Konami clearly wanted Contra: Rogue Corps to please everyone, yet it has ended up failing to please anyone at all. It takes plenty of well-worn ideas from similar twin-stick shooters to form an uneven package that’s lacking identity, and that’s despite one of the new playable characters being a panda.

The shooter revival arrived to mediocre review scores, resulting in a lukewarm 55% Metacritic. Not the worst game to launch this year, certainly, but perhaps the most unspectacular.

Sci-fi Dark Souls alike The Surge receives a sequel this week too. Even the fans of the original will no doubt agree that there was plenty of room for improvement. Sadly, it seems that this sequel doesn’t manage to fix all the problems associated with its predecessor.

Scores are wildly mixed so far, varying from a 4.5/5 from Windows Central to a miserable 1.5/5 from Game Revolution. Despite the huge gap in review scores, both outlets agreed that it’s uglier than the original. The game engine allegedly doesn’t cope well with the new larger outdoor environments.

Code Vein, Bandai-Namco’s post-apocalyptic vampire action RPG, is also inspired by Dark Souls. It looks set to offer a flexible approach to combat, with each of the partner characters having their own combat style. A playable demo is available now, which received a surprise content drop last Friday. The trailer can also be found below.  

FIFA 20 is back this week as well, the Switch version of which has already been reduced to ‘Legacy Edition’ status. Don’t expect much more than a kit and transfer update. This year the ‘big new thing’ for the PS4 and Xbox One versions is the Volta street football mode. The pacing of the main game has been tinkered with too, although fans note that matches still feel scripted.

Review scores are positive, but not quite glowing, with more 7/10s out there than usual. Nevertheless, expect it to top the UK chart next Monday. It may even become the fastest-selling game of 2019 so far.

Other bits and pieces of note include a PS4 and Switch re-release of STAR WARS: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, the humorous city-building sim Tropico 6 – which we reviewed on PC a few months ago – and a wealth of belated Switch conversions including Dead by Daylight, Darksiders 2 Deathinitive Edition, and Dragon Quest XI. After a few false starts the retail release of The Ninja Saviors: Return Of The Warriors should finally be out too.

New release showcase

FIFA 20

9.0 – God is a Geek: A superb game of football yet again, but some changes are better than others. FIFA 20 is still a great game fit to burst with a mode for everyone.

4/5 – VG24/7: Without much cosmetic polish to fall back on, FIFA 20 needed to bring something new to the table. Although the core gameplay isn’t mind-blowingly different, it’s still the best football game, and the addition of VOLTA is a whole new way to play.

7.8 – IGN: Volta brings new life into the series, but on the whole FIFA 20 is an adequate but underwhelming entry into the series.

7.5 – Dual Shockers: FIFA 20 is such an attractive package. Everything is clean and easy to use. Volta is fun and unlike anything else on the market. FUT has some neat changes that should make the mode much more playable for those of us who don’t want to grind games or spend oodles of cash. Everything off-the-field is, at worst, good. However, the on-field product is so off-putting for me that it’s harder than I’d like to recommend

The Surge 2

4.5/5 – Windows Central: If you loved The Surge, you’re going to love The Surge 2, as it’s a far deeper, far bigger game.

8/10 – PSU: The Surge 2 is a much better, engaging, and rewarding experience than the first game. Dozens of quality of life improvements, more interesting environments and characters, and the addition of parrying makes The Surge 2 a must-play for anyone who even slightly enjoyed their time with the first game. However, the game holds itself back from being an excellent souls-like with some poor lighting in areas, intense difficulty spikes, and a final area that is just plain unfun.

7.6 – IGN: The Surge 2 checks many of the boxes for a successful sequel, but this sci-fi action RPG falls just short or recapturing the full dismembering joy of the original.

6/10 – Push Square: The Surge 2 is brimming with minor gameplay and technical issues that threaten to spoil the broth on a constant basis, but the game’s combat system and varied locations do just enough to push them to the back of your mind.

Contra: Rogue Corps

7/10 – GameSpew: There’s room for improvement, but Contra: Rogue Corps is very enjoyable for the most part. It doesn’t have the look or feel of a triple-A title which might put some off, but it’s a game that isn’t afraid of trying new things. What’s most important is that its twin-stick shooter action is engaging, and a huge amount of longevity is provided by a large number of missions and deep character development.

5/10 – Push Square: The only real accolade you can award this run-of-the-mill release is that it’s inoffensive, but even then it’s almost offensively inoffensive – if you get what we mean. An unwieldy upgrade system, which sees you augmenting body parts to each of the four heroes, adds a bit of character to proceedings – but it’s somewhat cumbersome and confusing. You may eke some fun out of the ostentatious action playing with buddies both online and offline, but there are better games to backdrop your banter. The panda’s pretty rad, we suppose.

4.0 – IGN: Contra: Rogue Corps is one of the worst games in the revered franchise and does a poor job of reviving the series for a modern audience by switching genres and failing to deliver.

2/5 – Slant Magazine: Rogue Corps hopes that everyone likes it, and wishes to achieve this by implementing ideas that can be easily tested and approved by modern fans. Which is to say that the uncompromising design that made the original Contra a formative touchstone is missing in action.

Code Vein

STAR WARS: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast

Tropico 6

Dead by Daylight (Switch)

New digital multi-format releases

  • Contra: Rogue Corps
  • CODE VEIN
  • FIFA 20
  • The Surge 2
  • Tropico 6
  • RAGE 2: Rise of the Ghosts

New on PSN

  • Overland
  • STAR WARS: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
  • Dreaming Canvas
  • Flutter Bombs
  • Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms
  • Hookbots
  • Ghoulboy
  • Habroxia
  • Invisigun Reloaded
  • Dinosaur Island VR
  • Arcade Archives TRACK & FIELD
  • Arcade Archives VIGILANTE

New on Xbox One store

  • Rex Rocket
  • Constructor Plus
  • Mining Rail 2
  • The Adventures of Elena Temple
  • Fight’N Rage

New Nintendo retail releases

  • FIFA 20 Legacy Edition
  • Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age
  • The Ninja Saviors: Return Of The Warriors
  • Teslagrad
  • Horizon Chase Turbo
  • RPG Maker MV
  • Contra: Rogue Corps
  • Darksiders 2 Deathinitive Edition
  • Dead by Daylight

Next week: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered, Slabwell, ReadySet Heroes, One Night Stand, Asdivine Kamura,We Were Here Too, Sniper Elite 3 Ultimate Edition (Switch), and the SEGA Mega Drive Mini.