Sword of Legends Online has so much to offer, but it's sadly gated off by utterly terribly localisation in the text, the cutscenes, voice acting and - worst of all - the UI. If you can get around this and the horribly slow and tedious levelling process, there are a wealth of features to dig into, some that give this one of the better endgames in any MMO, particularly a non-subscription and non-P2W title. With excellent combat, only enhanced as the game progresses, and features like player housing, pets, extra narrative elements like character biographies (somewhat more understandable than the core story) and more, it's worth the grind, even though the grind is atrocious. On balance, for MMO fans who are used to, and can put up with this sort of nonsense.
Red Solstice 2: Survivors is, at best, a slightly above-average game. For every fun aspect, such as the genuinely fun action-packed nature of the run-and-gun gameplay, there are downsides such as incredibly repetitive missions outside of the core campaign. However, you then find an excellent range of creatures and a good amount of character customisation, really boosting the game, for it to then be let down by the base and region-building feeling tacked on, and then the game is impacted by a fair few bugs. If you liked the first Red Solstice, and other similar shooters, you'll enjoy this, though arguably in shorter sessions or with other people online.
Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 is one of the best games in the world for doing sniping right, that's something I firmly believe. However, CI Games almost seem afraid of letting the game shine, all too often moving you away from sniping, an action the game is named after. In addition, the game is showing a few issues, such as downright stupid AI and a few bugs here and there. It's a shame because there are good open areas to move around in, the contracts allow you to use your brain and plan the perfect hit and it all looks great while you're on your path to becoming the world's best blood-spatter creator.
King of Seas is an engaging enough game, offering good ship-to-ship combat and a generally fun time to play through when it doesn't weigh you down with excessive amounts of grind. If you stick through the grind, this is the sort of game that is more than good enough to drop in and out of, giving you a good outlet to meet your pirate-related urges.
Siege Survival: Gloria Victis is a game that manages a sort of reverse synergy. The parts should combine to make this a medieval version of This War of Mine, a title that so clearly inspired it, but sadly fall short due to issues like limited replay value, lacking the emotional investment, despite the world and characters being decent enough. Still, for every negative, there are positives. Exploring the city at night for resources can be very tense; siege defence is engaging, and the crafting is top-notch. Consider this a recommendation, but one with more than a few caveats.
If you liked Subnautica, Subnautica: Below Zero still has the base of what made the original great - the charm, the wonder, the building and even some of the exploration - but this has been tempered somewhat. The story-focused approach here is interesting, even compelling at parts, but the game doesn't do enough to keep you on track or from getting lost in the many enclosed caves, caverns and tunnels running throughout. Also, like the original, this does have its fair share of bugs and issues. Still, no matter the issues, it is still a genuinely good game. While it may not be as good as the original, it's still up there as one of the better survival games around.
Total War: Rome Remastered is a great remastering of one of the most influential and important strategy games in the history of gaming, though it is warts and all. Certain improvements are invaluable in bringing the original closer to modern sensibilities, though they only go so far, allowing issues like pathfinding to remain, as well as a dense-as-concrete AI, even though it has been improved. However, no matter the issues, the gameplay is engaging, exciting and most of all, fun. This is a massive game, featuring two extensive expansions that have also been remastered, and one that I would recommend to any fan of the original, any fan of Total War and anybody who wants to ease themselves into the series with a game from simpler times.
MotoGP 21 is yet another slow, tentative step forward for the bleary-eyed series. There are clear improvements visually, with the physics, and with a few new features to aid realism. However, for every improvement, some areas are showing their age or have abandonment issues. The tutorial is as absorbing and educational as a brick wall, the career mode just feels shallow, and finding that balance for non-simulation purists can be a chore. Still, these are balanced by the strong racing when you find those perfect settings and the improving AI. Also, the use of the PlayStation 5's DualSense controller is brilliant, putting the feel of the bike into your hands.
Demon Skin is a game that tries; it shows potential but fails due to missed opportunities and a lack of refinement. The combat is decent – though it can suffer from movement issues and unfair AI - and the game features good environments, but everything else proves to be a letdown. The story is incomprehensible, with no buildup, engagement or payoff, and the level design features far too many annoying, inexplicable, and often cheap instakill traps. It's not impossible to find some good aspects, but they're fighting a tidal wave of nitpicks and negatives.
Spacebase Startopia is a decently comical management simulation that looks back at and expands on the original Startopia. With a wide number of buildings and areas to develop, aliens to satisfy and even hire, there's a fair amount to do. Spacebase Startopia isn't without its issues, such as too much forced 'comedy' and a campaign that drags like a marathon, but you're still likely to have a good time if you like management sims.