We check out a bunch of new games including Monster Hunter Rise, Stubbs the Zombie and the new-gen update for Tennis World Tour 2.

Monster Hunter Rise (Switch)

Monster Hunter might not be a series a lot of casual players are aware of, but it’s big business around much of the world and Rise is a perfect entry point for newcomers. You just need to get past an overwhelming character creator first.

Much like the games before it, Rise is focused on taking down or capturing impressively large monsters in spectacular fashion – all with an assortment of different weapons from your arsenal. Once they’re out for the count you can skin them for gear, work on boosting your stats and then run through the whole process over and over again.

What might sound like a repetitive loop is kept engaging by the fights themselves, which were consistently a blast, especially once you really sink into the meat and potatoes of the game. Touching base with villagers in order to get quests will also take up a lot of your time, although it admittedly can get a bit confusing as to which quests will lead you towards the endgame and which ones are just killing time.

Luckily, getting about is a lot easier this time around thanks to the new Wirebug – an eccentric grappling hook that lets you quickly and seamlessly zip around the world and foes during battle.

At the end of the day Monster Hunter Rise won’t be for every Switch owner, but it’s another polished entry in the series and is bound to win you over if you give it a chance. It’s also way better than that terrible movie.

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It Takes Two (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, XBO, PC)

Don’t go sleeping on this total gem, because it’s already one of the most enjoyable games of 2021. The core concept is a strange one though, so buckle up.

You’ll play as Cody and May a clashing couple who have been turned into dolls by a magic spell via their daughter. To get out they must follow the wisdom of Dr. Hakim: a walking, talking book of love.

Told you.

The story and themes won’t click for everybody, but the gameplay surely will. It Takes Two is strictly a co-op experience, meaning you’ll have to play with a friend or partner online or locally.

That sounds like a real pain the arse, but strategising to solve problems or overcome enemies is always a real treat and only adds to the game’s overall charm. New mechanics are also thrown at you on the regular, and help prevent any one area from becoming too repetitive. You’ll only ever be given half the pieces to succeed, forcing some real collaboration to take place.

What we’re trying to say is that if you can wrangle up a Player 2, It Takes Two is absolutely worth checking out.

Tennis World Tour 2 Complete Edition (PS5, Xbox Series X/S)

We reviewed Tennis World Tour 2 when it first launched last year, and this upgrade for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S is definitely a step in the right direction. Players and courts have noticeably improved sharper sheen to them, even if Roger Federer is still the stuff of nightmares once you get up close.

Moment-to-moment gameplay also feels slightly improved, with rallies better replicating the real game. There’s a real joy in pushing your opponent from side to side and that’s now easier than ever.

That said, we still did encounter a fair share of glitches and jankyness, mostly whenever we tried to engage the game’s net play which is a real shame.

Whether or not it’s worth the upgrade for another $84.95 is debatable. You’ll nab all the content available for the base game, including extra players like Andy Murray and Maria Sharapova, but more casual players might want to hold off for a sale.

Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse (Switch, PS4, XBO, PC)

For whatever reason, Stubbs the Zombie became something of a cult hit since its release more than 15 years ago. Built within the Halo engine, it stars the titular Stubbs as he makes his way through munching on the citizens of Punchbowl – a 1950s American-inspired town.

There’s some initial laughs to be had here as you go about throwing organs as explosives and using your detached arms to possess humans, but that only lasts so long.

The port sadly does nothing to improve the game’s quality of life, making the whole game feel old to play because… well, it is old. With a bit more TLC this might’ve been something special, but as it stands is only really for long-time fans.

You can read more about this topic over at the Gaming Observer.

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