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Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Review 1

The 10 best games of 2024 (so far…)

Home » Lists » The 10 best games of 2024 (so far…)

It’s not been the best year for the video games industry, has it? Sure, there have been some stellar releases in the first half of 2024, but there has also been a huge number of layoffs and studio closures. And so, while we’re glad we’ve been able to play some belters in 2024 to date, the state of the industry gives us cause for concern going forward. So many promising projects have been abandoned, and we hope all those affected land on their feet.

So, what are the games we have deemed to be the best of the year so far? You’ll find them below, all ten of them. They’re not in any particular order, so you don’t need to argue if you think Balatro is more deserving of the top spot than Final Fantasy VII Remake.

In any case, if you’re after something to play and you haven’t played one of these games yet, you can’t go wrong with any of them. Hopefully we’ll have some similarly impressive games in the second half of 2024.

1. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth
Screenshot: GameSpew
  • Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is available on PS5.

We loved Final Fantasy VII Remake, and so Final Fantasy VII Rebirth was one our most anticipated releases of 2024. How glad we were, then, when it surpassed our expectations by far.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth picks up where Remake left off, and leaves us dumbfounded from the get-go. Anyone familiar with the story of the original game will be wondering exactly where the story here is going, as well as whether the ‘big event’ towards its climax will have been changed. But what’s most important is that it keeps you on your toes, feeding your nostalgia but also serving up new story aspects and content.

So, if you’re a fan of the Final Fantasy series, open world games or action packed JRPGs, consider this a must-have. It might just end up being Game of the Year. It’s that good.

2. Botany Manor

Botany Manor cradle fern
Screenshot: GameSpew
  • Botany Manor is available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.

There’s just something so delightfully charming about Botany Manor. A short puzzle game, Botany Manor casts you as Arabella Greene. Set in the late 1800s, it’s of a time when the role of a woman shouldn’t extend much further than the kitchen, and so Arabella’s forte for botany isn’t taken seriously. That’s a theme revisited throughout, but the main focus on the game is solving plant-based puzzles around Arabella’s own home.

Each of Botany Manor’s dozen or so puzzles requires a fair bit of brain work, but wandering around Arabella’s beautifully-designed manor to hunt down clues is seriously rewarding. Making a variety of rare flowers bloom is a delight, using unusual methods such as photography and music to see them grow. We loved it so much, in fact, that we scored Botany Manor a perfect 10/10 in our review.

3. Balatro

Balatro screenshot
Image: Playstack
  • Balatro is available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.

We’d be foolish not to include Balatro in our list of the best games of the year so far, wouldn’t we? With an “overwhelmingly positive” review score on Steam and unwaveringly positive reviews from critics, it’s safe to say it’s been a runaway success. Quite impressive for a roguelike card game based on poker. Honestly, trying to describe Balatro to someone who hasn’t played is quite hard. But try it, and you’ll realise just how wonderful it is.

“Quite frankly brilliant” is how we described Balatro in our review and, having put genuinely hundreds of hours into the game since, we stand by it. No two games are ever the same thanks to the huge amount of Jokers that modify your hand, and the range of powered-up cards that can vastly improve your score.

4. Stellar Blade

Stellar Blade review
Image: Shift Up/Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Stellar Blade is available on PS5.

We have to admit, we weren’t entirely sold on Stellar Blade based on its demo released before the game’s launch. It turned out to present the game at its weakest, however, with the full Stellar Blade experience being… well, pretty stellar.

Inspired by games such as Nier Automata, Stellar Blade puts players in control of a stylish and agile female protagonist called Eve, who must fight against a wide range of enemies in a post apocalyptic world. The combat here is a little more challenging, however, sitting somewhere between that of a Soulslike and a traditional character driven action game. In any case, it’s fantastically flashy, and the enemy designs are absolutely superb.

The good news is that those who usually find Soulslikes too difficult can opt for a much more accommodating Story difficulty option. If you have a PS5 and any love for action adventure genre, you really should give Stellar Blade a chance.

5. Dragon’s Dogma 2

Dragon's Dogma 2
Screenshot: GameSpew
  • Dragon’s Dogma 2 is available on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC.

Ever wanted to be whisked away to a fantasy world where you can become a hero and do battle with fearsome mythical beasts? Cool, so it’s not just us then. The good news is that there is a game that does just that, immersing you so much that it’s easy to lose hours at a time. Its name is Dragon’s Dogma 2, and never before has a fantasy world felt so alive and dynamic.

This is a game in which you can inadvertently find yourself travelling across half the game’s map because you grabbed hold of a Griffon, for example. You might also find yourself using a troll as a makeshift bridge if it happens to fall into a crevice. Every journey is unpredictable, so even if you’re just exploring rather than following the story or completing side quests you’re on the edge of your seat.

For fans of action RPGs, this is a must-have. Though if you do pick it up, keep an keen eye on the behaviour of your computer-controlled companions – if they get an ailment called Dragonblight, they could end up killing an entire town. And with that, how could we not put this on our list of the best games of 2024 so far?

6. Lorelei and the Laser Eyes

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes screenshot
Image: Simogo/Annapurna Interactive
  • Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is available on Switch and PC.

We’ve never played a puzzle game quite like Lorelei and the Laser Eyes, and we’re not sure we ever will again. From Simogo and Annapurna Interactive, Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is intriguing and mysterious right from the get-go — and it’s a level of intrigue that only grows the more you play. Yes, it’s a tricky puzzle game — we admit we still haven’t uncovered all of its mysteries — but figuring something out is hugely rewarding.

There’s an air of pretension here, but as we said in our Lorelei and the Laser Eyes review, it’s also compelling and accomplished. It’s utterly stylish, too, with a monochrome art style that fits the mysterious, film noir-inspired tone of the game. Simply because of how unique it is, this is a game we won’t forget in a hurry — and one that every puzzle game lover should play.

7. Islands of Insight

Islands of Insight screenshot
Image: Behaviour Interactive
  • Islands of Insight is available on PC.

It’s perhaps the sheer number of puzzles in Islands of Insight that makes us love it so. From Behaviour Interactive, the team best known for Dead by Daylight, this is something of a departure. There’s no horror or combat to be found here — just a gorgeous environment and endless puzzles. Seriously, there are hundreds.

In our Islands of Insight review, we declared that this may be one of the best puzzle games we’ve ever played. As opposed to something like Botany Manor, the narrative of Islands of Insight isn’t the driving force. Rather, the puzzles here can be approached like a digital puzzle book, skipping over the ones you don’t like and focusing on what you want. There are block puzzles, match-three, hidden objects and a whole lot more, all tickling your grey matter in engaging and exciting ways.

8. Still Wakes the Deep

Still Wakes the Deep screenshot
Screenshot: GameSpew
  • Still Wakes the Deep is available on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC.

Developed by The Chinese Room, Still Wakes the Deep is a narrative-driven horror game that will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. Casting players as an electrician working on an offshore oil rig, it’s just another working day until things go wrong. First you get called to the manager’s office, and you get the impression it’s not to give you a promotion. Then a drill penetrates something that it perhaps shouldn’t have done. After that, things just go from bad to worse.

Fans of body horror, such as John Carpenter’s The Thing, are particularly likely to enjoy Still Wakes the Deep. What happens to the workers here is ghastly, and you’ll frequently find yourself running from them, lest you also succumb to their fate. But even those who are faint of heart can enjoy Still Wakes the Deep thanks to an optional laid-back mode that removes some of the peril. No matter which you choose, the performances of the cast here will win you over regardless.

It’s not the longest game, nor the scariest, but Still Wakes the Deep grabs you with its human story. And so, even when the credits have rolled, it’ll still be with you.

9. Helldivers 2

Helldivers 2 Warbond
Image: Arrowhead Game Studios
  • Helldivers is available on PS5 and PC.

The best multiplayer games are those that have a solid core concept and, more importantly, are simply fun to play with others. We think that’s why Helldivers 2 has been so successful, because even though it’s entertaining to play alone, when you get some friends or even randoms together, the mayhem that ensues just hilarious.

Allowing teams of players to undertake missions across a range of environments, Helldivers 2 pits them against oversized bugs and fearsome automatons along the way. Thankfully, if things get too heated, which they often do, drops can be called in, providing valuable resources, weapons and even air support. But it’s the sheer ridiculousness of the action here that elevates the experience, with players performing heroic dives in between accidently blowing up members of their own team, or dropping pods on their heads.

Helldivers 2 has been at the centre of some controversy thanks to its PSN account debacle on PC, but to not put it on this list of the best games of the 2024 so far would be a travesty.

10. Tales of Kenzera: Zau

Tales of Kenzera: Zau
Image: Surgent Studios
  • Tales of Kenzera: ZAU is available on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC.

What does an actor do when he’s still wrought with grief over the loss of his dad? In the case of Abubakar Salim, who you might know as the voice of Bayek in Assassin’s Creed Origins, it’s create a video game studio and use it as the basis of its first game. And so, developed by Surgent Studios, Tales of Kenzera: Zau puts players in control of a warrior, determined to bring his dad back from the world of the dead by making a deal with Death himself.

An action-adventure game with RPG elements, the tale at the heart of Tales of Kenzera: Zau is what drives it, though its gameplay thoroughly entertaining. Combat encounters reward players for being experimental with the various abilities they acquire on their journey, while challenges demand fast reflexes and sometimes a keen mind. There are some tense chase sequences, too, which even though can be a little frustrating at times, overall add to the package.

There might be better Metroidvania games out there, but Tales of Kenzera: Zau has genuine heart. For that, we applaud Abubakar Salim and Surgent Studios, and eagerly await what they do next.

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