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As the new generation of consoles continues to try to gain its footing since last year’s launch, and delays plagued the year almost as much as 2020, some surprising titles emerged to contend for game of the year in 2021. While I felt there were fewer amazing titles this year overall, a handful were still able to claw, ride, or fly their way to the top of my list with ease as I felt they were clearly head and shoulders above the pack. Here are my top five games of 2021.

05Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

I feel like Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy personified its main characters in a lot of ways. A bit of an underdog when it was first announced, it arrived on the scene with a “kick as much ass as possible and look fantastic while doing it” attitude that defined this game to its very core. The story took a little inspiration from the films and mixed in a lot of deep cuts from the actual comics to deliver one of the most heartfelt tales of the year, resulting in an experience that stands up as one of the stronger Marvel video games. The combat system that has you play as Star-Lord and command the other four Guardians took a little while to get used to, but once you do it only further accentuated this perfect vehicle for Marvel’s most imperfect heroes.

04Tales of Arise

I am very particular when it comes to JRPGs, but the Tales series has always resonated with me. Never before, though, had one compelled me to 100-percent finish it. Tales of Arise found a perfect balance that the series sometimes struggles with between engaging combat and compelling characters. Here, the total package comes together in a world that I always had difficulty leaving at the end of the day, with characters I always enjoyed hearing banter, and special combo moves in combat that kept every encounter with a new monster or one of the colorful main villains exciting. And with a plethora of sidequests, including some that pay direct homage to games of the past and that only unlock after the main story is finished, Tales of Arise has plenty to offer newcomers and series veterans alike.

03Forza Horizon 5

Towards the end of the year we had just started to see what new-gen consoles could really do, and one of the prime examples of this was Forza Horizon 5. Not only does it maintain the franchise’s high quality of gameplay in terms of driving the best cars in the world, and continue to dominate an entire genre with its blend of arcade and simulation racing options, but this year’s entry—set in a love-letter version of Mexico—is the most beautiful game yet in a series of ever-gorgeous games. Its shifting weather patterns across four diverse seasons (each lasting a real-life week) constantly offer something new in the series’ most diverse map yet, and will leave gamers speechless as they handle hairpin turns along sandy beaches and jump off ramps carved out of Aztec temples. There is no better racing series than Forza at this point, and there’s no better game in that series than Forza Horizon 5.

02Resident Evil Village

Resident Evil 7 was my 2017 game of the year, and after I first played Resident Evil Village, I thought the franchise might’ve gotten my GOTY with back-to-back new entries (the remakes don’t count!). Although it just missed the top spot, Village continued the reluctant hero’s story with RE7 protagonist Ethan Winters, and his forced compliance in order to save his daughter leads us down a celebration of the series and horror in general. Vampires, werewolves, creatures in lagoons, and possessed dolls all served as different motifs throughout and kept the gameplay fresh and fun with ever-evolving challenges. Meanwhile, after dominating the Internet, Lady Dimitrescu harkened back to Nemesis and Tyrant, while flooded ruins spoke to B.O.W.-filled sewers from once upon a time. And finally, Ethan’s eventual uncovering of the truth shined a new light on series lore that made Village feel as monumental as its predecessor.

01Psychonauts 2

I almost feel bad picking this as my game of the year. I know dozens of fellow gamers who had been pining for a sequel to 2005’s Psychonauts for 16 long years.

I had to wait four months.

I missed the original release and never visited the cult classic over the years. And then it hit Game Pass and I decided to rectify that. While I don’t think you need to have played the first game to enjoy Psychonauts 2, going into it with the crazy cast of characters fresh in my mind did enhance the experience. Every major character has an endearing flaw that makes them relatable, whether you’re meeting them for the first time or finally reuniting with them after a decade and a half. Throw in some spectacular platforming, massive and colorful mental worlds to explore, and some of the best writing of the year, and this was a can’t miss experience—no matter how long you had to wait

SPThe “The Colors, Duke! The Colors!” Award presented by Popsicle (not really)
The Artful Escape

While not much in terms of gameplay, The Artful Escape uses a kaleidoscope of bombastic colors and sound to tell a heartwarming coming of age tale that spans the cosmos. Its visually arresting style pulls you in as much as its never-ending guitar riffs as you galavant across unknown galaxies with a motley crew and rock out with aliens. By the end, as your eyeballs have been melted by psychedelic rainbows, you’ll also appreciate the story of a kid trying to overcome the weight of expectations and family legacy through the power of rock ‘n’ roll.

SPThe “Best Game with a Disastrous Launch” Award

People Can Fly delivers the action every time they develop something, and Outriders was no different. Eventually.

Playing with friends was an absolute blast, as you could create a three-person powerhouse team with a cross-section of abilities that allowed you to mutilate your enemies in fantastic ways, and would have you cheering well into the night. If you could connect to the servers, or if your gear didn’t mysteriously disappear when you got disconnected.

It took weeks before Outriders ironed out most of its issues, but by then the damage had been done. And while it did in the end deliver a compelling story in a fascinating world, not many stuck around to see it through because of the well-documented disaster that was those first few weeks.

SPThe “What’s Old is New Again” Award
ActRaiser: Renaissance

When the original ActRaiser released over 30 years ago, the idea of “god games” were still incredibly new and had not been done on consoles before. By combining that style of game with action-platforming sections straight out of the arcade, however, ActRaiserdelivered one of the most ambitious blendings of genres seen at the time, and the experiment worked in spades, as it still holds a special place in the hearts of many. And that’s why ActRaiser: Renaissance is so special. It’s not just a massive graphical and auditory overhaul for a modern era, but it looked at what made the original great and streamlined systems, fleshed out storylines, and enhanced the “god game” and tower-defense aspects that made the original such a mind-blowing classic to begin with. 

It has been a great year for games overall, and one of the best in recent memory. I can’t remember the last time I had to wrestle with my top five as much as I had to this year, because there were honestly 15 or so games out of the 89 that I beat before official EGM game of the year voting that I could’ve slipped into these slots. After much internal deliberation, however, I hammered out a list that I think provides a variety of incredible experiences that are all more than worthy of your game-playing time.

#5 Publisher: Bethesda
Developer: MachineGames
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
There were literally three games rotating in and out of this spot for me before I finally decided that talking about how great it is to kill Nazis—and in such a variety of ways—was worthy of a nod. There have never been a more disgusting or vile people on the Earth than the Nazis; they are the ultimate evil. And, reigning havoc on this fictional Reich was cathartic at a time when people seem to be forgetting just how heinous they were. If this game weren’t already in my top five, it’d be getting a special award just for being able to kick Hitler in the face. Throw in a terrific end credits scene that should get every patriot’s heart pumping, along with just how amazingly smooth the game’s gunplay was, and there’s no doubt that Wolfenstein II should be near the top of everyone’s lists.
#4 Publisher: Supergiant Games
Developer: Supergiant Games
Platforms: PS4, PC
The folks at Supergiant Games are nothing if not expert storytellers. In each of their games, they’ve created unique worlds that you can’t help but get sucked into, and Pyre does that again here. It finds a way to make you care about the characters in your caravan right from the get-go, and as your party grows, the roots you place in this world only become stronger until it’s almost painful for you to leave it. What’s even more amazing is that the gameplay’s main mechanic—besides chatting with your party members in standard RPG fashion—is to basically win 3-on-3 basketball games. Of course, boiling this mechanic down like that to its very core peels away the stakes that surround each game. There’s a real sense of risk here, as well as loss should you fail. Pyre is a gorgeous game, both visually and content wise, and is a can’t-miss experience.
#3 Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Platforms: Switch
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Breath of the Wild is no doubt a game-changer for one of Nintendo’s most popular flagship franchises. It was a bold choice to focus more on puzzle-solving and world interaction than combat, and it paid off. People are still discovering new ways to interact with this latest iteration of Hyrule and its inhabitants, and it again proves that few companies are as good as Nintendo at just making games that are pure fun. Plus, there is plenty of fun to be had considering how massive the game’s world is, not to mention a tremendous amount of customization here, with Link being able to wear just about anything. I could’ve done without my weapons breaking so often, and I worry about Nintendo embracing the idea of DLC with this game, but even still, this is an instant classic.
#2 Publisher: Studio MDHR
Developer: Studio MDHR
Platforms: Xbox One, PC
It’s rare in today’s world for something to be hyped for as long as Cuphead was, and for it to then live up to that hype. And yet, somehow, it did. After 188 deaths, I had completed this game and was thrilled for every second I got to play with it. There is a randomness to each boss fight that tests your reflexes in ways few games like this can, as you can’t just sit back and memorize patterns. It’s an action-shooter, but there are definitely moments where this feels like a bullet hell, too—especially in the flying levels. On top of this, the art and musical style of 1930s cartoons is a surprisingly fresh take for a video game, and proves that sometimes what is old can be new again. Combine all this with tight controls (especially around the parry system), and Cuphead sits as one of the year’s most complete experiences if you’re like me and don’t mind the difficulty.
#1 Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Resident Evil VII
It’s rare for a game that releases in January to hold throughout the year at the top of my list, but Resident Evil 7 surprised us all in a lot of ways in 2017. It’s both a return to form and a strong step forward for the franchise. The atmosphere and intimateness of the Baker compound down in the bayou harkens back to earlier games in the series, helping to set up some truly horrific moments. The move to first-person was controversial for some, but for me I found it to be a smart step into the future that only enhanced the terror the game instilled in me. When you include the clever traps and puzzles, the unforgettable characters that were the Baker family, and the new enemies in the Molded, Resident Evil 7 quite simply might’ve saved the franchise. It also, though, was the first full game to completely support VR. Sure, the graphics took a hit, but playing with that headset on is a true test of anyone’s fortitude.
The 7th Annual “The Colors, Duke! The Colors!” Award for Most Colorful Game presented by Popsicle (not really, but I wish)
Assassin’s Creed Origins
Continuing my annual tradition of giving an award to the prettiest game of the year, Assassin’s Creed Origins’ visuals blew me away. This was one of the toughest years yet to judge for this award, but when everything was working—whether you were perched atop one of the Pyramids of Giza, or just soaring over the Nile with Senu—Assassin’s Creed Origins could take your breath away. The diversity of the landscape also played a huge part in Origins coming away with the win here, as there was so much more to explore than just the desert you likely first think of when thinking of Egypt.
The Rick Astley “Never Gonna Give You Up” Award
Injustice 2
For as great a year as it’s been in video games, few games have got me coming back for more as consistently as Injustice 2. Earning new gear in the game’s Multiverse mode has become something of an addiction, as I’m constantly trying to make my favorite characters stronger through the system. Online play has been solid—I’ve got a .540 winning percentage with my main, Batman—and the steady flood of new monthly DLC characters has kept things fresh with all these new characters to learn and arcade endings to discover. In a year full of memorable experiences, Injustice 2 just might be the most addicting.
The Don’t Let It Fall Under Your Radar Award
The Sexy Brutale
There have been a flurry of AAA-blockbusters that took our breath away this year, but we can’t forget to give indies their proper amount of love. While some smaller projects were fortunate enough to catapult themselves into the limelight from their first showing at fan expos and trade shows, others have toiled away hoping to breakthrough. The Sexy Brutale is a terrific murder-mystery with the added caveat of time-travel thrown in to help you relive the same day over and over in order to solve all the murders taking place around you. Throw in a stellar soundtrack and The Sexy Brutale is a game you might not have heard of until now, but is one you must go back and experience if you find the time.
EGM’s Best of 2017 Coverage
We’re taking a look at the best games of 2017 all week, from Christmas day through December 30th. Check back every day for our Top 25 Games of 2017, as well as our personal lists for the games we loved most this year. Check here for everything that’s been posted so far.

Ray Carsillo Hosting Reel

Los Angeles based Ray Carsillo is your go-to-guy when it comes to sports, games, comics, and more. From local red carpets to gaming conventions in Germany, Ray has traveled the world to give you his unique perspective. Having worked formerly for ESPN and ABC, Ray is currently the Reviews Editor for Electronic Gaming Monthly and Walmart Game Center.

For bookings, contact me at raycarsillo@gmail.com

EGM Game Over Podcast 013: Ben Franklin’s Brothel

The EGM crew brings you the Game Over Podcast, our end-of-the-week conversation where we discuss some of the biggest recent events in gaming.

[Hosts] Andrew Fitch, Ray Carsillo, and Eric L. Patterson
[Date] October 5th, 2012

[News] Cliff Bleszinski leaves Epic, Mass Effect 1 coming to PS3 (and not Wii U), FIFA 13 copies are flying off store shelves, we bow to King Washington, and your Xbox Gamerscore will nab you discounts.

[EGM Reviews] Resident Evil 6, Pokemon Black & White 2

Want to send feedback to the show? Drop us a line on Twitter: @EGMLogin

[Subscribe via iTunes] http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/egm-radio/id538629924
[Subscribe via Feedburner] http://feeds.feedburner.com/EGMRadio

EGM Game Over Podcast 008: BandcampVille

The EGM crew brings you the Game Over Podcast, our end-of-the-week conversation where we discuss some of the biggest recent events in gaming.

[Hosts] Brandon Justice, Andrew Fitch, Ray Carsillo, Josh Harmon, and Eric L. Patterson
[Date] August 10th, 2012

[What We’re Playing] Sound Shapes, Darksiders II

[News] THQ decides not to go InSANE, major patches coming for games nobody expected patches for, the war between EA and Zynga, in ten years you’ll be shooting real people in first-person shooters, and Microsoft make a mistake with their digital price gun.

[EGM Reviews] The Expendables 2: The Video Game, New Super Mario Bros. 2, Persona 4 Arena
[Bargain of the Week] Kane & Lynch 2, Mirror’s Edge for $10 each

Want to send feedback to the show? Drop us a line on Twitter: @EGMLogin

[Subscribe via iTunes] http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/egm-radio/id538629924
[Subscribe via Feedburner] http://feeds.feedburner.com/EGMRadio


A little less Private Ryan, a little more Inglourious Basterds

“We wanted to get back to a bit more of the rock ‘n’ roll spirit. To do that, we wanted to get you off the front lines, stop being a grunt, and doing the same old Normandy-to-Berlin run.”

—Stuart Black, creative director, Enemy Front

When asked how City Interactive’s WWII first-person shooter, Enemy Front, would differ from WWII games we’ve seen in the past, Stuart Black, veteran of Black and Viking: Battle for Asgard, talked candidly about just wanting to kick ass and take names—and he’s made a few design decisions in order to ensure just that. As insinuated in the quote, the path your characters will take through Nazi-occupied Europe doesn’t end on Berlin’s doorstep. Instead, you’ll start in Dunkirk sneaking behind enemy lines during an Allied retreat, move on to Poland to help the resistance and assault a Hitler think tank, and then take on a secret base in Norway at the game’s climax, wreaking havoc on the Nazi war machine all along the way.

Black’s story is also moving away from the drama and relationships of soldiers in a unit serving on the front lines. Plenty of war movies served as inspiration for this game—but Saving Private Ryan wasn’t one of them. Instead, your character’s an old-school badass in the vein of vintage Clint Eastwood. Just one man taking down entire platoons of Nazis all by himself…and getting the hot French chick in the end after doing it.

But it wouldn’t be a Stuart Black game if you didn’t get great feedback on the chaos you’re creating. Destructible environments—filled with tons of exploding barrels, of course—and different, more obscure weapons than you’d typically see in a WWII shooter will help make this a bang-up confrontation of the Axis versus the Allies. And, yeah, even though we all know how WWII ends, Enemy Front looks to bring fresh experiences to our grandfathers’ war. All I know is that with all the “future war” games currently in vogue, it’s nice to see a developer remember their roots—and remind us of them as well.

Catchin’ Thieves Just Like Flies

Since developer Beenox took over the Spider-Man franchise for Activision, they’ve put out a couple of great Spidey titles that gave fans of the wall-crawler hope for his future in video games. But now that they’re going to do a game based off of a movie instead of an original story, many are wondering if the developer will have enough wiggle room to produce the top-tier title fans have started to expect from them with the web-head.

After seeing a brief demo of The Amazing Spider-Man, I have hope renewed. Although the game will be released about a week before the movie actually hits theaters, the game takes place after the events of the movie and will feature Dr. Curt Connors (no word on if he’ll turn into the Lizard in the game), Gwen Stacy (basically confirming she won’t get killed off in the first movie), and our dear Peter Parker. Aside from them, exclusive to the game we also saw a very bestial looking Rhino (although we’re not allowed to go into much more detail than that).

Beyond the characters though, the thing that really jumped out at me was the look. Crisp, clean, and very cinematic, Beenox has taken their time to craft what is shaping up to be their most life-life Spidey yet in a fully realized Manhattan. And part of this was the camera angle, especially when web-slinging.

“The camera is more of an over-the-shoulder shot than a traditional third-person view and is much closer than in any previous Spider-Man game ever when web-swinging. It gives you this incredible connection to the character. This is extremely different from anything anyone has tried before in a Spider-Man game and, for me, this provides the most outstanding web-swinging experience ever because of that familiarity you quickly develop with Spidey from it,” said Dee Brown, Studio Head at Beenox when talking about the new cameras while swinging around Manhattan.

And speaking of getting around Manhattan, the movement was definitely one of the key aspects of the demo shown to us. One of my favorite sequences involved Spidey trying to get to the front of a high-speed car chase, using both his normal webs, and a new move called “Web Rush” where Spidey can stop in a moment and pick a specific point he wants to throw his web. The game engine then performs real-time computation to get Spidey to that point in the fastest, most acrobatic way possible. When Spidey got to the front of the chase, we were rewarded with him spinning a massive web that caught the entire getaway vehicle and left the robbers high and dry for the cops to clean up with a very distinct Spider-Man calling card.

The web rush ability was very cool to see, and it showed off how powerful Beenox’s new engine is, but my only concern is that there were a lot of yellow Spidey silhouettes showing where he could go and I hope that they will only be active during the mode or that those silhouettes were still early build markers as I could see that getting distracting very quickly in game.

Aside from the movement, we also saw some of Spidey’s new combat. Incorporating some of the stealth maneuvers Beenox had played around with in Shattered Dimensions with Spider-Man Noir, Beenox has it now so that in the indoor areas Spidey will traverse, he can either go in with web-shooters blazing or take the sneaky route and really strike some fear into the foes he will face.

Although the game is still a few months from release, again, what I saw gave me a lot of hope. Beenox knows they’ve set a pretty high bar to hit and know that being tied to a movie can both help and hurt them. But from what I saw, I think everyone is just going to really enjoy being Spider-Man again and I, for one, can’t wait to see the finished product.

Crawling Away From This Dungeon

Based on the PSN game of the same name that was inspired by the popular Dungeon Hunter iOS series, Dungeon Hunter: Alliance has you play as a wise and benevolent king who falls apart at the sudden death of his beloved queen. Not willing to accept this, he dabbles in the dark arts to resurrect his wife, but changing one’s fate can have consequences and the queen carries within her now a dark presence. Upon her reanimation she betrays her king and stabs him to death. Now 25 years have past and the king has been resurrected by fairy magic in order to free his kingdom that has suffered for long enough under the oppressive thumb of his former bride.

Dungeon Hunter: Alliance is done in the classic dungeon crawler style akin to games like Gauntlet Legends, but has a lot more side quests and a central hub that help the game from becoming as linear as those arcade action styled games of old. There is also the positive of being able to play with up to three of your friends as you choose from your typical classes of Warriors, Rogues, and Mages. The hack ‘n’ slash game play is everything you’ve come to expect from the genre and adding in the portability and multiplayer compatibility of the Vita are nice, but this game is far from perfect.

Although fun to play at first, the action does get repetitive quickly and the item system is sloppy at best as there is no easy way to organize the many items you pick up along the way in your adventure. The graphics also aren’t anything particularly special as even though the characters seem to have been done in great detail, they exist in a bland and generic world that will have you get turned more than once as every dungeon and town you visit look exactly the same as the last.

The biggest negative for the game though probably lies in the price point. The only difference you’re getting between this $40 game and the $15 PSN version that has had numerous sales and promotions for it since it became available last April is the fact that the game is now obviously portable. And if you played the $5 iOS games that are a part of this series, then you’ll know exactly what to expect as well as the formula hasn’t changed at all from there either. So although the game had a few bright spots, it’s hard to recommend a game in the already flooded list of launch titles for the Vita when you can get the same game for less than half the price via another means of distribution.

SUMMARY: Solid dungeon crawler action is held back by monotonous game play and a cluttered loot system, but most of all a price point at $40 that is more than double the PSN price for virtually the same game.

  • THE GOOD: Classic dungeon crawler action
  • THE BAD: Cluttered item system and generic game play
  • THE UGLY: Another example of a barely upgraded iOS game that is clearly overpriced on the Vita

SCORE: 5.0

Dungeon Hunter: Alliance is a PS Vita exclusive.

THE BUZZ: Bing has released a series of Top 10 lists today compiling its most searched subjects in a series of categories ranging from celebrities and musicians to technology.

Video games had a very strong showing as topping the list of top searched tech was the Xbox 360. Playstation 3 was ranked third and the Nintendo Wii was ranked sixth.

Other interesting notes to be taken was that the iPhone 5, which doesn’t even exist, but I guess enough people were wishing and hoping it did, came in at fourth. Apple products dominated the list overall in terms of spots taken as they also had the fifth spot with the iPad, seventh with the iPad 2, and tenth with the only laptop on the list with the MacBook Pro. The only other Microsoft product on the list was the Windows Phone 7, which took ninth. Rounding out the list was a couple of eReaders with the Nook taking the eighth spot and the Kindle taking number two.

No Google products made the list.

EGM’s TAKE: Everyone loves a good list, especially at the end of the year and especially us here at EGM (and we’ve got a few of our own special ones in the works as well, mwa ha ha ha ha), but considering that Bing is only the third top search engine with 14.8% of the search market behind Yahoo’s 15.2% and Google’s dominating 65.6%, you have to take this list with a grain of salt. And I don’t think anyone was surprised that a Microsoft product miraculously topped a list composed by another Microsoft product.

What do you folks think? As skeptical as us here at EGM? What search engine do you prefer to use? Do you search more about the Wii, Xbox 360, or PS3? Let us know with comments below!

The defending champ looks for a repeat

When Kinect launched last year, several titles showed off the possibility of the peripheral, but few had the lasting appeal of Kinect Sports. Fun when played individually—but truly appreciated with a group of friends—the game made a clear, lasting impression on the casual market. Now, Microsoft looks to see if they can reel in soccer moms again with Kinect Sports: Season Two. American football, baseball, golf, darts, tennis, and skiing are all featured in this newest iteration—and if you thought you broke a sweat before, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

I tried out football first—and it was easily the most grueling, as I had to run in place for receptions and kick returns. On top of this, I had to get down under center; standing signaled my virtual center to hike the ball. Though I had a lot of fun playing offense, I think I would’ve enjoyed it more if I could’ve also played defense instead of just watching the box score to see how my AI opponent did during its possession. But when it comes to picking-up, throwing, and kicking motions, the game’s almost more exciting than a real-life pick-six.

Moving to baseball, I tried my hand at a home-run-derby-style minigame before stepping into the batter’s box for a couple of quick two-inning games. Again, a lot of running was involved, as I beat out ground balls for infield singles whenever I couldn’t drive the ball into the gap or over the fence. But there was just one problem: The game seemed to have issue with my swing—because of my power-hitting demeanor, I have a big leg kick. Anyone who’s hit the diamond in real life knows that the leg kick comes first, but I guess I have a few too many moving parts in my stroke, and I’d sometimes trigger the swing a couple of seconds too early. Once I reined in my herky-jerky motion, though, the game worked a lot better.

Darts was a lot less involved physically—but also much more frustrating, because I just couldn’t seem to get my shots lined up correctly. It was also the only game where I couldn’t even beat the Rookie CPU, because I’d always just miss my mark. Skiing was also relatively simple, as I leaned left and right to make it through the series of slalom gates, but I had a lot more fun with the obstacle course, since that was a lot more involved—I jumped, ducked, and swerved on a much more regular basis.

Tennis wasn’t very involving, either, since the game controls all of your lateral movements. You’ve just got to focus on your swing, whether it’s a forehand or a backhand. In fact, the best part of tennis might’ve actually been the hot chick doing the tutorial tennis video!

Finally, it was time to hit the links, and this was the first golf game I’ve ever played where the putting mechanic worked so well that I actually ended up with a score under par. Between my practice swings, my caddy offering advice, and the Kinect sensor picking up my movements precisely, I started to realize why some people actually enjoy playing a sport that’s so horribly boring to watch on TV.

All in all, each game’s quite polished, and the sensor bar does its job throughout—which, to me, is the most critical element of a Kinect game. My only concern is that Season Two could lose its luster in single-player, so you’ll need to rely on the Xbox Live challenge mode, where you and your pals try to one-up your best scores, or get really obsessed with the new calorie counter. Also, hearing a British dude talk about American football felt weird, but I can forgive that because of the awesome licensed music. All in all, Kinect Sports: Season Two is a worthy successor to the first—and easily the premiere casual Kinect experience.

SUMMARY: A worthy successor to the first—and easily the premiere casual Kinect experience.

  • THE GOOD: Six new sports in the vein of the original Kinect Sports
  • THE BAD: Some motions—especially in American football and baseball
  • THE UGLY: Several of the sport-tutorial video models (not tennis girl, though—she’s hot!)

SCORE: 7.0