DiRT Rally 2.0 far surpasses other rally titles and other games that feature, though don't specialise in rallying. With an extensively detailed roster of cars, where each of them feels, handles and reacts differently, on tracks that actively degrade through constant use, changing the lines you'll have to take, this is a game that will keep you thinking. Best of all, unlike its prequel (to an extent) and other racing sims, it's accessible thanks to a bevy of assists that you can change to suit your needs. A game that only features a few downsides, the primary one being a shallow career mode and some minor bugs here and there. All things considered, DiRT Rally 2.0 is the premier rally experience you could hope to have.
Metro Exodus is an incredibly atmospheric, engaging and compelling shooter that places an onus on the player to think on their feet, thanks to stringent limitations on ammo, supplies and the resources required to make more. Enhancing this is a world that is almost dead set against you. From other survivors who are more likely to kill you than talk to you, mutant creatures and ghouls that want nothing more than to feast on you and the hazards of the environment, it's a game that wants you on the edge of your seat. It masters this with ease. From tight gunplay to well-developed stealth mechanics, the game offers variety within the confines of its own rules. The only downsides are average-at-best voice acting and the game ignoring its own stealth leanings to force combat with incredibly difficult bosses. All in all, Metro Exodus is a fantastic game that you'd be worse off for missing out.
Genesis Alpha One is a great indie roguelike that offers a combination of first-person shooter, ship-building and management elements. Building up a ship, of which you can explore and work on every single section, offers a huge sense of scale and personal ownership, especially as you travel the reaches of a dangerous galaxy in the aim for the survival of the human race. You'll task your crew, which you grow in cloning vats, to run different areas of your ship while making sure their needs are met. All of this while going to planets to scavenge resources and, of course, trying to survive against horrible alien creatures that want to do nothing more than breed with your face. Every part of the game is a fine art of balance, though like other roguelikes luck will be a key factor in your survival, which is the biggest downside to the game.
Catherine is a genuinely funny, fun and altogether unique experience, even now. It merges brilliantly challenging puzzle gameplay with an Animé adult-romance story that is as equally compelling as it is entertaining. It features interesting and deeply flawed characters, particularly the protagonist whose emotions directly affect the challenges he'll face. All of this contained within a game that has aged particularly well due to the colourful and Animé-style design.
X4: Foundations is a far superior game to the last outing and is already on the right path to success, thanks to Egosofts diligent work in fixing issue s and enhancing the game. However, in its current state, it's still lacking core elements that help to make the game what it could be.
Override: Mech City Brawl features a fun and engaging combat, featuring giant mechs facing against each other, or against giant aliens. It's slightly marred by an unwieldy camera which loves to obscure your view of the fight and limited single-player options. However, this is made up by it being one of the better party or online games out there, when you have the people online, particularly as you can group up with up to three other players to control the same or different mechs.
Sword & Soldiers 2 is a strong yet simplistic side-scrolling Real Time Strategy game with a genuinely funny set of characters and dialogue that runs throughout the game, also topped up by a genuinely strong and colourful aesthetic. The game is only really let down by the limited replay value and small online audience.
Darksiders III is a fun game with an engaging combat system that can be very satisfying, particularly thanks to the dodge and counterattack system in place. All of this is surrounded by a surprisingly compelling storyline with interesting characters. There are issues in the game, with a few bugs and other technical problems as well as a pretty damn cheesy script, with the biggest issue being some downright irritating puzzle sections which are less about logically working something out than slamming your head into a wall repeatedly until something gives. Despite any issues, I've genuinely found myself enjoying my time in the apocalypse.
Fallout 76 lacks the heart and soul of what is a Bethesda RPG. The exclusion of NPC's and, in general, decent quest givers makes an emotional (or any) connection to the world near-on impossible and manages to shatter any immersion. The inclusion of other humans does nothing to remedy the fact that these core elements are missing. What it does do right, though, is having built by far the most varied and engaging Map yet, which is a pleasure to look at and explore - even if it looks dated up close. Furthermore, teaming up with other people to take on high-end creatures, particularly after the launch of a nuke, makes for compelling gameplay. As can be expected from a Bethesda title, it's riddled with bugs and glitches, many are game breaking, though Bethesda is already working on fixing them. What Fallout 76 really needs is an infusion of NPC's, even if only at a single hub, to give the game purpose.
GRIP is a technically sound game and can genuinely offer some exciting racing, as you try to dodge enemy weapons, track hazards and more, all at insane speeds. However, it can also be a confusing game to navigate and also has very unfair rubber-banding which can screw you over more than half the time as you'll find a well-placed rocket right up your rear-pipe just before you hit the finish line. GRIP also looks and sounds great, with some very well designed tracks, though some side modes (arena-based modes) completely miss out the best part about the game - being able to ride on any surface. I can genuinely see people enjoying their time with GRIP than I have, I just think it's missed the mark.
With a clean, intuitive new UI as well as tutorials that introduce both new and veteran managers to all of the major systems in Football Manager 2019, it's never been as easy to get into the game. Thanks to a myriad of upgrades, both large and small, the series as also never been this good. Unarguably the pinnacle of the series so far, with only a few remaining issues like press conferences and player conversations, this is sure to be the highlight for all budding managers.
Forza Horizon 4 is nothing short of fantastic. With a host of content, backed by a fantastic roster of cars that tread the fine line between arcade and simulation perfectly. While the amalgamated UK may be a little too pristine, not completely reflecting reality, it's such a stunning and enjoyable place to race around that any issues are washed away in the utter fun you're having. Forza Horizon 4 is, without a shadow of a doubt, the pinnacle of the series and arguably the best racing game you can buy.
Valkyria Chronicles 4 is the true sequel to Valkyria Chronicles, released ten years ago, and has learned from some of the failings of the original. Expanded upon, the strategy elements have never been better, with utterly fantastic storytelling and characterisation to be found within the RPG aspect. This isn't to say the game is perfect, with it still having flaws in the strategy by focusing too much on speed, rather than tactics, as well as having poor balancing issues later on in the game. In addition to this, there are some quality of life issues as it makes you drop back to the menu after every scene, some of which are only thirty seconds long, as well as requiring too many button clicks in the headquarters where you upgrade units and weaponry. Outside of these minor issues, Valkyria Chronicles 4 is undoubtedly the best game I've played so far in 2018.
Not Tonight is a surprisingly deep and engaging game that will suck you in. If you let it. Of course, the politics aren't to everybody's liking, but the game more than makes up for it with great wit, as it tackles - to an extent - deep subjects. The gameplay can be artificially difficult at times, but is still as engaging as the obvious inspiration: Papers, Please. Should you play Not Tonight? Yes, yes you should.
Dig or Die is more than just a clone of the titles that inspired it. It adds challenging gameplay in the form of aggressive and fearsome monsters, as well as a building system that requires some thought. In addition to this, the unique art style and audio that sets the scene perfectly lets the game stand out from others.
It's an improvement on the previous iteration, even if only visually. Aside from that, it feels like the same game but ever so slightly improved. That's the real shame, the jump from Milestone's ageing engine to Unreal had a lot of potential. Considering everything, do I recommend MotoGP 18? If you want a motorbike racing game now, then go for it. If not, you may be better waiting for Ride 3.