Blair Witch (XBO, PC)

Definitely one of the bigger surprises of the year, Blair Witch manages to provide sufficient scares and a few neat gameplay twists while continuing to prove that nothing good can be found in the forest. Inspired by the film’s cinematic lore, you’ll play as former police officer Ellis searching for a missing boy – leading to a healthy dose of tension and fear.

Utilising the series’ signature camcorder for puzzles is also incredibly smart, forcing you to play around with recorded footage to alter your environment. Just maybe keep the lights on.

 

NBA 2K20 (PS4, XBO, PC) 

 NBA 2K20 continues to showcase the series’ dominance for another year, despite the continued prevalence of microtransactions. Luckily the underlying gameplay remains as strong as ever and the visuals are incredibly pretty all the way up to individual sweat drops.

MyCareer is still a bit hit and miss, but the star power on offer (like Idris Elba) certainly add a bit of extra flair to make up for it. If you’re an NBA lover, this one’s an obvious purchase.

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Catherine: Full Body (PS4)

Eight years after its debut, Catherine: Full Body returns to provide plenty of weird and wild charm as you navigate the tumultuous love life of Vincent Brooks – a man struggling to work out (and who) what he actually wants. For those fans who have already played through the original, this rejig also introduces new levels, new music, another love interest and thankfully some easier difficulty levels for the game’s interesting, yet often challenging puzzles.

The updates help breathe some fresh air into the package. Newcomers, on the other hand are bound to be bewildered.

 

 Gears 5 (XBO, PC)

You know what to expect when a new Gears rolls around, and Gears 5 is no exception. Picking up right where the previous game left off, the overdramatic narrative is relatively engaging and punctuated with just enough explosive, tense setpeices to keep you on the hook.

Multiplayer is an equally enjoyable romp, and the whole package looks downright stunning, but the Gears series does need a little bit of a refresh if it wants to blast its way onto the next generation of Xbox.

 

Erica (PS4)

Surprisingly announced at this year’s Gamescom, Erica is an interesting proposition – blurring the lines between live action and video game. The titular lead character is a woman heavily affected by the death of her father, but when new clues on the case surface, its up to you to help guide her actions via on-screen prompts.

You’ll be able to do that with either your DualShock or smartphone (which is definitely the ideal way to play), helping make either major plot developments or just move the story forward which all works relatively well. Erica is certainly not for everybody, but is an interesting experiment and a perfect way to help lure in gaming sceptics. It’s also creepy as hell.

 

The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan (PS4, XBO, PC)

The first entry in a planned anthology, and brought to you by the team behind the surprise-hit Until Dawn, Man of Medan has some lofty goals. Unfortunately, it doesn’t entirely hit them, largely due to an unnecessarily long setup and an over-reliance on jump scares that don’t consistently hit the mark.

The consequences of being able to kill off your whole cast does create tension, and the inclusion of Movie Night mode (allowing up to four people to take control of different characters) and Shared Story (online co-op) provide some neat new ways to play, but we’re hoping for a little more from the series’ next entry.

 

Wreckfest (PS4, XBO, PC)

With so many racers these days focusing realistic physics and simulation effects, it’s refreshing to have a game that throws such caution to the wind. Wreckfest is precisely that game, embracing joyous destruction from your first rev. You and your competitors will swerve violently around each course in a bid to achieve a multitude of smaller challenges while still aiming for a podium finish. Demolition derbies are especially destructive.

The career might not be as deep as some racers, but you can’t look past the enjoyable old-school sensibilities.

 

 

Heave Ho (Switch, PC)

Pure chaos. That’s the best way we can describe Heave Ho – an unassuming French indie game that is absolutely worth your time. Your basic goal is simple: reach the end of each dastardly level by flailing your two arms (controlled by the left and right analogue stick) about to grab hold of the environment (or other people) and swing yourself around.

Successfully achieving this goal, on the other hand, is anything but – often culminating in an absolute riot of laughs and screams. Alone, Heave Ho is a difficult sell, but with a group of friends – it’s one of the best couch co-op experiences in years.

The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series (PS4, XBO, PC)

 Although some have reported major issues with this compilation, outside of some long load times our experience was smooth sailing. The original Telltale development team may now be gone, but this is without question the best way to play one of the most influential and affecting series of the last two generations. Granted, not every episode is a hit, but watching Clementine slowly evolve in a world gone to hell is something special indeed. If you’re still chomping at the bit for zombie games – this is one of the best.