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The perfect video games of 2024 (thus far)

2023 was one of the strongest years for games on record (even if it was sadly pretty terrible for the people who make them). This year, then, is destined to underwhelm, right? 

Well, time will tell if 2024 can stand toe-to-toe with its predecessor for bonafide bangers, but it’s off to a flyer. Once the quietest time of the year, Q1 (AKA January-March) has reinvented itself in recent times – and 2024’s was up there with the very best of them. Whether you’re looking to sink 100 hours into a meaty AAA RPG, or prefer to get your gaming kicks from the reliably creative indie scene – or, you know, a bit of both – the first quarter of this year has likely served up something you really want to play. 

The release calendar slows down a bit now, but as it’s been virtually impossible to keep up so far, that’s probably not such a bad thing. And with an open-world Star Wars game, a first-person Indiana Jones adventure and whatever Nintendo’s cooking up for what is looking like the Switch’s farewell tour still to come, there’s plenty to look forward to. 

As always, we’ll be updating this list of interactive goodness throughout the year, but for now, here are the best video games of 2024 so far. 

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth

The second part of Square Enix’s wildly ambitious Final Fantasy VII remake trilogy was probably the most anticipated game of the year, and it’s fair to say that the Japanese giant came good. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth‘s open-world pivot successfully recaptures the original game’s sense of adventure, as Cloud and the gang leave the slums and skyscrapers of Midgar in pursuit of Sephiroth, and while we could have lived without some of the tired genre tropes (we’re really still doing the Ubisoft towers thing, huh?), there are few video game road trips that are more memorable. Seeing Final Fantasy VII’s iconically blocky PS1 locations reimagined for the modern era is a constant thrill for anyone who played the 1997 game, and Rebirth manages to nail all the major story beats while bringing plenty of new twists to what is now a very familiar tale. 

The superb hybrid combat system from the first game is even better in its sequel, with a focus on synergy attacks that ensure you’re using every party member in battle, while an extraordinarily wide variety of mini-games mean you’re never doing the same thing for long. It’s not perfect, and at times it’s downright messy, but this epic retelling of one of gaming’s most beloved stories gets more than enough right, and we can’t wait to see how it all ends. 

Dragon’s Dogma 2

The long-awaited sequel to this cult classic 2012 RPG is weird, unapologetically punishing in its design and often hilariously janky, but if you can overlook some pretty glaring flaws and take the time to learn its unique systems, you’ll be rewarded with a game like no other, and a high fantasy story generator that’ll give you enough ammo to fill several pub conversations.

As the Arisen, you’re chasing down a dragon that has pinched your heart, joined on your quest by a rotating selection of dutiful pawns (one of your own creation, the rest kindly lent to you by other players in the world) that exist only to serve you. Dragon’s Dogma 2 isn’t interested in holding your hand. With just one save file you have to live with your mistakes, there’s barely any fast travel, going out at night is asking for trouble, and rarely will a few minutes pass without you being attacked by a mob of vicious goblins. But the ability to change your class whenever you like, a meaty combat system and some decidedly Shadow of the Colossus-esque giant monster climbing ensure your adventures are always enormous fun, even when everything wants to kill you. And like the best RPGs, those adventures never feel scripted, and always feel entirely your own. 

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown

The Prince of Persia series is older than Sonic the Hedgehog, but much like the Blue Blur, it’s had a hit and miss track record since the turn of the century. While we continue to wait for the supposedly still in development remake of the much-loved 3D entry, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, this all new title sees Ubisoft’s stuttering series return to its 2D roots, reimagining it as a Metroidvania. And it’s genuinely up there with the very best in the genre. 

Ubisoft Montpellier gets pretty much everything right here, from the excellent platforming (as we’d expect from the studio that gave us Rayman Legends) and surprisingly deep combat that lets you parry attacks and deal huge damage by memorising aerial combos, to the intricately designed world that you gradually discover as you gain new abilities. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is happy to make you wait for those – you don’t get the Metroidvania staple double jump for hours – and we weren’t all that interested in the story, but if you’re looking game to fill the Silksong-shaped void and enjoy a challenge, then we can’t recommend this one enough.

Princess Peach: Showtime!

Princess Peach has featured in the majority of Mario games, but usually that’s because she needs rescuing after Bowser’s latest kidnapping scheme. Not since 2005’s largely forgotten Super Princess Peach for the Nintendo DS has Peach been the star, so Princess Peach: Showtime! is long overdue. Happily, it’s also a lot of fun, and a great pick for younger gamers who might find Mario games a bit too tricky. 

Princess Peach: Showtime! is theatre-themed, with levels taking the shape of various stage plays that see Peach transforming into their leading lady. In one she might be a cowgirl, lassoing enemies from their horses during a chase, and in another she becomes a superhero capable of picking up buses. Not all transformations are action-focused; Patisserie Peach bakes cookies and decorates cakes, while Detective Peach inspects clues and questions witnesses to solve mysteries. It all adds up to an enjoyably (if a little slight) varied platformer that proves that Peach has outgrown her damsel in distress role. 

Pepper Grinder

The first quarter of 2024 has been front-loaded with enormous RPGs that demand 50+ hours of your time just to make a dent, with several of them featuring in this list. But if you gravitate towards games you can easily blast through in a weekend, you really should check out Pepper Grinder. Currently exclusive to PC and Switch (and ideally suited to the latter given its decidedly GBA aesthetic), Pepper Grinder is a fast-paced 2D action platformer in which you play as a girl named Pepper who awakes to find herself shipwrecked on a mysterious island, having had her stuff swiped by pirates. 

The hook of the game is the titular Grinder, a super-powered drill that Pepper can use to burrow in and out of the terrain at speed, attack enemies and solve environmental puzzles. You do get weapons later in the game, but the Grinder is always the star. While clearly inspired by classic side-scrollers like Drill Dozer, Donkey Kong Country and Ecco the Dolphin, Pepper Grinder has a vibe and style all of its own, while excellent controls that ensure you’re always just about in control make navigating the often very challenging levels a joy. It’s definitely on the shorter side, but for many that will be a selling point. 

Helldivers 2

Have you ever dreamt of a Starship Troopers video game? Do yourself a favour and pick up Helldivers 2 if you haven’t already. A refreshingly old-fashioned third-person squad-based multiplayer shooter, this sequel to the 2015 top-down game of the same name is one of the surprise hits of the year so far, so much so that for the first few weeks after launch the servers crumbled under the weight of all the people trying to get online and play with their friends. 

The premise is pretty straightforward: the galaxy is being invaded by giant alien bugs, and in the name of freedom and democracy you need to shoot them all dead. Helldivers 2 is a very solid shooter, but it’s also one of the funniest games we’ve played in years. That’s partly down to the knowingly ridiculous propagandic rallying cries you’ll hear every few minutes in the game, but also the slapstick deaths and dysfunctional teamwork. Once you’ve accidentally (or entirely intentionally) killed one of your pals with an airstrike you called in, you’ll eagerly await the next time it happens. If we’re talking plain and simple fun, Helldivers 2 is probably the game of the year so far full stop. 


Balatro is 2024’s Vampire’s Survivors. Like that BAFTA-winning indie sensation, it’s a roguelite designed to be played over and over again until you have enough skill and the right build to put together a winning run. But in Balatro, rather than mowing down seemingly unrelenting hordes of monsters, you’re playing poker hands. It sounds simple, and crucially teaches players its basic rules very quickly. But very quickly you’ll realise that Balatro isn’t so much about playing poker as it’s about breaking it. 

You see, as you progress you’ll level up those traditional hands to amass more chips, allowing you to eventually make a one pair worth more than a full house. You can also add new cards to your deck, but the real genius lies in the joker cards, which can completely transform the whole game and, when properly deployed, result in some dizzyingly huge scores. It’s incredibly addictive and stupidly fun, even (and arguably even more so) if you’ve never played a proper game of poker in your life. 

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth

Beloved above pretty much all else by its longtime fans and incredibly intimidating to newcomers looking to jump in for the first time, there really is nothing quite like the Like a Dragon (formerly known as Yakuza) series. The latest entry, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, unites the OG protagonist with the new one introduced in 2020’s Yakuza: Like a Dragon, and whisks them off to Hawaii for a truly bonkers island adventure. 

While it’s definitely true that those who have followed the series since its formative PS2 days will get the most out of the otherwise convoluted and often confusing story, we defy anyone not to be charmed by Ichiban Kasuga, the loveable former yakuza who’s a joy to spend tens of hours goofing around with. Like its predecessor, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is a turn-based RPG, with combat made more action-packed now you can move your character during a turn. And you’ll be doing a lot of fighting, that is, when you’re not playing classic Sega arcade games, managing your own Animal Crossing-esque island resort and pitting conquered enemies against each other in a ridiculous parody of Pokemon. Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth might leave you confused at times, but you’ll always have a grin on your face. 

Tekken 8

Fighting game fans have been eating awfully well recently. Last year we called Street Fighter 6 a ‘victorious return to form’ and ‘the best fighting game in generations’. It turns out Tekken had something to say about that second point, with the eighth mainline entry going out of its way to welcome back both hardcore fans and newcomers alike. Much like the most recent Street Fighter entry, Tekken 8 introduces a newbie-friendly control scheme that streamlines the inputs needed to pull off those brutally sexy combos the series is known for. The excellent Arcade Quest mode, with its decidedly un-Tekken Nintendo Mii-like avatars, is a great way to learn the basics. 

For the already initiated, there’s an enjoyable story mode to dive into, while the new Heat Gauge mechanic, which expands your character’s move set for a limited time once per round and lets you recover some of your life bar (and they’re just the basics), is a meaningful addition. As you’d expect from Tekken, it all looks stunning, and offers one of the largest rosters in the series’ long history. Tekken 8 doesn’t quite match Street Fighter 6’s single-player content, but it’s never played better. 

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