Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond isn't the return to the series that I would have hoped. As a VR game is has a lot to offer, the gameplay is engaging, the missions varied, and both the single-player and multiplayer can be fun to play. However, the story is woefully mismanaged, with a cast of mostly unlikeable and unsympathetic characters - a tragedy when it comes with an incredibly powerful piece of work in the form of the gallery, a collection of documentaries and interviews with veterans of the war.
Chronos: Before the Ashes is an interesting enough title, one that does feature some interesting environments that really support a strong level of world-building. Even those not familiar with Remnant would find this interesting. However, looking beyond the environment and storytelling, you're going to find aspects of the game lacking. The combat is far too forgiving, and you'll have completed the game before encountering most of the perks to the fascinating ageing system. Do I recommend this? For an easy-going souls-lite title, it's not bad, but it isn't great either.
Football Manager 2021 is by far the closest representation to the beautiful game you can find. With an improved matchday engine, improved AI and even more datapoints than ever before, all represented in a more digestible method, making it more accessible than ever before. However, there's still no doubt that the series is still going to have a high barrier to entry, and it has some irritating issues, such as repetition in the press conferences and other interaction aspects. Issues aside, this is yet another improvement and superior entry to the series.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is as close to true call of Duty as you're likely to find in recent years, for better or for worse. The campaign does branch out a little, offering you side-missions that are unlocked through evidence gathering, which is fun. It's also engaging, featuring a good number of entertaining set pieces. However, it's also insane and has way too many throwaway 'features'. Multiplayer, and the zombie mode, are both very enjoyable to play and multiplayer has been made more engaging for those who used to struggle to get massive kill streaks. However, there's no doubt that the multiplayer is seriously lacking in maps. Also, the game needs some technical polish. Still, all in all, this is still a strong FPS and one that will keep fans coming back for more.
DIRT 5 offers a new path for the DIRT series and treads it brilliantly. The core numbered titles have always been slightly more arcade, but this takes it to a whole other level and is fantastic because of this move. This is an incredibly approachable and varied racing game that takes you on a tour of several racing styles in far-flung places across the globe. With every new console generation comes a new generation of racing games, DIRT 5 is that game. It looks fantastic, it's incredibly fun and it's polished to a great level and is arguably the best game to come out of Codemasters.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope takes the Supermassive Games formula and improves on the previous outing, Man of Medan, in so many ways. With a more interesting story, a strong set of characters, the masterful building of atmosphere and more, you're going to be left on the edge of your seat while playing through this story. The excellent branching narrative, as well as multiplayer options also increase the gameplay value exponentially. This still isn't perfect, the sloth-like movements of characters can be annoying later on and some QTE's are annoyingly cheap, but this is still a brilliant game, one I would recommend to anybody.
Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods - Part One is a solid, meaty, and strong piece of DLC for Doom Eternal. It removes some of the chaff, cutting needless exposition, and makes some strong steps in gameplay. However, strange inclusions like enemies that kill the pace of combat, as well as even more ultra-precise platforming sections can throw off the whole "Doom" feeling of Doom Eternal. Also, and this is more of a subjective gripe, it's just too difficult right out of the gate with some combat sections feeling like they last forever.
Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition is an undeniable and great improvement on the original. Featuring a huge amount of content, including some brand-new game modes, as well as a revamped and improved portion of the original campaign, there's a lot on offer. The AI is improved, though does have a few niggles here and there. Particularly so with pathfinding. This issue is overwhelmed by the amount of content on offer, great improvements to the aesthetics of the game, improvements to multiplayer as well as changes to the home city system outside of the campaign. While not as outright fantastic as Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, this is still a brilliant release and comes in at a very low price.
Overcrowd: A Commute 'Em Up is an incredibly compelling game that can suck you in for hours, and days. With a charming aesthetic covering up a game with a massive amount of detail, there's a surprising amount to get yourself lost in as you try to build a series of ever-more detailed metro stations, managing facilities, staff and more. Now, it's not perfect, it can be a little clunky at times and some features are lacking, by choice and due to the style of the game. Still, the game does all it can to make itself as accessible and approachable as possible.
Milestone has made an undeniably solid game in the form of RIDE 4. The physics are mostly improved, though still have issues with collision. The career, while still a little too much of a slog, is far better organised than previous outings. There's a good variety of game modes to play through, giving a lot of replay variety, with the new endurance races being a high point. Some smaller race types, however, are infuriating in their rigidity and inaccessibility. The AI has been improved thanks to the new A.N.N.A. system, but it still isn't the most realistic and you'll find the computer trying to wipe you out for having the temerity of being where they want to be. For every negative, there are at least two positives, making this the most solid of Milestone's outings, I'd recommend it.