A drama in three acts, Deep Rock Galactic mines a treasure trove from its simple set-up of a co-op shooter crossed with a Minecraft-alike explorathon.
As part of a team of four loot-hungry spelunkers, you're sent on scouting missions to forbidding planets where you plunder networks of pitch-black caves. On the way down, you're frequently attacked by big-toothed monsters as you seek specific minerals and objects. Finally, you race back to the surface before the escape pod departs.
DRG displays shadows of the frantic classic Left 4 Dead in its character classes (for instance, the engineer can build platforms and automated turrets, while the scout rocks a large flare gun to illuminate the caverns). The first two-thirds of every mission might seem the most compelling - exploring randomly generated underground tunnels, making a stand against waves of skittering aliens, and dynamiting your way deeper into the ground.
But it's really the dramatic getaway that defines DRG. Your loot is carried out by an agile robot, so you must rush to follow it before it blasts off without you. But prepare to fail if you fail to prepare. Woe betide the team that didn't lay a proper path back up and out.
The missions may be a tad repetitive and the pervasive darkness makes orienting yourself overly tricky. But DRG extracts maximum fun from its compelling gameplay loop.
PS4/XO/PC/Sw ★★ Age: 18+
You need Aftermath like you need a punch in the face. Good taste always gets a bypass in Mortal Kombat, the fighting game series notorious for its gruesome, censor-baiting violence. But the gore is always so brazen it's funny. Here, the brazenness lies in the €40 price tag for a perfunctory expansion pack to last year's excellent MK11.
With just three new characters - one, somewhat inexplicably, is RoboCop - and about three hours of additional story, Aftermath does little to justify its short-lived existence. Of course, it feels polished, save for the occasional graphical stutter, and the grisly finishers still provoke horrified chuckles.
At half the price, it would be much less of a kick in the groin to fans.