Sons of the Forest, Wo Long, Resident Evil 4 Remake, and Other … – The New York Times

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March is seeing fewer big game releases than February did, but we don’t blame you if you can’t keep track. Wirecutter’s tech team spends way too much time playing everything, from new releases to classic games, and we want to help you figure out what you should play right now (and what you might want to check out later this month).
Here are the games we’re playing on our consoles, PCs, and handhelds in March, as well as all the releases we’re looking forward to.
Diablo 4
Open beta: March 24–27 | Full game release: June 6
Rated M; PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
It’s been a long 10 years since Diablo 3 hit PCs, but the classic action RPG franchise’s return to form is almost here. Diablo 4 brings the influential series fully into the modern era, with a heavier emphasis on story (including cutscenes featuring your custom character) and a sweeping, beautiful, and often haunting soundtrack. Not to mention So. Much. Loot. To get everyone ready, developer Blizzard is running an open beta test for the game, which runs through the weekend of March 24 through March 26, on every platform the game is releasing on. I spent a solid 12 hours with the beta content, which was previously available only to players who had preordered the game, and feel like I only scratched the surface of what it has available to sample. The open beta opens up all five of Diablo 4’s character classes for players to try out, and anyone who makes it to level 20 in the beta will earn a cosmetic item when the full game releases in June: an adorable wolf puppy in a backpack.
Some caveats are necessary. Though Diablo 4’s beta features almost all of the game’s first act, a level cap of 25 is in place. More important, any progress you make here doesn’t carry over into the full game’s release in June (wolf puppy notwithstanding). You’ll find plenty of content here, but you’ll have to start over if you pick the full game up in a couple of months.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty
March 3
Rated M; PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
If you enjoyed Dark Souls (or disliked it) and thought it would be better with much faster combat and a Later Han Dynasty setting (think the Three Kingdoms), Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty deserves your attention. Wo Long’s Chinese-fantasy trappings set it apart from Dark Souls, Elden Ring, and even Wo Long developer Team Ninja’s recent Nioh games, and the soap-opera-tinged story starts things off with appropriate melodrama. But the real difference here is Wo Long’s combat and movement: Both allow for far greater speed and maneuverability than I’m accustomed to seeing in games like this. Over-committing to attacks or ignoring your surroundings is still brutally punished for the most part, but aggression is rewarded in Wo Long in a way that really encouraged me to push myself against my opponents.
Like the Souls games, Wo Long supports cooperative multiplayer, and it even frequently pairs you with an AI-controlled companion when you’re playing solo. This is great news, because Wo Long is often pretty punishing. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the first boss in the game, who I found to be more or less unkillable until I realized that the companion character lying on the ground was yelling at me to use my just-unlocked ultimate ability. It’s a rough spot in an otherwise very fun game, at least based on the three chapters we’ve played so far. And Xbox Game Pass subscribers can play Wo Long on the service when it releases on March 3.
Sons of the Forest
Rated M; PC
Sons of the Forest is the sequel to the disturbing and wildly viral PC horror-survival game The Forest, and though it’s currently available only in an early-access state, it is so far proving to be an appropriately creepy follow-up. Sons of the Forest strands you in a mysterious forest that’s hiding horrifying secret human experiments, and you harvest materials, build defenses, and seek to learn just what kind of nightmare you’ve found yourself in. You aren’t alone, thankfully. Sons of the Forest takes the online cooperative multiplayer of the last game and adds various AI companions, each of which is a little bizarre but mostly helpful (explaining how would ruin the surprise).
The Forest found a huge following in part because, despite its dynamic missions and constantly changing challenges, the game had a story, and it was possible to “finish” that story, revealing a fairly disturbing ending. Sons of the Forest seems set to offer the same type of narrative satisfaction. But this game is currently unfinished, though playable, and over time it will have multiple updates that add content and change and improve gameplay. If you’d rather wait until it’s finished, we get where you’re coming from, but lots of people are already jumping on board—Sons of the Forest sold more than 2 million copies in its first 24 hours on sale.
Like a Dragon: Ishin!
Rated M; PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Like a Dragon: Ishin! is technically a remake of a 2014 game, but the original was released only in Japan as an obscure entry in the acclaimed Yakuza series. Set at the end of the Edo period and the twilight of the samurai class, Like a Dragon: Ishin! is an action-RPG that follows main character Ryoma, a ronin who seeks to solve a murder mystery by pursuing the practitioners of a specific style of swordsmanship.  The game’s strange yet delightful simulation elements depict a ronin’s life as both bloody and wonderfully mundane, and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever played. One moment, I’m brawling with bandits on the street, dancing around my enemies with a sword in one hand and a pistol in the other. Shortly after, I’m chopping wood for the elderly, moonlighting as a geography teacher, or running a farm. It’s easy to get lost in the copious side quests and minigames that bring this Japanese society to life, and when I’m not goofing off in town, Like a Dragon: Ishin! has one of the most captivating storylines I’ve played through in a while—though it does require sitting through some very long cutscenes.
Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon
March 17
Rated T; Nintendo Switch
The Bayonetta series is known for its excellent witch-powered combat gymnastics set against epic, magical backdrops with a lot of risqué visuals—the title character channels her magical abilities through her hair, which powers her attacks and abilities, often at the expense of some modesty. But Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon is something different from the rest of the series, because it’s a storybook-style action-RPG. The aesthetic is smaller and different than what Bayonetta is known for, but its visuals evoke the same novel explorations of pagan and Judeo-Christian imagery, albeit with a lot less titillation.
The more family-friendly looks belie Bayonetta Origins’s gameplay—you’ll frequently control both Bayonetta and her newly demon-possessed stuffed cat Cheshire, one on the Switch’s left analog stick, and the other on the right. In my hour or so with the game at a recent Nintendo event, I found Bayonetta Origins challenging but much more interesting and engaging than I had expected, with a mix of rhythm-based puzzles and action, along with a unique story that left me curious to see more.
Deep Rock Galactic
Rated T; PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Deep Rock Galactic is not a new game—in fact, it’s celebrating its five-year anniversary in March—but its unique blend of dwarf-related humor, silly hats and beards, and rewarding co-op shooter gameplay has kept me coming back for more than 400 hours. On each mission, you and up to three other players delve into randomly generated caves to complete objectives: collect minerals, fight bugs, build roller-coaster-esque pipelines, and more. The four classes—scout, engineer, driller, and gunner—each have their own unique gameplay style, and they can combine their abilities in unexpected ways to overcome whatever the game throws at you. Deep Rock Galactic has a wonderful difficulty curve: It’s friendly for new players (greenbeards), yet it remains challenging for experienced ones (greybeards). And the development team keeps things fresh with holiday events and regular new content, so any time is a good time to jump in.
Resident Evil 4 (Remake)
March 24
Rated M; PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Resident Evil 4 revolutionized action games and horror games back in 2005, and now it’s set to get the same remake treatment that developer Capcom has given to the other mainline Resident Evil titles. The results look fantastic so far, with gorgeous redone visuals, a fleshed-out story and characters, and what we think will be some surprises in store for fans who have played and replayed the original release on numerous other systems. If prior Resident Evil remake projects are any indication, this should be something special.
System Shock
March 2023
Rated M; PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
System Shock’s 1994 PC release sold only modestly well, but it would prove to be one of the most influential first-person games of all time, directly inspiring (and employing some of the creative leads of) games like BioShock, Deus Ex, 2017’s Prey, and countless other games. Set on a space station enslaved by a rogue AI and overrun by robots, mutants, and cyborgs, this “immersive simulation” game—designed to allow open-ended problem solving and gameplay decisions within a first-person shooter shell—has been in remake development hell for years. But the most promising attempt so far is almost here. I played through the first chapter of the game in a demo released on Steam in February and found myself sucked in right away. Though it’s been remade in modern tech, this updated System Shock’s design and trappings are gloriously rooted in the ’90s, complete with “edgy” cyberpunk aesthetics and weird, creative gameplay possibilities that manage to feel fresh almost 30 years later.
This article was edited by Arthur Gies and Caitlin McGarry.
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Wirecutter is the product recommendation service from The New York Times. Our journalists combine independent research with (occasionally) over-the-top testing so you can make quick and confident buying decisions. Whether it’s finding great products or discovering helpful advice, we’ll help you get it right (the first time).
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