Doom Eternal (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Doom Eternal, like the series successful 2016 reboot, is an orgiastic cacophony of violence. A relentless parade of mulching demons with enormous guns soundtracked by Mick Gordon’s thunderous, escalating heavy metal. As the Doom Slayer, your giant fists swing across the screen like cannonballs, yanking the legs off skittering brain-spiders and jamming it back through their eyeball, feeding a mancubus its own heart or dissecting fodder with a roaring chainsaw. It is relentlessly noisy, gleefully gory and, yes, splendid fun.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Nintendo Switch)
Nintendo package off its charming village sim to a desert island, tasking you with crafting your own idyllic town and casting yourself into a lifetime of debt with a talking tanooki. Animal Crossing’s gorgeous escape found a particular resonance during lockdown, the ideal relaxation spot to lose yourself in, tend to your town, meet friends online and even obsess over turnip prices. Perfectly timed and perfectly pitched, Animal Crossing has become an unlikely beacon of hope for a digital generation.
Nioh 2 (PS4)
Many games have tried to capture From Software’s ‘Soulsborne’ sense of challenge, technique and world-building. Few have even come close to succeeding, but Team Ninja’s Nioh is one of the best. This 16th century samurai sequel greatly expands on the first game, as you hunt down ‘yokai’ in feudal Japan. The swordplay is magnificent, while the challenge is merciless.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Xbox One, PC)
The follow-up to magical platformer Ori and the Blind Forest is another game of movement and grace. Ori scampers with definable purpose, leaping over poisoned waters and between thorned outcrops. It is that rare breed of game in which your avatar is completely attuned to your fingertips and experience has allowed Moon Studios to greatly expand on its ideas from the first game.