Anyone who can recall 1993's monochromatic Link's Awakening would struggle to recognize this reupholstering purely from screenshots. But a few minutes of play proves this is practically a shot-for-shot remake, a 2.5D dungeon crawler and explorathon now beautifully rendered in bold colors with a pleasing tilt-shift sheen.
From a modern perspective, quarter-century-old gameplay could seem quaint – a lot of fetch and carry, with the game world gradually opening up as new tools (boots, flippers, bows, etc.) grant new abilities. Set alongside the recent Zelda masterpiece Breath of the Wild, Awakening is clearly of its time and, with a few concessions to inventory management, adds a little new to the 1993 ethos.
But it's still a remarkable work of design economy, every location potentially crammed with secrets, every frame a charming vignette and every character capable of either tugging at heartstrings or eliciting a chuckle.
Aficionados may derive the most joy from this little piece of refurbished history, but even a new generation can fall in love all over again.
The Surge 2
XO / PS4 / PC ★★★ Age: 18+
Dismissed as a pallid sci-fi take on the notorious medieval brawler Dark Souls, The Unetheless Surge had a few ideas to call its own, even if they were implemented somewhat haphazardly. This sequel shifts the one-cyborg-vs-all-evil-robots setting to a chaotic city, which makes for some welcome variety.
It's certainly an enticing challenge to wallop mechs – parrying blows and counter-attacking while targeting body parts that might be useful to you – as you experiment with various enhancing implants. But the longer the game goes on, the more its transparent debts to the Dark Souls begin to weigh it down.
The upgrade system wilfully wants to confuse you, the graphics often degenerate into a sludgy mess and the camera is a capricious flibbertigibbet.
Seeing as the Dark Souls series is on a permanent hiatus, The Surge 2 may offer enough of a hit to tide over addicts, but it's not exactly a substitute for the real thing.