Games of the week
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch
Footballing magic returns to the streets
The FIFA vs PES rivalry may seem inescapable, but there is one place where FIFA 20 is the undisputed king of football. For the third year running, FIFA 20 is the only one of the two available on Switch, where it offers snappy and exciting handheld action to brighten dreary commutes or offer sweet relief while you wait for someone else to finish watching Gogglebox. On bigger platforms, PES remains the most authentic simulator, but this FIFA is even more of an entertainer – small-scale kickabouts last seen in FIFA Street are resurrected as the surprisingly tactical (if embarrassingly 'hip') Volta mode, while beneficial tweaks to Ultimate Team reaffirms its world-dominating status as the most moreish mode in any sports game.
Skip to the end: Big fun and bigger flair although it lacks the realism of PES.
The Surge 2
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Rest in pieces
The Surge was a Dark Souls-inspired skirmisher, which transplanted that cult game's fiendish combat into a futuristic setting of cobbled-together cyborg warriors. Its fundamental innovation was allowing you to target specific parts of an enemy in order to do more damage, or lop off whole limbs and graft their built-in weaponry onto your own body. The Surge 2 expands well on this quirky method of crafting better equipment, with satisfying variety in both your own offensive options and the types of enemy you face. But, as with the original, it lacks an engaging personality. Environments are unremarkable, combat doesn't overly excite, and the many exciting opportunities that a sci-fi Dark Souls might offer are never properly grasped.
Skip to the end: A well-constructed but uninspiring Dark Souls homage.
Dragon Quest XI S
Dragon Quest XI S is a steadfastly old-fashioned RPG. It's built on the same turn-based battle system and pretend open-world structure that the series has repeated for 30 years, modernising only through improved visuals. It's also insanely popular, with legions of devotees based mostly in Japan. To ask Dragon Quest to evolve is absurd – fans adore the repetitive and hackneyed plotting, languid pace, time-devouring grind and super-cute styling – and wholesale change would trigger rioting in the streets. But it's undeniable that the childish tone and incredibly generic fantasy setting are well past their best, and DQXI is one of the weakest of recent outings. That said, if you're among those already under its charm then you're probably powerless to resist.
Skip to the end: A weary rendition of the hugely successful fantasy formula.
Castle Crashers Remastered
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Switch
A golden axe to grind
Long before Dark Souls was the combat champion, Castle Crashers burst onto Xbox 360 in a vivid echo of Golden Axe – the ancient but still virile hack-n-slash hero. This Remastered edition fine-tunes the superb cartoon visuals in hi-res at an eye-caressingly smooth 60fps (translation: it's gorgeous) and includes all the DLC characters, challenges and weaponry. The chaos is best experienced in multiplayer, and while online works flawlessly there's no substitute for four-player in-person mayhem, which is all the more accessible on Switch given the ability to use a single JoyCon per player. Obviously, it can't boast the depth of Dark Souls (there's no dodge for starters), but the fast-paced and straightforward scrapping of Castle Crashers Remastered is a guaranteed thrill.
Skip to the end: Simple and sharp action from the Xbox 360 classic.