Games of the week
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Slice, dice and all things nice
Warhammer's grimdark world is perfect for what ought to be the inheritor of Diablo III's hack 'n' slash crown. Yet though Chaosbane is a crunchy, satisfying and inventive feast of horde-based combat, it can't muster the atmospheric class to topple Diablo, an acute disappointment given that the recently reinvigorated Warhammer fantasy universe is so richly layered and developed. What you do get, however, is a polished exercise in slaughter that brilliantly leverages controller functionality to offer a lively variety of attack combinations, along with a generous loot system and a levelling structure that bestows spectacular skills from the off. Extra character classes (there's only four) must follow as DLC, but Chaosbane's muscular and moreish dungeon crawling action is already an enjoyable romp.
Skip to the end: Narrative defects don't spoil the hack 'n' slash satisfaction.
Platform: PC, PS4
Don't bet on it
Is it copying if everyone else does it? Death's Gambit doesn't think so, lifting as it does whole elements of structure and design from that most copied of games, Dark Souls. You wake among corpses, blunder into a resurrecting contract with Death, enter a 2D world of dodge-focused combat, save-point shrines and imposing bosses with steep difficulty curves and intimidating health bars. But what hasn't been snatched is the fluid, instinctive battling. Instead, Death's Gambit is a plodding and restrictive struggle against enemies who always seem more agile than your own quickly-exhausted avatar. Options for character builds (from spellcasters to assassins) provide variety and visuals are brightly inventive, but keeping up the fight means suffering the leaden and flawed combat.
Skip to the end: Disappointing gameplay fails to do justice to some great ideas.
Cricket 19: The Official Game of the Ashes
Platform: Xbox One, PS4, Switch
Beaten all ends up
Cricket 19: The Official Game of the Ashes is an ugly, old-fashioned looking game. There are a host of English and Australian likenesses from both men's and women's cricket, this being the official tie-in to the upcoming Test series later in the summer, but from the robotic crowd to the rubbery grass, there's a severe lack of visual atmosphere. On the pitch, batsmen benefit from good feedback on timing and style but erratic animation and physics hamper the overall feel, while bowling is a mechanical facsimile of the real world's dynamism. Gameplay wise, the ultimate cricket game was Brian Lara International Cricket 2007. Cricket 19's dowdy appearance and absence of heart makes that underappreciated 12-year-old gem look ever more sprightly.
Skip to the end: A workmanlike attempt to digitise a wonderful sport.
Leisure Suit Larry
Platform: PC, PS4, Switch
Leisure Suit Larry made waves in the nineties, thanks to its juvenile (but finely judged) comedy and the promise of provocative pixels. This new outing sees sleazeball star Larry Laffer escape from two decades of cryosleep, providing a new focus on unpicking the complexities of modern-day dating, from selfies and dating apps to choosing the best craft beer. But his cringe-inducing quest to woo the female cast members remains the same, once again draped over the standard adventure game formula – ask what someone needs, then figure out how to get it. The crude avalanche of phallic symbols and weak parody (Timber, PiPhones) is occasionally interrupted by genuine humour, but few are likely to be seduced by Larry's primitive charm.
Skip to the end: Admirable spin on a seedy series, but not nearly funny enough.