision of trying to be all things to all people.
Score: 76

Brodie Gibbons – Press Start

Release: 04/06 | Developer: CI Games | Publisher: CI Games | Platforms: PS5 / PS4 / Xbox Series X&S / Xbox One / PC

Dylan Blight: 66
Max Cooper: 70
Matt Hewson: 75
Lil’ Rizky: 60
Jeremy Bratetich: 59
Mikeey (GamingCowboy): 71
Glenn Duncan: 72
Paul Milewski: 62
Dash: 68

Lachlan Robertson: 50
Kieron Verbrugge: 68
Dylan Blereau: 67
Wil James: 60
Eleanore Blereau: 65
Jamie Penningh: 85
Adam Ryan: 69
Ryan Betson: 73
Brendan White: 64

Jono Pech: 69
Luke Mitchell: 68
Ian Nichols: 76
Buddy Watson: 80
Ashley Hobley: 79
Harry: 76
Zac Reardon: 68
Jeremy Stark: 68
Kieran Stockton: 70

Brodie Gibbons: 68
Aza Hudson: 55
Cameron Robertson: 75
Ewan Roxburgh: 70
Reinald T: 75
Matt Sainsbury: 65
Zach Jackson: 74
Cat Benstead: 68
Paul James: 74
Jamie Galea: 65

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 what 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: 14/09 | Developer: Arkane Studios | Publisher: Bethesda Software | Platforms: PS5 / PC

Dylan Blight: 88
Max Cooper: 78
Matt Hewson: 80
Lil’ Rizky: 85
Jeremy Bratetich: 82
Mikeey (GamingCowboy): 76
Glenn Duncan: 90
Paul Milewski: 87
Dash: 70

Lachlan Robertson: 90
Kieron Verbrugge: 79
Dylan Blereau: 81
Wil James: 85
Eleanore Blereau: 86
Jamie Penningh: 80
Adam Ryan: 80
Ryan Betson: 84
Brendan White: 89

Jono Pech: 78
Luke Mitchell: 67
Ian Nichols: 70
Buddy Watson: 75
Ashley Hobley: 68
Harry: 76
Zac Reardon: 69
Jeremy Stark: 73
Kieran Stockton: 68

Brodie Gibbons: 75
Aza Hudson: 65
Cameron Robertson: 73
Ewan Roxburgh: 68
Reinald T: 75
Matt Sainsbury: 60
Zach Jackson: 68
Cat Benstead: 67
Paul James: 68
Jamie Galea: 80

Please explain: Arkane at the helm, a cool twist on what appears to be the rouge-like formula and a sense of style that would see Pam Grier happily take the lead role in any movie version. Honestly I can’t see how this one fails. I know some people don’t like the ‘feel’ of Arkane FPS titles, but I am not one of them and I am pretty sure that their work has enough fans for this to score well. My only worry is that the loop isn’t satisfying enough and that could bring scores down, but I think that is a slim chance. 80 takes into account the few people that don’t like the Arkane style but allows for a lot of people to fall in love with this funky fresh shooter. 

Verdict: All signs point to a cracking, unique FPS with a strong sense of style and interesting gameplay hook. Likely to be a big winner for those that like their FPS games served with a slice of different.
Score: 80

Matt Hewson – Player 2

Release: 12/10 | Developer: Turtle Rock Studios | Publisher: WB Interactive Entertainment | Platforms: PS5 / PS4 / Xbox Series X&S / Xbox One / PC

Dylan Blight: 86
Max Cooper: 83
Matt Hewson: 84
Lil’ Rizky: 80
Jeremy Bratetich: 78
Mikeey (GamingCowboy): 83
Glenn Duncan: 92
Paul Milewski: 81
Dash: 72

Lachlan Robertson: 65
Kieron Verbrugge: 90
Dylan Blereau: 79
Wil James: 80
Eleanore Blereau: 71
Jamie Penningh: 81
Adam Ryan: 89
Ryan Betson: 82
Brendan White: 78

Jono Pech: 73
Luke Mitchell: 85
Ian Nichols: 86
Buddy Watson: 75
Ashley Hobley: 72
Harry: 80
Zac Reardon: 83
Jeremy Stark: 73
Kieran Stockton: 89

Brodie Gibbons: 80
Aza Hudson: 85
Cameron Robertson: 90
Ewan Roxburgh: 90
Reinald T: 80
Matt Sainsbury: 85
Zach Jackson: 79
Cat Benstead: 74
Paul James: 88
Jamie Galea: 81

Please explain: The Left 4 Dead Games produced by Valve are some of the most prolific co-op games of all time acting as sort of a pioneer for the genre. While they released quite a while before Open Critic even existed, Metacritic has placed them with an average score of 89 which is basically universal acclaim. However, it has been over a decade since the last entry released and while there have been many fans crying out for a sequel, I don’t think a spiritual successor can still carry the lightning or shock value the series once did. The zombie and co-op genre has come a long way and while I haven’t paid too much attention to Back 4 Blood, I know that copying and pasting for the sake of nostalgia doesn’t always work (Yooka-Laylee being a prime example). However, I’m willing to give the game the benefit of the doubt and predict a nice safe 80 for when it releases later this year.

Verdict: While Valve left their zombie game for dead, Turtle Rock Studios’ Back 4 Blood and comes out swinging, even if it is a little late.
Score: 80

Lil’ Rizky

Release: 2021 | Developer: Neostream Interactive | Publisher: Neostream Interactive | Platforms: PS5 / PS4 / PC

Dylan Blight: 85
Max Cooper: 77
Matt Hewson: 75
Lil’ Rizky: 78
Jeremy Bratetich: 89
Mikeey (GamingCowboy): 78
Glenn Duncan: 85
Paul Milewski: 73
Dash: 85

Lachlan Robertson: 50
Kieron Verbrugge: 89
Dylan Blereau: 80
Wil James: 75
Eleanore Blereau: 64
Jamie Penningh: 74
Adam Ryan: 87
Ryan Betson: 76
Brendan White: 81

Jono Pech: 85
Luke Mitchell: 76
Ian Nichols: 75
Buddy Watson: 83
Ashley Hobley: 76
Harry: 81
Zac Reardon: 80
Jeremy Stark: 72
Kieran Stockton: 71

Brodie Gibbons: 78
Aza Hudson: 70
Cameron Robertson: 73
Ewan Roxburgh: 78
Reinald T: 84
Matt Sainsbury: 80
Zach Jackson: 83
Cat Benstead: 78
Paul James: 80
Jamie Galea: 63

Please explain: Little Devil Inside is positively rife with potential. This action RPG with survival elements game has been kicking around since way back in 2015, where it was originally set to debut on last-gen consoles (and the WiiU!). It’s now debuting on the PlayStation 5, and looking all the better for it. The minimalist visuals mixed with a strong sense of style make for something that looks uniquely tangible and inviting, and the prospect of ‘easy-going’ survival blended with RPG elements and the option of co-op should tick a lot of boxes for people. In all honesty, 89 is a tall order and probably yet another mistake in my contributions to this challenge, but on the other hand if Little Devil Inside winds up anywhere near as good as it looks I could still wind up pretty close to the mark.

Verdict: Strong aesthetics, a heartfelt and subtly-told narrative and an addictive survival RPG loop make Little Devil Inside an unmissable indie experience, either alone or with friends.
Score: 89

Kieron Verbrugge

Release: 24/08 | Developer: Ember Lab | Publisher: Ember Lab | Platforms: PS5 / PS4 / PC

Dylan Blight: 87
Max Cooper: 74
Matt Hewson: 78
Lil’ Rizky: 85
Jeremy Bratetich: 80
Mikeey (GamingCowboy): 88
Glenn Duncan: 80
Paul Milewski: 83
Dash: 80

Lachlan Robertson: 70
Kieron Verbrugge: 88
Dylan Blereau: 78
Wil James: 80
Eleanore Blereau: 80
Jamie Penningh: 79
Adam Ryan: 85
Ryan Betson: 84
Brendan White: 94

Jono Pech: 88
Luke Mitchell: 85
Ian Nichols: 82
Buddy Watson: 86
Ashley Hobley: 80
Harry: 88
Zac Reardon: 84
Jeremy Stark: 77
Kieran Stockton: 89

Brodie Gibbons: 86
Aza Hudson: 80
Cameron Robertson: 90
Ewan Roxburgh: 84
Reinald T: 75
Matt Sainsbury: 70
Zach Jackson: 81
Cat Benstead: 80
Paul James: 81
Jamie Galea: 77

Please explain: When Kena: Bridge of Spirits was unveiled during the PlayStation 5 reveal event last June it was a game that immediately caught the attention of most people watching. Although crafted by a small studio in Ember Lab, Kena: Bridge of Spirits looked like a title made by a large one. With a stunningly gorgeous art direction, a killer soundtrack, and the promise of an epic action-adventure, Kena: Bridge of Spirits quickly found itself compared to Zelda, because everyone loves a comparison to 3D Zelda…

My reason for my score not being as high as the hype the game has garnered would lead you to believe is my fear that some shortcomings in the gameplay department (which we haven’t really seen yet) will ultimately see Kena stumble. It will still be a good to great game and I could easily be proven wrong, but I’ve decided to let my unproven fears for the game peg back its score a little. 

Verdict: Kena: Bridge of Spirits is an enjoyable game, but it ultimately was a tad overhyped.
Score: 78

Dylan Blereau

Release: 2021 | Developer: Tango Gameworks | Publisher: Bethesda | Platforms: PS5 / PC

Dylan Blight: 78
Max Cooper: 84
Matt Hewson: 80
Lil’ Rizky: 80
Jeremy Bratetich: 80
Mikeey (GamingCowboy): 74
Glenn Duncan: 86
Paul Milewski: 88
Dash: 85

Lachlan Robertson: 90
Kieron Verbrugge: 85
Dylan Blereau: 75
Wil James: 75
Eleanore Blereau: 61
Jamie Penningh: 83
Adam Ryan: 86
Ryan Betson: 83
Brendan White: 84

Jono Pech: 80
Luke Mitchell: 88
Ian Nichols: 89
Buddy Watson: 82
Ashley Hobley: 64
Harry: 78
Zac Reardon: 75
Jeremy Stark: 88
Kieran Stockton: 85

Brodie Gibbons: 80
Aza Hudson: 75
Cameron Robertson: 74
Ewan Roxburgh: 80
Reinald T: 85
Matt Sainsbury: 90
Zach Jackson: 82
Cat Benstead: 90
Paul James: 81
Jamie Galea: 80

Please explain: With The Evil Within series proving that Tango Gameworks is more than capable of taking a new IP and creating something special, GhostWire Tokyo has everything going for it to be a real success. Tokyo overrun by supernatural forces and you have an arsenal of spectral abilities to take them all down? Sign me up for all of that, please. With a great setting and another unique spin on horror, this one will either be a massive hit or a disappointing miss. I’m banking on the top end of the scale, knowing the pedigree that this studio is capable of delivering. 

Verdict: Tango Gameworks has impressed in recent years with their horror titles, so there’s a solid chance this new IP with a slick style and intriguing premise will be another critically acclaimed notch in the spooky studio’s belt.
Score: 90

Luke Mitchell – Checkpoint Gaming

Release: 2021 | Developer: 343 Industries | Publisher: Xbox Game Studios | Platforms: Xbox Series X&S / Xbox One / PC

Dylan Blight: 82
Max Cooper: 90
Matt Hewson: 88
Lil’ Rizky: 75
Jeremy Bratetich: 85
Mikeey (GamingCowboy): 95
Glenn Duncan: 75
Paul Milewski: 86
Dash: 83

Lachlan Robertson: 60
Kieron Verbrugge: 92
Dylan Blereau: 82
Wil James: 75
Eleanore Blereau: 70
Jamie Penningh: 86
Adam Ryan: 74
Ryan Betson: 69
Brendan White: 92

Jono Pech: 89
Luke Mitchell: 94
Ian Nichols: 88
Buddy Watson: 88
Ashley Hobley: 80
Harry: 80
Zac Reardon: 70
Jeremy Stark: 92
Kieran Stockton: 85

Brodie Gibbons: 88
Aza Hudson: 80
Cameron Robertson: 88
Ewan Roxburgh: 85
Reinald T: 83
Matt Sainsbury: 90
Zach Jackson: 86
Cat Benstead: 96
Paul James: 80
Jamie Galea: 88

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: 85

Kieran Stockton

Release: 2021 | Developer: Ubisoft Toronto | Publisher: Ubisoft | Platforms: PS5 / PS4 / Xbox Series X&S / Xbox One / PC

Dylan Blight: 83
Max Cooper: 90
Matt Hewson: 82
Lil’ Rizky: 82
Jeremy Bratetich: 80
Mikeey (GamingCowboy): 84
Glenn Duncan: 83
Paul Milewski: 83
Dash: 88

Lachlan Robertson: 79
Kieron Verbrugge: 87
Dylan Blereau: 80
Wil James: 80
Eleanore Blereau: 68
Jamie Penningh: 75
Adam Ryan: 83
Ryan Betson: 79
Brendan White: 88

Jono Pech: 85
Luke Mitchell: 76
Ian Nichols: 75
Buddy Watson: 83
Ashley Hobley: 76
Harry: 81
Zac Reardon: 80
Jeremy Stark: 72
Kieran Stockton: 71

Brodie Gibbons: 82
Aza Hudson: 75
Cameron Robertson: 82
Ewan Roxburgh: 76
Reinald T: 78
Matt Sainsbury: 85
Zach Jackson: 83
Cat Benstead: 75
Paul James: 84
Jamie Galea: 85

Please explain: There’s a lot of hope out there that this is the Far Cry that brings the franchise back to Far Cry 3 levels of excitement. Whether or not that eventuates remains to be seen, with recent entries (while still perfectly fine) doing little to inspire any confidence in us that Ubisoft is going to shake the Earth with Far Cry 6. When what many consider to be a lesser entry in Far Cry 5 can pull off the 81-82 range, I feel that a score in the mid-80s should be something that this new title, which has now had a couple of years to gestate, should be able to comfortably reach. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a Vaas-like villain and the game will exceed all expectations?

Verdict: Far Cry 6 delivers more of what we’ve come to expect from the Far Cry franchise in recent years. It’s mechanically rock-solid, with an environment that is filled with diverse life but digs a layer deeper, and it’s the same old game that we’ve experienced for the last decade. A fun, junk-food experience, that while initially good on the tongue, doesn’t hold its flavour long beyond that first taste.
Score: 84

Paul James – Player 2

Release: 2021 | Developer: Breaking Walls | Publisher: Breaking Walls | Platforms: PS4 / PC

Dylan Blight: 65
Max Cooper: 83
Matt Hewson: 65
Lil’ Rizky: 70
Jeremy Bratetich: 60
Mikeey (GamingCowboy): 60
Glenn Duncan: 80
Paul Milewski: 72
Dash: 75

Lachlan Robertson: 67
Kieron Verbrugge: 74
Dylan Blereau: 65
Wil James: 65
Eleanore Blereau: 76
Jamie Penningh: 69
Adam Ryan: 77
Ryan Betson: 65
Brendan White: 82

Jono Pech: 71
Luke Mitchell: 75
Ian Nichols: 69
Buddy Watson: 82
Ashley Hobley: 75
Harry: 80
Zac Reardon: 72
Jeremy Stark: 72
Kieran Stockton: 72

Brodie Gibbons: 60
Aza Hudson: 85
Cameron Robertson: 60
Ewan Roxburgh: 73
Reinald T: 70
Matt Sainsbury: 70
Zach Jackson: 67
Cat Benstead: 80
Paul James: 72
Jamie Galea: 65

Please explain: Away: The Survival Series looks really interesting, not withstanding you are able to play as a cute sugar glider. What more could you want? This is the debut title for Canadian independent gaming studio Breaking Walls and I hope it matches the polish and detail we’ve seen in trailers. However, I have seen many animal-related simulators flop over the years so time will tell if this one ends up on the endangered list.

Verdict: A cute sugar glider game with questionable replayability but fingers crossed for a hit over a fluffy belly flop.
Score: 76

Eleanore Blereau

Make sure you check back frequently as we update the OpenCritic scores on this post as they become available. Also check our socials for leaderboard updates throughout the year, so you can hero worship the leaders.

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