Here are the games we liked the most in October. They’re some good games. You might want to check ‘em out. You can’t go wrong with any of ‘em. Dig it!
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, we know what you’re going to say. “Where’s Red Dead Redemption 2, Paste? How isn’t that on here? Are you named after what your writers eat? Stop hitting yourself, Paste. And while I’ve got you, are you looking for new writers?”
Here’s the deal with Red Dead 2. We’ve had a copy since Oct. 23, which we immediately knew would make it impossible to hit the embargo date of Oct. 25. So we’ve been taking it slowly, trying to explore the full scope of the game instead of rushing through for a review. We’re nearing the end and will have a review up this week, or maybe next, most likely, but because we aren’t finished yet—and, frankly, because we have very mixed opinions about it so far—we decided to keep it off this list for the moment. We can’t in good faith include a game that we haven’t yet come to a firm opinion on. At the moment, we wouldn’t call it one of our five favorite games from last month. That might change over the final few hours of story, but it also might not. I guess everybody can find out when we put up our list of the best games of the year in a few weeks.
Here’s what we know we liked in October. Yes, one of them is more of a demo than a full game, but at three hours there’s enough meat there to consider it—especially since it effectively stands on its own and is in no way guaranteed to reflect the final game it’s taken from.
5. Soulcalibur VI
Soulcalibur VI may be the latest installment in a series that spans a total of 11 main and spin-off entries, but it’s incredibly welcoming to new players. The fighting system is simple, mapping three of your controller’s buttons to horizontal, vertical and kick attacks, with the last button used for guarding. What I’ve always loved about the fighting style in this series is that it’s not just about putting out the most damage or having the flashiest combinations; much of the time, it’s about learning an enemy character’s moves and being able to recognize them in time to guard. It’s about parrying at the right moment, about being quick on your feet and making sure your patterns are unpredictable.—Natalie Flores
4. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
There is too much of a good thing. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey proves that. As a game it has a strong core of enjoyable action built upon a reliable and slightly upgraded foundation. As a story it’s an intriguing personal journey with good ideas but lackluster storytelling set against the backdrop of war between Sparta and Athens, with a strong, charismatic pair of leads making up for a lot of dull dialogue and meandering conversations. As an Assassin’s Creed it turns Origins from an outlier into the start of the new status quo, sacrificing a bit of its identity in order to bring it more in line with Ubisoft’s other open world games. It still captures much of what makes these games special, though, from the historical setting, to the dynamic action, to one of the few stealth combat systems that isn’t too slow or frustrating to enjoy. Embark on this journey with confidence, but be prepared to lose a lot of your free time along the way.—Garrett Martin
3. Astro Bot Rescue Mission
I don’t get a lot of use out of my virtual reality whatsit. It tends to make me sick, and there just hasn’t been a lot of games released in VR that feel like something I absolutely have to experience. Astro Bot Rescue Mission is one of the rare exceptions. Sony’s platformer expands on one of the best parts of the augmented reality mix tape The Playroom, turning it into a fully fleshed out game that capitalizes on the “you’re really there” thrill of VR. It’s also absolutely adorable, and if you’re at all familiar with the stuff I’ve written here at Paste over the last eight (!) years, you know cute means a lot to me.—Garrett Martin
Deltarune wants to complicate the messages of Undertale. Undertale is utopic, in that it believes strongly that all people have the capability to do good if they are given a chance. It’s the backbone of Undertale’s thematic conclusions with its Pacifist route, where the player eschews as much combat as possible and works to help all citizens of the Underground. Deltarune, in contrast, establishes that there are some evils that cannot be reasoned with. No matter what you (the player) wanted to do, sometimes there are evils that need to be confronted. Undertale almost always had a way out, a way to play that would end with everyone happy and holding hands. Deltarune does not, or at least does not so far.—Dante Douglas
1. Return of the Obra Dinn
Lucas Pope’s Return of the Obra Dinn is a game about violence cleansed of meaning. In that way, it feels like a tonal companion to his previous game, Papers, Please, a game about meaning cleansed of violence. On the Obra Dinn, you will see every death intimately, and as a person, an investigator, you will naturally thread the storylines and see the ways that each death led to another. But that’s not really what insurance agents need. They just need the facts.
Those facts were the backbone of the East India Company, after all. If they could cleanse their own history of the people and the context, the profits would stand alone. And so, just like in Papers, Please, at the end of the day you are left with numbers and figures. Instead of salary, it is deaths, payouts and fines. Human lives reduced to another method for the Company to profit, even in death. Layers of greed cascading down the entire colonial system, encased in one dingy, storm-bitten boat.—Dante Douglas