MotoGP 19 is a fantastic package overall and, hopefully, it ends up with a thriving multiplayer scene. The first post-launch patch was absolutely crucial in terms of tightening up the brakes and, while some of the physics still aren't quite there, it's a strong start.
American Truck Simulator - WashingtonPC
Overall, as with all their DLC, SCS Software has done a fantastic job. From the level of detail on the road markings being different from state to state to the police cars having the correct state trooper name on the car instead of something generic. Throw in the free 2GB version 1.35 update and the addition of "experimental" DX11, along with many other features, and ATS is growing into a stronger game than ever before. For those thirsting to expand their US play area in American Truck Simulator, Washing is a must-buy.
Mortal Kombat 11PC
Â All in all, Mortal Kombat 11 is a great package, and nicely fleshed out with a ton of content and modes for both the casual fighting game players like myself and the hardcore community who want to get stuck into the online battling. The heavy involvement of microtransactions can be an annoyance, for sure, but there's more than enough to get busy with to help beat the grind.
Close to the SunPC
Despite its lofty ideas and immersive environments, Close to the Sun is a fairly lightweight adventure that trades on creeping scores and an intoxicating aura of mystery. There’s nothing to grapple onto that really elevates it above this. That's not to say this is an average game, it's a stronger experience than that, it just struggles to pull itself into the echelons of must-play territory. For horror fans, that could well be enough though, and it’s an engaging enough time but not one that necessarily sticks after the credits roll.
Despite all of this griping, and all of these complaints, Tropico 6 is still sort of fun. Partly it's just watching the numbers going up. When the freighter arrives in port and your first shipment of electronics goes to market, netting you enough money to build a new stadium, it's like a little pat on the head that can be weirdly addictive.
Hearts of Iron IV: Man the GunsPC
What it comes down to is that Paradox is just amazing at listening to their community and developing their games long after release. Now that ships are done, I expect that the air force will follow not too far behind. Then, who knows? Of course, they could release a DLC of nothing but National Focii for everyone from Bulgaria to Tannu Tuva and many fans would be ecstatic. If more companies were like Paradox, the world would be a better place.
DiRT Rally 2.0PC
I sort of have to criticise, you know? It's the job. Truth is, though, I've really enjoyed every minute I've spent with Dirt Rally 2.0, just as I did with 1.0 before it. The handling is gorgeous, the routes are truly beautiful to look at, and the management is ...manageable. The cars all have tons of individual character, the rallycross feels scrappy and frenetic and everything just comes together wonderfully. Codemasters, eh? They really have the hang of this thing.
As a sequel, Metro Exodus pulls ahead of the rest of the franchise in a big way by leaving the very metro itself behind. Aesthetically, the place is a joy to explore from beginning to end, and there’s enough variation to keep things feeling fresh. Dig down deep and it’s another Metro with a new skin, but it’s a damned good one of those all the same.
Resident Evil 2PC
All told, Resident Evil 2 is an utterly fantastic remake, reimagining a 90’s classic for a modern audience with modern sensibilities. A single playthrough is slight at about 8-10 hours, but every minute is oozing with quality. If that’s enough for you there are also alternative routes with other characters, a couple of secret modes and some fairly crazy unlockables for those who absolutely master the game. Resident Evil 2 is a brilliant rendition of one of the finest survival horror experiences of all time.
Jagged Alliance: Rage!PC
I'm really struggling to find anything good to say about Jagged Alliance: Rage, other than that its name is appropriate. I suppose the stealth mechanic sort of works, although even there occasionally your sneaky work can be ruined by a patrolling soldier somehow glitching and eternally clambering on and off a rock instead of completing his route.
All in all, Darksiders 3 feels like an incredibly safe game. There’s precious little to elevate Darksiders 3 to the level of the previous two games, let alone its peers in 2018. It’s a game that offers few surprises, few challenges, and few moments of greatness. What it does, it does to a satisfactory level and never kicks on from there.
Mutant Year Zero: Road to EdenPC
Hardcore fans of turn-based tactics may be slightly put off by Mutant Year Zero’s obvious missteps but that aside, The Bearded Ladies have cooked up a special game here that’s got great potential for the future. Road to Eden isn’t perfect but it’s definitely stood out from the crowd for me in what’s been an excellent year.
Pathfinder Kingmaker on PC is incredibly fun and rightfully nominated in our Global Game Awards 2018 for Best RPG. Today Owlcat have already made Pathfinder Kingmaker into a beautiful looking, rich CRPG, that delivers a great place to adventure, an interesting land to rule and the tools to carve out a realm that you can call home.
All told, Hitman 2 is a heck of a treat for Hitman fans, offering the most refined mechanics, craziest antics, and most complex levels yet seen in the franchise. Each of the five core levels can be played for potentially a dozen or more hours, offering fantastic replayability for those who like to mess around with the Hitman formula. There’s an argument to be had that Hitman 2 plays it a little self, but when it’s so damned good, and unique, at what it does, you’ll hear little argument from me.
The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows DeepPC
Of course, I wanted to love this. The little eleven-year-old boy who lives in my head and played the originals wanted to build a party of adventurers and explore the cellars beneath Kylearan's tower so much. I wanted something of Skara Brae to evoke memory of those long summer evenings spent indoors while I should have been out riding my bike, instead trying to find the silver shapes necessary to get into Mangar's tower.
Farming Simulator 19PC
Even though Farming Simulator 19 is much better then previous versions, I can't help but wonder how much better it could have been if they had taken a few additional steps. Perhaps Giants is waiting to use a new graphics engine to give it a complete overhaul? Who knows, I'm just glad the mods will flesh outthe game as they have with Farming Simulator 2017.
PAW Patrol: On a RollPC
Paw Patrol On A Roll is perfectly placed to fill a gap in the market. It is backed by the right TV endorsement, excellently paced for four or five-year-olds, and capable of introducing our youngest generation of PC gamers to the delights of gaming. Hopefully more professional games will start to fill this gaming niche and the overall gaming bar will be raised, but for now, I am pleased that Paw Patrol presents parents of younger ones with an option that lets their children learn and enjoy gaming in a safe space.
Call of CthulhuPC
Some of the 'descent into madness' stuff is handled in an interesting and confusing way (this time I suppose it's confusing in a good way) and the sounds are creepy and evocative, and many of the levels are beautifully depicted in ways that stay extremely close to the concept art upon which they were obviously designed. But when all's said and done, there's a clunkiness to the pacing, plot and gameplay that relegates Call of Cthulhu to the second division. F'taghn.
Overall Bandai Namco did a fantastic job resurrecting the Soulcalibur franchise with the 6th version. Finally something other then Tekken or Mortal Kombat on PC. SoulCalibur VI is a fantastic addition to the series that's made it the best it's been in years. It's also great that Bandai Namco finally brought Soulcalibur to PC after all these years. Be warned though, some people have been having too much fun with the male genitalia on the crazily in-depth character creator...
Red Dead Redemption 2 isn't just a great game. It's a game that sets an impossibly high new bar for how open-worlds can be handled. Its depiction of late 19th-century America feels both historically accurate yet abundantly open-ended, slow-paced and yet alive, grim and yet majestic. It makes the original Red Dead Redemption feel like a warm-up, the doodles on the page before the real thing has come to life.
Assassin's Creed OdysseyPC
At the end of the day, not everyone will feel overwhelming by another AC less than a year after Origins. Or indeed there may be plenty picking up Odyssey that have never played Origins at all. For those players, Assassin's Creed Odyssey is a feature-packed, incredibly lengthy belter, but a colossal time sink in the same breath.
Pillars of Eternity II: DeadfirePC
Once again, the Pillars of Eternity series shows how much it really, really wants to be a D&D game. With DLC called 'The Deck of Many Things' and rules system that very closely mirrors the fundamentals of D&D right down to individual spells, it's sort of a crying shame that the powers that control licensing on both sides were unable to consummate this obvious marriage. Pillars of Eternity, for me, is the best D&D series there never was.
Forza Horizon 4PC
Forza Horizon 4 is undeniably a great game now, and it’s theoretically only going to get better. A lot of this is going to hinge on the quality of post-launch support that can be provided by Playground Games, but early impressions suggest the developer is off to a fantastic start. Whether cruising around on your own, adventuring co-operatively, or taking part in versus online races, there’s always something to do.
Ultimately, V-Rally 4 is a solid if comprehensively unremarkable rally racing game. It offers neither the simulation depth of Dirt Rally nor the arcade racing hijinks of Dirt, straddling the line somewhere between the two. It can be moderately entertaining despite its dry personality, but up against stiff competition, it’s an all too forgettable entry. Perhaps V-Rally was best left in its nostalgia-fuelled haze.