How long has it been since the last unabashed, bluntly straightforward and no frills arcade racer? So much time has passed it may as well have been 2002's V-Rally 3, the last instalment of a series that's getting an unlikely revival in this, the latest outing from Parisian racing specialists Kylotonn. V-Rally 4 is a nostalgia trip of a game - not least for some of its development team who worked on the original games - and one that harks back to a bygone, if not necessarily better, era.
The king of fighters?
Could Kunos be on the cusp of racing greatness?
Well, this is a return to the past in more ways than one. Battlefield 5's beta hit for early adopters ahead of today's open test, and it was a proper beta - misshapen, malfunctioning and with more than a handful of those glitches that mired Battlefield 4's launch in infamy. Matchmaking was broken, squads - such an integral part of Battlefield's make-up, and even more so this time around - weren't working, and it was all a bit wonky. This was a beta in the old-school definition of the term.
Did we really used to live like this? Going back to the last generation of Capcom's long-running series having spent the best part of 100 hours with all the mod cons of this year's Monster Hunter: World can be a galling experience. It's a bit like being in The 1900 House as you marvel at all the inconveniences and quirks that people used to contend with on a daily basis. Did you really have to carry multiple whetstones with you to keep your weapon sharp? Why am I having to repeat so much for multiplayer quests? And where are my beloved scoutflies?
You don't really play a Dragon Quest game for surprises. This is a series built on tradition - and on traditions that you can trace back some 32 years - so it's always going to be angling towards a more traditional brand of role-playing game. Indeed, Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age - which marks the first mainline release for a new game in Square Enix's long-running series in the west for almost a decade - makes a virtue of that. There's no DLC. There's no online. There are no expansion packs or future amendments planned, and almost certainly no patches that might alter the story or introduce whole new chapters. This is a resolutely, almost aggressively old-fashioned game, one that feels like it's stepped out fresh from another era entirely.
A strange one indeed, this. Rebellion's efforts tend to be admirably direct in their titling - Zombie Army, Sniper Elite, Rogue Warrior, all games that serve up exactly what it says on the tin - and so it is with Strange Brigade, an all-new IP that is more than a little odd. What if the Zombie Army formula was transposed from the fuzzy VHS of a straight-to-video schlocky spin on World War 2 to the high-spirited world of 30s serials? What if Indiana Jones, but with a Pathé voiceover and a heavy dose of colonial derring do washing over that sense of innocent adventure? Best not linger on that last point too long - it seems that not many at Rebellion have, anyway.
Shenmue 3 finally has a release date, with the third instalment in Yu Suzuki's grand adventure opus arriving on August 27th next year.
Nintendo just dumped an outrageous amount of information about upcoming indies for the Switch, with a surprise showcase video announcing new games while revealing release dates for other keenly anticipated titles.
The ACO - the governing body behind the Le Mans 24 Hours - used this weekend's round of the World Endurance Championship at Silverstone to announce and kick off the Le Mans esports series, which will see players compete to win part of a $100,000 prize pot and the chance for a place on the podium at next year's Le Mans.
Strip a modern F1 car of all of its sponsorship decals, goes the well-worn saying I've been guilty of bandying around myself, and you'd be hard pushed to tell any two models apart. So strictly defined is the modern rule-set, so homogeneous the designs, that underneath that lick of lurid paint every car is almost exactly the same - and it's an accusation you could well level at F1 2018, the 10th mainline outing of Codemasters' official take on the sport, and one of its most gently iterative outings yet.
Ten years have passed since the very first Valkyria Chronicles, but it could have been so much longer ago - or much more recently, really. There's something ageless about Sega's original PlayStation 3 tactical shooter, something in its washed out lo-fantasy take on World War 2 that feels like it transcends time. That's another of the strange things about Valkyria Chronicles - it's a game that's constantly pined for, and yet one that's never really been away all that long.
Let's cut straight to the gushing praise: Gris is the most beautiful game I've played this year. It's an effortless, ethereal kind of beauty, courtesy of Barcelona-based Conrad Roset - an artist who takes the melancholy and majesty seen in the figurative work of Egon Schiele and flourishes it with expressive dashes of pastels. It's fragile and glorious all at once, and Gris is a game that's in service of Roset's artwork, spinning a yarn around it and taking you on an adventure through landscapes that hold that same grace.
Nintendo is still being infuriatingly coy about its paid online service with just over a month to go until its release - though it's just reaffirmed what few details are out there while sharing the tiniest bit more.
Nintendo just wrapped up a Smash Bros. Ultimate Nintendo Direct where it went into more detail on its big fighter, confirming the Castlevania crossover that introduces Simon Belmont as a new fighter plus plenty more.
Nintendo's just announced that a new Direct will air later this week, with the focus firmly on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as new information on the forthcoming Switch title is revealed.
At long last, Windjammers is confirmed for a release later this year on Nintendo's Switch, with Data East's much-loved 90s sports game coming to a console it was seemingly made for.
Oh Gran Turismo, forever a series that comes up with ways to delight just as often as it comes up with new ways to disappoint. So it's been for coming up to 20 years, and so it is with Gran Turismo Sport's big July update - all of which amounts to the most profound change that's been made to Polyphony Digital's PlayStation 4 exclusive since it came out last October, a patch that alters the fundamentals while adding a suite of new features on top, with some decidedly more welcome than others.
Assetto Corsa Competizione, Kunos Simulazioni's follow-up to its sublime driving simulator, has been dated for its Early Access release, with the Blancpain-licensed racer coming on September 12th.
Gran Turismo Sport's big July update - which brings Polyphony Digital's PlayStation 4 racer up to version 1.23 - has just dropped, bringing with it new cars, a new track and, for the first time with this particular iteration of Gran Turismo, microtransactions that allow players to buy existing cars within the game.
What a trip it's been. Back in 2013, when a little team that was working out of a busted-up old studio they shared with a taxi rank on a small street in Guildford revealed its follow-up to a series of cute cartoon racing games, it was one of those moments. No Man's Sky captured the world's attention like few other games have before it. And for three years No Man's Sky was given the world's stage, making headline appearances at E3 conferences and with creator Sean Murray guesting on big-name US talk shows. "I thought Morgan Freeman was God!" quipped Stephen Colbert as Murray appeared on The Late Show and showed off his procedurally generated universe. "You're actually the second God I've had on the show."
Fandom's a funny thing, isn't it? When a new SegaWorld opened up on the slightly tatty seafront at the foot of Brighton's Madeira Drive a good few years back, I was at the peak of my obsession with the company who'd brought blue sky joy to so many. And so I decided to head down to the opening in the Sega T-shirt I'd made myself to show my support, and at least one person appreciated the effort; someone in a slightly tatty Sonic the Hedgehog costume, who gave me a big, bright blue lollipop that had been reserved for winners of the colouring-in competition they were running that day. I was 21. I still have that lollipop, and I'm still proud of what I did.
Growing up in Naha, Okinawa, Masashi Takahashi fell in love with games, even if he was too young to properly play them. Sitting watching his two big brothers before he was able to properly read, Takahashi patiently watched them play through Final Fantasy 3, lending a hand whenever he could. "They were there to explain a lot of things - they described difficult words to me like 'chaos', like 'holy power'. These kinds of words I couldn't understand by myself, so they helped, and it was fun to watch them playing."
PlayStation doesn't have a mascot as such, even if there are plenty of contenders - Nathan Drake, Sackboy or maybe even just Toro the cat - but none of them can really hold a candle to Shuhei Yoshida, the president of Sony's Worldwide Studios who's become the friendly face of PlayStation in recent years. This week at Develop in Brighton, he took to the stage with the dashingly handsome Edge editor Nathan Brown to talk through his 25 years at the company, and some of the difficulties faced in the various hardware transitions PlayStation has seen over the years.
The concept of retro gaming can be a fuzzy business at times, but here's something that comes with a laser focus; a 2D fighter that harks back to that small handful of games released on the Neo Geo Pocket, SNK's beautiful late-90s handheld. Cardboard Robot's Pocket Rumble has finally emerged from a prolonged development on another handsome handheld, Nintendo's Switch, and it's a most curious exercise.
Splatoon 2 is coming up to its first anniversary, and not only is there a new Splatfest imminent to help celebrate (it's pitting squid versus octopus, don't you know) but there's also a new set of amiibo coming along next week.